In my profession I made abnormalities of behaviour my business. Maybe some of you have at least some interest in abnormalities of behaviour, and probably a large majority of you will have had at least some direct experience with person whose behaviour they considered to be abnormal?
I dare say, abnormal behaviour is a part of our daily experience. Thus, I want to talk to you about one of the most insidious diseases that cause thousands, if not in the millions to have pathological behaviours, and that disease is codependence.
Codependence and interdependence are two very different dynamics. In the counselling and psychology world, we encourage and strive for interdependence because it is a healthy way to live and to build long lasting loving relationships.
However, codependence is about giving away power over our self-esteem. Taking our self-definition and self-worth from outside or external sources is dysfunctional because it causes us to give power over how we feel about ourselves to people and forces which we cannot control. Any time that we give power over our self-esteem to someone or something outside of ourselves we are making that person or thing our higher power. We are worshiping false gods.
For instance, if my self-esteem is based on people, places and things; money, property, and prestige; looks, talent, intelligence; then I am setting up myself to be a victim. People will not always do what I want them to; property can be destroyed by an earthquake or flood or fire; money can disappear in a stock market crash or bad investment; looks change as I get older. Everything changes. All outside or external conditions are temporary.
Codependence is an incredibly powerful, insidious, and vicious disease. It is so powerful because it is ingrained in our core relationship with ourselves.
The reason that we have been loving our neighbour as ourselves is because we have been doing it backwards. We were taught to judge and feel shamed of ourselves. We were taught to hate ourselves for being human.
Let’s say if I think I am a “failure” and giving power to the “critical parent” voice within that is telling me that I am a failure — then I can get stuck in a very painful place where I am shaming myself for being me. In this dynamic I am being the victim of myself for being me. So in this dynamic not only I am being the victim of myself and also being my own perpetrator — and the next step is to rescue myself by using one of the old tools to go unconscious (food, alcohol, sex, dysfunctional relationships, drugs, work, gambling, etc. etc.) Thus, the disease has me running around in a squirrel cage of suffering and shame, a dance of pain, blame, and self-abuse.
Earlier I mentioned that Codependence is an incredibly powerful, insidious, and vicious disease. It is so powerful because it is ingrained in our core relationship with ourselves. As little kids we were assaulted with the message that there was something wrong with us. We got this message from our parents or caregivers or authority figures who were assaulted and wounded in childhood by their parents or caregivers or authority figures who were assaulted and wounded in childhood, etc. etc., and from our society that is based on the belief that being human is shameful.
Codependency is insidious because it is so pervasive. The core emotional belief that there is something wrong with whom we are as beings affect all of the relationships in our life and keeps us from learning how to “Truly Love”. Is it any wonder why there are so many divorces and heart-breaks? In a codependent society, value is assigned in comparison (richer than, prettier than, more spiritual than, healthier than, more manly than, earn more money than, more status than, more power than, more important than, etc. etc.) so that the only way to feel good about self is to judge; look down on others; and criticise others to make me think I am better than others and that I could feel better about myself (temporarily). Comparison serves the belief in separation which makes violence, homelessness, pollution, and billionaires possible. Love is about feeling connected in the scheme of things not separate.
In my next blog, I’ll further explain why codependency is vicious and I will give you more examples and reasons to why so often we have low self-esteem and feel unworthy.
So until then, feel free to give me feedbacks and I would love to hear from you.