One of the most prevalent emotional conditions experienced by persons in our culture is the state of being Co-Dependent.
In CO-DEPENDENCE we link the state of our happiness to the state of someone else's...we are dependent on someone else' s reaction or feeling and we let that reaction or feeling from another dictate how we are.
The reason we do this is because we have experienced pain from confrontation or abandonment and we fear the repeat of this experience. We fear it so much that we are constantly watchful and attentive to the emotional state of those around us...we try to keep them happy and satisfied but we are always ready for (and even expect) pain at any second.
Unconscious childhood wounds make us vulnerable to whatever someone else is going through. We are witnesses to their displeasure and immediately proceed to claim it as our own, not recognizing or acknowledging that we are separate individuals.
We are DEPENDENT on others for our emotional well-being.
The dysfunction we experienced as a child prevents us from clearly asking for what we would like to have (we don't feel the freedom to do this and the confidence that our request will be well-received). And because we have not entered into a dialogue to explain how we feel and invited an explanation of how another feels, we instead set up our own expectations regarding how we would like someone to act (and this feels safer for we can do it in our own minds without taking the chance of involving someone else and having to deal with what might be said).Unfortunately, when we do not get the results we have expected (which occurs because we have not discussed the preferences of both parties), we then suffer.
And the fact is...we have brought that suffering on ourselves.
We have assumed that the things that have meaning and significance to us have the same meaning and significance to others. And when that meaning and significance are not similarly acknowledged, we draw the conclusion that we are not cared about.
And so we suffer. And needlessly...for every individual develops his own preferences and attaches his own meanings to objects and experiences. Just because someone has not acted in the way we would does not mean that the person does not care for us. What it does mean is that we have not bravely asked for what we would prefer and invited another to tell us his requests.
It is sometimes very frightening for co-dependent persons to have a direct conversation regarding their preferences but it is THE WAY to ensure that a decision can be negotiated...and agreed upon in a manner that will satisfy all parties involved.
When we do recognize that WE are the cause of our suffering because of experiences we have endured...we can clearly see that WE also have the power to change it. Though it can be a challenging and unfamiliar road to follow, it is the formula for self-approval, satisfaction and inner peace.
Obviously, our soul contract has been designed by us to include this very important work. We can transcend the sense of feeling helpless and vulnerable by speaking our truth and listening to others' truth, thereby emerging into independent, self-accepting and self-approving individuals who have come to terms with a limitation and turned it into a confident and self-caring lifestyle.
I speak my truth
so that I can keep my Heart FREE TO FLY.
I listen to your truth so that you Can Join Me.
Mystic Marks: Bookmarks for the Soul
originally printed June 29, 2011