What Codependence Is and How to Get Out of It – Keep The Focus on Yourself

Issue 5. December 30, 2022 ✨ Higher Power Coaching & Consulting

When I found out that I was codependent I was completely blown away! I couldn’t get over the fact that I had never heard this term before, given how introspective I was and how many self-help books I’d read.

It took me awhile to really wrap my mind around what exactly codependence was. It’s kind of an amorphous concept which has been defined in a variety of ways. At its core, codependence is a focus outside of yourself. That means the antidote to codependence is to keep the focus on yourself.
I (eventually) got that being codependent meant that I

  • cared deeply what other people thought about me
  • bent over backwards for other people
  • felt like it was my job to fix and rescue other people
  • felt like it was perfectly reasonable for me to stick my nose in other people’s business

One of the most important ways to keep the focus on ourselves is by creating healthy boundaries. I didn’t understand any of this when I was going through the process of recovering from codependence. I don’t even think I understood that I was creating boundaries as I was healing from my codependence.

The most common myth I hear from people I coach to form healthy boundaries is that they’ll be able to control other people, that others will stop doing things they don’t want them to. But boundaries are for you, and they’re about you. They’re about what you want, like and will tolerate (i.e., the focus is on you).

When you set a boundary with someone, it’s your job to enforce that boundary. It’s not their job. Of course you want people to respect your boundaries (which is why you set them), but when people don’t it’s up to you to do something about it (i.e., the focus is on you).

When you start setting boundaries and people don’t honor them, I encourage you to assume the best of intentions on their part. You’ve been teaching people how to treat you your entire life. Chances are you haven’t been very purposeful about how you’ve taught them how to treat you. When you start setting boundaries, you become very purposeful about teaching them a new way to treat you. And it might take some time.

 If you’ve taught people how to treat you by allowing them to either walk all over you, or depend on you, or that they can expect you to rescue them, you can UNteach them.

We can train people to treat us differently.

That’s what having boundaries is all about – deciding how we want to live our lives. That is, developing standards for our lives. Then teaching others what those standards are. Because your boundaries are about you and for you. That’s why it’s so important to keep the focus on yourself.

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