Most of us want a healthy relationship with another person, but it’s not so easy for everyone to experience such. Those that find yourselves in a codependent or toxic relationship have got to get some insight on how you can empower yourself towards having an interdependent relationship. 

You’re no longer a victim. You can be the hero or heroine of your fairy tale.

YOU can embark on an adventure like no other.

Step One

The first thing you must do is begin to take a look at your childhood. Bet and believe there are some things you picked up in childhood that are affecting you negatively today. What beliefs did you adopt about yourself? About others? Did you felt heard and seen in childhood? Were you abused? Was either of your parents an alcoholic or addict? 

If you want to change the way you’re relationship is going, you’ve got to change those underlying attitudes and beliefs.  If your wounded child is in charge of the way you relate in a relationship, you’re going to experience toxicity in the relationship, so facing and addressing old childhood wounds is necessary.

Can you do this alone? Yes, but oftentimes people need professional help to uncover layers of wounds and begin the healing process. It takes time.

Step Two

Educate yourself on codependency. Read books, website articles, and watch YouTube videos. When you take time to educate yourself, you empower yourself. You take back your power that you’ve so freely given away to others. You’re not a victim any longer. You’re a grown man or woman and you are fully responsible for your life- including your emotional life. Take some time regularly to learn about codependency and tips and advice on how others managed or overcame such. There’s no magic pill to take to end codependency, but there are certainly things you can be doing in order to address it and change attitudes and behaviors.

Step Three

Connect with a Higher Power. I realize that not everyone believes in a Higher Power and that’s alright. My advice is to at least try to connect with whatever you believe to be the creator of the universe. There are many names for this spiritual being: God, Universe, Great Spirit, Energy, Life Force, Buddha, Jesus, and so on. Whatever “it” is, begin a journey to connect with it.

Why? It is very helpful. It allows you to look outside of yourself for help and for self-worth.  I believe that there is a spiritual being/force that created this universe and all that it is in it. That being is Love. We’re on this journey to experience so many things and one thing is for us to learn how to love ourselves the way that Spirit loves us. I can say that when I really made a connection with Love, I became more aware of my own worth. I then looked less towards others or things to feel my worth and happiness. I found it alone in God.

What is interdependence?

Before we look at what interdependence means, let’s take a look at what dependence upon another means. To be dependent on another person means that you give them power over your feelings. You depend on them for your happiness. You depend on their approval of you to feel good about yourself. You depend on them for many things.

Interdependence means that you look to yourself for those things, yet you can still give some of your power away to another. I mean, it’s tough to really love someone and not ever be affected by their words or actions, but you’re not giving away so much power as to feel devastated. If your spouse comes home in a rotten mood, if you have an interdependent relationship, you may feel a bit down for a moment, but you don’t spiral and think it’s all about you. You can have an emotional boundary set and then you can be supportive of your husband, being there for him in his time of need.

Examples:

Dan comes home from work very anxious and fired up. He had a hectic day and the boss is on him about meeting his quota for the week. His wife, Kelly, meets him at the door and he brushes by her saying his day was crazy and he just needs a few minutes to gather himself.

In a healthy, interdependent relationship, Kelly will already feel good about herself because she’s dealt with some of her core childhood issues. She feels worthy of abundant self-love and other-love. She’s in a pretty good mood most days and her mood is based on her life. When her husband comes in all frazzled from work and brushes by her and requests time to gather himself, she may feel a twinge of disappointment because she’d rather him come home in a lovely mood, but at the same time, she understands.

She understands what it feels like to be anxious and exhausted after work, so she tells her husband, “Dan, take all the time you need. I’m going to go get some things done around the house. Let me know if there is anything I can do for you.”

That’s it. She doesn’t take it personal. She doesn’t think he doesn’t love her anymore. She doesn’t demand his attention or whine about him stating his wants and needs. She is able to feel worthy and loved, even when he is preoccupied with other things. This is an interdependent relationship. Both partners state their needs and wants without the other getting all riled up, hurt, or offended. There’s honest and open communication and Love is at the core of the relationship.

It all begins with taking a conscious look at any childhood emotional wounds we may be dealing with. The journey to an interdependent relationship begins with you realizing that you’re not loving yourself as you should. You’re lacking self-love, so you look at others to feel it….but that will only get you on an emotional roller coaster.

Relationships can be so amazing. There is a depth of love that can be experienced when both partners are willing to “do the work”. Those that have kick butt marriages or relationships aren’t just lucky. They’ve done some work. They’ve dug deep when conflict or contrast arises. They’ve failed at times too, apologizing later. Ultimately, each partner takes full responsibility for his or her emotional wellness and this can lead to a spiritual, conscious intimacy that is sacred.

This sacred dance, as I like to call it, is beautiful. It’s the way we were meant to experience relationships.

So put your shit kickers on, grab your shovel, and start digging.