Codependency has been a buzz word the past few decades, with many of us checking off plenty of characteristics. Anxious? Check. People pleaser? Check. Scared? Lonely? Fear of Abandonment?
Yep. All of it.
We’ve read the books and consumed the videos. However, five, ten, or twenty years later, I find that many are still swimming in toxic relationships, or single and petrified, head spinning, like wth? Why can’t we just hurry up and be all healed and happy, snuggled up with our dashing boo enjoying life?
In my experience, healing does come, but not usually in the way we think it will – and not usually as fast as we want. It takes hard work, consistency, and also a letting go of your preconceived ideas about life, love, and God. It takes faith, courage, and humility.
Hello. I’m Dominica, author & transpersonal coach dedicated to helping others enjoy lasting, real transformation – especially in the area of relationships. Welcome to God-Centered Codependency Recovery, a safe space for you to unwind, breathe, and be loved for who you are, right where you are.
I’d had it.
The pain had settled deeply and there I was on the bathroom floor gushing the first wave of tears from a lifetime of wounds. My picture-perfect life shattering right before my eyes.
I rise to adjust my mask. My fingers slowly trace the outline of my face in the reflection of the mirror. I notice each curve, each wrinkle, and the way my eyes look… hollow.
I feel dead – six feet under, pushing up daises kind of dead.
Leaning in, I tighten my brows and look deeper into my eyes, thinking just maybe I’d see something worth salvaging in my matted soul. Something to signal that there’s hope.
Please, God. I need some help here. The pain is too great. Too heavy. Please…
To continue reading about my past
emotional breakdown spiritual transformation, click HERE.
LATEST RELEASE: THE PAIN, IT SHAPES HER WORLD, is a full-length debut collection of two hundred poems, musings, philosophical rants, and reveries by author and poet Dominica Applegate. Composed during a time of intense self and spiritual discovery, it’s a steady stream of conscious thoughts and emotions evolving from the pain of a broken heart, disillusionment of a perfect life, and hope for a spirit of healing and restoration. It encapsulates mourning. It dreams magic. It travels through the dark night before the rise of a beautiful dawn. Journey with Dominica at her most vulnerable state, through mountains of pain and valleys of hope. You’ll see grief, you’ll see hope. You’ll see a woman wobbling on life’s tightrope. Perhaps you’ll bear witness to your own inner struggles as you read, and if so, may you find comfort and healing for your own journey.
10 Key Concepts of God-Centered
In working with people who struggle with codependency characteristics, and navigating my own emotional healing journey, I’ve compiled 10 Key Concepts working toward healing from codependency characteristics (aka separation from God) that form my understanding of a foundation for emotional healing.
1. Educate Yourself
It takes effort to learn and heal. Chances are you’re already learning about codependency recovery. Great! Keep learning, as codependency is a broad term that encompasses a lot of areas. Many think they are going to conquer it in a week or a month. That’s not likely to happen, but there are plenty of things you can do to foster healing, growth, and enjoy better relationships.
For me, codependency is not a “condition”. We are not born codependent. It is a way of relating to others stemming from a series of defense mechanisms or coping skills (thoughts, beliefs, emotions, behaviors) that we learned as children growing up in families with a unique set of belief systems and behaviors.
To enjoy emotional health, peace, joy, and healthier relationships, it’s helpful to learn about these defense mechanisms, and learn the difference between healthy and toxic love. Essentially, I’m saying there’s quite a bit of unlearning and learning going on in codependency recovery. Be willing to do the work. It’ll be worth it!
To experience deep and lasting transformation, (better relationships, better life) I’ve found the act of surrendering my own will to God’s Divine will is helpful. To something much larger than myself. In other words, recovery involves putting and keeping God (this divine intelligence that created everything) at the center of our lives, and this takes practice.
Yes, we are amazing and wise, but God is wiser. When we surrender, we can really come to know more fully our identity in God, as spiritual creations,(rather than frantic, scared ego housed in a human body) and follow the leading of Christ’s Spirit, we will absolutely experience and give more authentic love.
3. Recognize The Disconnect
If we start at the beginning, we came to this planet as a spirit, completely healed and whole. A precious baby still very much connected spiritually to our creator. However, as we grew up, we started drifting from that God-Connection.
Because we didn’t know how to handle emotional pain, trauma, neglect, etc. as a child, we were actually groomed to pick up coping skills like people pleasing, rescuing, faulty boundary setting, over-dependency, black and white thinking, controlling behaviors, etc.
A disconnect occurred. We became disconnected from God and from our true, spiritual selves. We formed a personality; an ego, and along with great qualities like courage, affection, and faith, we also began to embody things like shame, fear, anger, etc. We had no idea how to process all that as a child!
God-centered recovery involves becoming more conscious of the reality that your present situation in relationships and in your emotional life has a lot to do with your disconnect from God. And, unhealed wounds as a child.
When you get this, you’ll be able to breathe a bit deeper. Relax a bit more, because you’ll see it all as an opportunity to heal and grow on so many levels.
4. We Need Some Help
Learning, surrendering, and realizing how much we are identifying with our wounded selves, will hopefully lead us to reaching out for help. The exact kind of help needed will vary from person to person.
You see, the path of codependency recovery varies because each one of us has a unique background and we’re at varying points in life. Let’s also not forget that there are varying severities of codependency. At one point in my life, I was an emotional basket case. I NEEDED help and lots of it. But later on down the road, after doing immense inner healing work, I didn’t have to see the therapist regularly – only as needed. I didn’t have to attend meetings all the time, but only as I wanted.
The truth is that we likely need some support along the codependency recovery journey. Therapist, spiritual advisor, Shamanic healer, relationship coach, support groups, sponsors, etc. – all viable tools to use for recovery.
Reading a book or two and being able to exclaim, “Yes! I’m codependent!” will only get you so far. Recovery is a journey, and likely, a longer journey than you may think. It takes courage, patience, diligence, trying various modes of treatment, and sometimes falling flat on your face.
But it’s worth it. You’re here on this planet to learn, to feel good, to feel lousy, to experience joy, to experience pain. Don’t get stuck in the pain. Don’t live your whole life repeating painful cycles after cycles; reach out for help!
Allow others to help you uncover and shed light on what has been stuffed deep into our psyche. Those old wounds (trauma, fear, rage, confusion, etc.) We benefit from digging under the surface to get to the wounds that we’ve buried, to laser-target and zap those faulty patterns of thought, and retrieve the power we’ve given away, so that we can begin to really heal.
We don’t know why as humans we’ve got to go through this “dark to light” kind of story. The Hero’s Journey! But God does, and when we will approach life with a God-centered heart, we’ll be much more able to consistently walk that recovery path, sure that God’s helping – and we’re learning valuable lessons all along the way.
5. At The Core
At the very core of codependency is an internalized belief that screams, “I am not good enough”. Ask even those that seem as if they’re uber confident if they feel worthy all the time and they’ll likely say no. They struggle too. This is why I feel codependency is more of a spiritual issue and as such, a spiritual antidote is the solution.
Not feeling good enough leaves us feeling ashamed, empty, frustrated, scared, and lonely. Not feeling worthy causes us to look and reach “out there” for worth. In people, status, money, jobs, material possessions, etc.
All the major religions address this core issue in their own, unique way, with some calling it a spiritual dis-ease. Or, not at ease with who or what we are!
However, by the time we’re realizing who we are, we’re basing our identity on a personality (ego) we’ve formed living in a childhood where we were kind of forced to walk away from our true identity in God, as spirits. (I mean, how do we as children know how to cope with pain, trauma, etc. in healthy ways? We’re not typically taught how, so we split from our true self – that precious, intelligent, loving spirit created by God. And we create a persona that we think is really us, but it’s not!
So, the core issue of codependency, or “I’m not good enough” or “I’m not worthy”, well, the “you” that thinks that isn’t the real you. And, a God-centered recovery approach will help you really see and embody that reality…that truth. As a result, your relationship with the real YOU will improve (self-love), and your relationship with God and others will improve.
As I always say, love should flow like a river; not burn like fire.
6. Opposites Really Can Attract
Those with codependent characteristics will unconsciously attract or navigate toward relationships with narcissists, emotional abusers, addicts/alcoholics, emotionally unavailable, or extremely selfish people. How many times have you vowed, “never again!” only to end up with the same type of wounded person down the road?
Heal your wounds, and you’re less likely to attract those that fit the narcissist/addict/a-hole criteria. Don’t just learn about coda traits, because just knowing about them won’t keep you from attracting the opposite. Do the work to heal what needs healed, so you can attract someone else who is emotionally healthy, or at least on their way!
7. Partners Who Struggle With Addiction
On the opposite side of those struggling with alcoholism or addiction is oftentimes someone who has lost themselves in the addicted person’s behaviors. Many are angry, scared, exhausted, and confused about how to handle the situation. Do they stay? Do they go? How can they feel happy when their partner is struggling so much? This is a great opportunity and calling to address their own emotional wounding and heal it.
Support groups like Al-Anon, Nar-Anon and Codependents Anonymous are valuable tools for learning how to best take care of yourself in this situation. You’ll also learn a lot about setting boundaries, not enabling, practicing self-care, and how to show up to be the best type of support for your loved one.
One tool I highly recommend is CRAFT through the Center For Motivation and Change. Check out there 20-minute free guide for loved ones of those struggling with addiction.
8. No More Crumbs
“I want a four-course meal, but alright, I’ll accept crumbs”. Codependency can play out as an addiction, needing hit after hit of attention or approval from another person who will probably only be able to dish out crumbs. Ohhh, you’ll be magically drawn and tempted to associate with those that aren’t available emotionally. And you’ll know they’re not healthy for you. You know they aren’t able to reciprocate or relate in a healthy way, but there you go anyway calling them, texting them, and showing up for them time and time again. The codependency will keep you going back, accepting crumbs, trying so hard to win their approval as an attempt to feel worthy.
9. I Want And Need...
Codependency recovery involves a balance of independence (What I want and need matters) and dependence (It’s alright to ask for help). Oftentimes, recovery goes from overly dependent (I get my worth from others) to independent (I don’t need anyone) to interdependent (Equal reciprocity).
10. A Unique Recovery Path
Each of us is responsible for navigating our own unique healing and recovery path. There are plenty of codependency recovery paths and emotional healing modalities. Need some ideas?
o A good psychotherapist
o Support groups like Codependents Anonymous, Al-Anon, Nar-Anon
o A spiritual director or pastor
o Modern-day Shaman
o Educating yourself on the topic