The term codependent was first used in the 1950’s to describe the partners or enablers of people who were addicted to substances. It is still used in these relationships today but it is also used to describe people who are in relationships with narcissistic or abusive individuals, although these kinds of people will be codependent themselves. Narcissistic people are actually the ultimate codependents because they have taken on so much toxic shame that they have had to create a false self and need to look outside of themselves to maintain this false self which stops them feeling all the toxic shame that they have taken on and so they can have some sense of self worth.
A codependent is someone who looks outside of themselves for their sense of identity and worth, not necessarily just romantic relationships; we can be codependent in family roles, friendships at work or in business. Codependents often have poor boundaries and an inability to say no to things that go against their interests, codependents will put other people’s needs before their own and will often find themselves in abusive relationships.
How To Know If You Are Codependent
A codependent relationship is a relationship where one person assumes responsibility for meeting another person’s needs and puts the other person’s needs before their own. A codependent may take on a rescuer or caregiver role, they will feel like they need to be needed. Being needed is how they get a sense of worth. The longer a person spends in a codependent relationship the more entwined they will become, the more they will lose their own identity.
You maybe codependent if you do any of these; apologise even when you haven’t done anything wrong, feel sorry for someone even though they are hurting or abusing you, constantly try to help people even when they don’t ask for or want your help, if you find yourself constantly trying to fix or save people, you need to feel liked by others, you feel like you have no sense of self, if you saying no makes you feel guilt or shame, value other people’s opinions above their own.
What Causes Codependency?
Codependency is caused by growing up in a dysfunctional environment, as I said in my causes of people pleasing blog post. A child who can’t fight back, physically or mentally escape violent and dysfunctional parents is going to learn to serve, to do what they need to do so they don’t get physically or emotionally abused further. This could also involve adopting family roles such as carer, perfectionist, etc.
Growing up with dysfunction is going to cause toxic shame, as children we looked to our parents to help us understand the world and ourselves. If those parents are narcissistic calling us names, putting us down, physically or emotionally abusive in some way we are going to internalise that dysfunction and it’s going to cause us to develop toxic shame the feeling and belief that there is something wrong with us, that we need to look outside of ourselves to feel O.K. This can cause us to look to other people for reassurance, we will use people, stuff and substances to try and suppress negative emotions, thoughts and toxic shame.
Growing up with dysfunction and toxic shame will also cause us to develop a negative self image, an inferiority complex and we will often try to overcompensate these inferior feelings by going above and beyond to keep other people happy.
How Can Inner Child Healing Hypnotherapy Help?
On the inner child program we don’t just do hypnotherapy, we also do exercises to connect with our inner child in many other ways. We target all ages of the inner child from infant to adolescent because the toxic shame that we took on as children can cause us to become cut off from parts of ourselves and these parts can become subpersonalities. The latest inner child program finished on Saturday, feedback from this latest program can be found below:
“I already recommended the programme to a friend. I explained how powerful this programme is in making me face my inner child and how to heal any pain and I find the writing exercises very helpful and the hypnosis is amazing and powerful in making me realise, understand and move on.”
The work we do in the program is not woo-woo, it’s not about reliving the past and it’s not about blame, it’s about understanding how our childhood has affected us, releasing toxic shame, increasing self love and self acceptance so we can begin to build a better future.
When we have more self love and self acceptance we will begin to see ourselves as someone who is worth defending and we will be able to form healthy boundaries, to say NO without feeling guilt or shame. We will feel more comfortable with our emotions and we won’t feel the need to suppress them with codependent behaviour, because we are more comfortable on our own, we won’t feel like we need other people to validate us or like we someone else to complete us. We will become more conscious of ourselves and our behaviour.