Inner Healing Work: What Is It + Why People Fear It

Inner Healing Work: What Is It + Why People Fear It

Inner Healing Work: What Is It + Why People Fear It

 

If you spend time with me, you’ll most likely hear me talk about doing your “inner healing work”. But many people don’t really understand what it means to do inner work.  Sure, they know about therapists and may even hear how beneficial counseling is. However, not that many people actually go to therapy for one reason or another.

Inner healing work is essential if you’re journeying on the spiritual path; if you’re wanting to grow spiritually, evolve, expand – whatever you want to call it.

Inner healing work is essential to show up on the planet emotionally healed and whole, which can make a big difference in your life, as well as others.

If you’re wanting to live a life that’s defined by a feeling of purpose and meaning, I think it’s necessary to journey inside and “do the work”. What kind of work? 

The kind that discovers pain you’ve tucked away in your subconscious mind, the pain that lurks in your shadows – and transforming that pain into purpose.

I mean, how awesome would that be if you could heal what needs healed and step into your authentic, powerful, happy, and loving self? Where you’re not walking around with a ten-foot brick wall around your heart for fear of being hurt, but rather, showing up with an open (and healed) heart that gladly gives and receives unconditional, radical love?

Let’s face it. The world could use more of that, right?

Now, though that sounds wonderful, the thing is, inner healing work isn’t all that easy or glamorous. Closing your eyes and going inside to face what’s lurking deep down scares the bejeebies out of many people.  Inner exploration takes time, energy, courage, and a commitment to being like a sleuth looking for old wounds that may include trauma, neglect, abuse, and more.

Why look for those wounds? Why seek those parts of yourself that you split from because at the time, you didn’t know how to deal with the pain or stuffed it?

Because when you can locate the original print from your wounds, you expose it. You shine the light of consciousness on it, and just like when you walk into a pitch-black room and turn the light switch on, the light expels the darkness!

Consciousness dispels your inner darkness, demons, shadows, or whatever you want to call it!

Listen friends, if you seriously want to live a life from your spiritual nature rather than your selfish, carnal nature that gets you into some serious negative emotions, then make a commitment to some inner exploration.

Do the inner healing work.

Now, before I go on, here are a few basics:

 

What Is Inner Healing Work?

 

inner healing work

Inner healing work is essentially diving deep into your psychological self – your psyche – for the purpose of exploring what’s there.  For the purpose of healing what pain might be stored there. For the purpose of understanding and experiencing transformation at a deeper level.

It’s a practice. An act. In other words, it’s a verb. You actually have to take the time to “do” it.

But you see, when we do our inner work, we’re saying “yes” to living an authentic life where we aren’t going to have to wear masks all the time. We won’t have to go around pretending to be happy, (especially on social media), and then going home sulking in loneliness, boredom, and despair.

When we do our inner work, we shine the light of Divine Intelligence or Spirit on the subconscious or unconscious layers of the psyche. And this, my friends is pivotal for experiencing positive change.

So, when you turn inward; when you slow your thoughts and focus beyond them, you’ll discover all sorts of thoughts, beliefs, memories, and/or wounds that have been hidden. The pain of Mom and Dad’s divorce that you didn’t know how to process when you were a child. The pain of your own divorce. The pain of losing a loved one. Your fears. Your faulty belief patterns – by identifying these, you’ll be able to work THROUGH them…transform them… and all that pent-up energy that’s been causing your mental/emotional/spiritual blocks, can be integrated so that you feel more healed…whole.

And when you can move past these wounds, you will feel less depressed, anxious, lonely, scared…you’ll feel more peace, love, joy, excitement, and passionate about life.

 

How Do I Know If I Should Do Inner Healing Work?

Not sure if you should do some inner healing work? Check out the following alarm signals:

  • You’ve lost sight of who you are
  • You’re quite lonely; you feel alone in the world
  • You feel confused and lost
  • You tend to think negatively
  • You can’t shut down your mind to sleep at night
  • You struggle with people pleasing and over-giving
  • Your self-esteem is low
  • You have chronic fatigue or health issues
  • You have anxiety
  • You and your partner fight a lot
  • You drink/drug, especially to cope
  • You feel hopeless
  • You feel empty
  • You feel very depressed
  • You are insecure, jealous
  • You keep ending up with partners who abuse you
  • You have no friends
  • You have an addiction running in your life (alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, shopping, etc.)
  • You sabotage your relationships
  • You find it challenging to handle your emotions
  • People tell you you’re neurotic
  • You isolate from others; live in your own world
  • You are controlling
  • You cry, a lot
  • You blow up at others

These are some signs that you may want to do some inner exploration.  Did you relate to some?

The good news is that there are inner healing paths that you can check out to see what might resonate with you. I do want to mention that some of the red flags above may indicate that there is a mental health disorder showing up in your life, and this may require help from a mental health professional (therapist). 

If you suspect this, please find a good therapist and do some exploring there. You can indeed do some inner work healing on your own. In fact, you should do inner healing work as a practice. At the same time, you may benefit from help from a trained mental health professional. I know many will shy away from that because it might cost them money. I say go ahead and make that investment in yourself, as the payoff will be life changing (more so than the pair of jeans you’ll pay $80 bucks for). Invest in your inner spiritual richness!

 

Why Do Some People Fear Doing Inner Work?

I’ve seen people’s eyes gloss over when I suggested to them that they should think about revisiting their past to maybe see if there are things that need to be healed. They automatically go into panic mode. They’re thinking, “Oh, wow. I can’t honestly look at my past. I’d be horrified. It’ll hurt so much.” Or, they’re simply afraid of the unknown.  In fact, some are terrified.

We are a society that really glamorizes the outer things.  Most people take pride in what they’ve learned about their careers, hobbies, traveling, etc. But when you ask them about their inner life?  When you ask them how their brain works? What their spirit is like? What enemies they struggle with inside?

They look like a deer in headlights. They just don’t know.

I love Carl Jung. He said, “People will do anything, no matter how absurd, to avoid facing their own souls.”

The truth is that jumping off the ledge into the deep ocean of “self” can be scary. We’d rather project the sea creatures that are swimming in our depths onto others, individually and collectively.  Just observe those who carry a victim mentality, always blaming others or their past for their current pain and suffering.  Rather than getting down and dirty with themselves doing “the inner healing work”, or taking full responsibility for their life, they’ll blame, project, lash out, sulk, complain, and so on.

But you see, diving deep into your inner ocean gives you the opportunity to start dealing with your ego/shadow/wounds.  You want to experience true freedom, peace, and joy? Then jump off that ledge. That ego you’ll start swimming in isn’t as scary as you think it is. In fact, some argue that it’s NOT EVEN REAL.  It’s the false persona that you’ve created throughout your life. 

So how can something that isn’t even real petrify you? Keep you from doing the work?

The ego might seem like it’s all powerful, but it’s really a fragile construct that thrives when it feels all powerful and in control.   But you don’t have to let it be in control.

 

The Power Of Inner Work

Doing your inner healing work isn’t going to be easy-breezy. You’re not going to be posting updates on social media about how well it’s going. In fact, inner healing work can be a process that is heart-rending, agonizing, and scary. This is why some of the mystics call it the “dark night of the soul”. It feels dark.  It feels like you’re alone and disconnected from everyone and everything – and you wonder when you’re going to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Inner healing work is what Jesus called surrendering your will for his.  Laying your life upon the altar and allowing the fires of the Spirit to burn everything in you that is not of God.  It’s willingly allowing yourself to be wrecked. To be gutted layer after layer so you essentially can die to your “self-ish” ways, and then be reborn as your authentic self. Your beautiful, already-healed spiritual self!

And, this is an ongoing process. I mean, it can become less daunting over time, but when it comes to growing spiritually, I don’t think we ever really “arrive” while we’re on this planet. We grow. We evolve. We expand. We become more love, more light, but to fully transcend? Very few do.

 

Refuse To Be Lukewarm or Mediocre

It’s easier to live life mediocre or lukewarm. It’s easier to fall in line with the herd. It’s easier to be the cog in a wheel, assuming this is all there is. Assuming that life sucks and you just deal with it. 

No. Refuse to believe this.  Walking the spiritual path might be “work”, but come on: It’s worth it.  How are you enjoying a life without meaning or purpose? Walking around in pain? Feeling as if life has dealt you a bad hand?  That’s not fun at all!

So, do the inner healing work. Figure it out. Stop pointing fingers at others, at the government, at your parents, partner, the institutes, etc. Refuse to believe that “this is all there is”. Refuse to let your existential angst swallow you up.

Rather, right now honor yourself by making a commitment to do whatever it takes to heal what needs healed INSIDE.  Commit to getting off the hamster wheel and become more of a free spirit that is led by your intuition. Your inner knowing.

How? That’s a great question, as there are various paths that can lead you there. Your task is to discover yours.

I do want to say that doing your inner healing work doesn’t have to be as treacherous as some make it out to be. It isn’t considered fun, but it can evoke a sense of excitement in you. A feeling that you’re doing something that “really” matters in your life. Something that will affect you the rest of your life, and quite possible many others!

 

Inner Healing Work Paths

There are a variety of inner healing paths you can consider.

Your path will be uniquely yours. What someone else is doing might work for them, but it might not be your path. Please resist the urge to judge others for their path. Let them be them and walk their path, and you walk yours without judging yourself or the path.  Allow yourself to intuitively discover your path.

I am only sharing a few inner healing work paths; one’s that I have found valuable and others have too.  By all means if these don’t resonate with you, keep seeking till you find your path.

1.     Inner Child Healing Work

In psychology circles, you’ll hear a lot of talk about healing the inner wounded child. We all grow up as innocent children that pick up some wounds, fears, beliefs, etc. along the journey.  As a child, we don’t always know how to process pain.  We end up stuffing feelings, disconnecting, feeling confused, and more.  But that pain doesn’t just go away. It accumulates. It gets lodged deep in the psyche, so one way of doing the inner healing work is to do inner “child” healing work.  To go back and revisit childhood to identify pain or wounds and process and integrate them. In other words, heal them! 

Remember back when you were a child full of playful energy? Joy? Creativity? Imagination? Love? Over time, you may have lost sight of those qualities. Most adults end up neglecting or abandoning their inner child, stifling their wonder, curiosity, playfulness, and innocence.

 It’s time to get these back! Going back to do some inner child healing work can help you with this. Your inner child may be afraid, angry, confused, insecure, etc. and desires you as an adult to connect with him/her.  Re-parent so-to-speak, from a healed and whole adult.

It wasn’t until I was about 35 when I discovered that my childhood wasn’t as great as I always thought it was. It was then that I got started therapy and an inner healing journey, and got busy doing inner child healing. It was tough to go back and visit my childhood; to acknowledge that my home life wasn’t ideal. That my mom suffered with depression and my dad, alcoholism. That they weren’t emotionally there for me like I needed. It wasn’t easy, but necessary.

Tapping into the resources of John Bradshaw helped me tremendously. Google him and read his books. Watch his videos. Very powerful stuff. Here’s a wonderful guided mediation that might help you too: Inner Child Healing Guided Meditation

2.     Psychoanalysis

Most likely, there’s an unconscious part of yourself that is affecting your emotional and behavioral life in a negative way. This unconscious part began forming in childhood, and a good therapist will help you dig and discover it, so that you can begin to change it at that level.

Growing up in age doesn’t mean you’re automatically growing up emotionally or psychologically. This is why doing the inner healing work is necessary! So, you can grow on all levels and experience life in a more relaxed, blissful way.

Find a great psychotherapist who can journey you back to your childhood and help you discover where you’ve been holding onto wounds. You don’t want to be a four-year-old trapped in your adult body, trying to live life with your wounded child calling the shots. 

Therapy can be helpful. Do make sure your therapist will journey you back to do some digging. And, if you don’t resonate with one therapist, try another.  Find one that you feel you can connect with, be yourself with, and that will be able to hold space for you and – and challenge you if necessary. But overall, help you become more healed and whole.

3.     Shamanic Journeying

Shamanism is an ancient spiritual practice or way of life and, it’s quite powerful. You can use shamanistic tools and rituals to do your inner healing work individually or with a modern-day shaman. There’s a ton of information you can find online regarding healing your wounds based upon shamanic principles.

A wonderful online six-week course by well-known shaman, Sandra Ingerman, will help you learn where specific prints were made in your life regarding trauma, faulty thought patterns, and more. She’s also got lots of great information on her website, and has written excellent books that can help you out.

 

Further Tools

Lastly, consider committing to a daily practice of mindfulness, meditation, prayer, journaling, and dream analysis.  These can all help you along your inner healing work journey.

Begin where you feel comfortable with. Like I said, what works for one might not work for another. If you’ve tried one path, try another.  Or, try what you’ve done already, but at a deeper level.  You’re not the same person you were a year ago, so your work may peel back even more layers now.

In the end, these various inner healing paths are contending with the same thing: inner wounds or pain that is wanting to be recognized and integrated into your energy body. We came here spirit housed in a body.  We also have a mind.  Mind, body, spirit. Don’t neglect your spiritual state, while allowing your mind to keep you stuck living life swimming in a sea of pain.  By embarking on an INNER, spiritual journey, you’ll be more apt to discover what’s been tripping you up, deal with it, heal it, and experience more freedom and joy.

It’ll take time and effort, so make a commitment to begin and keep at it. Reach out for help if you need. I assure you that you can make changes in your life, internally and externally.

I truly hope this article has helped you gain insight and clarity as you move forward on your spiritual journey.

Feel free to comment and let me know what kind of inner work you’ve done or what you’re currently doing.

When To Leave A Bad Relationship

When To Leave A Bad Relationship

When To Leave A Bad Relationship

 

So many people come on the forum and ask if they should leave their partner.  They’re confused, hurt, and scared.  Granted, there’s always some sort of story that goes along with the question.

They’re in a relationship with someone:

  • Who is over-drinking or drugging.
  • Who is not emotionally available.
  • Who doesn’t act like they are in love anymore.
  • Who is a very selfish person or a narcissist.
  • Who is emotionally or physically abusing them.

Of course, there are other scenarios as well.

Now this is a tough question to answer.  There’s no “one-size-fits-all” answer for sure.

But I’d like to go over five signs or signals that indicate that it might be time to get packing.

  1. Any Type Of Abuse

Hands down abuse is a clear indicator that it’s time to end the relationship.  I’m talking emotional, verbal, or physical abuse. Abuse is never alright. Even if they’re going through something horrible or they’ve had a tough life; it’s not acceptable.  Even if you’ve acted out, made mistakes, or whatever, it’s not acceptable.

If you’re experiencing abuse in any form, it’s time to get out of that relationship.  If you need help, find the nearest domestic violence center and speak with someone who can support you.  If you have nowhere to go, they may be able to assist you. Even staying on your best friend’s couch is better than staying in an abusive situation.

Also, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline. They’ve got professionals that can help you sort this out and make a plan to end the abuse.  You never deserve abuse; not ever. Leaving is YOU standing up and practice self-care. It’s you taking care of you and letting that other person figure out what to do with themselves. You don’t owe him or her anything. You don’t have to be loyal to someone who is abusing you.

  1. Your Talks Amount to No Changes

Chances are you’ve voiced your wants and needs in this relationship, multiple times. You might have even screamed them a few times, to no avail. He keeps drinking himself into oblivion. She keeps flirting with every man she sees, right in front of you.  He stays out later and later, neglecting the relationship. And so on.

If you’ve had discussion after discussion, clearly stating what you want and need, and they’re not willing or able to at least work towards meeting them, it might be time to cut ties. I’m not saying to leave if they have no idea what’s going on inside your head. You’ve got to get very honest with yourself and them, and also ask them what their wants and needs are.

However, if you’ve done this over and over, and nothing is changing and they’re not looking like they’re interested in “doing the work” to make changes, it might be time to make the break.

  1. They Keep Lying

Living with a repetitive liar can feel awful. You never know if you can trust what they are saying. You want to believe them. You want to believe that they’re making a turnaround, but there you are finding them in yet another lie.

Some people are repetitive liars and for one reason or another, can’t or won’t stop.  If this has been going on for a while and your requests for honesty are not being met, it might be an indicator that this relationship isn’t going to work for you.

  1. Emotional Neglect

Feeling alone in a relationship sucks.  You want to emotionally connect with your partner at least to some degree, right? But not everyone is able to make that connection – or not everyone WANTS to make that deep and meaningful connection. And that’s alright if you want a shallow connection; it actually works for many. But if you’ve voiced your wants and needs and they’re continually being neglected, it might be time to make the cut.

  1. No Love Reciprocation

It’s not very fun to be on the other side of someone who does not reciprocate love.  You love them and you happen to like to show affection. But they don’t. You’ve asked and asked for them to level up on this end.  To affirm love every now and then. Show affection sometimes. But they don’t. They may not feel those love-type feelings for you or they just don’t know how to reciprocate them. They may have checked out long ago and are simply staying out of comfort or fear.  Either way, if you’re giving, giving, and giving and not getting anything in return, it might be time to leave the relationship.

Granted, there are other situations and solutions, but these indicators can help you gauge your relationship and get clearer on what you should do. And, if you find yourself continuing to struggle, reach out to a good therapist for some guidance. You don’t have to figure it out all alone.

You deserve a healthy relationship with someone who values and appreciates you. There’s too many people out there who CAN do that, so don’t stay connected to someone who won’t. This is your life and what you want and need matters.

 

Where Is Your Peace?

Where Is Your Peace?

When To Leave A Bad Relationship

 

So many people come on the forum and ask if they should leave their partner.  They’re confused, hurt, and scared.  Granted, there’s always some sort of story that goes along with the question.

They’re in a relationship with someone:

  • Who is over-drinking or drugging.
  • Who is not emotionally available.
  • Who doesn’t act like they are in love anymore.
  • Who is a very selfish person or a narcissist.
  • Who is emotionally or physically abusing them.

Of course, there are other scenarios as well.

Now this is a tough question to answer.  There’s no “one-size-fits-all” answer for sure.

But I’d like to go over five signs or signals that indicate that it might be time to get packing.

  1. Any Type Of Abuse

Hands down abuse is a clear indicator that it’s time to end the relationship.  I’m talking emotional, verbal, or physical abuse. Abuse is never alright. Even if they’re going through something horrible or they’ve had a tough life; it’s not acceptable.  Even if you’ve acted out, made mistakes, or whatever, it’s not acceptable.

If you’re experiencing abuse in any form, it’s time to get out of that relationship.  If you need help, find the nearest domestic violence center and speak with someone who can support you.  If you have nowhere to go, they may be able to assist you. Even staying on your best friend’s couch is better than staying in an abusive situation.

Also, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline. They’ve got professionals that can help you sort this out and make a plan to end the abuse.  You never deserve abuse; not ever. Leaving is YOU standing up and practice self-care. It’s you taking care of you and letting that other person figure out what to do with themselves. You don’t owe him or her anything. You don’t have to be loyal to someone who is abusing you.

  1. Your Talks Amount to No Changes

Chances are you’ve voiced your wants and needs in this relationship, multiple times. You might have even screamed them a few times, to no avail. He keeps drinking himself into oblivion. She keeps flirting with every man she sees, right in front of you.  He stays out later and later, neglecting the relationship. And so on.

If you’ve had discussion after discussion, clearly stating what you want and need, and they’re not willing or able to at least work towards meeting them, it might be time to cut ties. I’m not saying to leave if they have no idea what’s going on inside your head. You’ve got to get very honest with yourself and them, and also ask them what their wants and needs are.

However, if you’ve done this over and over, and nothing is changing and they’re not looking like they’re interested in “doing the work” to make changes, it might be time to make the break.

  1. They Keep Lying

Living with a repetitive liar can feel awful. You never know if you can trust what they are saying. You want to believe them. You want to believe that they’re making a turnaround, but there you are finding them in yet another lie.

Some people are repetitive liars and for one reason or another, can’t or won’t stop.  If this has been going on for a while and your requests for honesty are not being met, it might be an indicator that this relationship isn’t going to work for you.

  1. Emotional Neglect

Feeling alone in a relationship sucks.  You want to emotionally connect with your partner at least to some degree, right? But not everyone is able to make that connection – or not everyone WANTS to make that deep and meaningful connection. And that’s alright if you want a shallow connection; it actually works for many. But if you’ve voiced your wants and needs and they’re continually being neglected, it might be time to make the cut.

  1. No Love Reciprocation

It’s not very fun to be on the other side of someone who does not reciprocate love.  You love them and you happen to like to show affection. But they don’t. You’ve asked and asked for them to level up on this end.  To affirm love every now and then. Show affection sometimes. But they don’t. They may not feel those love-type feelings for you or they just don’t know how to reciprocate them. They may have checked out long ago and are simply staying out of comfort or fear.  Either way, if you’re giving, giving, and giving and not getting anything in return, it might be time to leave the relationship.

Granted, there are other situations and solutions, but these indicators can help you gauge your relationship and get clearer on what you should do. And, if you find yourself continuing to struggle, reach out to a good therapist for some guidance. You don’t have to figure it out all alone.

You deserve a healthy relationship with someone who values and appreciates you. There’s too many people out there who CAN do that, so don’t stay connected to someone who won’t. This is your life and what you want and need matters.

 

Proclaiming Freedom From Codependency For All

Proclaiming Freedom From Codependency For All

Proclaiming Freedom From Codependency For All

 

You’re my cave to hide in,
    my cliff to climb.
Be my safe leader,
    be my true mountain guide.
Free me from hidden traps;
    I want to hide in you.
I’ve put my life in your hands.
    You won’t drop me,
    you’ll never let me down.
Psalm 31:3-5

Lila is a kind woman, quiet and meek. She’s a great listener and most everyone likes her. People at work especially like her because she likes to help out. In fact, she oftentimes busies herself helping others – her mom, friends, sister, neighbors, etc. The reality is that she has a tough time telling people “no”.

Now, on the outside, Lila seems very happy. She’s always wearing a smile.

On the inside, she’s lonely. She’s tired. She’s afraid. She’s bored with life and just doesn’t feel worthy.  Sure, she is a kind person, but she doesn’t really want to do all things she does for other people. She just really enjoys the attention and gratitude that comes from doing so. She loves to feel needed.

Lila is in a relationship with Jim.  She loves Jim, but doesn’t always like the way he treats her.  She takes care of most things around the house and makes the time to cook and care for him best as she can. Jim sometimes lashes out at her in anger. She allows it, figuring that it’s just because of his stress at work. She tried standing up for herself before and that didn’t go over well, so now she just stays quiet. 

Jim isn’t very attentive to her. He’s busy in his own world, working and watching television. Lila is lonely and wishes at times she could leave Jim and find a man who would really care about her. However, she’s petrified of being alone, so she stays in the relationship.

Codependency

Lila is a prime example of someone who struggles with codependency. Today, let’s look a little bit more at codependency in relationships. By now, you’ve probably got a good idea at what codependency characteristics are. You may have flagged a few in the above scenario.  

All of us desire to feel whole. To feel worthy and loved. However, sometimes we can go about searching for those things in unhealthy ways, as in an unhealthy relationship.

See, if you’re a “half person” and you think that partnering with another “half person” will make you whole, you’re mistaken. If you’re looking to find wholeness by attaching to someone else, you’re likely to end up in a codependent relationship, searching for wholeness in all the wrong places.

It’s an “outer-dependence”. It’s you looking “out there” to feel worthy inside, and whether that’s a person, a bottle of booze, a job, money, status, etc., reaching “out there” in an attempt to feel true worthiness just won’t happen.

Insecurity in Relationships

In looking at the example above, Lila is struggling with codependent characteristics. She’s people pleasing, caretaking, putting up with verbal attacks and emotional unavailability from her boyfriend, and more.  She’s running herself ragged and getting a bit resentful because she does so much for others and they do little in return.

She’s insecure at her core. She’s lost sight of who she is in and of herself, as well as her connection with God. 

Until she starts getting honest with herself, and really taking a good look at her patterns, she’ll likely continue on in this unhealthy way of relating.

Overcoming Codependency

As Christians, followers of Jesus, we aim to be like Jesus here on the planet. We aim to love others unconditionally with an agape kind of love. We aim to model the way Jesus helped others, healed others, and offered compassion.

But we must keep in balance. We must observe and monitor for codependency characteristics in the relationships. There’s giving in alignment with God’s will, and then there’s giving out of a need to feel loved or accepted.  There’s caring for someone because that’s the Spirit of God moving through us, and then there’s caring for others because this is the only way we can get our needs met.  Meaning, I’ll over-care for your needs because I can’t identify or give voice to my needs.

Turning to God For Help In Overcoming Codependency

Years ago, when I discovered my struggle with codependency and lack of self-worth, I turned to God for help. I started an inner spiritual journey and really did some digging. I wanted a healthy relationship with God, with myself, and with others. Turns out I didn’t learn how to properly connect with others growing up, so I had a lot of learning and practicing to do.

For me, the closer I am to God, the healthier my relationships are. When I’m looking at God for my worth, I’m looking less to others for worth. When I’m being led more by Spirit over ego or wounds, I’m more apt to remain balanced in my giving and receiving. When I’m more intimately connected to God, I can open up and be more vulnerable in my close relationships, as opposed to not being emotionally available.

Daily Relationship With God

My codependency recovery and happiness level in life begins with God.  Each morning, I turn my will over to God’s will. I take time to be quiet in God’s presence. I listen. I allow God’s Spirit to fill me. I become conscious that this kingdom of God that Jesus talked about? It’s within me.  So, I spend more time going within, rather than reaching “out there”.

Step 3 in Codependents Anonymous says, “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.”

Left to my own will, I usually end up in struggle or suffering.  But when I choose to turn my will over to God’s will, I can experience peace – even when struggles arise. The kind of peace that can only come from Spirit.

This is my prayer for you. Whether you’re in a relationship like Lila, whether you’re single, or whatever you’re particular situation is, I pray that you will choose to turn your will and life over to your Higher Power. I pray you will be given fresh revelation of your path toward a greater consciousness of God as Creator, as Source, as Life Force!

Overcoming codependency characteristics is possible with an open mind, a lot of inner work, practice, a good therapist, and God.

You’re on the codependency recovery path, and I find that beautiful.

Much love. 

Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
    don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go. Proverbs 3

 

 

What Is Codependency?

What Is Codependency?

What Is Codependency?

 

Ok, ok, just what is codependency? It’s a question I hear a lot.

Codependency is essentially defined as an unhealthy attachment to a person. It’s a “dependency” on another in a way that’s not really very healthy.

It is a term that came out from the recovery movement years ago, where counselors began to notice that on the opposite end of an alcoholic or addict was a partner or family member that had certain “characteristics” that weren’t all that healthy. 

And, as such, the addict and the partner were “co” dependent upon each other in an unusually unhealthy dance.

codependency recoveryCodependency is a state of “dis-ease” that many experts believe stem from some sort of childhood abuse or neglect. Or maybe from living in a family where addiction or mental health issues were present in one or both parents.  

The dysfunctional personality traits a codependent person displays as an adult may likely have been formed while growing up in an atmosphere that did not have appropriate emotional boundaries.

For me, that meant growing up in a home with an alcoholic father and a mother suffering from clinical depression and anxiety disorder. 

What is Codependency? The textbook definition:

“Excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, typically one with an illness or addiction who requires support” or “a dysfunctional helping relationship where one person supports another person’s addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or under-achievement.”

On a broader scale, codependency is something that affects everyone on the planet to a degree.

⇒ It is the programming that’s gone into the subconscious mind over the course of a lifetime. 

⇒ It’s the code that’s been written under the radar.

⇒ Or, for the biblical perspective, it’s that carnal nature gone wild, having lost sight of God’s perspective of us.

Whether it’s Jack and Jill, who live in the suburbs with two kids and careers that rock or Mike and Mary, who are the classic narcissist/victim combo, or Jane and Veronica, the alcoholic and the enabler, codependency characteristics exist in people and relationships across the board. 

Why? Because at the core, codependency is an unhealthy attachment or separation from the true self. 

It’s you disconnected from YOU at your core and God.

It’s an absence or a lack of self-love, which affects the way we interact with ourselves and the world. In other words, it’s you being even just the slightest bit “dependent” upon another person for you level of happiness or peace.

Basically, a codependent person is acting out an addiction. He/she is trying desperately to soothe a deep wound that formed during childhood.  Just as a drug addict tries to fill that void with drugs, a person suffering with codependency tries to fill that void with love and approval. 

They NEEEEEEEEEED love and acceptance from another to feel good about themselves. Their self-worth is found in external dependencies, like people, money, looks, etc. and not the internal.

People pleasers, over-givers, energy vampires. You get the idea.

You can be codependent on a partner, parents, friends, or even you children.   How do I know?  I’ve been right there on the front lines and I assure you it can destroy a relationship quickly or cause a relationship much dysfunction and heartache.

How Codependency Affects People

According to a leading codependency expert, Pia Mellody, a codependent person cannot do five things:

  1. Cannot experience the appropriate levels of self-esteem.
  2. Cannot set appropriate boundaries.
  3. Cannot own their own reality and has lost a sense of self (disassociation)
  4. Cannot deal with adult dependency issues regarding needing and wanting
  5. Cannot experience reality and emotions is moderation or healthy ways. May explode or not feel at all.

codependency recoveryIf you can identify with these characteristics, I want to assure you that there is hope for those struggling with codependency.  As with any “issue” it can be your downfall or it can be a new beginning.  Any problem or addiction can be a doorway to self-discovery and healing.

Codependency causes you to look outside for fulfillment.

If you have codependent characteristics, you have spent much energy trying to use something outside of yourself to fill a deep-seated wound or void. This wound could be shame, guilt, anger, feelings of abandonment, and so much more.

You feel empty, confused, very alone, and afraid.  Over time you have discovered that “people” make you feel better.  Their attention and love soothes your wound.  A codependent mother bases her life around her children in an unhealthy way. She bases her whole identity in being a mother and loses herself in the process.

A codependent lover is addicted to her partner and approval is CRUCIAL or he/she will end up in a downward spiral fast.  One negative look or word can cause so much drama in a codependent relationship. At the same time, a codependent person may not even be happy in the relationship; she may feel trapped in an abusive, controlling relationship, unable to break free.

She is powerless to change things up or get out.

What is Codependency in Relationships?

When you fall in love, there really is a chemical high that occurs. It is euphoric.  If this is healthy, it creates a healthy attachment, which is good.  But this high does not last forever as we all know.  Healthy relationships can continue to function well after the high ends, as the attachment is healthy.  For someone with codependency characteristics, when the “high” goes away, the “crazy” comes out.

Codependent people may obsess and pretty much drive their partner away.  Sometimes this occurs quickly and sometimes partners’ last years in this awful cycle.  For the codependent person, there is a serious fear of abandonment, jealousy, the constant need for attention (which if you don’t get can send you into a tailspin), a victim mentality, control, manipulation, stalking, and more.

Codependent people may seem very together on the outside, but on the inside they are most assuredly not.  Over time, as the disease progresses, they will hardly be able to function, their thoughts will be negative, they will typically not have any friends, and their sense of purpose will fade. 

They may isolate and wrap their whole life around one person and as they do, their needs go out the window. They don’t know how to take care of themselves because they are desperately trying to take care of everyone else.

I’ve been there. Lived through it all and now I write and speak about it. My recovery involved a lot of inner work; a journey back to “me” and learning how to really love myself and reconnect with God.  It’s a journey I’m still walking. I still ask myself once in a while, “Ok, what is codependency for me? How is it still affecting me?” And, I take it from there, asking for clarification. 

Wounded souls everywhere

The way I see it, there are a lot of wounded souls walking around and many of them are looking at others to soothe and heal the pain, but the truth is that we must be the ones to recognize our wounds and then take the necessary steps to begin a journey of healing and growth. Others can play a role, but it is NOT their role to “fix” us.

Psychotherapists talk about digging through layers to get to our childhood days and address the root issues there. Priests talk about original sin and encourage people to ask for forgiveness there. Shamans talk about journeying back to find the original prints (even if it’s in a former life) and healing it there.

As you can see, there are various ways to look at the roots of codependency, but most point us in the direction of going back and contending with something from our past in order to get free.

So, moving forward I want you to start thinking about your relationship issues and contemplating how your present issues probably don’t have much to do with your partner or object of dependency.

No. They’re simply a “pawn” in your life that trigger things in you that you have the opportunity to heal or work on. That boyfriend or husband that is driving you crazy or hurting you over and over is in your life for a reason and it’s not necessarily about him; it’s more about you and your life journey. Your spiritual journey.

We’ll get more into the spiritual views regarding codependency in another post. For now I just want you to begin to digest this truth:

“You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story & hustle for your worthiness.”  Brene Brown

I don’t know about you, but hustling for our worthiness gets extremely tiring.

What is Codependency Recovery?

There is codependency recovery help for you if you feel like you have codependency traits.  Many people have found hope and freedom through therapy 12 step recovery groups, support groups, spiritual counseling,and more.

I am a firm advocate of mindfulness meditation, prayer, and a personal relationship with your Higher Power for codependency recovery. There’s no magic pill, dear ones. Healing and recovery takes time, discipline, consistency, an inner journey, and patience. 

Take some time to learn about codependency. Read, watch videos, share, talk with others, etc. This is your recovery journey, and my hope is that you define yourself less by coda characteristics, and more from the TRUTH of who you really are at your core. Here’s a link to a page I’ve devoted to Codependency Recovery Resources. There you’ll find wonderful books, videos, and links to coaches and counselors who can help you.

CODEPENDENCY RECOVERY RESOURCES

 

“For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal.” God