Healing codependency and the One question to ask yourself in the middle of any conflict

Lately I have been going through a lot of challenging emotions and feelings. I am constantly being triggered in my romantic relationship and am all over my partner almost daily with something that comes up for me. I have been searching my heart and soul for answers as to what is going on which has lead me to articles and videos relating to codependency patterns in relationships. Codependency happens when there is some sort of trauma in our childhood that leaves our spirits wounded. It is a disruption of our faith, our trust and our connection to ourselves that then causes us to project this pain and discomfort onto others. Most of the time codependency shows up in our closest relationships, but mine has also shown up in my business which has caused panic and despair. This dysfunction creates doubt, fear, and controlling behavior and I feel like my safety and security belong to how others behave, how my business performs and how in control of my life and others I feel. If you are wondering what codependency may look like for you, here are some additional signs:

  • Having difficulty making decisions in a relationship
  • Having difficulty identifying your feelings
  • Having difficulty communicating in a relationship
  • Valuing the approval of others more than valuing yourself
  • Lacking trust in yourself and having poor self-esteem
  • Having fears of abandonment or an obsessive need for approval
  • Having an unhealthy dependence on relationships, even at your own cost
  • Having an exaggerated sense of responsibility for the actions of others
 *list courtesy of www.everydayhealth.com

Recently I was online researching spiritual descriptions and solutions for codependency and I came across a video interview with a gentleman named Robert Burney. He is a codependency and inner child recovery specialist and listening to him talk brought me to tears. He describes codependency as “having a dysfunctional relationship with self” and I could not agree more! He talks about the origins of the dysfunction as a product of trauma, or perceived trauma when we are children. Being an adult who has worked with her own childhood trauma for a number of years now, I can totally agree with this idea. Robert describes codependency as a form of Delayed Stress Syndrome because when we do not feel safe in our own homes when we are little, it makes it VERY difficult to feel safe anywhere as we grow up. For me, this has created OCD tendencies, the need to over-control almost every situation, and the belief that I am just simply not loveable. In order to begin the healing work of this trauma, it is necessary to acknowledge this within ourselves and begin paying attention to our deeper feelings. In order to acknowledge these feelings, we must tune into our inner child who felt uncertain, unsafe and unloved during childhood regardless of how traumatic we feel our experience was as a child. Robert has this to say "It is necessary to own and honor the child who we were in order to Love the person we are. And the only way to do that is to own that child's experiences, honor that child's feelings, and release the emotional grief energy that we are still carrying around."

Robert goes on to further explain the one question you can begin to ask yourself when you experience a conflict in any relationship. This question will allow you to acknowledge and honour your child right away and will also bring a new awareness to the conversation and to your own personal relationship. 

“How old do I feel right now?”

When we are in conflict with others, it is not our grown up, trusting, knowing self that is present. It is a part of our child that is being triggered and running the show which makes it very difficult to come to a peaceful, loving resolution. In my case, it’s been my terrified, frightened 3 year old running the show for some time now. My little girl misses her Dad, and she is projecting this loneliness and loss onto her current partner. When this happens, my partner also responds from a wounded place from his childhood, and suddenly we have two adults navigating a relationship from the level of wounded children. No wonder so many relationships end up in tension or dissolve altogether. Our inner wounded selves do not know how to have healthy relationships and if these parts of us aren’t acknowledged, we have little hope of healing ourselves, not to mention our relationships or anywhere else we experience conflict.

Once you have identified how old you actually feel when in conflict, is it important to acknowledge this yourself, and also communicate this awareness to your partner. In my case, I have had to tell my partner that I’m upset because I feel 3 years old, scared, alone and sad. It is not his responsibility to fix this or take my pain away, but communicating this has removed all blame from our conversation and has allowed us to understand one another on a much deeper level. It is extremely vulnerable and scary for me to communicate this to him, but it has benefited our conversations immensely so far. When we communicate our pain, we allow ourselves space for compassion and we also allow others the same thing. We open up a place of loving understanding, healing and connection in all areas of our lives and we being to create our own feeling of safety, security and worthiness. 

I hope this article has brought as much relief and awareness to your conflicts and relationships as it has mine. If you’d like to watch the interview with Robert Burney speaking further in detail about codependency and healing the patterns, watch HERE

You can visit my website HERE for more videos on navigating relationships and self-development and also to sign up for my free video guide on manifesting greater love each and every day!

Take care of you and enjoy the freedom that this new awareness brings. 

With all my love,

Laura Smilski
Holistic Love & Lifestyle Coach
Luminous Living