All my life, I’ve always felt as if I need to give people what they want and need without thinking about or putting myself first. Now, I remember clearly the day I revealed my truth – out through the locked up, suppressed little voice hidden deep down within.

It was almost like the clouds parted and lightning struck simultaneously. I was in my therapist’s office and seating comfortable in the chair, after going through the week’s events and feelings, and with a deep breath, I knew that it was all over. It being my codependency behaviour.

But wait, my being codependent hasn’t gone away completely. I still have a lot of work to do. This is just the beginning. The amount of work and change that would follow is unknown but damn, I can’t wait to find out and excited about it. Ready and willing, as they say.

I grew up codependent – I didn’t realise everything I was and did was codependence behaviour. From the influence of peers, culture, religion, borderline narcissistic father, submissive mother and a string of narcissistic relationships formed afterwards, my identity evolved through who I was to others and what I had given to them.

A relationship with a narcissist defines your existence as not your own, but as a part of theirs. Other people saw me as shy, timid and nice – the reality was that: I was lost and without balance.

For many years, I wanted so bad for others to be their authentic selves, honest and free, but I couldn’t do that for myself, so I continued giving up and giving in. It was all I knew.

However, not all was bad, because life is beautiful in each form, but I knew I would need to learn something different, as I always struggled with fear and anxiety. And learned, I did! I realised I needed to change myself, the way I think and do things. The ways I’ve been hasn’t worked for a very long time, and I was in denial. Not anymore. I knew I had to do things differently, and I took some actions – difficult actions – and I can see things are slowly changing.

Through M, therapy and just last night – a meeting for codependents – I’m sharing with you some ideas that can maybe help you dig deeper and reveal your true beautiful, authentic self.

Build a relationship with yourself
I’ve always agreed or went along with whatever my partners wanted to do. Until one day, I realised I had a choice and I could actually voice it out. I don’t like well-cooked fried eggs, but agreed to it, because my partner liked it that way. But now, it’s easy over eggs and I couldn’t give a fuck if no one else likes it that way.

This simple act is where it can all begin. I make an effort to just ask myself honestly, “How are you doing?”, “What do you really like?”

Take time to focus on your preferences, likes, dislikes, and so on.
Take time to learn more about the things that make you happy and unhappy.
Take time to find healthy ways to deal and cope with the latter.
Remember: it’s important to always stay centred.

Establish your boundaries
Being intuitive (or so I’ve been told), I have the ability to feel what others really want. Most of the time, it’s been hard to say no. I’ve learned that one of the most important things in learning to stop pleasing others is to establish personal boundaries.

Basic ideas of personal boundaries include WHEN TO SAY NO and WHERE TO DRAW THE LINE.

Here’s an example:
Someone tries to convince you to do something you don’t want to do, even tries to manipulate you with negative comments. You can’t change what she does, but you can change your responses (instead of saying yes all the time, say NO).
Enforcing boundaries like this will improve your relationships with people.

Listen to and trust your own intuition / feelings
Growing up, I learned to frequently feel guilt and shame. I learned to say sorry and explain myself even when I felt that I didn’t have to. Coming out of that restricted world, I began to take ownership of my own feelings.

Observe what you’re feeling and thinking, and remind yourself that you’re allowed to have opinions and judgements.

Honour YOU OWN NEEDS and intentions
In my much younger years, I made decisions based on what other people wanted, not for the betterment of myself. Before Before I wousay something, I remember ld say ingsomething, I remember feeling a sense of fear (for getting it wrong, for upsetting the person across me).

To awareness to what I was feeling, I began questioning the intention behind my words. This allowed me to understand my own ideas and motives instead of letting other people define them for me. It helps develop a sense of confidence and self-respect, making it easier to communicate my needs. This is still something new to me, and I think I’m getting better at it.

Create a positive space (it’s okay to do so)
Feeling responsible for others’ actions, thoughts, and reactions would leave me drained and confused. When I began realising the difference between owning others’ problems and giving them support, I started creating my own positive space. This has a lot to do with boundaries, where someone else ends and where you begin. This is so important to practice if you have always been codependent. It isn’t easy, but it’s doable. You’ll get there.

These last few months, I realised I don’t need to take responsibility for other people. If someone hasn’t called me back after three tries of calling them, it isn’t my fault or responsibility to get them to call me. If there is a pause in conversation, it isn’t my job to fill it in. If someone doesn’t reply to my messages, it’s okay, it’s not my problem – it has nothing to do with me.

It’s possible to accept the way others are and arrange the pieces that are given, not try to make up for them.

Commit to lifting your self-esteem and confidence
I read this quote somewhere:

“The more you know who you are and what you want, the less you let things upset you.”

No truer words have been spoken!

When I moved to Sydney, I was broken and discovering all the trauma that I’ve experienced in the past.
I spent the first year falling over my own feet and making numerous mistakes.
I spent the following year learning from my mistakes and avoiding making the same mistakes. Sure, I’ve had failed days, but I don’t regret them.
The same year is spent dedicated to loving myself through the help of an amazing human being and my therapist.
I spent the same year in a state of acceptance, to be aware and solidify that loving and kindness inside.
I’m still work in progress but I’m very proud of how far I’ve come.
Because now, nothing upsets me the way it used to.

I used to depend on others for my own happiness. It was actually depressing.
However, now, I’m happier than I’ve ever been. And it’s all thanks to ME.

Remember this:
We are responsible for our own happiness.
You may think it’s hard to do it, but it really isn’t.
It’s either you want it, or you don’t.
In this energetic and vibrant world, loving ourselves will not only make us stronger, but also the people around us.

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  1. Mr Ed

    YOU should always come first. SO you are on the right track. Keep it up!

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