Life is interesting. It weaves, flows, stutters, changes and is continually moving. For the last little while, I have been on a journey of self-discovery. It all began in January, when I was at my highest weight EVER. It was completely shocking and discouraging. I have struggled with my weight for several years, but this was a low point. I finally realized that it was just not going to go away or get better without me really focusing on it and CHANGING my lifestyle. It’s been an interesting year, as I have tried to find the right program for me to get healthy. Something that I have especially come to understand is that without cleansing my mind, my physical body will never be healthy. It’s been a STRUGGLE! I’ve fought with myself and I’m still too hard on myself, but I am learning WHO I REALLY AM and what POTENTIAL I have. I’m desperately trying to work through my feelings and my despairs and my past. It’s still a journey; its still a struggle and its everyday, but I’m BECOMING something – someone I just might be okay with!
In this inaugural episode, Jodi Hildebrandt discusses the concept of co-dependency, explains how it disconnects us, and takes live questions from listeners.
As this is the very first episode, almost ten minutes of this podcast is spent talking about Connexions Classroom and their vision and what they have available. You will find that this is something that happens in the beginning of each of their podcasts, but as we are listening to these podcasts sometimes years after the episode aired, their current offerings might be different. I encourage you to check out their website for all that they have to offer. Their vision and purpose is truly amazing and I love that everything they do and offer can help anyone and everyone with principles of connection in all of your relationships. There are definitely some workshops that I would like to purchase and delve into eventually.
The discussion begins with a great definition of Co-Dependency. Co-Dependency is an attempt to get my own self-centric emotional and physical needs met by others. Jodi talks about how when you are in a co-dependent relationship (of any kind) that you only focus on yourself; the things you want, the things you desire, the things that matter to you. It was really interesting for me to understand that if we are being co-dependent we use a kind of psedu-connection with food, money, powerful positions, or anything that we feel that will quiet our emotions down so that we can feel better about ourselves. Jodi simplified the definition even further with, “I make you responsible for me”. It makes sense to me that with this co-dependency attitude that if I make others responsible for me then I don’t have to be responsible for myself and that it could be really easy to blame my mistakes or anything else on someone else. I think its so easy to get stuck in this kind of attitude and not even realizing that you are doing it.
I’m a pretty independent person and so I usually think of myself as NOT co-dependent, but I can see that at times I do get trapped in a situation where maybe others don’t meet my expectations and so I will feel unloved or betrayed or just have some kind of uncomfortable emotion that I don’t want to feel so I blame another person or reach out to a pseudo-connection with food or something like that to feel better. I think that most of the time, I really do not realize that I am having such high expectations that I feel have to be met by others. This really made me think. Jodi said that we need to start being aware of how and why it is we are connecting with our relationships (ANY relationship) or we won’t be able to identify whose being responsible for who in your life. That is something that I am really working on in my life – being aware of my emotions: what I am feeling and why I am feeling it; because most of the time, I don’t know. I am working at when I feel something, I just take a breath and then acknowledge that I am feeling something. I need to get to the “why I am feeling it” part but for now, I’m trying to just be aware and discover what I am feeling. It’s hard for me and I really appreciate that learning to be aware and holding myself accountable for my own choices is very important.
I loved the little part that Jodi talked about service. Service has always been something that I truly believe in and something that I want to bring into my life fully. Jodi states that “Service is a free gift that we offer another person with no strings attached” and that it does not have to do with co-dependency at all. I appreciated her example of how her son had asked her to make breakfast for him and because they didn’t have a co-dependent relationship, she was able to just make him breakfast as a service and everything was great. She talked about if she hadn’t been able to make breakfast for him that morning that he would have been disappointed, but not personally affected, but if a co-dependency was an issue in this circumstance, then her son would have felt like it was a personal attack against him. Another great thing about this podcast is that she has some simple but wonderful examples of everyday situations that we can use to learn and apply these principles.
It was interesting to hear how most of us are very fluent in co-dependency because we were raised and taught that way and if you are a parent, co-dependency is quite literally what happens as we are responsible for our children. But I also appreciated that Jodi talked about how we can gradually teach our children to be independent (or interdependent) so that they can become healthy adults. A concept that really resonated with me is that as we discover the principles that will help us grow and have healthy relationships, we need to also teach our children these concepts to enable them and empower them (but we have to learn to do it for ourselves first). I liked that she said we do have a responsibility to actively instruct our children to stay connected with themselves. I just like that idea of “staying connected with myself” – I need to learn to do that.
When we are in a co-dependent relationship we are in a drama-cycle. Jodi said that there are 3 positions in a drama cycle: Victim, Persecutor, Rescuer and the position that we are in is how we act out our co-dependency. The drama is how we act out our insecurity.
The final minutes of this podcast was answering some questions:
Could you walk us through this drama cycle with forgiving another person who has harmed you? (this was asked specifically in regards to someone with addiction, but I think it can apply to anyone)
Jodi replied that in order to offer forgiveness to others you must first let go/surrender and forgive YOURSELF. Resentments are coming from Anger and they are staying because you can’t let go of your anger. Anger is coming because expectations you had that didn’t come to fruition. We need to look at ourselves first and come to understand what our expectations were. There are reasonable expectations and ones that were spoken and then there are the hidden expectations that were not spoken or even understood. We must get honest with ourselves about what our expectations were and then forgive ourselves and then we can forgive others.
This question and its answer hit really close to home for me. I’m experiencing a situation that has been very hard for me to forgive. It has been a source of pain and anguish for me and it is something that I am truly working on. I know that I need to get to the bottom of my expectations and true honesty with myself so that I can forgive myself and then hopefully have some peace.
Are there things that you can do that enable others to be co-dependent? When you take responsibility for other people’s feelings does it encourage co-dependency?
When we enable someone, we don’t allow them to have consequences for the decisions that they make. Every choice has an outcome and we all need to learn to take responsibility for our outcomes. Consequences are our teachers. We need to look at our motives for why we are doing what we are doing. You can have empathy for someone and help them, but if we are “helping” to change another person’s emotional response because we are uncomfortable with it or if we have guilt/shame or do something for someone that they can/should do for themselves, then we are enabling.
What is it when we feel responsibility for others emotions?
It is shame. Shame will be featured on many other podcasts, but it is a belief/theme inside ourselves, typically learned at a very young age. Jodi said that we need to ask ourselves really hard questions to understand where the belief started. She also mentioned that when people come from a childhood environment where there was a lot of responsibility and little to no validation that people grow up to be adults who feel a strong responsibility for others (and not always for themselves).
Shame is what is driving drama and co-dependency. Is shame an emotion?
Shame is experienced by emotion and thought and shows up in 2 contrasting ways. It’s underlying feeling/belief that there is something wrong with me/I’m just not enough/not worthy or shame is also experienced as I’m better than you/I don’t have to follow the rules
Jodi ends the podcast with a question to ask ourselves…..Do you have either of the contrasting feelings of shame?
Wow. So did you make it through-I know that there is a lot of words here! I didn’t cover everything that Jodi talked about so I hope you will go to the podcast (link above and you can also subscribe to the podcast channel in iTunes) and really listen to it. I’ve listened to it several times and will continue to do that with each podcast because I learn more from them every time I listen. When I first saw the title of this episode I almost skipped it and went to the next one, but I decided to listen to it and I’m glad I did because I feel like there are concepts/principles that apply to many situations. I hope you will listen to them all with me!
But of course there is more to it than just listening. We have to apply what we have learned and one of the ways that I would like to help you and me with that is to offer some journal cards each month that we can write down our thoughts and feelings and I think that will help us to really be aware of ourselves and where we need help. So these C0-DEPENDENCY & CONNECT JOURNAL CARDZ are available for purchase. You can use them by themselves, in an art journal (or any other journal you have), in a scrapbook…..wherever you would like to help you connect with yourself and start your healing process. They are printable, so feel free to make extra copies if you need more (personal-use only)!
I have also created a fun art printable to remind you to CONNECT WITH YOU! Be aware of what you are feeling and why you are feeling it! Print it and hang it where you can see it every day! Also check out the other products you can purchase with my digital hand-lettering graphic!
And now if you feel like it, I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below and I’d love to discuss this topic and connect with you! I hope you will join me in this journey of healing!
Our next podcast will be in January
(usually this will be every month, but with the holidays, we will skip December.)
Connect with me as we listen to podcasts
and journal our journey to healing.
Every 1st Sunday of the month