And do you experience that feeling as overwhelming or out of control?
You may hear me talk about something called co-dependency in this blog. It has many definitions, and frankly I’ll employ more than one throughout the course of my writing. Perhaps it would be useful to introduce the term loosely here, though.
Co-dependency is the over reliance, or even addiction to any source outside of one’s self for approval, acceptance, or validation. It’s that horrible sense that “I’m not going to be OK and I cannot cope unless I have Other (which could be a person, event, process or even drug of choice).”
Co-dependency: it’s a bitch. It robs a person of their sense of self because it takes away spontaneity. If I am relying on Other for validation, I cannot very well get it from myself. This sort of underlying, toxic belief can lead to many a dangerous and self-destructive behavior, including lying, cheating and manipulating, to name but a few.
It ain’t good. Cut the supply, so the codependent believes, and their world ends. So with this in mind, I suppose it makes sense to do whatever you can to keep the supply going. Enter Trouble. The interesting thing about co-dependency is that it’s often hiding in plain sight. This fact speaks to the overwhelming, damaging effect that a lack of understanding can have – especially when we criticise public figures such as Amy Winehouse.
And while we all need to rely on other people (despite what our subversive, individualist culture tells us!) I suspect that a relationship becomes a co-dependent one when the need for validation from Other becomes greater than the internal belief that that validation, actually, can (and does) exist from within.
Recovery is about calling out self-destructive habits like co-dependency. I’ve certainly felt mine creeping in over the last few days. With stress (which I’ve had a noticeable dose of lately) comes that quiet but often desperate desire to have someone or something save me.
But nope. Recovery comes from within. A friend of mine recently threw a great quote in my face the other day: “I alone can do it, but I cannot do it alone.” Recovery, like this quote, is loaded with paradoxes (paradoxi? Paradoxia?).
Here’s to letting go of bad habits with the help and support of good friends.