How to Actually Heal From Codependency

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The other day I was talking to my business coach and I brought up a repeated issue that I kept revisiting in business. I was complaining about sales taking longer than I wanted them to and was asking for a different strategy because the one I had been following wasn’t working.

She immediately called me on the carpet and asked about my mindset. I, of course, didn’t think my mindset was the issues, after all, I was doing the work everyday, but she saw right through me.

*this is why you hire coaches, they see what you can’t.

She asked me a few questions and when she asked me how I felt, I blurted out, “this business is tap dancing all over my anxious attachment tendencies.”

I think I shocked both of us. Not because of the force with which the words flew out of my mouth, but because of how our attachment styles and co-dependency can show up everywhere we are. Even in business.

I’m self-aware enough to understand why I have an anxious attachment style and to know that I have co-dependent tendencies. What I hadn’t discovered yet, was what to do about them.

Typically I’d resort to beating myself up verbally because my learned survival skills are also now keeping me from thriving. But this time, I really dove deep to see how I could continue to support myself on my healing journey.

Here’s what I discovered.

The first step is to believe that your needs and wants are normal.

As a kid, I developed the belief that my needs and wants were either burdensome, unimportant, or too much. Sometimes I was explicitly told so, but more often than not, my parents were busy trying to survive and put food on the table and didn’t have the capacity to dive in to meet every emotional need I had.

Because we have such limited experiences as kids, it’s so easy (and common) to develop beliefs that there’s something inherently wrong with us when our needs aren’t met. That’s not actually true, it’s just the story we tell ourselves.

This is why it’s so important to realize on your healing journey that your wants and needs are 100% valid and normal.

The second step in healing is to identify what your needs actually are.

When you’ve believed for years that your need aren’t normal or will never be met, it’s easy to be confused about what your needs actually are.

When was the last time somebody asked you what you needed? When was the last time you asked yourself what you needed?

Whenever I get asked this in coaching, my immediate response is, “I don’t know” because I don’t spend nearly enough time checking in with myself to identify my needs. But when I create the space to check in, I have an answer and can share it with the right people.

This is an important and essential second step.

Third, you have to state what your needs are to yourself and to others.

This you should do out loud so you can hear yourself saying in the mirror or to others what kind of support you need.

It will be uncomfortable at first because you haven’t done it before, but with repetition comes familiarity, and with familiarity comes confidence.

Get really good at stating your needs without judgment or attachment to whether or not somebody else can meet them.

The fourth and final step is to objectively assess whether your wants and needs can be met by the present circumstances.

Can the relationship you’re in meet your needs? Does the person on the other side of the conversation have the capacity to fulfill your requests?

Make your request and your assessment without attachment to the answer and objectively look and see whether or not the situation can support you.

Sometimes it will and sometimes it won’t and you have be discerning about the the answer. And when you have your answer, you need to act on the information.

If the answer is, “yes,” fantastic. Move forward and keep checking in to ensure that your wants and needs are being met.

If the answer is, “no,” also fantastic. It’s not the situation for you AND it’s also not a reflection on your or evidence that you or your needs are too much. Move on to the next situation and begin the assessment over again.

In order to break the chains of codependency and anxious attachment tendencies, you have to begin to put your needs first, understand that they are valid, be clear about what they are, and share them aloud. Then you have to assess the situation to see if they will be met.

I’m curious to know what has helped you ion your healing journey. Please share your recommendations in the comments!

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