Codependence vs. Interdependence
By Robert Burney M.A.
"In order to stop giving our power away, to stop
reacting out of our inner children, to stop setting ourselves up to be
victims, so that we can start learning to trust and Love ourselves, we
need to begin to practice discernment. Discernment is having the eyes to
see, and the ears to hear - and the ability to feel the emotional energy
that is Truth.
We cannot become clear on what we are seeing or
hearing if we are reacting to emotional wounds that we have not been willing/able
to feel and subconscious attitudes that we have not been willing/able to
look at. We cannot learn to trust ourselves as long as we are still setting
ourselves up to be victimized by untrustworthy people."
"Not only were we taught to be victims of people,
places, and things, we were taught to be victims of ourselves, of our own
humanity. We were taught to take our ego-strength, our self-definition
from external manifestations of our being. . . Looks, talent, intelligence
external manifestations of our being are gifts to be celebrated. They are
temporary gifts. They are not our total being. They do not define us or
dictate if we have worth. We were taught to do it backwards. To take our
self-definition and self-worth from temporary illusions outside of, or
external to our beings. It does not work. It is dysfunctional."
Codependence: The Dance of Wounded
Codependence and interdependence are two very different dynamics.
Codependence is about giving away power over our self-esteem. Taking
our self-definition and self-worth from outside or external sources is
dysfunctional because it causes us to give power over how we feel about
ourselves to people and forces which we cannot control. Any time that we
give power over our self-esteem to something outside of ourselves we are
making that person or thing our higher power. We are worshiping false gods.
If my self-esteem is based on people, places, and things; money, property,
and prestige; looks, talent, intelligence; then I am set up to be a victim.
People will not always do what I want them too; property can be destroyed
by an earthquake or flood or fire; money can disappear in a stock market
crash or bad investment; looks change as I get older. Everything changes.
All outside or external conditions are temporary.
That is why it is so important to get in touch with our Spiritual connection.
To start realizing that we have worth because we are children of God. That
we are all part of the Eternal ONENESS that is the God Force/Goddess Energy/Great
Spirit. We are Spiritual beings having a human experienceour worth as beings
is not dependent upon any outer or external condition. We are Unconditionally
Loved and we always have been.
The more we can start owning the Truth of who we really are and integrating
it into our relationship with ourselves, the more we can enjoy this human
experience that we are having. Then we can start learning how to be interdependent
- how to give power away in conscious, healthy ways because our self-worth
is no longer dependent on outside sources.
Interdependence is about making allies, forming partnerships. It is
about forming connections with other beings. Interdependence means that
we give someone else some power over our welfare and our feelings.
Anytime we care about somebody or something we give away some power
over our feelings. It is impossible to Love without giving away some power.
When we choose to Love someone (or thing - a pet, a car, anything) we are
giving them the power to make us happy - we cannot do that without also
giving them the power to hurt us or cause us to feel angry or scared.
In order to live we need to be interdependent. We cannot participate
in life without giving away some power over our feelings and our welfare.
I am not talking here just about people. If we put money in a bank we are
giving some power over our feelings and welfare to that bank. If we have
a car we have a dependence on it and will have feelings if it something
happens to it. If we live in society we have to be interdependent to some
extent and give some power away. The key is to be conscious in our choices
and own responsibility for the consequences.
The way to healthy interdependence is to be able to see things clearly
- to see people, situations, life dynamics and most of all ourselves clearly.
If we are not working on healing our childhood wounds and changing our
childhood programming then we cannot begin to see ourselves clearly let
alone anything else in life.
The disease of Codependence causes us to keep repeating patterns that
are familiar. So we pick untrustworthy people to trust, undependable people
to depend on, unavailable people to love. By healing our emotional wounds
and changing our intellectual programming we can start to practice discernment
in our choices so that we can change our patterns and learn to trust ourselves.
As we develop healthy self-esteem based on knowing that the Force is
with us and Loves us, then we can consciously take the risk of Loving,
of being interdependent, without buying into the belief that the behavior
of others determines our self-worth. We will have feelings - we will get
hurt, we will be scared, we will get angry - because those feelings are
an unavoidable part of life. Feelings are a part of the human experience
that we came here to learn about - they cannot be avoided. And trying to
avoid them only causes us to miss out on the Joy and Love and happiness
that can also be a part of the human experience.