Here are twelve behaviors that I have compiled for ladies who find it hard to let go of their Co-Dependent habits. If you can relate you might be struggling with creating purpose, calm, and joy in your life:
Obsession -You might use the word “safe” when focusing on other people. You find yourself worrying about things that have not happened and you struggle to let go.
Control- You have plenty of ideas of what people “should do.” You give advice sometimes when no one is asking and have a hard time listening as you are thinking of how to reply.
Denial- You say you “care too much” and when you see others not lifting a hand, you question their character and play the part of the overworked loved one.
Comply- Instead of communicating you comply. When something is bothering you, you don’t speak up and use it as evidence that you are not being appreciated for all you do.
Unclear Boundaries- Because you don’t want “confrontation” you say nothing and build resentment. You don’t set boundaries because you want everyone to feel comfortable even when you don’t.
Reactive- When people address you with their perspective you take it personally and become defensive. You have a hard time hearing constructive input or thoughts that don’t align with how you see it.
People Pleasing- You apologize, agree, and say yes because you believe it’s what a good person is supposed to do, even when you don’t agree, want to say no, and it wasn’t your fault.
Dependency- Your worth has somehow become dependent on how valuable you are to your husband, children, parents, friends, and coworkers. When loved ones no longer need you, you feel lost.
Caretaking- You have your list and order in the way you do things. No one can care for the people in your life as you do.
Low Self-Esteem- Because you stay busy helping everyone else you do not take time to look inward at your needs. You don’t try new things and you tell yourself “I’m fine.”
Problem with Intimacy- You might be fine with touching and loving on others. When others want to reciprocate you do not want to receive it. You give but don’t openly allow yourself to receive.
Painful Emotions- Because you have focused much of your life on everyone else you do not know how to allow yourself to sit with your emotions. You often think “something is wrong with me” or “I don’t deserve it.”
What if you could eliminate a behavior you once thought was crucial because it fulfilled the need for you to just survive? Combining an intrinsic awakening with an authentic desire to change will allow you to not just eliminate the habit but exchange for one that will help you thrive. Seeing the effects of your efforts will make the impossible become possible and even inevitable. It will become unimaginable for you to sink into old behaviors which seemed so crucial at the time, but now no longer serve you.
As I dive deeper into each one of the twelve behaviors in my next 4 blogs, I will share more detail about each habit as I explain a counter habit that, when developed, can transform you. What I have and will be sharing might arouse some inner dialogue within you, and if it does— hold onto those thoughts, reach out to me, and together let’s develop your Leading Lady qualities
Do you find it hard to make decisions? What evidence or information do you think is lacking that keeps you from making a decision? When making decisions, the brain likes to point out the reasons why something is a good or bad idea; we may need more information, or we need to wait for someone else or something else to happen so we can decide. Yet, even when that something happens, our brain could still find reasons to not make a choice.
You have already made many decisions in your lifetime. If you are reading this blog you made the decision to read it. When you are done reading it you will get to decide what you think of it. Some decisions like what spice to use in a recipe, or what road to turn down give you rapid results so you can determine the significance of your choice. Other decisions, such as who you choose to marry and if you want kids could take more time to provide the information needed to determine if your choice was a good one or not and whether you would do it again. We all go through changes in life as we evolve, so our views most likely change as life progresses. Keep in mind that you get to offer thoughts about the change and apply meaning to those changes.
But, what if every decision you make going forward was one that you could look back on and say, “Wow, I learned a lot from that decision.” Making a decision is defined as a conclusion or resolution made after consideration. Below are two different scenarios on buying a new car. Which scenario is more reflective of you?
You did your homework, and this is the car you wanted. You bought it for a good price, and you feel confident about the person and dealership that you bought it from. You swear that more people are driving this car since you bought it. You even start seeing the color of your new car on other cars and in unpredicted items that you never saw before. This was the right car for you!
You are apprehensive if it was a good purchase. You made a decision, unsure about the dealership and salesman, you start to hear rumors that they are not an honest dealership. You see the same car and model on the side of the street, broken down. Others that are on the road have dents in them. You begin to question if it was a good idea and start to think maybe you need to trade it in for a different car. This car must be a lemon!
When we make a decision believing it was a good one, our brain will begin to work to show us why the choice was such a good idea. On the flip side of that, our brain will also offer evidence of why something is a bad idea when we are unsure and find evidence to prove why you shouldn’t have made that choice. Making an informed decision builds self-confidence and allows you the opportunity to learn while giving your brain a chance to find solutions. When we get stuck in indecision, we find more problems and feel unsure, often spinning with unresolved thoughts.
There is the option to give our brain the chance to make a decision and allow that decision to unravel naturally as we manage our responses instead of reacting. Seeing every decision-making opportunity as an occasion to learn something about life could give your brain the chance to open up and allow trust in yourself to make more confident decisions.
We practice so many things in our life; practice writing, practice medicine, practice piano, but do we ever arrive? The idea of arriving shouldn’t be a “deadline” to a result when practicing patience. It is an ongoing endeavor that takes time. Time is similar to patience, and I see the two concepts work hand in hand. Time can be scheduled, taken, captured, and enjoyed but time is always moving just as patience is never arriving.
When we say “practice patience” it truly is just that; you contemplate what is urgent and what you are willing to endure through the practice of being patient. I want to explore patience and time as it relates to relationships. How long will it take? How much time do I need to commit too? How many times do I have to say this to you? Our efficient brain wants to know the time it will take as if knowing the deadline on something will guarantee the result we desire.
You can make the decision that you want something else or decide that what you have is actually what you want. When it comes to the day-to-day relationship communications you commit to, you decide how to show up. You don’t get to determine their reactions or responses, but you do decide how you get to respond with patience.
Practicing patience is more about making a commitment to yourself than it is about committing to someone else. As soon as expectations are attached to practicing patience, whether it be time or action related, it is no longer patience but a tool for control to manipulate the situation, person, and outcome you want. I think about wedding vows we might make, “I, ____, take you, ____, to be my wife (or husband), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish.”
Everything mentioned in this vow is all about what you are committing to, not what you are asking of your spouse. You each make the vow to each other and when your other half doesn’t live up to our expectations, we use it as ammunition to find fault. How long do you practice patience? According to the vow, until death do you part, or how I like to see it, all the days of our lives.
Where are you trying to arrive in your relationship? What do you think will be different when you get there? How much time are you willing to give it until you arrive? These questions again reflect back to patience and time. When you have decided to practice patience and allow others to be who they are, then your life choices have more measure behind them, and they may not be as difficult to make. When it is based on the happiness you have decided to create in your life, your relationships and interactions have very little to do with others and more to do with you.
There is much wisdom in those who have endured many of life’s challenges. Most would say it is communication, listening, and love—with a hefty dash of hope and faith in yourself. What I have observed when I look closely at their experiences is that they found happiness in appreciating the simplicity of life and all it offers. They are happy with themselves, so they never feel the need to look over the fence for a greener pasture.
Do you talk to yourself? Whether it is an internal or an external dialogue, we all talk to ourselves on some level. It is common and healthy to talk to yourself and can be really helpful when trying to problem solve in our day to day living.
My next question is how do you talk to yourself? Do you ever find yourself saying, “Oh, I always do that,” or say things like, “That’s just me being me?” We can easily think that these words are just simple and mean little to nothing. However, to your brain, these words mean exactly what you are saying and have merit. Affirming that your behavior now is proof of your past behavior and you are reinforcing a habit and allowing the past behaviors, whether conscious or not, to dictate your present and potential future thinking.
How many times have you told yourself you are going to change and then the next moment declare to yourself and others that “It’s just the way I am?” We can tell ourselves we are going to change but it might be challenging to accomplish when we reaffirm “that’s just who I am.” Deciding how you talk to yourself is deciding how you want to show up in the world. Creating inward confidence will only come when we allow ourselves to see the world as ever changing and give ourselves permission to change, too. Understanding you are going to fall back into old behavior until you consciously create new one.
I gave a few examples so far of little things we might say to ourselves. Might I suggest that you find just one saying that you catch yourself repeating and work on changing it by following these steps:
Write down the saying that you are wanting to change.
After you write it down examine the scenarios that you are in when this thought comes into your thinking.
Once conscious of the thought and what you are doing when thinking this thought, write down beside it something you believe, or are trying to believe, and say it instead.
Here are a few examples of replacing a current thought with a new thought:
Instead of saying that’s just the way I am you could say, I am evolving each day, so change is inevitable.
Instead of saying I always do this, you could say, it is possible that I can do this in a different way.
Instead of saying I’m such an idiot, you could say, sometimes I do silly things, but I learn from all things.
Envision the future you want and decide how your thoughts will help you create it. Our memory of the past is just that; a memory. It will take up as much space as we allow it to, just like our future thinking will create the energy that we need to manifest the results we want. Creating a habit of how we talk to ourselves gives us an opportunity to play a part in our own evolution.