Note: More to Life with Faith and Lois is designed to be heard, not read. We hope you’ll listen to the audio, which includes emotion and emphasis that won’t be on this page. Our transcripts are generated with speech recognition software and may contain errors. 

 

Lois 

Welcome to the podcast More to Life with Faith and Lois.

Faith

I’m Faith.

Lois 

And I’m Lois.

Faith

Our podcast explorers, life’s many transitions that inspire and daunt us.

Lois 

Welcome back,.

Faith

Oh, it is always good to be back.

Lois 

Yes, and we are getting to that season where we need to be cozy and I just want to be cuddled up a lot more just because it’s getting chilly or and given last week’s podcast on labels. I had a little time to reflect on that and I liked being cozy, thinking of the labels that I’ve been given or that I’ve given and moving on from that.

Faith

So you’re talking about good labels.

Lois 

Good labels, good luck. Yeah, I would move on from the bad labels and keep the good ones, right? Yeah. So we hope that you will check us out on our website, which is www.moretolifewithfaithandlois.com. We do have a weekly newsletter and basically the newsletter is just handing you our podcast on a platter in your email. Whenever you have a chance, we would also love it if you would share our podcast with at least one person on whatever platform you’re listening. So our mortal life, podcasts are all about transitions. You might face some for a very short season, others for a bit longer. And here we are on episode 97 Transition: The Impact of codependency.

Faith

Wow. I say wow to two things. One that we’re on number 97 can you believe that? And the other thing is the wow about codependency because that is a hot topic and none of us like to think we’re codependent or that we’re in meshed with anyone. We like to think we’re so individuated. But the reality is there’s this, even if you feel more individuated, there’s going to be the subtleties of where we are all at different times hooked. And that’s what we’re going to address today.

Lois 

It’s going to be a big one. You know, I’m a recovering people pleaser. It’s one of the things I actually do say about myself. And that meant that I functioned in a number of codependent relationships. Because you know, you think the people pleasers are just all smiles and they’ll do anything to help you. But what happens is you start thinking you don’t have a choice that you can’t say no. So it was almost impossible for me to say no when I knew I needed to. I would go out of my way to accommodate other people, but then I expected the same in return.That’s what happens. So codependency looks very different for different people and how we embrace this or decide that’s enough is what we’re going to be tackling today.

Faith

Absolutely. And for me it was a similar type of situation of growing up to be a people pleaser and to take care of everybody’s needs, but with the expectation that if I did it, then there would be a reward at the end. They would either do that for me or they would be there for me or they would help me. And when that didn’t happen, then I could feel the resentment and the anger. And so basically to summarize, you become codependent when you believe that people in your world are the answer and that they can make you feel better. And if they will only do what you want them to do in the way you would like them to do it, then you’re going to be happy. You’re going to be content, life is going to work, and that’s just not true.

Lois 

Those are so many hoops we have to jump through, as I know, right? I get tired just thinking, and this is what we do. We do in many, many relationships. Codependency, if you look at it a technical definition, it’s excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner now used to be that when we would hear this term, we almost always applied it to spouses or family members of alcoholics or people who were addicted to drugs. So when we hear it we go, Oh well that’s not me because that’s just, you know, somebody else who has this kind of issue and now you’re, we are all realizing that the research shows that the characteristics are much more prevalent in all of population, not just people who have dealt with addiction of any sort. So this reliance stretches to so many people for approval and a sense of identity. Exactly what you’re describing. Faith.

Faith

One person relies on the other for meeting almost all of their emotional and self esteem needs. Whew. Wow. Heavy. It is heavy. And the burden that you put on the other person, I mean they can never ever be able to do that because they can’t possibly know all your needs. And so that’s the other piece too, is that the dynamic is you don’t really tell them what you want or need. You expect them to know what you want and need.

Lois 

To read our minds. Yes, yes. Why can’t you do that?

Faith

You should know. So these are all different things that rise up in these interactions that we have in our relationships. And it can be with our parents and it can be with the extended family, our siblings and grandparents and into our friendships. So many friendships blow up because they’ve become so enmeshed with each other and, and then it doesn’t work.

Lois 

So we are in episode 97 Transition, the Impact of Codependency. And how do you know if you’re in a codependent relationship? Well www.psychcentral.com helped us out and we’d like to share some of their findings cause they gave a long list and we’ve summarized them here and you might have more, but we have a list of symptoms of codependency and we’re going to run by a few of them for you.

Faith

And one of them is low self esteem. You know that feeling, that underlying feeling that you’re just not good enough and you have the shame and the guilt and the perfectionism and you really want another person, whoever that might be to affirm you, to tell you you’re not those things. And so if they can tell you, Oh you’re, you’re just amazing. Or look how well you do. And Oh, you know, there’s no shame or that’s not even a problem of the things that you’ve done. If you can get affirmed by another person, then some of those feelings can begin to kind of dissolve a little bit for a moment or two. But they come right back because the low self esteem is yours. Wow. And nobody on the outside can change that. It’s something you have to wrestle with.

Lois 

So another system, symptom that is, of codependency is people pleasing. And this is what I alluded to before because codependents think they don’t have a choice and they have very hard time saying no to someone because they basically want to fix that other person. So the person will give them what they want in return. So if you notice in yourself or if you notice in somebody else that they’re bending over backwards all the time to do whatever it is you ask, you can kind of do a test on this, by the way, just make them make it harder. Like Faith was saying before, you need to do this, this, this. And if somebody goes, yes, you know you’re starting a codependent relationship.

Faith 

That’s so true. That’s really true. And port boundaries is a, another area and codependents have a blurry kind of vision of those weak boundaries and they feel responsible for other people’s feelings. They feel it’s their job to make life better. And that’s a codependent thing. Like, Oh my goodness, I messed up. It goes back and forth between both sides and there’s kind of this ultra heavy responsibility you carry and it ends up that both you are carrying it for each other and it doesn’t work and eventually it blows up and you’re in a fight.

Lois 

Another symptom of codependency is reactivity. You react to absolutely everything. You don’t just respond. It’s like he can hear me, that the level has come up to your eyeballs with everything and you either believe it or you become defensive. So if you, if you start watching somebody who it’s again that all or nothing, right? It’s then you start realizing folks who constantly are reacting are most likely codependent.

Faith

And dependency. You need other people to feel okay if you don’t have them. If you don’t have the external crowd out there affirming you and applauding you and telling you you did a great job and you need that affirmation on a continual basis, that’s a real dependency on others to build you up and to give you a foundation to stand on.

Lois 

Or you’re in denial. You don’t face your problem because you know it’s not your fault. You blame somebody else. The reason I had to quit my job was because of Joey here who wasn’t doing, I couldn’t stand how he worked, so then I can’t stay at that place. That’s actually a very codependent behavior because you either complain or you try to fix. There’s no moving through and trying to resolve an issue. And you often will find people who are codependent, they jump from job to job or from relationship to relationship because it’s never their fault.

Faith

Oh boy, that is so true, and then it leaves you with all these painful emotions. It’s just so sad because now you’re left with defeat and rejection, judgments, feeling alone and isolated, and that is a really tough place to get out of, but it is possible.

Lois 

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Faith

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Lois 

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Faith

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Lois 

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Faith

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Lois 

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Faith

And we definitely want that because the reality is there is healing for this. You can overcome it. The goal is to become individuated. The goal is to become who you really are, the person you were created to be, where you know yourself so that when something negative does happen, you don’t take it on. I’m not saying it doesn’t hurt or that you don’t feel some of the sting of it, but you deal with it and you process it rather than wear it. And if you wear it now, that’s where the tension starts coming in. So yes, the one of the first things is be honest with yourself and with those around you, your partner, and express your true needs and desires.

Lois 

And the reason we’re suggesting this about starting to be honest with yourself, it’s kind of like a waking up. We gave you all those symptoms to consider and maybe not all of them apply to you, but maybe three do or maybe one does. Those are wake up calls. Those are things to say, okay, let me have my eyes open and I am I being honest with myself as I relate to whoever this person might be in my life or maybe you’re that person and you want to change that behavior. This isn’t always about the other. Sometimes we take on that codependent nature and we bring it to others. We definitely do.

Faith

So don’t take things personally. Accept the other without trying to fix or change.

Lois 

Boy is that hard. I’ve been working on it, so I do know that. But it hard. It’s hard. I know when you, when you hear someone in, they’re in such pain and look what happened and you’re like, Oh no, no, no. Really, really. It doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t have to take it personal, but you do feel it.

Faith

Right. Right. And that whole thing about the fixing and changing the other person never works.

Lois 

Yeah. Yeah. So take breaks, you know, go out with friends who will remind you who you are. Maybe you’re in a relationship and it’s somebody who’s very close, you’re caring for a parent or a sick child, or you’re in a relationship with somebody that you’re not ready to throw out the baby with the bath water, but you need them to take a break and get together with people who will support you as you really are and enjoy what that feels like. So you can come back in stronger and more refreshed into this relationship that needs healing.

Faith

That’s so true. And consider counseling. If you really feel like you’re drowning in this and even you’ve been working on it for a long time and it’s still not breaking out. There are wonderful counselors and therapists and life coaches that can help you process this out so that you can be free of it because it is heavy. It’s, it’s complicated and it life doesn’t have to be so complicated with the added ingredient of codependency. And there’s support groups for codependency and great books out there so you know – jump in, jump in and decide, I don’t want to be this way.

Lois 

There’s a 12 step program for codependents and it’s fantastic really. And I think one of the reasons we suggest talking to somebody about this is because sometimes we can’t see in ourselves what’s starting to happen and we feel some erosion when we’ve talked about these symptoms before. I mean, you may feel like you need to go take a shower after listening to some of those because you don’t feel good about yourself or about the other or about a situation. And when you can start talking about it, you realize that it’s reversible. Life can change. And you know, in our podcasts, we want you to know you’re not alone. We also want you to know this is what transitions are all about. You can like go, okay, that isn’t working. I know what can work. Yes. There’s always a better way. Yes, a better question, a better way. I love that.

Faith

So when you recover and you no longer feel you have to stay in an unhealthy relationship, you are not responsible for anyone else’s happiness except for your own. And that’s freedom. It’s real freedom.

Lois 

And that comes with establishing boundaries. Yes, you’ve talked before about the difference between boundaries and barriers. And I think some of us are a little nervous when we decide, you know, we have a portion of our day blocked out or we have a place we need to be or something happens. And we constantly, you know, remove the boundaries and we hang out with people and then we feel badly about it later. When we keep our boundaries in place, the likelihood that you’re going to have co-dependence repeat itself over and over again, it’s going to start, it’ll diminish. It might not go away altogether, but boundaries do a great job.

Faith

It really does. It lessens the whole situation very quickly when you can just say, that won’t work for me.

Lois 

You know? And I think some people are so afraid to say that they have needs that I have a need to do this for myself. And in this instance I’m going to put myself first. I would love to be with you. Can we reschedule or have another time? You can always offer something. Have you noticed that if somebody will text you and say, I’d like to do something on this date, and if you just right back, sorry, I’m not available. The other person could feel really badly if you could say, I can’t do it this day, but may I try another, here’s another option. Then you’ve established a boundary. You’re taking care of yourself and then you’re offering an alternative.

Faith

That’s called respect instead of just a one way or the other, the black and white thinking and it’s like you’re in a relationship relating to one another is scary. It means you have to take responsibility for your side.

Lois 

So we know this was a heavy podcast for you, Episode 97 the Impact of Codependency. But we hope as you’ve looked at some of the symptoms and ways that you can heal from codependency that you’ll be making a few shifts in life.

Faith

Sounds so good. Codependency is a learned behavior, which means it can be unlearned. If you want to keep the relationship, you need to heal yourself first.

Lois 

In a healthy relationship. Both people have their own identities apart from each other. So nurture yourself so that you can grow and thrive.

Faith

Return to doing the things you once enjoyed before you became so codependent with the other person.

Lois 

And please share this podcast with someone and join us next week for Transition, the Impact of Scarcity.

Faith

Get the latest news on our social media platforms and on our website, and please subscribe.

Lois 

More to Life with Faith and Lois is a podcast to support, encourage and uplift you.

Faith

As you transition through all sorts of change, we want you to know there is more to life.

Lois 

We’ll be back next week.