Leaning into authenticy is a way out of codependency
Does Authenticity Help Pinpoint The Problem with Codependency?
What is codependency and what is authenticity? Mindful health practitioners might be wise to define codependency at the outset. This can help them be in sync with their clients. Assuming some definitions might not come across as culturally sensitive. Other explanations can leave clients confused about their helping behaviors. Isn’t AA founded on the principle of mutual self-help?
Depending on their therapeutic preferences, some therapists see codependency as an attachment issue, while others see it in the context of addiction and enabling. However, for many clients who acknowledge codependent traits, substance abuse is not an issue in the relationship. Focusing on the concept of authenticity and the extent to which a person has strayed from their authentic self, might be one way of clarifying the nature of codependency.
Authenticity comes into play when we think of codependent behavior in association with the various roles we might play to maintain order in the family structure. For example, many children find themselves playing “rescue” or “hero” roles in a particular family dynamic. As adults, these family members later describe engaging in codependent behaviors not unlike their childhood roles. It is not uncommon for older children or those with caregivers who were absent or ill to find themselves facing the challenges of codependency. Some of these challenges might be:
- Prioritizing others needs ahead of your own needs.
- Lack of self-care.
- Not expressing your needs in relationships.
- Showing little restraint and deriving identity from “fixing” others problems.
Are Parents Codependent?
But wait? Did we just describe every loving mother or father in relation to their children? Health practitioners and supportive family and friends should be wary of pathologizing normal behavior. Perhaps it is easier to see codependency behaviors on a continuum…or simply just look at behaviors that cause people distress.
Hiding Your Authentic Self
Are you suppressing your feelings hoping that this will make you happy? Firstly, this could have the opposite effect. Making your happiness dependent on other’s, is terribly unpredictable. In other words, their happiness is outside of your control. Secondly, this sounds like a great way to breed resentment or passive aggressive behavior. The *giving* is tainted, if you will, by expectation.
Sometimes the giving is out of a deep rooted fear of rejection. Fear of rejection is furtile ground for shame to grow. In this sense, the giving is a cover. For this reason, codependent behavior lacks authenticity.
It takes an attuned therapist to help sort this out.
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