A few years ago, a close friend of mine and I were having coffee at a local café. While deep in a conversation about life, love, and all the relationship issues we had over the years with men she blurted out a statement…
“You do realize you’re codependent, Right?”
I looked at her and said “What?”
“You do realize you’re codependent right? All these relationship issues you’re having are because of that!”
Being a certified life coach I had briefly studied codependency but never looked into it in-depth.
I did a quick internet search “What is Codependency?” and came to the site CoDA.org
I clicked on the page that said “Am I Codependent?”
Reading through the list, I was shocked and amazed that I identified with so many of the traits. I was even more amazed to read so many traits that sounded exactly like my previous mates.
A Codependent attracting a codependent… (sounds obvious right??)
From that moment on I began to go to CoDA meetings, worked the 12 steps with my sponsor and then took on a few sponsee’s to help them work the program.
After several years working the program, the thought lingered through my mind…”I think I’m ready for Love again.”
Within a few weeks I was on a blind date with the most amazing man I had met in a long time.
We formed an instant friendship and then began dating. Over the course of a few months we explored each others world, likes and dislikes, etc.
Each time we connected, we found out more and more. He stretched my thinking and my world in ways I hadn’t experienced before.
As we connected we revealed exciting synchronicity’s, commonalities and a few red flags.
It was so good!
But, after almost three months I broke up with him.
Why did I break up with him?
Because I knew the relationship that I had with him, would not be right for a long term partnership.
Why am I telling you this?
Because the old, codependent, me would have stayed in this relationship and ignore the red flags. But the new me, the healthy me, realized that I can choose what’s best for me and honor the red flags that told me that I had to leave.
You see, at any given moment, you are either enabling or empowering yourself or someone else in your relationship with them.
The old me stayed in several marriages where the person was unfaithful, manipulative, emotionally abusive and isolating. I stayed far longer than I should have.
By staying I enabled their codependent and manipulative behavior and I disempowered myself.
By leaving those relationships I empowered myself to get out of partnerships that weren’t for my highest good and allowed myself to do the work needed to have healthy relationships in the future.
So what does enabling and empowering look like?
Here are just a few examples:
Not having any boundaries.
Self sacrificing to please an other or doing things you don’t really want to do to make or keep them happy.
Ignoring the things they do and think “Oh they don’t mean that, or it’s just a phase, etc…”
Not speaking up when things bother or don’t resonate with you.
Being a chameleon – or changing your likes and dislikes to match theirs.
Accepting abuse of any sort [Mental, physical or verbal abuse to include; the silent treatment, stone walling, turning your own words against you in a way to belittle you, “teasing” in the form or sarcasm, etc….]
Being passive – also a form of manipulation.
Have Boundaries and share them with the people in your life.
Speak your truth as you know it when you need to.
Listen to the other person without feeling the need to fix them or judge them.
Giving them space to live their life without controlling what they do or don’t do.
Accepting them for who they are without expecting them to change.
Respectful communication with each other.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to enabling vs empowering in a relationship.
Flora Sage is a Six-time Author, Business Coach, Spiritual Teacher, Intuition Expert, USMC Veteran, Bullsh*t Eliminator & Creator of over 1200+ hours of self-help, personal, spiritual & business development content for women world wide.