February is relationship month here at CEDRIC and our newsletters this month will centre around the issue of relating to others. One of the key aspects that influences all our interactions with others, whether they are lovers, friends, family, co-workers or the check-out girl at the grocery story, is the degree of unconscious co-dependent behaviour that exists in us.
Ask yourself this question: Is there anything in my life right now that I feel anxious about that is not related to me feeling responsible in some way for someone else’s feelings and/or needs? No?
Or try it this way: If I could miraculously let go of feeling responsible for what other people feel and need or expect of me, how would I feel? Like I had just lost a hundred pounds? Free? Like I could finally live my life?
And what about this one: Is there any anxiety in me that isn’t about me wanting control of someone’s perception of me because I believe that if they approve of me I’ll finally be able to relax and won’t feel as anxious all the time?
This is co-dependency.
If I’m co-dependent it means I feel responsible for what other people think and feel and subsequently what they do. It’s the mechanism that allows abusive relationships to function (for if I didn’t buy into feeling responsible for the other person’s feelings and life experience they would not be able to control me with their words and actions). It’s also one of the primary contributors to the degree of anxiety and depression we see in our society and it leads us to use food to cope.
Simply put, co-dependency makes us feel extremely insecure. When we struggle with a co-dependent mindset we constantly look outside our self for validation of what we are doing right or wrong; the “okay-ness” of our decisions is determined by whether someone is happy or gets mad at us for making them. This means we are not truly living our life. When you are not making decisions based on what you truly feel and want and know is right for you then you’re making decisions based on whether others would be mad at you or hurt by you or not.
We know that anxiety is a primary trigger for anorexia, bulimia and binge eating. In other words, food is used to cope with the overwhelming discomfort one feels when they’re anxious. If you can just pinpoint what’s causing the anxiety and resolve, then you won’t need food to cope anymore.
That’s what we show clients at The CEDRIC Centre and with the tools we provide clients quickly prove to themselves that they can have a natural relationship with food (eat when they’re hungry, stop when they’re full) and maintain a healthy weight for their body without dieting and obsessing over what and when to eat ever again. *(For one client’s sharing about this process follow this link).
The process of recovery is a complete process. In order to recover and leave disordered eating behind forever you have to heal your relationship with food, your relationship with yourself and your relationships with others.
Healing that old tendency to feel responsible for the feelings and needs of others is a key piece in freeing yourself of anxiety and of food obsession.
Simply put, when your life centres around trying to make others happy so you can be happy you feel anxious and insecure and your old core beliefs keep getting triggered and reinforced (I’m not good enough; I am bad; I am wrong). But when you are clear on what your values and principles are and you make decisions from that place, you immediately feel stronger, clearer, more solid, and you feel relaxed and peaceful. This happens even if you have to say no to someone and even if they’re angry with you or rejecting you.
In my experience the only way to truly be happy is to be clear on what your values and principles are and to commit to only acting in ways that honor those values and principles. In that way, your decisions in many situations are made for you by your solid foundation of values and even though it’s still just you in there making the decision, you feel stronger and you feel supported in saying yes or no as you feel is right to you.
Bye-bye Co-dependency, Hello Life!!
*To read more on the concept of values and begin to identify yours follow this link.
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