Do we notice dependence on the other people’s opinion?
Yes, we all somehow listen to other people. When does it turn into addiction, when other people’s opinion starts to guide our life?
It happens, if our mood day by day resembles an emotional roller coaster. We wake up in a good mood and everything is fine. Someone said something bad to us, did not fulfill his promise or did not listen to us — everything changes and we become upset. This emotional roller coaster happens every day. Sometimes we don’t even notice this or we think it is happening to everyone.
For a very long time the word “codependency” scared me, because I associated it with alcoholism or using drugs, and never even explored it. But at the last conference I accidentally got to a lecture and discovered a new world for myself, which is called “emotional codependency”.
If you react to the word “codependency” negatively — this is great! Put this negative reaction aside — like in a drawer — for 3 minutes and read this article. I am sure it can be useful for everyone.
Codependency is a lack of choice, a constant psychological game, a permanent being in one of three emotional states/roles: a victim, a dictator or a savior.
It seems to us that codependency manifests itself only in romantic relationships, but I want to upset you — nobody changes our personality, when we go to work. And we behave the same way there. Each victim finds his/her dictator, and each savior finds his/her victims.
How to understand that you are codependent at work?
You work hard and earn little.
You are scared to change jobs. You think that you won’t find another one or try to comfort yourself with the stability of your current job, even though it is not perfect.
You are willing to sacrifice yourself to please your boss or organization.
You are not ready to fight for your rights or ask for more money.
Why, even when each of us completely understands that he is in a destructive relationship in personal life or at work, we do continue to stay there?
95% of us are children who did not receive enough love during our childhood within our families. Our parents were not emotionally educated and aware of all the emotional processes, which were happening with their children, but they did their best. Our parents were brought up by people who went through wars, pogroms, and shoah. Their feelings were buried deeply inside of them. For years people have lived with paradigms like “I will tolerate this for a little more time”, “we must be satisfied with what we have and should not ask for more.” Nobody taught us how not to be a victim, a dictator or a savior.
Codependent tries to prove that he / she can be loved and that he / she deserves this in all possible ways: “How can you not love me if I am an excellent student, a good boy / a good girl, I have 3 science degrees?” He assumes a savior role at work, with family and friends to be praised for his actions. It is not uncommon for resentment to arise when people do not want to accept savior’s help.
Stages of codependency:
Friends — you enjoy such a relationship: “I help him / her”.
Destruction — you begin to notice that you give a lot and get back little or nothing (this can happen both at work and in romantic relationships). You sell yourself the idea that this will be over soon: “They will see me soon, they will thank me and raise my salary”.
Addiction — you completely ignore yourself, your needs and desires. You cannot live without another person (and sometimes it seems that you cannot breathe either). In this state you save an alcoholic / a drug addict, you solve problems at work, which are not your responsibility, and it lasts for a really long time. It hurts to stay, but you cannot leave.
Apathy or depression — the other person manipulates you and your feelings, and you trust him completely. This is the stage of psychological self-destruction with a lot of negative emotions, and there seems to be no way out.
Can you see yourself at one of these points? Which stage describes your condition?
When you are searching for answers to the question “What am I?”, why are there only other people that you believe? You get upset, you are in a bad mood, you are ashamed, hurt and anxious almost all the time. The opinion of significant people — for example, your boss, children, husband / wife — is especially important to you.
You betray yourself and your desires for the sake of others, thinking: “I will be happy when he / she is happy, when my children are happy”.
Imagine this situation at work (imagine yourself as a storyteller):
I start a new job with great enthusiasm and willingness to remove mountains, to change everything and bring the company to a new level (after all, this is what we all say during our job interviews).
On the very first working day, I find myself completely overwhelmed. Everything that was told me at the interview is not exactly the same as it is in real life. Maybe my expectations were too high, or maybe I did not ask the right questions. However, I am not scared! I begin to raise new processes, systems, cooperations, while the rest of the workers who are used to the old regime do not understand why am I trying so hard, but it does not stop me. My boss is happy that I have decided to take more responsibility than I should, praises me all the time and supports me morally, but does not help with improving processes and maintaining internal policies within the company. And I think: “Well, maybe I am not good at explaining, I should try harder”. I prepare a presentation, describing the potential of what is possible in the future, ways to create it and changes that are necessary. He says: “Well, you amaze me! Where did you get so many ideas and enthusiasm? You just cannot stop! BUT in our company everything works differently”. Then I decide to take a course on negotiation — maybe I need to understand how to work with objections. Maybe the problem is me, I need to explain better. After several races, I get tired, give up and start to tell everyone: “They do not appreciate me, I want to do so many things here, I want to lead this company to a better future, but they do not appreciate me. How can I change my boss and succeed in this position?”
Have you noticed how the hero of the story changes his role from a savior to a dictator and ends up like a victim? Maybe you had a similar situation?
We have had this type / paradigm of relationship since childhood. We have been familiar with it for a long time, and well, we find ourselves in it again and again — from one job to another, from one relationship to another.
We can read books, take courses, listen to lectures, but this thing is very difficult to change. We continue to train codependency in all our relationships.
When we get tired of such relationships or work, a new opportunity appears — a new relationship or a new interesting job. But further scenario remains the same. We are using the same scheme with a new job opportunity, in a new relationship. Is it Steven Spielberg who makes all films according to one script?
How can you enter a healthy relationship model?
Understand and accept that you need to change: “The way I behave does not work, something needs to be changed”.
Work on yourself, by your own or with a professional.
Work through your fears and feeling of inadequacy.
Love yourself in any circumstances, in any conditions.
Reanimate your sensitivity and start trying to trust your emotions and instincts.
Understand where your responsibility ends and where the other person’s begins.
Love yourself in any state, in any form, with any past.