Codependence vs. Interdependence
By Robert Burney M.A.
"In order to stop giving our power away,
to stop reacting out of our inner children, to stop setting ourselves up to
be victims, so that we can start learning to trust and Love ourselves, we
need to begin to practice discernment. Discernment is having the eyes to
see, and the ears to hear - and the ability to feel the emotional energy
that is Truth.
We cannot become clear on what we are seeing
or hearing if we are reacting to emotional wounds that we have not been willing/able
to feel and subconscious attitudes that we have not been willing/able to
look at. We cannot learn to trust ourselves as long as we are still setting
ourselves up to be victimized by untrustworthy people."
"Not only were we taught to be victims of people,
places, and things, we were taught to be victims of ourselves, of our own
humanity. We were taught to take our ego-strength, our self-definition from
external manifestations of our being. . . Looks, talent, intelligence external
manifestations of our being are gifts to be celebrated. They are temporary
gifts. They are not our total being. They do not define us or dictate if
we have worth. We were taught to do it backwards. To take our self-definition
and self-worth from temporary illusions outside of, or external to our beings.
It does not work. It is dysfunctional."
Codependence: The Dance of
Codependence and interdependence are two very different dynamics.
Codependence is about giving away power over our self-esteem. Taking
our self-definition and self-worth from outside or external sources is dysfunctional
because it causes us to give power over how we feel about ourselves to people
and forces which we cannot control. Any time that we give power over our
self-esteem to something outside of ourselves we are making that person or
thing our higher power. We are worshiping false gods.
If my self-esteem is based on people, places, and things; money,
property, and prestige; looks, talent, intelligence; then I am set up to be
a victim. People will not always do what I want them too; property can be
destroyed by an earthquake or flood or fire; money can disappear in a stock
market crash or bad investment; looks change as I get older. Everything changes.
All outside or external conditions are temporary.
That is why it is so important to get in touch with our Spiritual
connection. To start realizing that we have worth because we are children
of God. That we are all part of the Eternal ONENESS that is the God Force/Goddess
Energy/Great Spirit. We are Spiritual beings having a human experienceour
worth as beings is not dependent upon any outer or external condition. We
are Unconditionally Loved and we always have been.
The more we can start owning the Truth of who we really are and
integrating it into our relationship with ourselves, the more we can enjoy
this human experience that we are having. Then we can start learning how to
be interdependent - how to give power away in conscious, healthy ways because
our self-worth is no longer dependent on outside sources.
Interdependence is about making allies, forming partnerships. It
is about forming connections with other beings. Interdependence means that
we give someone else some power over our welfare and our feelings.
Anytime we care about somebody or something we give away some power
over our feelings. It is impossible to Love without giving away some power.
When we choose to Love someone (or thing - a pet, a car, anything) we are
giving them the power to make us happy - we cannot do that without also giving
them the power to hurt us or cause us to feel angry or scared.
In order to live we need to be interdependent. We cannot participate
in life without giving away some power over our feelings and our welfare.
I am not talking here just about people. If we put money in a bank we are
giving some power over our feelings and welfare to that bank. If we have
a car we have a dependence on it and will have feelings if it something happens
to it. If we live in society we have to be interdependent to some extent and
give some power away. The key is to be conscious in our choices and own responsibility
for the consequences.
The way to healthy interdependence is to be able to see things
clearly - to see people, situations, life dynamics and most of all ourselves
clearly. If we are not working on healing our childhood wounds and changing
our childhood programming then we cannot begin to see ourselves clearly let
alone anything else in life.
The disease of Codependence causes us to keep repeating patterns
that are familiar. So we pick untrustworthy people to trust, undependable
people to depend on, unavailable people to love. By healing our emotional
wounds and changing our intellectual programming we can start to practice
discernment in our choices so that we can change our patterns and learn to
As we develop healthy self-esteem based on knowing that the Force
is with us and Loves us, then we can consciously take the risk of Loving,
of being interdependent, without buying into the belief that the behavior
of others determines our self-worth. We will have feelings - we will get
hurt, we will be scared, we will get angry - because those feelings are an
unavoidable part of life. Feelings are a part of the human experience that
we came here to learn about - they cannot be avoided. And trying to avoid
them only causes us to miss out on the Joy and Love and happiness that can
also be a part of the human experience.