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Are you co-dependent or independent?

I've never been much of a writer but I am passionate about being creative. As a matter of fact I never completed my Higher School Certificate (year 12).. or my School Certificate (year 10).. Then I went to study music and poker so you probably shouldn't expect too much from my writing. However, now at 29, I have had to learn a bit or two about how to write (bullshit) an essay for my bachelor of counselling and coaching - so far so good!


If you've bothered taking the time out of your normal scrolling horror show, also known as social media, I suppose I should at least attempt something of value to provide to you. But what on earth could I provide of value to you? Heck, you know more about you than anyone else so what makes you think I can help you with anything? Well, one thing I am passionate about is the power of strength in numbers, partnerships and mentors. What does that do for you? It provides you a framework, a platform, a springboard to project yourself towards the person you've always wanted to be and achieve the things you've always wanted to achieve. Then when shit, inevitably, hits the fan along the way and you fall on your arse you'll have a decent network to get you through it (and vice-versa to help someone else get through it).


I want to get one thing straight here. I am not talking about being co-dependent. I am talking about being independent. Yes, it's true that we co-exist as humans but co-existence and co-dependence are two very different things. The tricky concept here is that we are social beings who flourish when we are in packs. When we experience validation, connection, intimacy, love and purpose in our tribe we not only survive but we thrive because we all need each other to exist. This all happens through inter-dependence, not co-dependence. The acceptance of the fact that we are nothing without other things. At a very objective level you do not exist without air, water, food, parents, brick and mortar, etc. On another level, how do you get your water or food? Because other people and facilities create channels to get it to your mouth - think of farmers, truck drivers, supermarket workers, etc. (If you want to hear more of my tangents on this stuff go listen to my podcast). If that is inter-dependence then what am I talking about when I talk about co-dependence?


My opinion of co-dependence is psychological and emotional, not existential (yup, we're getting into the good shit now). It's the idea that we rely heavily on someone else for our well-being and if they don't satisfy our psychological or emotional needs then chaos manifests. Quite often when this happens we then look outwards for answers, usually through maladaptive behaviours, when really we should be looking inwards. The problematic ripple effects of this has been known to the field of psychology for decades now, so much so that it's been considered to be added into the DSM as a mental illness. Look, we can blame pop-culture for this as Hollywood, music and tabloids are consistently creating a 'you complete me' picture of how life and relationships should be - when that couldn't be further from the truth. We need to take ownership of our lives and be careful of what information we consume and believe.


I've had significant relationships in my life where I certainly relied on the other person in the shape of co-dependency and boy is it comfortable and satisfying when things are good. It's not until things got real, whether it be logistical or emotional, that I went through the suffering of the detachment of that bond. Through this detachment I then experienced a detox period where my body, mind and soul suffered as a result. I then found myself completely lost and looking outward for answers. Which can be a very dark place to find 'comfort'. Now we are at the crux of my 'word vomit' first post. This is the biggest epiphany that I want to portray from my experience because I believe we, as a society and community, can do a better job to reduce the impact that diversity has on ourselves.


Being co-dependent can be vulnerable, volatile and dangerous as we rely on our psychological needs being met through the status of a connection with another - which we don't often have much control over. However, if we focus on being independent through our self-efficacy then we can allow ourselves to co-exist in relationships with the mindset of inter-dependence. Through the mindset of our life being independent and our lives being inter-dependent I believe we can better sustain ourselves through diversity to minimise pain and suffering and maximise autonomy and empowerment.



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