I estimate that 98% of relationships are codependent.
Most of us have unresolved traumas from childhood and some aspects of our psyche have been frozen in a distant past. We have inner children that are still hurt and are in severe need of re-parenting. It is healthy and natural for children to need their primary caregivers and the same is true for our inner children. In our society, codependency is therefore the normality. Hollywood chick flicks, soap operas, mushy romance novels all show deeply codependent relationships so we are programmed to view these types of relationships as ideal and desirable.
A codependent relationship is nothing else than relationship addiction.
This means we are unable to function without this relationship in our life as we use it as a coping mechanism. It is no different than the drug addict needing his substance every time he is getting close to an unpleasant feeling. We have normalized codependent relationships yet we are putting the drug addict in jail or rehabilitation centers. Human beings are a social species so it goes without saying that we need each other to survive and thrive. However, codependency is relationship addiction that is not driven by either necessity or a conscious desire. It is like someone believing they need a steak every day to survive while vegetables can give them all the necessary nutrients. At the same time, someone who eats steak every day is not a danger to society, and can be a positive contributor, though some may reproach their higher carbon footprint and apathy to animal cruelty. In the same way, many codependent relationships are not frowned upon as they involve high-functioning people that participate to the betterment of the collective. Actually, we enter this world co-dependent and we leave this world co-dependent if we are able to live a long life. People with special needs are co-dependent and there is nothing wrong with this. Autonomy is actually a very high state of being that few are able to achieve in their lifetime. It is a form of self-actualization that is rare and precious. Codependency is the normality but would you like to experience an abnormal extraordinary life through autonomy?
What is the dynamic of codependent intimate relationships?
It is actually nature itself that is interested to support the development of our personal autonomy and wholeness. When we fell in love and experience an intense attraction for someone, it is because this relationship can reflect the aspects of us we have repressed and that we need to re-own. This is why we say that opposites attract. A shy good girl is often attracted to bad boys. Geeks are attracted to sensitive girls. Small women are often attracted to very tall guys. A business executive repressing his right brain falls in love with an artist. This is why the feeling in love is so often exhilarating as the beloved reflects so perfectly the repressed aspects of the self. It is however too scary or shameful for us to re-own these repressed aspects of the self so we would rather depend on the other to keep providing access to these buried aspects. Love turns into fear when we start treating our beloved the same way we are acting towards our subconscious fragments, mostly through shaming. We start criticizing them, making them feel small and wrong. The positive mirror of the relationship potential becomes the negative mirror of our lack. We become controlling and possessive in our desperate attempt to re-own these aspects of self without doing the necessary inner work and awareness. But for many of us, the possibility of losing the relationship is simply too frightening so we would rather settle and endure the pain of the negative mirroring. In order to cope, we numb ourselves and become more and more disconnected with our partner. We alternate between lack of romance to familiar disputes to re-ignite the lost passion. Our level of intimacy stops progressing and even diminishes as we refuse to dive in to re-own the lost aspects of us that our beloved has reflected. We are too afraid to discover our authentic self out of fear of abandonment. We cannot make space for the growth of our partner, as we fear they may leave us when they live their full potential. In this type of relationship, we never love the person for who they are and what they can become. We are just in love with the projection, our own reflection in the mirror.
Many relationships may not survive as a result of the growth or new desires in one of the partners.
Many people feel content in codependent relationships when there is complementarity. A business executive may be happy to focus on his profession to achieve a high level of success while his wife takes care of his social life and the children. They can then specialize to what they feel they do best. The problem starts when one of them develops new desires. As they are so deeply entangled the change in one may deeply affect the other. The housewife may want to experience a deeper level of intimacy than her career-focused husband may be able to provide. The husband may want to become an artist but his wife may not be able to accept what it would mean in terms of change of lifestyle. The wife may want to start a business and require her husband to spend more time with the children to help out. In these situations, it is likely that one spouse may feel betrayed and duped. Many relationships may not survive as a result of the growth or new desires in one of the partners. This is why there is a common tacit agreement for the partners to limit each other’s growth so that the relationship may not suffer. In my personal opinion, the people in the relationship are more important than the relationship. When we limit our partner’s growth because of our own insecurities, we are actually leaching on them. This is how divorce in the USA became a $50 billion business. People feel incredibly betrayed when their partner stops fulfilling the role that was assigned to them. Many parents do not actually hesitate to use their own children as weapons of war to destroy the person they have shared a bed with for many years. Truly loving someone means having the courage to let them go even to our own detriment. In non-codependent or autonomous relationships, the agreement can be more easily changed between former partners because there is not the same desperation, fears and unexpressed expectations. In heavily codependent relationships, a break-up means a clean cut because there is too much hurt resulting from the separation. Possessiveness, control, manipulation, and jealousy are all inherent to codependent relationships.
Autonomy is truly a very high achievement and an elevated state of being. We are all born co-dependent and the spiritual warrior will have to defeat 6 foes before reaching it.
From loneliness to self-love
Loneliness manifests in many forms. It is the feeling that something is missing or that no one cares. We feel we do not belong, and we feel ungrounded even in the midst of familiar faces or a crowd. We feel unlovable at our core because there is something so shameful about us. It is the face of the moon that disappears into darkness when it is not shined by the sun. With true self-love, we reconnect with our inner divine nature, and remember our true essence. We give and create without resistance. We give without any expectation and we are also happy to receive. We become a sun that shines to everyone and everything around us unconditionally. We are able to be happy in the company of others or alone.
From drifting to resolute
We start from feeling purposeless without understanding our place in this world. Or we pick-up the wrong goals determined by our environment, parents or survival needs. As we discover our true essence, we build a life or a career that puts our unique gifts to good use.. We feel creative and driven to make a difference.
From comfort to awareness
We forget our greatness and settle with a comfortable life at a physical level. We avoid risk or rocking the boat, as we are so afraid to get hurt. We live in a small box and we give up on our dreams. As we wake-up to who we truly are, we stretch outside of previously imposed limits. We commit to truth and awareness no matter how uncomfortable it may be. We refuse to live with the status quo, through increased awareness we participate in positive change in our life and the world.
From victimhood to personal responsibility
We feel angry and entitled towards people and a world that have hurt us deeply. We feel powerless and small towards a system or a society that has dictated all aspects of our life. We are stuck, we give our power away and wait with resentment for the outside world to save us and redeem itself.. We get attention through pity. Autonomy teaches us that every aspect of our life is an exact mirror to our internal world. We realize that our soul has carefully selected the conditions of our life to maximize our growth and the dissolution of our karma. We feel empowered to make the necessary changes to create a life that feels good.
From sex addiction to healthy intimacy
We live in a sex-addicted society where sexual release is felt as necessary as the intake of food. We funnel all of our need to love and feel loved through the sexual act. We do not discriminate carefully our sexual partners, as we get more and more disconnected from our heart. We use sex as a drug to push down our repressed feelings. As we wake-up to the sacred nature of our sexuality, we listen attentively to the cues of our body to select the right partner. We remember that genuine sexual attraction is guided by our higher self to match us with the right partner that can unleash our potential. We learn to love and feel loved outside of sexuality. We cannot have sex anymore with people we are not in love with. When we become autonomous, we do not have a need to possess the other because the other is in us. We can be authentic because the fears of rejection and abandonment do not have the same hold.. Then an intimate relationship can become a reflection to God’s ultimate wish for his creation: to love and be loved. Your intimate relationship amplifies all that is already good in your life. You love in complete freedom. No cords, just pure heart-to-heart connection. You commit to your partner without compromising yourself.
From fear to safety
Our life is riddled with anxiety as we wonder where the next hit is going to come from. We feel doomed, as we do not have the strength to take the next bad news, heartbreak or loss. We live in constant anticipation of what can go wrong so that we can survive the next disappointment. As we develop more assurance by surmounting life challenges, we develop the unshakable belief that not only we can survive anything but use to our benefit any trial coming our way. We believe in an ordered universe, we are optimistic and understand that even when tragedy strikes, we are sufficiently equipped to absorb the shock and learn from the experience. We are grateful for all of life’s blessings.
Codependency is simply the result of interrupted growth in our development. This may have come from past traumas, weakness of character that led to bad decisions, lack of introspection or a constrained family environment. We can break free from these limiting structures by taking our life back into our own hand. It all starts with an intention. As you commit to live an authentic and autonomous life, you will be able to attract a romantic partner from your heart instead of your mind. And this will be a relationship that will expand you instead of limiting you.
Vaillant (Ale) Gicqueau was born in France. He is a graduate from French top engineer school Ecole Centrale Paris and UC Davis. He had a successful business career in the Silicon Valley where he founded a software company. His passion however for the last 25 years has been his search for God within himself. He believes in living a full and passionate life, helping others and co-creating a world based on sharing, fraternity, love and freedom. In particular, he is dedicated to free the minds of anyone that has gone through cult abuse or parental alienation, that he experienced first hand.