Codependency: A Sacred View
Codependency: A Sacred View
“Codependency? WTH? I feel so alone. No one understands and I question whether anyone really cares. I know I don’t deserve this, but here I am struggling in this relationship. Is there a reason for this? Is there some big lesson I’m supposed to learn from this? Is there even a God who cares?”
Codependency is not just two people having an unhealthy attachment to each other. It’s much broader than that. Codependency is an “issue” or style of relating that affects everyone on the planet to some degree in a couple different ways.
- It’s an unhealthy attachment to self because of a disconnect.
- It’s also a disconnect from God.
- It’s an internalized belief that “I am not good enough”.
- It’s fragmentation of the soul, with parts being lost along life’s journey.
It’s a “self-love deficit disorder” according to Ross Rosenberg, and this absence of self-love internally affects how we get along in the external world.
In the mental health field, it’s explained as our ego or shadow picking up codependency defenses when we were children, so that we could try to make sense and move on in this world despite pain. Even kids raised with conscious, loving parents experience things like shame and pain, causing their egos to take on emotional defense mechanisms that affect them later in life.
In the Christianity view, codependency results from a separation from God, presumably because in and of our “selves”, we’re prone to sin/darkness because of the fall of man.
In the spirituality camp, codependency is a separation from “self”, and self-love.
In Shamanic societies, it’s the result of lost parts of the soul, splitting off every time some sort of trauma occurs.
Codependency: Wounded Souls Everywhere
Essentially, as adults, there are a lot of wounded souls walking around looking for love in all the wrong places.
I like to call the wounded part of us the inner child. Some call it the shadow or ego or carnal nature. To me, it doesn’t matter what we call that part of us; call it whatever resonates with you the most.
Good news is that when we can recognize this wounded part of us, we are given the opportunity to bring healing and love there. We have an opportunity to reconnect with that part of us, and learn just how to love ourselves at the core level.
My inner child, which I unconsciously let run my adult life at times, wants me to acknowledge her. She wants to know she’s not alone, and she wants to share with me (adult me) the pain she went through as a little girl. The trauma she experienced alone and afraid. The loneliness she from being emotionally neglected.
Before we get too far, I want to take you on a little journey concerning codependency from a cosmic perspective.
See, I’ve always known that I was a spiritual kind of being here on this planet for a set amount of time. There’s the fleshly me and then there’s the spiritual me. On top of that, there’s the emotional me.
Mind. Body. Spirit. I’m all of that!
So many are asleep when it comes to spiritual matters. So much emphasis on the outer things. My hope is that an awakening will occur – a spiritual awakening!
That people will become more conscious of themselves as spiritual beings, and become more conscious of a connection with God or their Higher Power.
Here we are on this earth
Yes, we’re all here on this earth for an adventure! I don’t have all the answers as far as why we are all here or what our primary purpose is, but here are a few ideas according to different faiths.
In talking about humanity, the prophet Isaiah records God as saying humans were created for God’s glory. (Isaiah 43:7)
The apostle Paul says, “God made us what we are. He has created us in Christ Jesus to live lives filled with good works that he has prepared for us to do.”
I don’t know about you, but I can understand how God or the Creator of the Universe might create humanity to enjoy the earth, and to enjoy God. As a mother, I was very much in favor of creating my children to enjoy life. I wanted my children to live, love, and laugh!
As creators, we love to create and share our creations with the world, don’t we?
According to Buddhist philosophy, our purpose in life is to end suffering. As humans, we experience suffering at times, largely because we try so hard to hold onto things, people, (codependency) etc. and let’s face it: those things don’t last and can let us down.
The Buddha taught that attachments (unhealthy attachments, as in codependency) cause suffering, and he dedicated his life teaching people how to free themselves from such attachments, and serve humanity in love and compassion.
Shamanic societies believe that we’re here to simply BE, and enjoy, just like the trees, stars, rivers, jaguars, and so on. To observe and be free to enjoy God’s great mystery.
Of course, there are hundreds of other ideas as to life’s purpose around the world, and it’s up to each person to discover what resonates for him or her.
One thing I know for sure is that regardless of why we’re here, we all experience many different things- good and painful.
Yes, experiencing pain is something we signed up for when we hurled through the cosmic portal and landed in our mother’s womb. Pain is universal, and we usually begin experiencing this pain in early childhood.
So, picture this with me.
Sandy came to the planet through a mom and a dad that had never really dealt with the pain they encountered through life. Her dad, George, was an alcoholic and physically abused Sandy. Her mom, Alice, was an emotional manipulator, bordering on narcissism. Alice spent her whole life using control and manipulation toward her children in order to feel some sort of love and security.
So, Sandy had to deal with all this trauma and emotional neglect as a child and teenager. Of course, she desired unconditional love, but what she learned was conditional love. For her to receive any type of affirmation, she had to meet her parents’ “conditions” (which were not reasonable for a child).
She learned that if she would cater to her mom, her mom would be happier. If she cleaned the house or took care of her siblings, Dad was more peaceful. If she avoided her parents, she felt better. She learned to walk on eggshells and keep her mouth shut so her dad wouldn’t beat her when he was drunk.
How could Sandy, as a young child, cope with all that emotional and physical abuse? She couldn’t. Children do not have the capability to effectively cope with trauma and pain, so the ego or psyche (a defense system), helped Sandy get through it by people pleasing, detaching from her feelings, and denying that it was “real bad”. (All symptoms of codependency)
This detachment can also be explained as her losing a part of herself; a powerful part of herself known as soul loss. And thus began a lifetime of her slowly giving her power away, chipping away at her soul.
What happened to Sandy as an adult? She struggled with codependency. She had many classic signs like low self-worth, poor boundaries, little self-care, people pleasing, not feeling her emotions at times, and at other times feeling too deeply, not knowing what she wanted or needed, and more.
If you asked her how she feels, she might say, “I’m empty and lost. I feel like a shell of a person.”
Now, let’s look at her sibling, Ralph. He went through the same dysfunctional childhood as Sandy, but he did not become a codependent people pleaser. Instead, he unconsciously hardened his heart and became a narcissist.
(Note: He didn’t intentionally plan to become narcissistic as a young child and we don’t really know for sure why some children’s egos take on such defense mechanisms, while others take on more codependent characteristic.)
Ralph grew up very angry with a chip on his shoulder and totally cut himself off from his feelings. He felt very entitled and used others to get his needs met, because this gave him a sense of power and love.
Now, let’s put spirituality in the picture. Both Sandy and Ralph came on the planet pure and innocent. They were lovely babies who were very spiritual (pure), but things happen when you grow up. An ego, personalities, and coping skills are formed. They experience pain and as children, they cannot process and integrate that pain, so they stuff it. Then they apply layers and layers of more pain over their core, beautiful spiritual selves.
Let’s say Sandy recognized she was in immense pain in college and wanted to do something about it. She entered therapy and turned to God in order to begin healing those childhood wounds. She has spent more than 30 years “doing her work” and has healed many wounds. She remembers who she really is more and more, working on her codependency recovery, yet sometimes she still gets triggered. After all, those wounds cut very deep.
Ralph, on the other hand, opted not to address the immense inner pain he felt. He started drinking during his teen years and realized that it felt good to numb that pain. He had several thoughts about getting professional help and even occasionally cried out to God for help, but he never committed to the healing journey. He has spent the last 30 years in and out of toxic relationships and drinking to keep numbing the pain. He has forgotten who he really is. He’s got so many painful layers over his beautiful soul that he feels it would impossible to dig through or he doesn’t realize that HE CAN.
Now, if we go even deeper into the picture, before Sandy and Ralph came onto the planet as babies, I believe they had made a decision (in spirit form) to experience certain things while on the earth. Perhaps they wanted to experience the pain of rejection and the triumph of overcoming such pain; transforming it into beauty. Or the trauma of a very dysfunctional childhood, healing it layer by layer and helping others do the same.
This is what’s going on in the world. Souls are living inside these fleshly bodies, but many have forgotten who they really are. They’re all caught up in the subconscious programming that occurred under the surface in childhood. Over the years, parts of their soul have been chipped away by life’s struggles and pain. They’ve lost sight of the bigger picture. They’ve succumbed to the belief that their ego is the real deal, but it’s not!
The ego is your mask. The false self. The carnal nature.
The real YOU is beneath that mask….a PURE SPIRT…in the form of LOVE! A healthy love – not the people pleasing/enabling/manipulating/insecure kind of love.
So, your journey toward getting back to identifying with THAT SPIRITUAL part of you has commenced. This healing journey that you’re on is taking you back there, underneath layers of masks, or pain, to your divine nature in God.
To your beautiful soul.
Are you starting to remember who you were before you started wearing masks? Before the pain overtook you?
Your authentic self?
Right now, dear one, you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be, learning about codependency, and valuable life lessons and recognizing your wholeness little by little.
And you’re doing great. Remember, it’s progress we’re after; not perfection!
Codependency Recovery Prayer:
God, please help me re-connect with myself and You. Help me to really know that in You, I am already complete. I am whole, beautiful, and worthy of unconditional love. The kind of love that can only come from You. I don’t always understand God, but I’m still holding onto faith in You.
Dominica Applegate is an author, writer, and transpersonal spiritual teacher. Her teachings have helped millions of people experience emotional healing, relationship repair, and spiritual awakening. Earning her BA in Psychology and MA in Counseling, she worked 12 years in the mental health field before diving full-time into writing.
She runs Rediscovering Sacredness, an online portal that offers inspiration, essays, resources, and tools to help heal inner pain and experience more peace and joy.
Her books include Recycle Your Pain: It Has a Purpose, Into The Wild Shadow Work Journal, and a collection of poetry entitled, The Pain, It Shapes Her World.