So I recently listened to Tommy Rosen talking to Nikki Myers as part of his Recovery 2.0 conference and they discussed co-dependency.
Now that I’m coming up 2 years in recovery and have put down the substances I’m left with many residual issues and addictions. The biggest two for me are emotional eating and co-dependency. I gave up sugar for Lent and wrote a series of posts about those experiences which you can read here. Plus I touched on co-dependency here.
Nikki in the last year has launched a training programme to tackle co-dependency called Breaking Barriers and you can attend it if you’re in the US (more details here).
This is what she says:
Co-dependence has been described as ‘the addiction to look elsewhere.’ It’s the belief that something outside of ourselves; people, places, things, behaviors or experiences, can give us fulfillment and joy. This is not only the most common addiction, it is the base out of which all other addictions and compulsions arise. Codependents can have difficulty: experiencing appropriate levels of self-esteem, setting functional boundaries, making decisions and/or verbalizing requests …… codependency is often expressed as the need to control or be controlled and/or approval seeking or confrontation avoidant.
Co-dependency has been called the ‘disease of the lost self’. Thomas Merton wrote ‘To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to the violence of our time.” This is often how we lose ourselves; we minimize what’s going on inside, while over-reacting to the outside.
Gulp ……. reading that felt like a punch to the gut and listening to what she said to Tommy felt deeply reassuring in a painful way. She talked about how our thinking becomes delusional and how we can veer from one extreme of arrogance to the other of feeling worthless. How when we are triggered we dysregulate and how we became not-present and effectively time-travel. Or in psychological terms we disassociate.
I actually had to watch this part of the interview twice as the first time it was so close to home that I actually disassociated while listening. My brain couldn’t cope and so I stopped concentrating and didn’t hear – or didn’t want to hear it. I’ve written about the feeling that she expressed before: these were my words written that day on 21st June last year
“Is it just me who swings from feeling they are as worthless as something you just trod in to feeling like they are behaving like a cocky gobby upstart in the time it takes to blink? “W
orthlessness to arrogance anyone? It’s spooky how she summarised exactly what I had expressed.
I share this with you and have no answers to offer. All I can say is that around food and boundaries I am learning to listen to my body because it will tell me if things aren’t right about what I’m putting in my mouth, how I’m feeling and responding to someone and whether it is my work to do, which invariably it is!
- Using the pause button with breath because we cannot breath in the past or the future only the present and so it brings up back
- To keep coming back into the body as a somatic embodied experience as it is empowering
- To surrender using a specific yoga position (which as a non-yoga person I don’t know!) but to make sure that it is a relaxed surrender suggesting letting go rather than a rigid tight position which suggests resignation and collapse, not surrender.
I’m a work in progress and I sense that this will take many more years to work all of this out. Good job I’m going back into weekly therapy as part of my Cambridge course in October!!