In previous posts, I’ve discussed how codependent money behavior can be confused for generosity toward other people—but that at its core, it’s a cover for not being personally fulfilled. Codependent behavior is about fulfilling some arbitrary ideal situation, relationship or thing, and by trying to make things “perfect,” you forget what you actually want and value. So much money, time and emotion are wasted in pursuit of the imagined ideal.
Here are nine steps I continually review to cure my codependency:
Start focusing on yourself. I actually stopped having romantic relationships so that I could get absolutely clear on who I was and what I wanted apart from anyone else. I don’t regret it.
I am sure there are MANY people who don’t need to change as drastically as I did! But for a codependent, it’s almost impossible to plan your life without factoring in how you fit into someone else’s plans. The goal is to be in a supportive relationship, but still have your own thing.
Be kind and gentle with yourself. I had to start seeing my inner self as a fearful child doing the best she absolutely could (and making lots of mistakes in the process); only then was I able to quit judging myself and developed some compassion.
Focus on what you want to achieve in life. I used to feel like my destiny was intertwined with my loved one’s vocation, so I had to learn to keep my eyes on my own paper and imagine what my life looked like apart from anyone else in it. For awhile I was absolutely lost, but the more time I gave it, the more of my essential desires emerged.
Detach from the toxic people in your life. One of the reasons I ceased romantic relationships when I started recovery was to avoid toxicity—as a codependent, I wasn’t in the best place to attract the non-toxic element very easily! After awhile, I was able to figure out who was a loving, supportive person and who had their own issues (that I wanted no part of).
Find the underlying reasons for your need to control others. I still have to ask myself if I have a control-agenda behind the things I do, especially in new situations. When in stress, I tend to revert back to my old ways, so it’s an issue of maintaining awareness, probably for the rest of my life.
Identify the expectations you put on others. Do you have an image of the perfect friendship, relationship, etc.? I know I still do—we all do. But now I know that my expectations are limited and imperfect—and don’t have half the fun, light and enjoyment that I’ll experience if I just let things unfold the way they will.
Remind yourself that you are a good person. When your yardstick is measuring “zero to perfect,” it’s hard to believe you’re enough. So throw out that yardstick. Whenever I start in with negative self-talk, I stop and ask myself, “What would my FRIENDS tell me right now?” The answer is always more supportive than what I was originally telling myself.
Learn how to say “no.” Adding “no” to my vocabulary was one of the most difficult things I did . . . at first, I felt like I had to explain why . . . until I realized no one really noticed or cared except me. No one analyzed ANYTHING as much as I did! I realized that no one keeps tabs as closely as a codependent, so saying “no” became a lot easier.
Remember you’re not God. It’s impossible for you to make another person angry, love you less or be on time for an appointment. And that’s not your business. The only things you can control are how you think, feel and respond in this world.
These steps help you ground and take care of yourself—which is really hard for a codependent to do, because she is usually obsessed with taking care of everyone else!
At first I felt a little silly doing these steps, but then I noticed that if I DIDN’T stay aware, I would become absolutely drained of energy. Then it became a choice of either using all of my time and energy for others, or spending it on getting my work out into the world. Once I saw it in a new light, there was no going back.
When I started to devote more energy for myself, I also saw that I had more money for myself and my priorities. Money took on more meaning when it became something to further my mission in the world, whether it be for business, self care or general security. And money, like many things, is just a tool that reflects our inner struggles, dysfunctions and priorities.
You can’t change your money situation unless you change yourself. But if you do—and make the choice to put yourself first—you’ll see that many things in your life will change for the better, not just your money.
P.S. I work on my energy to stop my codependency and I talk about this in my free ebook Money Chakras, which approach your money blocks from an energy standpoint. You can download the free ebook here.