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Co-dependence to Independence to Interdependence

Creating a win-win life of freedom, love, joy and expansion with self and others
by Melanie Tonia Evans
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We have all understood our life from the 'outside in' paradigm, believing that our needs are supplied by something or someone outside of us. This leaves us in a very precarious position. It is self-defeating to believe that our happiness, self-esteem and purpose are anyone else's job.

If we haven't claimed our identity, we are defenceless to the effects of life outside of ourselves. Working on emotional maturity, healthy boundary-setting, self-identity and alignment with Life Principles that work allows us to enter a state of independence, which then sets the platform to not only secure private accomplishment, but one that will expand into public accomplishment.

This transformation secures a synergistic expansion of love, happiness and success with others and our environment.

Ultimately our 'new world' that is emerging is one that works with the components of love, trust, warmth and communion. The days of 'dog eat dog', 'survival of the fittest', and 'me versus you' and 'I need to succeed with intimidation, victim behaviour or manipulation' have now become ineffectual, and create great disappointment, delays and pain.

These old states are ego (fear-based) mechanisms that don't create lasting and solid love, success and happiness. 'Win-lose' is no longer the workable trend. 'Win-win' is now the goal.

Businesses, love relationships and families in modern times are breaking apart as a result of fear based, 'low-trust' conditions. As a species, we are all evolving and sensing the need for healthy and trustworthy connections. No longer will many spouses or employees tolerate the stresses of 'lack of trust'. The days of 'put up and shut up' are becoming obsolete, and are becoming exposed.

No longer can 'lack of trust' and 'lack of connection with others and our environment' create worthy realities. These old incongruent energy statements are becoming more obvious and more unbearable to live with. It's time to change!

We are all being called, as part of 'a new world', to make the journey from co-dependence to independence to interdependence.

The Steps of the Journey

Co-dependence can be termed as: relying on others to provide what we are not providing for ourselves. Obviously as new born babies we are extremely co-dependent. We have no ability to provide safety, survival needs and emotional sustenance for ourselves. In our co-dependent stages of life we are totally vulnerable and all of our trust is placed on the actions and resources of others. We, on our own, are powerless.

Independence can be termed as: being self-reliant, self-empowered and capable of providing our own needs, emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. As we grow older we begin making progress towards independence. In our independent stages of life we build purpose, direction and trust for ourselves. We are powerful within our own energy and know that we can rely on and provide for ourselves.

Interdependence can be termed as: being a whole and balanced person who is able to share with and join in the healthy resources of life and others. This facilitates an even greater expansion in life than the independent stage, as we now have unlimited access to even more love, success and happiness than we could have provided for ourselves.


So you see... THIS IS THE GOAL - to create powerful, healthy interdependence.

The journey of co-dependence to independence to interdependence is a very necessary journey and each stage is necessary. The end goal cannot be achieved without the building processes of the stages preceding them.

In other words, we must leave behind our co-dependent behaviour to step up into independence, and we must have a solid sense of independence to be able to function effectively in interdependence. Having said this, it isn't necessary to be solely independent before working on interdependence. These two stages can be achieved simultaneously. It certainly is a truth the more healthy your emotional independence operates (as opposed to pure practical independence) the easier it will be to connect to healthy interdependence.

Examination of the Limitations of Co-dependence

Co-dependence is an aspect of ourselves that can be difficult to overcome. It is an extremely powerless state that has been our understanding of life for centuries.

When we are acting co-dependently, we set ourselves up for a lose/win or lose/lose situation. Our energies and effects are focused on other people and situations rather than ourself. It is easy to think they have the problems. But in reality they often don't have the problems because we are busy fixing and controlling everything for them. They are reaping the 'rewards' (a life without having to take responsibility for problems) and we feel abandoned, unsupported, victimised, angry and distressed. And maybe we are helping these people so much that we are enabling their addictions, immature or abusive behaviour, and creating an energy exchange which helps them stay sick.

The biggest problem is: as a co-dependent we ALWAYS LOSE, because we become empty, powerless and unable to plot our own course independent of others and life. By trying to control aspects outside of ourselves, we end up obsessing and creating over-involvement and become emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually controlled by the life details or people we are obsessing about.

In order to create a life that works it is essential to outgrow our co-dependent states as much as possible.

Keys to understand if you are co-dependent

How many of these are applicable to you?

  • Do you spend a lot of time worrying about what other people think about you?
  • Do you often analyse other peoples' lives?
  • Do you get distressed by 'bad things' that happen which are out of your control?
  • Do you say and do what you think other people want you to say and do?
  • Do you try to control other people's behaviour so that you can feel OK?
  • When an interaction with someone goes 'wrong' do you spend time analysing their actions, what they said and what they might be feeling and thinking?
  • Do you find it difficult to speak up and confront an issue when you feel uncomfortable?
  • Do you blame other people for the way you feel?
  • Do other people's moods bring your own mood down?
  • Do you immediately think of someone else who needs this information more than you?
  • Do you seek and listen to other people's opinions rather than seeking and listening to your own?
  • Do you obsess over having said the wrong thing or hurting someone else's feelings?

We can all be guilty of these traits. When we are, we have lost a connection to ourselves by handing our power over to life and others. No longer are we capable of sustaining our needs and looking after ourselves, we have forfeited this 'worthiness and trust' to conditions on the outside - conditions that we have no control over, and no right to control! Co-dependency fosters insecurity, anxiety, depression and in many cases leads to premature death. In its advanced stages the disease of co-dependency is deadly. I believe co-dependency is the greatest emotionally destructive factor in humankind.

Most people don't act co-dependently when things are GOOD! (When life and others are supplying their needs). Most people act CODEPENDENTLY when the going gets tough! (When life and others aren't supplying their needs).

We can all blame life and situations for throwing us into turmoil - but the truth is these challenging times are only EXPOSING the lack of self-resources and self-belief we had on-line in the first place. If 'other people bring you down' - your state of 'down' was lying just under the surface before the event occurred!

THEREFORE - the number ONE priority is to stop being just a 'fair weather person' and know that you can 'hold it together in a storm'. These stormy times are inevitable (they are a part of life) and through these times we gain enormous confidence and resources to become self-empowered. These times are a gift. The irony is the more we deal with them, the fewer storms come.

Your REAL job is to build your character. And then all of life will follow.

Another essential truth of life is:
It is not what people and situations have done to us that created our agony. It was our decision to create the agony as a reaction to these people and situations that has tormented us. I understand and empathise that as children - YES we were defenceless. We didn't have developed emotional intelligence or healthy boundary functions. However, as adults we have the power to make new choices. To make other people's emotional weaknesses OUR emotional weaknesses is self-defeating.

For more information regarding co-dependency, read the Article Co-Dependency Issues - Learning How to "Let Go".

You Always Have the Choice to Move Out of Co-dependency.

 

Here are some further questions to consider in regard to co-dependency.

  • Do you give in to other people's expectations and demands even when you feel uncomfortable?
  • Do you feel controlled by life and don't believe you have a choice in many circumstances?
  • Do you follow protocols and traditions that you don't agree with anymore?
  • Would you rather distress yourself than upset someone else?
  • Do you focus on changing others rather than changing yourself?
  • Do you grab onto things and people outside of yourself to feel better?

 

Many of us use and think co-dependent statements, such as:

  • "I really should..."
  • "I don't want to but I have to..."
  • "There's nothing I can do about it..."
  • "I can't help the way I feel..."
  • "That's just the way I am..."
  • "I'll never be any good at that..."

All of these statements are victim statements that create powerlessness in situations.

Let's look at an alternative way to live simply by affirming that we always have the power to CHOOSE our realities:

  • "I choose to not do this now..."
  • "I choose to honour what I said I would do..."
  • "I choose to let go of what I can't control..."
  • "I choose to feel happy regardless of..."
  • "I choose to become a better person and create a better life..."
  • "I choose to improve at the things I am interested in..."

If you catch yourself using victim (powerless statements) make a decision and a CHOICE!

The Platform of Independence

Independence is essential. Your life is your job. Everyone else's life is their job. Please see Inner Foundation of Trust to gain information as to why it is so important to have a solid and consistent sense of self.

Part of a healthy independent foundation is having a mature boundary function. There is no need to allow anything to penetrate your inner sense of self unless you choose to. This is why some people get extremely distressed (and even obsessive) over a particular person or event, whereas another could see it 'for what it is', do whatever was appropriate and in their authentic control (make a decision that applied to themselves) without wasting emotional energy on it by obsessing over the unknown or trying to control the uncontrollable (a dynamic that was outside their power of influence).

Be very clear your emotional energy is best spent within the life-affirming decisions of your own life. It isn't productive to burn it up on things outside of you that you have no control over. This doesn't mean you don't have feelings or a conscience. Quite the contrary. By having a healthy boundary function, you recognise where you can help, how to help in empowered ways, and you make a decision that creates a win/win opportunity for everyone involved. No longer do you fuel yourself and someone else's dysfunctions and insecurities by reacting in unhealthy ways.

Achieving independence means releasing yourself from the need for other people to validate your sense of self. I'll explain with an example...

Some time ago my son and I had an interaction. He had spent money on a social event and hadn't saved enough money to have petrol in his car to get to work. My sense of self on this matter is - I am living a principle centered life (non-co-dependent) where I no longer fix his 'irresponsible mistakes' for him and I don't enable him to be irresponsible. When he asked if he could borrow my car (he knew my take on lending him money), I calmly and clearly said "No." When he asked me why, I stated my declaration of truth on the matter quietly and calmly. He ranted and raved a bit which I totally ignored. An hour later we were having tea together as if nothing had happened and he'd rung one of his friends to organise a lift. After he finished work we had pleasant talks about other unrelated issues.

In the past I would have acted co-dependently. I would have argued and been totally dismayed if he didn't understand my point of view. One of the biggest lessons I have learnt in life is: It's not important for other people to 'get it.' It's important that I 'get it.'

So you can see the old pattern would have created a Lose/Win - if I had given in and fixed his problem for him with my own resources, or a Lose/Lose where we both would have lost because I was enabling him to be irresponsible. And what's more we could have argued for two days about my 'Disbelief of His Irresponsible and Thoughtless Behaviour' and his version 'What an Unsupportive Mother I Am'.

Instead my decisions: 1) Knowing where I stood, 2) Stating it with no guilt, fear, explanations or justifications and 3) Detaching from him 'getting it' or validating it - created a Win/Win, not in the sense of a marvelous synergistic transformation (which is possible in interdependent problem solving) but most definitely a Win/Win. My resource and principle centre was not exploited and I was implementing by example mature and responsible behaviour, which was to his advantage.

Part of being a healthy independent with a sense of inner self is escaping the need for the quick emotional fix. Our co-dependent nature wants relief, validation (to be understood) and results immediately. This is why we go in harder trying to make it happen. This is a function of the ego that is immature (scared) and perceives scarcity. "If I don't get it now, there may not be more later on, or someone else is going to get it."

Healthy independence KNOWS that if we live calmly with an inner foundation of principles that life will bit by bit, slowly and surely respond and match these principles. By not being attached to timing, we are simply attached to doing the right thing - the thing that works, and trusting the process to unfold in its own time accordingly. Healthy independence realises that the old emotional and co-dependent behaviours create temporary relief at best, disasters and blows ups at worst, and are simply band-aid attempts that don't have durable results.

The Transcendence of Interdependence

As unlimited beings and incredibly powerful creators, we have an ability to create a synergistic exchange with life and others that far exceeds the love, success and happiness that we or another party could solely create. In fact when two forces come together (even if they are opposing) a new force can be born - a third solution that grants each party an even better win than was previously available. When we open our minds and our hearts to this, it's exciting. Why? Because the possibilities are limitless.

This goal creates a necessity to be open to other people, other situations and other ways. If we have a firm sense of self we can listen and seek to understand another point of view without the fear of being overtaken or attacked. It doesn't mean we have to agree, but it means we have to listen and empathise with this person's feelings on a matter.

Most people don't listen. They are busy pushing their experience, their framework and their beliefs over the top of another person's frame of reference. This comes from the inbuilt fear of needing to be understood - which is what every person truly wants. Naturally this pushing creates a push back where the other person is trying to do the same. In this state of non-evolved problem-solving the most convincing, intimidating or manipulative person will win. The person that backs down will lose. This Win/Lose dynamic destroys potential for trust, teamwork and connection, and seriously undermines relationships in all walks of life.

The golden key to creating healthy interdependence is: understand yourself without the need for others to understand you, and then seek to understand them.

(Please note - this level of connection and problem solving is not possible with Personality Disordered people).

Let's start with the first step...

It is logical in an energy based reality to embrace the concept of 'like attracts like'. And this 'like' is an inner state, because this is where our energy emanates from.

If you trust and know yourself:
  • Other people are going to be more open to trusting and knowing you
  • You will not be hankered by the 'need to be understood' every time you have a conversation with someone.
  • You will be safe and secure enough to listen and be open to someone else's beliefs, feelings and model of life knowing full well that you have the power to remain safely in your centre.
  • You know their communication is about them and you don't have to take it on personally and make it about you.

By leading the way, you can allow the other individual to feel open and trusted. You will hear the heart of their concerns, rather than defensive and projecting logical arguments, by being genuinely interested in their feelings and perceptions with empathy. You don't have to agree with them, you simply need to honour that they are also a human beings with real feelings and emotions and are entitled to their view of life.

I say to my son, "I don't have to believe in everything you do. But this doesn't mean that I don't always believe in you." By saying this he feels supported, understood and trusted, and in turn he trusts me and shares his issues and feelings openly with me. I am blessed to experience our connection as a 'team.'

An interesting and powerful miracle occurs when you genuinely and openly listen and emotionally validate another individual's concerns and what is on their mind. In almost every case they will then allow you to do the same. Then, as if there is a force all of its own, a higher solution appears. This solution is more than a compromise - it is a greater reality than either of you could have created if you were defending your own frame of reference and trying to disagree with the other. And a spectacular Win/Win occurs for both parties. Trust, communion, love, respect and teamwork are created.

One of the most powerful statements you can make to another person who is challenging you in your personal life or in business is:
"I truly want to understand what your concerns are and know what the problems are from your point of view. I am here to genuinely listen."

Then to do this with no other reason than to genuinely understand and connect. This is not a tool to use to manipulate others to get your own way. If you are stuck in a Win/Lose framework you'll keep creating people in your life who leave and don't 'want to play anymore' no matter how much you try to conceal the true motives.

Please note it takes courage and a high level of emotional maturity and calm healthy boundaries to really take this journey. Make it a goal and apply the awareness and processes to your life and you'll notice spectacular differences.

We all require the energetic support of life and others to really, really, really shine - and others in the world require our love and support to really, really, really shine. This communion and teamwork is the way to create a life of spectacular love and inspiration. This is the truth and the necessary shift of our new world. We all have the power to assist this shift. Please do it with all your heart!!

 

 

Melanie
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Copyright © 2008 Melanie Tonia Evans. All Rights Reserved.
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