This is for all the helpers and the people who regularly feel the need to save the day for everyone. It’s a great quality to be so helpful all the time but it can be done for the wrong reasons. Codependency is grey, similar to narcissism. You can either be an extreme codependent or a higher functioning person with codependent tendencies.
The extreme codependent has a need to be around people all the time, always be in a relationship, is needy with low self-esteem, and basically cannot take care of themselves in many ways. This person helps everyone and every situation because they have no sense of self.
The higher functioning person with codependent tendencies is likely to only be this way with specific people, and not everyone. They somewhat know what they think and how they feel, and have some sense of relationship with themselves, but they don’t always honor that. Both of these people struggle with the same things but do it in a different way.
There are two big reasons codependents take on so much – poor boundaries and suffering from being the caretaker all the time. The caretaker just wants to help and feels it’s their responsibility to solve everyone’s problems. This person takes on other people’s problems as if they are their own. Oftentimes, being an empath and a codependent go hand-in-hand. If you don’t have any boundaries and don’t have a strong sense of self as an empath, you are probably codependent.
If you suffer from the caretaker mentality, you likely grew up in an out-of-control home where you felt the adults in your life were not capable of handling things. You probably stepped up and did things for yourself and maybe others; such as a parent, siblings, or other family members. You learned at a young age that you had to be the caretaker, and noticed you weren’t nurtured the way you should have been.
Because you felt out of control, you learned what you feel gets suppressed so that became your programming. In a relationship, you always put yourself second and the other person always comes first. It’s hard for you to understand that you must separate yourself from someone else’s life. You take on everything because that sense of feeling out of control makes you want to fix it. It’s quite exhausting though, and not healthy at all, but it gives you a sense of relief because that’s what you were programmed to do.
When you begin to heal from codependency, you need to start putting the focus on yourself. You must have a good sense of self and know how you feel. You must take care of yourself first, and cannot be everything for everyone all of the time, because you are doing this from an unhealthy place.
There’s a difference between wanting to help someone because you can and doing it because you feel you must get involved and solve their issues. You are going off of programming and this is just how you’ve always been, but you need to stop and think about which direction to go in.
Here’s the difficult part – if you take a different direction than you usually would, it might not be comfortable. This is because you are changing a habit and that feels very uncomfortable in the beginning. You may feel guilt and shame, and your mind will go to a place to support the old stories. It’s because you are not used to putting yourself first and don’t know how you feel.