From Codependency to the Light

Codependency Therapy Nancy'S Counseling CornerHave you discovered your authentic self? If you have grown up codependent, it may take awhile to find that truth within you. For example, you may have had an alcoholic and/or narcissistic mother around whom your identity was formed. It was not your existence that mattered, but your mother’s. You were important for what you had to give to her. But your true, authentic self, independent of your mother, is what needs to find the light.

Recognition Is an End and a Beginning

Once you recognize that you have been emotionally abused, you become aware of codependent patterns that set you up for being repeatedly emotionally abused. You have depended on the approval of others to define you in the past, and you continue to look for similar relationships to define yourself going forward.

It is time to break the pattern. It is time to stop denying that your life is out of balance. It is time to stop giving your mother the power to define you. And to stop hoping she will admit and apologize, because if she does, it will probably not be because you somehow made her do it. Difficult as it is, you must make peace with the fact that she is a selfish, wounded woman incapable of loving you as you would wish. You need to let go of the idea that she can change and love you in a healthy way. So you can begin anew.

Stop Giving Your Abusers Power

It is time to learn how to have an emotionally healthy relationship with yourself. This is especially difficult since you have been discounted and abused in childhood, and so taught not to trust your own feelings and perceptions. But once you recognize you have been emotionally abused, many things fall into place. It’s easy at this juncture to play the blame game. You blame your abuser—and get angry. A certain amount of this is certainly understandable.

But when you let righteous indignation take over for too long, you are prolonging the feeling of victimhood. Yes, you have been abused and yes, you feel like a victim, but don’t let it define who you are. Don’t give it, and therefore your abuser, power. A certain amount of blaming and complaining is natural, but too much is not healthy. And it’s not one hundred percent honest to blame abusers who themselves have been abused. You are in unhealthy life patterns that you need to break yourself.

The No Blame Game

It is hard to get over blaming your abuser, and you certainly don’t want to replace it by blaming yourself. So many people are wounded. So many families have been dysfunctional for generations. You must heal your own wounds without blaming others, and you must own responsibility for your own actions without blaming yourself.

That doesn’t mean you don’t have a right to be angry. You certainly do. Be angry. Own that anger. And then try to let it go. Look upon this as an opportunity to find your true self. Start looking at your life with unvarnished honesty—dissolve the denial you have had to have to exist as a codependent.

Get Ready for a New Beginning

Recovery is a journey. Now that you have recognized dysfunctional patterns in your life—now that you understand the harm codependency causes you—you are ready to take that journey. We’ll talk about recovery from codependency next week.


Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: