Artwork by Carpusor Ovidiu
– article written in 2009 during my trip to Osho’s ashram in India –
I look around and I see in front of me a poster with the headline “Recognizing Codependency”. I don’t linger over it and I join the group of codependents, feeling a bit awkward.
Codependency in a relationship is when we want the other to change or when we are expecting something from the other. The lesson continues and the therapist explains the way we connect in relationships. He captivated my entire attention as if I was about to find out one of life’s biggest secrets. For a better understanding he explained to us like in school how each of us involves three energetic layers in the communication process.
The first one is represented by our essence – the life energy each of us has within. This is our entire potential to give and receive love. When we communicate through this layer we are more open than ever to those around us and we emanate positive energy. We smile authentically and live in the moment from the heart. The best example is when we are in love at the beginning of a relationship. We love and are loved back and declare ourselves happy to the world. We tell ourselves that we finally found him, “The One”, and we breathe relieved that we got our turn to the happiness well.
The story continues and it seems as if always following the same script.
Something happens and we become vulnerable as soon as we intercept the smallest probability for one of our expectations to be broken. Over time, sadness and unfulfillment get a grasp of us, and we don’t even understand why we start wondering if it’s right or not. Looking around, he is still the one we’ve fallen in love with, and we don’t seem to have any specific reasons for doubt. All this is happening when another energetic layer interferes in our interaction, the emotional wounds. Either coming from our childhood or from previous relationships, we carry them with us unconsciously, like shadows that are looking forward to gloom our happiness’ sun. The most powerful emotional wounds are abandonment, shame, and trauma. We all have lived very intensely at least one of them. The pain of that experience remained deeply imprinted in our soul, and in time we covered it in fear. The fear of being rejected, punished or left functions like a warning signal in order to make us avoid the memory of the original wound.
Since feelings governed by fear are difficult to stand, we quickly turn to the third layer: the protections. These are walls that we unconsciously build in the interaction with the other. They can be activated if we voice them out externally and we manifest ourselves through sarcasm, anger, judgment, or we intensively practice blaming the other. Or they can be passive if we direct them internally and we experience feelings of unfulfillment, lack of acceptance, giving up, uselessness etc. We all know it well what happens when we start to communicate with the loved one through our protection walls. We speak the same language but we understand different things. Frustration and the feeling of being misunderstood lead us to the relationship’s Tower of Babel. Then the story ends with a breakup explained through character mismatch and we can hardly remember the love from the beginning. Later we fall in love again and this is how we start it all over, repeating history with another “The One”.
The reason for which we recreate the same situations in relationships is that we expect the other to take care of our wounds. We close ourselves off at the first sign that accesses our less conscious fears and we limit the energy of our essence.
What we should do in order to avoid ruining the relationships with the loved ones, I found out in the second part of the workshop, after a tea brake where I kept wondering why we don’t learn these things in school.
Essential communication in a relationship is based on expressing difficulties, the feelings caused by them, and our needs. Codependency consists of the incapacity to accept the risk that our need might not be fulfilled by the loved one. If we manage to take responsibility for our own emotional needs, then we can live more freely, and love becomes shared energy, not a chain of masked conditionings.
The better we know ourselves, the more space we have to interact authentically with the others. Life is a creative challenge and each experience from our past is just another color on the current canvas.