Grieving Through Codependence

Healing from our codependence involves a lot of self awareness and work.  A significant part of being codependent involves living in and through a False Self, unconsciously feeling the pain of this as well as a lot of resentment and frustration, often without fully knowing why.  As we begin to wake up and touch base with some of the hidden feelings of our True Self we touch base with a lot of loss.  We have lost much through codependence which often results from having emotionally unavailable, addicted parents or parents themselves afflicted with codependence or addicted or emotionally unavailable parents.

I usually find that deconstructing codependence involves a considerable amount of grieving.  Typically this entails many tears about the loss and pain of being so long without a healthy self-interest and self-protection.  Grieving also unlocks healthy anger about a life lived with such a diminished self.

This anger can then be used to build a healthy fight response.  Once again, the fight response is the basis of the instinct of self protection, of balanced assertiveness, and of the courage that is needed to make relationships equal and reciprocal.

Peter Walker, Complex PTSD, From Surviving to Thriving

The healthy fight response is probably the very thing that we were shamed for in childhood.  I have also been shamed for it by at least three therapists.  I remember reading in a book by John Lee on recovery that it was important to be aware that many therapists out there haven’t always dealt fully with their own anger and grief.  If they have not you may find yourself being shamed, especially if there is an element of transference going on with the therapist.  A healthy therapist will be aware of this. They will also apologise if and when they make a mistake and not turn it back on you.  A therapist is a guide, you are the one who most deeply knows your own reality at least at a bodily level, you will get signals if your deepest need and truth is not mirrored or understood.

In the later stages of co-dependence recovery and recovery of your True Self the experience of feelings of anger and the need to set boundaries are deeply challenging, especially if we have developed a compliant self in an attempt to win respect and love.   The fear we feel (which dates from the past) can be so powerful we collapse back and the cost may be feelings of depression.  As Pete Walker points out in his book when learning to act assertively we must “Feel the fear and do it anyway.”  If and when we do we will begin to experience an increased sense of inner strength.

I remember the first few times of setting a boundary with my Mum experiencing considerable abandonment fear.  Melody Beattie calls this powerful feeling “after burn”.   It helps to have support and validation from a support group or therapist or friend who can mirror the true reality for you and help you to contain fear.

Development of a healthy self protection is so important for both emotional and physical health.  Medical doctor Gabor Mate has shown in his book When The Body Says No inability to sufficiently grieve our childhood, express our anger assertively  and set boundaries has a detrimental effect on the immune system contributing to all kinds of physical diseases.  Co-dependent patterns as they progress most certainly become toxic to our health.

There is no easy path through the grief process of healing co-dependence and childhood hurt.  Coming out of denial and not accepting minimisation or rationalisation from both internal and external sources is vital to the grief process.  There need be no shame around grieving.  It is important work which we cannot avoid on the path to greater peace, contentment and well being.

Resource with great information on recovery from Complex PTSD :

Complex PTSD

Published by: emergingfromthedarknight

"The religious naturalist is provisioned with tales of natural emergence that are, to my mind, far more magical than traditional miracles. Emergence is inherent in everything that is alive, allowing our yearning for supernatural miracles to be subsumed by our joy in the countless miracles that surround us." Ursula Goodenough How to describe oneself? People are a mystery and there is so much more to us than just our particular experiences or occupations. I could write down a list of attributes and they still might not paint a complete picture pf Deborah Louise and in any case it would not be the full truth of me. I would say that my purpose here on Wordpress is to express some of my random experiences, thoughts and feelings, to share about my particular journey and explore some subjects dear to my heart, such as emotional recovery, healing and astrology while posting up some of the prose/poems which are an outgrowth of my labours with life, love and relationships. If anything I write touches you I would be so pleased to hear for the purpose of reaching out and expressung ourselves is hopefully to connect with each other and find where our souls meet.

Categories Co dependency, Emotional Recovery, Fear, Self Awareness, Self Empowerment, Transformation5 Comments

5 thoughts on “Grieving Through Codependence”

  1. You’ve covered so much in this article along with eloquent writing. Dealing with grieving is where I’m at now, yet I still can’t get past the feeling that I’m releasing “healthy” anger.


    1. Yes, GOOD ON YOU, I think a lot of damage happens when our anger gets converted into grief and if you had to fawn or collapse to please the parent you can end up burying so much rage. Tears may hide a lot of anger inside them. We need to learn to fight back and self protect. This is something Pete Walker really addresses in his book on CPTSD


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