Understanding Codependency & Self-Love Deficiency - The Holsitic/Psychological View
By jona bryndis, May 4 2019 03:49AM
Confusing Unmet Needs With Inadequacy - Part 3
If our lives are run by the constant need for approval, self-doubt and not feeling good enough we are confusing our own needs with those of others. Through our empathic ability to anticipate, give and provide for needs/pleasure for others we unconsciously make our sense of self depend on our ability to give. However, our needs and wants are what define our sense for self. It provides us with the feedback of our state of being. When we don't know what we need or we can't express them properly we cannot feel ourselves! The codependent fixates on meeting other people's needs so that we can feel fulfillment and self-awareness in a different way.
How come, that when it comes to our own needs we are often totally blind to the fact that we are incapable to meeting our needs? The psychological point of view for this particular mechanism of assuming other people's needs and trying to fulfill them instead of our own is called Projection.Projecting our own needs onto others means that we cannot or don't want to allow ourselves to recognize that it's actually our own needs that need fulfillment.
Unconscious CODEPENDENT PATTERNS, such as projection confuse our perception of truth and ultimately lead us to believing that there must be something wrong with us. There are many more aspects of the complex subject of codependent patterns, but in context with self-love deficiency let's focus on the UNMET NEEDS aspect of this pattern.
Codependency is fueled by our fear of rejection and not being good enough, und thus makes us question ourself, not realizing how our striving for 'becoming better' perpetuates and enables the codependent cycle and its toxicity in relationships.In order to break through this convoluted dance between wanting to express our love through giving, we need to realize how our ability to love ourselves was slowly substituted by the validation we expect in return. We not only became dependent on needing to be needed, but we also PROJECTED OUR NEEDS ONTO OTHERS, which puts the responsibility for meeting our needs also onto the hands of the other.
Underneath this difficult coping behavior lies the rejection of self-responsibility and not wanting to face the reality of having unmet needs. In the attempt to receive the love we need we fixate on helping, serving or pleasing others instead of allowing others to give. It makes us feel resentful, taken advantage of, victimized or traumatized, yet we aren't recognizing how we enabled our needs to be ignored by refusing to take responsibility for ourselves. For the often co-addictive and self-defeating codependent mechanism in us to heal we will have to learn how to allow ourselves to feel into our needs and wants again without doubt or guilt. Here is where many of us get stuck. Not only do we doubt that we deserve to be loved in the way we want it, we also can't even feel what we need or truly want! Our skewed perception of normal and abnormally high threshold for pain make it difficult for us to determine what is good, meaningful and healthy for us. Often we are so used to having inconsistent or non-existent boundaries that we don't even notice when our needs aren't met or boundaries violated.
Here three questions ask ourselves if we are not sure if we are in tune with our own needs. They can help us to become more familiar and accepting of our needs, but most importantly, they can remind us to self-reflect on our own needs:
"How does this feel to me?"
"Does this feel healthy/expansive/loving to me?"
"What do I truly need right now?”
In order the rebuild a better foundation for our sense of self it is important to become aware of the hierarchy of human needs (here, a chart freely adopted from Maslow's Hierchary of Needs Pyramid.) Without a proper foundation at the bottom, higher hierarchies of needs cannot be manifested or maintained.
When we cannot meet our fundamental needs our ego tries to cope by refocusing on other - external - things or people (see the arrow on the left.)
While it appears obvious that this coping cannot fill the hole, the mechanism leading to our inability to determine and express our needs goes back to our early childhood. Depending on how our early expressions of needs and wants were answered or responded to we developed either a SECURE OR INSECURE ATTACHMENT to the way we perceive our NEED OR WANT. In extreme cases our needs were neglected, minimized or even experienced the abuse of being coerced into meeting the care giver’s needs. The beginning of us disregarding and not being able to feel our own needs and wants satiated is in inadequate parenting.
That said, it is important to understand that its insufficient parenting is normal and almost inevitable. Nobody experiences 100% the perfect childhood. When trying to better understand our codependency we cannot get stuck at blaming our parents, but it can help to realize that unresolved Inner Child Aspects and Childhood Trauma (which disregards natural developmental needs and boundaries) are directly linked to our codependency and relationship issues (also see video about TRAUMA LOAD - Adverse Childhood Experiences.)
This is a simplified way of looking at codependent behaviors, yet it hints at the importance of facing the truth of our childhood attachments. If they are left unresolved, initial infantile coping mechanisms can develop into our persistent blindspots.If the way our ego coped with the disruption, disregard, traumatization or neglect of our need to be loved and nurtured in childhood doesn’t not further evolve, our ATTACHMENT PATTERN can rule our relationships and behavior patterns. If we want to understand what makes us susceptible to recurring issues in our relationships and the retraumatization that depend our pain and coping cycle, we need to reflect on the underlying unmet needs that lead to developing codependency patterns.
HEALING OUR CONFUSED SENSE OF SELF
Underneath most our perceived inadequacy and “not feeling good enough" lies a profound belief that we have be or act in a certain to deserve love. Many of us have been conditioned to believe this, not because our parents didn’t love us enough, but because we never really experienced UNCONDITIONALITY. We simply don't 'know' what it feels like and therefore live our life striving for becoming an IDEALIZED VERSION OF OURSELVES that - so we believe - one that is worthier of receiving love than ‘the way we are’.
Again, while it helps us to develop at least some form of self-esteem it can also lead to an EXTERNALIZATION OF SELF. By seeing ourselves through he eyes of others, we cannot actually feel love without condition. Again, it is important to have compassion for ourselves and to look at our parents’ inadequacy with the understanding that their inability to give unconditional love is most likely rooted in them never really having experienced it either! Blaming our parents only deepens the codependency cycle and isn’t what this article is trying to show!
Another common codependent misconception about love is to assume that we have to PERFORM in a certain way in order to be loved. Whether this was deliberate, unconscious or projected from our parents is irrelevent. What’s more important is to understand how it created a tremendous amount of energetic and emotional - often also mental and physical stress in us. It caused a set of UNCONSCIOUS BELIEFS in us to form, that did not only made it difficult to develop trust and intimacy with others, but it left us with the insecure feeling that love is a reward and not a need. It conditioned us to focusing on the needs/wants of our object of love in order to ‘get’ it.
In the attempt to become 'more lovable’ then, we try anything to fulfill their requests, often even their unconscious projections onto us. It makes us take on a persona, a False Self, that now becomes an integral part of how we perceive ourselves. The traumatizing aspect about identifying with the False Self is not only that it’s not our True Self, but that it’s a version of ourselves that we ourselves regard as worthier of love.
The problem with this is that deep down, our True Self knows that this isn't who we truly are. Energetically and often also mentally and emotionally, this leads to a highly conflicted sense of self. It is in constant battle with our enlarged SUPER EGO, which constantly monitors our performance and plagues us with an overactive CRITICAL INNER VOICE. It confuses our sense of self even further and makes it almost impossible to trust in our inner feelings and emotions. It distances us from our TRUE SELF and ultimately misleads us to having unrealistic expectations of ourselves and others. It sets us up for disappointment, victimhood and loneliness.
TRYING HARDER, CONTROLLING AND JUDGING has nothing to do with UNCONDITIONAL LOVE!
As we see ourselves caught in a wheel of performing, perfectionism and control we find ourselves unable to let go out of fear to lose our partner, if we don’t go the extra mile to make him/her happy. Like with other addictive behavior patterns, we believe we MUST perform in order to get love. Codependency is therefore also called CO-ADDICTION. Not only because it is often observed in relationships with substance/abuse, but because the of the addictive nature of the codependent.
What the codependent cannot realize is that he/she EXTERNALIZES LOVE and thus IDENTIFIES HIM/HERSELF with the False Self now. The fatal consequences of this ever repeating CYCLE OF FEAR, DISSAPPOINTMENT, INNER BATTLE & GUILT. The longer this cycle continues the more difficult it becomes for the codependent to feel TRUE FEELINGS.
Continuing to allow our FALSE SELF IDENTIFICATION to hold us back from fully expressing and actualizing who are we makes us become unable to FEEL SELF-LOVE. And if we cannot feel unconditional Self-Love we CANNOT RECOGNIZE if we are truly loved! Conditional love leads to coping, inconsistent boundaries, enabling, resentments and manipulation.
The objective of the Codependency Healing modality is to assist the codependent in refocusing their attention to their TRUE SELF. In order to experience loving and lasting relationships we often need to relearn how to experience joy and give ourselves permission feel alive first! The attuned frequency for this modality is UNCONDITIONALITY, which translates directly as Self-Love and its shared form with others as True Love (read "Understanding True Love") through LETTING GO OF PERFORMING RATHER THAN FEELING LOVE.
Learning to love oneself is the gateway to intimacy and openness. It releases us from searching for love outside of ourselves into a space where the love we can align to leads us to the life that our heart needs.
Thank you for your time.
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