Watch out for the teacher’s pet of co-dependency this season. Why now? Sending kids off to face another year of bullying classmates and challenging teachers triggers our need to protect them. Or more accurately, OVER protect them. In other cases, maybe we just want a calm, quiet morning, so we do a little more for them just to keep the peace. Unless we are doing these things because of our own desire to connect, we end up feeling exhausted, disempowered or resentful … anything but loved.

When hurtful co-dependency patterns are cloaked in tradition, guilt and anxiety join the party and we quickly can feel overwhelmed and underappreciated. While connecting is important to well-being, when we prioritize others’ desires over our own, we run the risk of alienating everyone. It’s a double-edged sword.

Here 10 Ways To Break The Co-dependency Patterns That Can Hurt Us

  1. Detach. Step back from the busy-ness of the day and give yourself the gift of space.
  2. Check-in. How are you feeling in this moment?
  3. Be curious. Leave judgment behind and replace it with genuine curiosity and wonder. It stops the hamster-on-the-wheel thoughts that continue to go ‘round and ‘round.
  4. Get connected to your own body. Where in your body are you feeling tension or stress? Do you have an ‘elephant on your chest’, a tightness in your neck and shoulders or does your lower back ache? Connect the emotion with the physical sensation of where it is in your body and discover how your body responds. In this way, when you start to feel a tingling you know that the situation or conversation is unhealthy for you.
  5. Acknowledge. Know that you are doing the best you can right now … and so is everyone else.
  6. Listen. Just stop talking.
  7. Eat. Nourish yourself with wholesome food and stay hydrated.
  8. Sleep. Give your body a chance to rest, rejuvenate and heal itself.
  9. Spend some time being you. What do you look forward to during the holidays? Spend some time doing those kinds of things every day. When you fill yourself up, it is your overflow that nourishes others; you are not depleting yourself to care for others.
  10. Be grateful. Meet the day with fresh eyes – like you are experiencing everything and everyone for the first time.

Take that first step away from co-dependency and move toward autonomy by prioritizing yourself. Teach others how to treat you by treating yourself well. Try it!

Coloring BookDid you know the 12 Steps, which have helped millions find recovery, can also help their loved ones find peace and serenity? Check out our latest book, Find Your True Colors In 12-Steps.

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Elizabeth Viszt
Elizabeth is a certified Educational Specialist and Success Coach. She has a BA, MS in biology with a concentration in ethology (animal behavior), is an EAGALA Equine Specialist in equine assisted learning and personal development, and has extensive personal leadership skills. She spent much of her career in education at the high school, college and correctional facility levels teaching biology & chemistry and acting in the capacity of a success coach. Elizabeth presents workshops and seminars which address communication issues as they manifest in personal relationships. She uses writing as both a creative and cathartic outlet, especially after losing both of her parents to cancer in 2015. She lives in upstate NY, on a farm that bears the name of her motto: Be Unreasonable! She's invested in empowering others in moving their pieces forward in the world.

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