Codependency Sucks!

Every protection layer holds a treasure
Every protection layer holds a treasure

As a coach for Conscious Awareness and Intuition, I find it very relevant to go through my own healing as much as I can, so I can support others on their path. Recently, I have tackled (again) the topic of codependency, which has been a part of my life for about 40 years. Now, I have reached a point where I am able to share my thoughts, feelings and part of my walk with you, and I hope you can find value in my words.

Codependency is defined as a psychological condition, and involves many factors. Having grown up as a codependent child, I wasn't aware of this condition at all, I just lived my life the best I could. And I want to stress out that it is nobody's fault that I grew up the way I did - it just happened.


On a soul level, I do believe that I consciously chose to live all the experiences in my life, which doesn't make it easier living them though and doesn't vouch as an excuse for anything either.

So when did I become aware of the term codependency? A friend mentioned it to me a few years back (feels like a lifetime ago!), as she was going through her own healing and invited me to come to a self-help group with her. I went and I could relate a little, but nothing really hit me in the heart there and then. Looking back now, I can't even say when the exact moment came that I realized I am actively living this condition, but I do remember what I felt.

The realization came in combination with acknowledging to myself how close I had come to falling into the abyss of being an alcoholic. I went down on my knees and wept in shock, as I lifted that very heavy veil that had served as a cloak of protection for so long. I felt weak and vulnerable, naked, very scared and so alone... as I knew nobody but myself could step out of this mess to reach out to the helping hands around me.

What next? The mind/ ego/ brain part of me was frantic, trying to convince the rest of me that the status quo was fine, that the heavy cloak was necessary to protect me in this life. Without my old familiar patterns and mechanisms, what would I do? How would I continue on with my life, with the responsibilities of being a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister and a woman? Let alone my profession...

My soul reminded me then that I wasn't alone, that there is help out there always and that I could count on my soul family - and I listened. So I followed my soul's guidance, picked myself up and started to HELP MYSELF - it felt like I was consciously doing it for the very first time. The aftershock is still with me today, as the waves of healing and interconnectedness continue to ripple through me. The consequences of my codependency started to come into my day consciousness, as I had opened an inner flood gate and I welcomed each and every visual, idea, thought and feeling. I accepted the wound and started tending to it, rather than avoiding and denying it, and I slowly started to peel off the codependent skin.

All this happened in my usual environment of taking care of my two young kids, dealing with the everyday stuff, organizing my work life and being a wife and friend to my soulman. One of the treasures I found in my codependency is that I have always been quite the independent person, and so I helped myself as best as I could with the tools of self-support that I was teaching my clients and students. My soul reminded me once more that I am my best friend, and that I can always count on my inner voice to help me heal and to help me move forward.

The result back then was that I had no more desire for alcohol whatsoever, it wasn't a strain, and it wasn't a pain to sit with friends and watch them having a drink. It felt like the addiction part of it all had subsided - but I later realized that that was only partly true. Also, I went to a meeting of the Alanons, a group for family members of alcoholics. I sat there, listened to the introduction, held my friend's hand tightly and waited for my turn. When all eyes were on me, I could only say 'my name is Barbara' and then I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed for what felt like an hour. Nobody said anything, and I could see the compassion in everybody's eyes as they knew exactly what I was going through. Finally, I was able to say my piece, I was welcomed by the group and the next person talked. When I walked out of that room, it felt like I left tons of grief and pain back there which I didn't need to carry anymore... and I never went back to the group. In my case, acknowledging publicly to a group of people who knew what was going on inside of me, was enough to lift layers of secrets and unspoken truths. I was so relieved!

And the healing continued and still does, as time and again, I am encountering situations and people who trigger the codependency in all its depth. It isn't 'just' the alcohol, or any other visible addiction, it is also the emotional part, the part where I am invited to look into the way I create and live relationships with others. And why I do the things I do.

As a codependent child, I did everything I could to secure my relationships with the people I loved. I covered for anything and everything, I tolerated any kind of behaviour, I agreed to let myself be bullied, threatened, emotionally abused, and I even carried my loved ones on my own back so they could live my life instead of their own. All the while, I trusted with all my heart and soul, wishing for these people to become better, to heal, to see their light at the end of their tunnel.

Along my own healing path, at one point I started thinking that I must have lost my trust and faith early on in my childhood. Writing these words now, I realize I never have lost my trust and faith in the world and in my loved ones. I 'just' covered it with many layers of suspicion, distrust, secrecy, looking the other way, ignoring, being hurt and offended, jealousy, unforgiveness, and also by loving as best as I could - all ways of what I thought to be self-protection. By becoming aware of all these patterns, I was able to start stripping them away, one by one, sometimes a few at a time. I reopened the wounds, I bled, I hurt and I wept, for myself and for my loved ones. This is an ongoing process, and I am pretty sure it will go on for a while, as these wounds hold so much for me to learn and appreciate about myself.

In my present relationships, I still (sometimes) experience rejection, nastiness and lies. So I continue to find the treasures in what I am shown, when I can admit and realize that everybody outside of me reflects back something I can heal inside. And I am soul grateful for having chosen a path of conscious awareness where I can deal with and heal the wounds as I walk, learning something new every day, and where my soul connection is getting stronger with every step I take.


Knowing, trusting, believing and remembering that my soul is whole is my most precious discovery on the path.

A dear colleague of mine teaches that every protection layer we carry holds a treasure, a gift that we have covered up and that is worth being retrieved. As I love retrieving treasures, I am happy that my choice of profession is also my heart's calling. Making my soul visible to me is such a deep and profound joy - I wouldn't want to have it any other way.

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Comments: 6
  • #1

    Alia (Friday, 14 February 2014 12:01)

    Good Morning!!!
    I read your post yesterday and, wow!!! You are amazing!!! I mean I knew u are amazing anyways coz I can feel you (inside) but really!! Standing ovation to you my friend!!
    And thank you, because as I go back to the past to see where I was and how far I have come, I rememberedthat you were the first person form my soul family that I connected with and that you helped me in my first steps on my path!!
    I am more grateful for you than words can express!!
    Love you my dear Soul Sister!!!

  • #2

    Barbara Patterson (Friday, 14 February 2014 12:19)

    Hello Alia,

    thank you soul much for your words! Iam so glad we are walking together, sharing inspiration along the way and supporting each other on our walk. I am grateful for YOU and for our connection, and I love you too!

  • #3

    Niranjan (Friday, 14 February 2014 13:06)

    wow..Barbara....Co-dependency...being sensitive, absorbing energy...who would guessed you to have gone through this curve in the road in your journey...I am going through it now..and I lived in it for long...the labeling does not end at being called starts from mocking voices of gets branded..sold out...spaced that...against the backdrop of this spiritual truth...creating a sepration within a separation...while it is in no way unholy, removed from the innocence and love...IT IS LOVE...that sad part is we the society make it sound, feel, seen as opposite of love. and the heartening part is those who abide by us..who stand as soul family, who call out our names as dear friend...even if being total stranger..understand our heart, is depth..the love and the pain. I am so grateful to witness, read this..and call you as a friend Barbara...beyond receiving and giving...seeing YOU...who knows LOVE inside out...and lives by its sanctity and sanctuary

  • #4

    Elizabeth (Friday, 14 February 2014 13:14)

    Barbara this is a truly inspiring story, and one which I am sure will be helpful to so many people. To carry such a burden for such a long time is exhausting and painful, and to also carry the task of hidinng it not only from the world but from our self is additional to that burden.

    To be able to share it in such a loving open and compassionate way takes great courage and wisdom - but clearly you have learned to live with Love which brings with it such courage wisdom and compassion. Thank you so much for this it had great meaning for me as I believe it will have for many others who will hopefully be inspired to look at and release their own burdens

  • #5

    Barbara Patterson (Friday, 14 February 2014 14:17)

    Wow, thank you Niranjan for your beautiful comment.

    I wish you love and always love on your path and in your heart, to find the healthy boundaries that nurture your spirit, your body, mind and soul. I wish you soul family at your side always, to remind you of your own beauty when you are distracted by pain and sorrow.

    Namasté my friend!

  • #6

    Barbara Patterson (Friday, 14 February 2014 14:20)

    Dear Elizabeth,

    thank you for being part of my soul family and for being a witness while we walk together. You inspire me greatly and the work you do as a soul guide is immeasurable. I am grateful beyond words that our paths have crossed.

    Big hug to you!