Many negative emotions are the result of confusion concerning “who is responsible for whose reality.” If we believe that others are responsible for our reality and how we feel, and they do not “create” our reality as we would like it to be or do not give us what we want, we feel hurt, bitter, disillusioned, powerless, fearful, resentful, angry, and even hateful.
When we believe that we are responsible for their reality, and we are not able to make them happy, healthy, successful or satisfied, we feel failure, self-rejection, shame, and guilt. We might even feel anger toward them when they do not cooperate with us to create the reality we believe they must have in order to feel that we are successful and thus worthy as parents, teachers, saviors, healers, etc.
Both beliefs create codependence, resulting in conflicts which prevent both parties from maturing emotionally.
We will all be much happier if we create relationships of conscious love, cocommitment and mutual support rather than burden each other and ourselves in these ways.
Beliefs that Cause Codependency
1. I am responsible for the others? reality for their safety, happiness, health, success, satisfaction, etc.
We then believe we are failures if they are not well. We also become angry with them when they do not cooperate in creating their own well being, which we need in order to feel worthy.
2. Others are incapable, unable, and lacking inner guidance or the capacity for managing their lives properly. They need me.
We believe they cannot be okay or proceed in life without our guidance and effort. As a consequence, we undermine their self-confidence and self-worth, and wear ourselves down doing for others much of what they can do for themselves. We obstruct their growth and strength.
3. If the others are not well, happy, successful, satisfied, etc., then I am a failure.
In such cases, we get trapped in a vicious circle with the others, seeking to pressure them to live their lives in ways that we believe will make them happy and well. We do this, however, not only out of love, but also out of our need to affirm our self-worth.
4. If the others are not well or satisfied, etc., I am not worthy.
5. If the other is not well or happy, I do not have the right to be well or happy.
This often does not help the other, but instead adds to the negativity in the environment. I remember a man once who expressed the need to be not well and to express it without his wife going to pieces.
6. If I love someone who is suffering, unhappy or not well, I should not be able to be happy or well.
We can help others much more effectively by being positive rather than negative when they are not well.
7. My self-worth depends on what others think of me and on how satisfied they are with me.
We then lose our sense of who we are, what we believe and what we want to do with our lives. We waste our lives seeking to be who we believe others want us to be. In the end, we lose our happiness and are usually bitter that after all that self-suppression, we are still not getting from others the love and respect we desire.
8. My self-worth is dependent on how successful my efforts are toward health, happiness, material comfort, social acceptance, professional success, etc.
9. Without the others:
a. I cannot feel safe.
b. I cannot feel socially accepted.
c. I cannot succeed.
d. I cannot enjoy myself.
e. I cannot be sure what to do.
f. I cannot be happy.
10. Others are responsible for my:
Discovering our own Tendencies Toward Codependency
The next step is to determine where exactly who we are expecting to create our happiness, success, and satisfaction, or where we are dependent on others for our feelings of self-worth or security.
Then we need to discover for which people we feel responsible for their health, happiness, success, safety or satisfaction.
Completing the next exercise will help us prepare for putting order to our keys of responsibility.
1. I feel responsible for the following in relationship to the following persons:
(Health, Safety, Happiness, Success, Satisfaction, Self-worth
Perhaps it would be useful here to give some examples of possible answers:
I feel responsible for:
a. My children?s health, safety, happiness, satisfaction, success in life and their behavior toward others.
b. My spouse?s and parents? happiness and satisfaction.
c. My boss?s satisfaction with my work.
d. My friends? satisfaction with my friendship.
e. My siblings? being satisfied with me, and also for their health, happiness and security.
Programmed in this way with the above feelings of responsibility, I cannot feel happy or worthy unless:
a. My children are healthy, safe, successful, happy, satisfied, and are behaving properly toward others.
b. My spouse and parents are happy and satisfied with me.
c. My boss and friends are satisfied with me.
d. My siblings are satisfied with me, and are safe and happy.
2 I expect help from the following persons in fulfilling the following needs.
(Self-worth, Health, Safety, Happiness, Success, Satisfaction)
Some possible answers might be, I expect help from:
a. My children to fulfill my needs for order and cleanliness – satisfaction.
b. My spouse for my safety, happiness, success and satisfaction.
c. My parents for safety, happiness, success and satisfaction.
d. My friends for my happiness, and occasionally for my satisfaction.
e. My siblings for my happiness, and occasionally for my safety.
3. I can see that I am dependent on, or am affected by, the following persons to some degree concerning the following feelings:
Self-worth, Health, Safety, Happiness, Success, Satisfaction
Some possible answer might be:
a. I am dependent on or am affected by my children concerning my self-worth as a parent and person.
b. I am dependent on or am affected by my spouse concerning my self-worth as a spouse and person, and also for my feelings of safety.
c. I am dependent on or am affected by my parents concerning my self-worth as a child and person, and also for my feelings of safety, success and happiness.
d. I am dependent on or am affected by my friends concerning my self-worth as a friend and person.
e. I am dependent on or am affected by my siblings concerning my self-worth as a sibling and as a person, and sometimes for my feelings of safety.
Now take time to answer the above 3 questions for yourself without being limited by the sample answers above.
As we can see, in such a situation, peace and happiness will be almost nonexistent, as there are just too many factors that must be “okay” in order for us to be happy. We are in a state of total codependency and cannot create happiness unless all people around us are exactly as we need them to be. All of us are intertwined in a mesh of confusion that obstructs our happiness.
The Difference Between the Motive, Effort and Result
We need to make an important distinction here between our good will and making an effort to help someone, or accepting their effort to help us, and accepting responsibility for each other?s reality.
We all obviously are together to help and support each other on all levels. This is what relationships are all about.
We cannot, however, create the others? health, happiness, success or satisfaction. Only they can create or allow for their well being, and only we can create or allow for ours.
Thus, when returning to others the responsibility for their lives, we do not cease helping them, but instead serve them in any way we can while simultaneously allowing them to discover the power and wisdom within themselves.
This step, of course, will need to be made with discrimination. If someone is seriously ill or incapable, we obviously cannot leave him or her helpless. We will serve others in every possible way, doing for them whatever they cannot do for themselves, but we will not be responsible for the result.
Neither will we be responsible for their satisfaction.
Also, our self-worth cannot be increased or decreased by others? behavior. We are who we are independently of how others behave or what they think.
We have the inner power and wisdom to create exactly the reality we need in order to proceed in our spiritual development. If that means we occasionally will not have support from others, then it is not by chance. It is an opportunity for even greater growth.
Making the Change
Choose a change that you want to make. Two possibilities would be:
1. Ceasing to depend on someone for your feelings of self-worth, security or happiness.
2. Ceasing to feel responsible for the other?s reality. (The more specific the better i.e. the other?s health, happiness, satisfaction, success etc.)
Now having chosen your issue, discover the emotions, which you have about making this change. Some examples below might help.
1. When seeking to be less dependent we might feel fear:
a. That the others may not love us or pay attention to us if we are not dependent on them.
b. That this change would be misinterpreted as indifference or lack of love.
c. That the others would feel hurt.
d. That they would criticize us for not caring or not loving.
e. That the others will be angry.
f. That we will not know what to do if we were not occupied with this problem.
g. That we could not make it without the other?s support in this matter.
h. Other? ____
2. When working on getting free from feeling responsible for the others? reality. (Health, happiness, satisfaction, success etc.) we might feel fear:
a. That it would be misinterpreted as indifference or lack of love.
b. That the others would feel hurt.
c. That they would criticize us for not caring or not loving.
d. That the others would not be able to manage without us.
e. That the others will be angry.
f. That we would not know what to do if we were not occupied with their needs and problems.
g. We would not be good persons (mothers, fathers, children, siblings, friends).
h. That something bad might happen to the others.
g. Other? ____
Communicating with our Loved Ones Concerning these Realizations and Changes.
Attempting to communicate our new stance is an excellent way to check if there are any remaining obstructing emotions. The forms below are guides for explaining to others how we feel, what we believe and what we would like to do. After filling them out, they can be practiced on someone in a psychodrama as we imagine we are speaking to the person concerned. If we do not have anyone to read this to, then we can place a picture of the person and read it to that.
Such messages can also be written to possessions, to society as a whole or to anything to whom, or on which, we are dependent for our feelings of self-worth or security.
These forms are to guide and help us, not to limit us, so feel free to change the wording to suit your needs.
Communicating About Giving Back to Others the responsibility for their ____
My dearest ____
I am writing to you now because I have discovered something very important that affects both of us and our relationship. I have discovered that I have been feeling responsible for your (happiness, well being, safety, success, satisfaction, etc.) ____
I now realize that my feeling responsible for your ____and____and____and ____ has the following negative results for me:
I also believe that it has the following negative results effect on you and our relationship:
I thus believe that, for the following reasons, it will be much better for me to give you back the responsibility for your ____ and ____ and ____.
I want to tell you that I do love you and that you must not misinterpret this communication to mean anything other than what I am saying.
Also, I need to tell you that I have some (many) ____(fears, conflicts, reservations, resistances, doubts) about this change. They are the following:
For this reason, I will need your help with this change. You could help me in the following ways: ____
Now it is very important for me to hear how you feel about what I have said and the changes I would like us to make. ____
Communicating about becoming less dependent on the other for ____
My dearest ____
I am writing to you now because I have discovered something very important that affects both of us and our relationship. I have discovered that I have been feeling dependent on you for my feelings of ____ (self-worth, happiness, well being, safety, success, satisfaction) ____
I now realize that my being dependent on you for my ____and____and____ has the following negative results for me:
I also believe that it has the following negative effect on you and our relationship:
I thus believe that for the following reasons, it will be much better for me to take total responsibility for my ____ and ____ and ____.
I want to tell you that I do love you and that you must not misinterpret this communication to mean anything other than what I am saying. Also, I would like to share with you that I have some (many) ____(fears, conflicts, reservations, resistances, doubts) about this change. They are the following:
For this reason, I will need your help with this change. You could help me in the following ways:
Now it is very important for me to hear how you feel about what I have said and the changes I would like us to make.
1. Affirmations written, verbal or mentally repeated in deep relaxation can help us in transforming these false beliefs. Some affirmations that might be useful:
a. Each of us is totally responsible for our own reality, for our own safety, happiness, health, success, satisfaction, etc.
b. Each of us is capable, and has all the inner guidance required to manage our lives properly.
c. I want the others to be well, happy, successful, satisfied without feeling responsible for them.
d. My self-worth is independent of the reality others create for themselves.
e. I want the others to be well, happy, successful, satisfied without feeling that I cannot (or should not) feel happy if they are not.
f. I do not help others by being unhappy or by limiting my happiness when they are not well.
g. I am divine creation and my self-worth is totally independent of whether others are satisfied with me or not.
h. My self-worth is independent of the results of my efforts.
i. I am totally capable of creating my own security, success, health, enjoyment, social acceptance, professional success, and spiritual evolution.
2. We can communicate with others and express our real feelings and needs in such situations. We would benefit from learning to make I-messages, which express what we need, feel and believe without blaming the others or making them defensive.
3. We can study the various spiritual truths that liberate us from these false thought-forms and help us develop love with discrimination. We can develop love for the soul, seeing the personality as the soul?s vehicle. Thus, we are interested in facilitating the soul?s growth rather than the personality?s comfort.
An Extremely Important Note:
Because these false concepts of responsibility are very deeply ingrained in our social subconscious, some may at first misunderstand our intentions and feelings. We have so identified love with attachment and dependency that it is often difficult at first for some of us to see love in independence. Thus, it is especially important for you to frequently reiterate that you love and care for this person and also to show this with your actions.
You will also need to be patient with possible negative reactions. Do not lose your peace and love in the face of possible reactions. (Employ EFT when your own negative emotions arise.) Be patient and explain over and over again in a calm voice, without giving in and retreating into the past programmings and behaviors. Be clear and calm about this gradual process which is much like a painful surgical operation for both of you in which deep false beliefs are being removed.
Also we want to avoid using these concepts as an excuse to ignore actual responsibilities that we may have in our family or professional life.