By Dana Costantino
Sometimes you just need to move on but might not know how or even realize that you need to. To take yourself out of a situation or relationship and begin to take steps towards not repeating habit patterns that could be unhealthy both mentally and physically has so many layers. So often we stay in situations and relationships longer than we should due to assorted reasons such as co-dependency, a misguided need to prove a point, to seek validation or quite simply because we are worried about how it will make us look. This can be thought of as a mental ‘hamster wheel’ of sorts. We go around and around with an up and down again as the pattern repeats because behaviors have not profoundly changed.
Like so many of us, especially after a couple of years of our world being in a pandemic, as we are now on the other side of that, I know I am looking at what has worked in my life, what has not, and what if not working can I change to either make all the relationships in my life be they family, friends, colleagues or neighbors stable. While we can certainly do personal work to help grow and heal ourselves as an individual, we cannot necessarily be the agent of growth and change for another.
If we do the work to grow as an individual and are still in situations that are not seeing healthy emotional and/or physical outcomes or do not bring our personal best to the forefront, it comes time to think about letting go. Or truly changing the structure of communication.
Looking at co-dependency, co-dependency refers to a psychological construct involving an unhealthy relationship that people might share with those closest to them, so many of us are in and have created situations in our lives that are co-dependent. This often happens unknowingly and unintentionally. Staying too long in a co-dependent situation can lead to a fear of being without that person or situation or inability to live to one’s best self.
There are several steps that I have been looking at lately and learned about through consulting with a trusted health professional. The five steps are:
- Recognize your own behaviors that are co-dependent
- Set boundaries with others
- Embrace the feelings that follow
- Do not feel powerless, you can act in your own life, you are capable
- Embrace the change that will come with breaking patterns, remove fear of the unknown and new
There are some great support groups and places to seek guidance if you feel that you may be in a co-dependent relationship or situation. Here in NYC, there are many meetings each week to explore finding a healthier dynamic. Check out nyccoda.org to learn more about meetings. I wish you well NYC.