“Codependency … It’s not the need to be loved that is the issue, it’s the inability to love oneself that causes the disfunction” - Graham R White
I had the pleasure of having Dawn Wesolek as my guest on this week’s Insightful Conversations. Dawn is a fellow 3 Principles practitioner who also participated in my 6 -Week program, The Way Out of Codependency and Narcissistic Abuse… through the understanding of the 3 Principles. I asked Dawn to come on the show to talk about her experience with Codependency and Narcissistic Abuse, as I feel this is a subject that is, albeit innocently, often misunderstood by those who are new to the 3 Principles.
Firstly, as a 3 Principles practitioner, I want to be clear that I am not labeling or diagnosing anyone when I use the terms Codependent and Narcissistic Abuse. I am using these terms as a shorthand to point to a set of thoughts and behaviors one engages in that are causing them to suffer and is getting in the way of them experiencing healthy and happy relationships with themselves and others.
I asked Dawn to share a little about her life and what had drawn her to sign up for my TWO program. Dawn described having grown up in a very strict Christian household rife with alcoholism, various addictions and mental health issues. She remembers her father as a weak, passive man and her mother as an angry, rageful woman. Dawn says her mother would take out her aggression on Dawn’s brother, who in turn would take out his rage on her. Growing up, Dawn often feared for her life at the hands of her brother. It is common for people who suffer from Codependency to have experienced some form of childhood trauma such as this.
Dawn spent many years in therapy and twelve-step programs, dealing with the aftermath of her childhood and overcoming her own issues with addiction. With many years of recovery under her belt, Dawn was doing well in her professional life, but she was still experiencing difficulties in her romantic relationships. As someone suffering from Codependency, Dawn often found herself attracted to people who she viewed as needing to be rescued. People who suffered from mental health issues, addictions, or exhibited Narcissistic tendencies. It was while Dawn was consumed in one of these toxic relationships that she came across the 3 Principles.
Desperate to save her relationship, Dawn immersed herself in the understanding. When she first heard that we live in a thought-created reality, Dawn innocently thought that all she needed to do to improve the quality of her relationships was to ignore her insecure thinking and focus on the psychological innocence of her partner. Full of hope, Dawn gave it her best effort, but after a while, she saw that changing her thinking about her partner was not helping the situation. It was only getting worse, and before long, Dawn could not deny the fact that she was in an abusive relationship. A relationship that was not only negatively affecting her but also her young daughter.
Over the years, the Principles have been responsible for saving many relationships. Relationships that are on the verge of demise due to innocent misunderstandings. Healthy, loving, and respectful relationships that are going through challenging times are given new life. However, it’s not that simple when we are involved in a relationship with either psychological, emotional, or physical abuse or active additions. Telling ourselves to ignore our thinking in these situations is not only unhelpful, but it can also be dangerous. I should know. I stayed in unhealthy relationships far longer than I should have due to my faulty thinking.
It’s important to differentiate between the insecure thinking that comes from our personal mind and the voice of wisdom. For people suffering from Codependency, our insecure thinking will tell us to stay in an unhealthy relationship for fear of being alone. Our insecure thinking will tell us that we can change our partner’s behavior if we try a little harder. Our insecure thinking will tell us that this is as good as it gets, and we should be grateful for what we have. Our insecure thinking will tell us that our partner’s rages mean they love us. Our insecure thinking will tell us that we can’t live without them.
Wisdom, on the other hand, has our back. Our wisdom guides us to act in a way that is in service to our highest good. Just because we can see our abusive partner’s psychological innocence doesn’t mean we must suffer their abuse. Our wisdom gives us the strength to leave an abusive relationship. Our wisdom tells us we have everything we need within us. Our wisdom tells us that we are all created equal and that we all have the same amount of wellbeing, wisdom, and resilience within us. Our wisdom tells us that our partners will be okay without us, and more importantly, we will be okay without them.
With love and appreciation, Del 💕