Challenging Dependency.

February 19, 2023

Challenging Dependency.

May 29, 2023

Let’s explore the word dependency for a moment. If you look up the word “dependency” in the dictionary, the first word that comes up is “subordinate.” The next descriptor is “under the jurisdiction of.”

So, if you think about what each of these descriptions are essentially alluding to - they’re pointing out that some external force has power over me as a sovereign being.

But this is always the case with any form of dependency - whether it be a chemical dependency or a behavioral one - what’s required is the belief that we need some specific thing outside of ourselves for survival. This gives this entity a form of power over us.

And when we believe our survival depends on something outside of ourselves, we will abandon ourselves…turn ourselves into someone we no longer recognize…and feel that we have lost our conscious ability to choose…to maintain that connection.

This is true of any addictive tendency.

And what’s rarely acknowledged on a societal level, is that codependency is one of the most pervasive, and socially acceptable forms of addiction. I say this because all of our addictive tendencies essentially boil down to a dependency on an external source to regulate our internal world. Codependency is the attempt to regulate our internal world through our relationship to another person.

But what’s tough about codependency - is that similar to a food addiction, we (as social animals) do actually need our connections to other human beings for survival. It’s not like a chemical dependency where we’re able to confront the addiction by abstaining from the substance all together.

But, also, similar to when we are attempting to heal a food addiction, it becomes important to recognize when a necessary aspect of our human experience has morphed into a maladaptive one.

As adults, we are not dependent on being in relationship with any one specific human being for our survival. It can certainly feel at times like we are, but that’s not actually the case.

So, the question becomes, what is the line between healthy connection and dependency?

For me, it always comes back to:

fear versus love
obligation versus authentic desire
transaction versus connection
perpetuation of wounds versus a container that supports our healing

Because as long as I am in a relationship with you, defending against losing our attachment at all costs – it hinders my ability to experience true intimacy with you.

I will withhold
I will manipulate
I will perform

I won’t actually see you -
I will see you through the lens of my attempt to avoid the pain of losing you.

INTERDEPENDENCE is how we integrate our need for INTIMACY with our Soul’s need to maintain a healthy sense of INDEPENDENCE.

The practice of interdependence takes ownership templates off the table completely. This way of relating challenges us to be present in our relationships, and shifts the relational dynamic to one where we are consciously choosing.

This is the practice of remembering that each of us are already whole. And in this knowing, we can create an authentic sense of connection with another - while maintaining an authentic connection with ourselves.

Dené Logan is a therapist, facilitator, and co-host of the podcast, Cheaper than Therapy. Her first book, Liberated Love: A Guide to Healing Relationships by Reclaiming the Masculine and Feminine Within, is being released next year. She is a protégé of Esther Perel and was handpicked by Esther to lead the MEA workshop May 8-13 “Stability vs. Adventure: The Dilemma of Eros Through the Life Cycle.”

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