What Type Of Codependent Are You?
In this episode my cohost Michelle Farris and I talk about: What Type Of Codependent Are You?
The stages of recovery are 10 – 20 – 30 years… what happens in each
My will vs God’s will
A fantastic example of codependency
Shame and looking outside ourselves to fix inside
Being a people pleaser
And are you seeking silent approval?
Jammed-packed episode to support your emotional wellness and recovery journey. Enjoy.
Listen in to Michelle’s episode
INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT (Transcription is not perfect.)
Lane: All right friend. This episode is jam-packed with ideas around co-dependency, co dependency. How many vowels is that? How many, how many syllables is that? Oh my gosh. You’re listening to the connected calm life. My name is Lynn Kennedy and I am so glad that you found me. Thanks for listening to the show and make sure to share this episode and rate and review.
Over on iTunes because then other people will find it. I so appreciate you being here and again, thanks for sharing.
Michelle: Hey, this is Michelle. Welcome to the connected, calm life podcast,
Lane: Michelle. What’s up? Yay.
Michelle: I’m so excited to be here. I love anything recovery. So this is a real treat for me. Yes.
Lane: This is like gold.
I’m really, I’m so glad that we got connected to Mar introduced us. And if you haven’t listened to that show, I’m going to put it in the show notes. So you can go back and listen to the Mars episode because it was dynamic. We talked about codependency. We may travel down that path again today. Who knows Michelle, I know that you’re in long-term recovery. What Type Of Codependent Are You?
Yes. Which fires me up. I just get like, yes.
Michelle: Well, you know what? It’s funny. Cause when I first started recovery, I thought when I get 10 years, I’m going to beat there. I’m going to have it all together and then you get to 10 and you go, wow, this is. What I thought, and then you get to 20 and you go, it’s better, but it’s not perfect. What Type Of Codependent Are You?
And then you get to 30, cause I’m at about 32 years and actually the process gets more and more humbling.
Lane: Okay. I’m going to pause you right there. Yeah, because I think you just brought up really like the segments of sobriety. And I always talk about it. I believe that we find people who our tribe mates or who speak the same dialect. What Type Of Codependent Are You?
And I think it’s a phenomenon about like at five years you have an awakening like, oh, this isn’t coming. I’m not, this is, I’m doing this, you know, at 10 years. There’s that reality check. At 20 years, I was falling apart. What, was happening to you at 20 years?
Michelle: You know similar I was looking at, I was knee-deep in my codependency and I was like, oh my God.
Now I have a whole other frigging layer to do. I mean, I had started it, but. I was in the thick of it. So yeah. I totally agree with you.
Lane: Yeah. And then so I just turned 25 and I am like, yes, thanks. I am riding the high right now. It’s so good. So what happens at 30? Because you said it’s a humbling moment. What Type Of Codependent Are You?
Like there’s a, so I want to hear a little bit about.
Michelle: Well, I do think riding the wave like you’re talking about, because I, I had done enough work that I thought, wow, I’m actually understanding what serenity is, but yet at the same time, the ego I had in the beginning because honestly, I think part of what happens in 12 step programs is we want that 10 years. What Type Of Codependent Are You?
We want that 15 years because it tells people that we’re we’ve kind of arrived where important where this for that. I totally get that because we all are trying to matter. So when I came in, I thought I would matter more if I had X number of years in recovery. And I think when I started hitting 30, I was realizing, man, if I let that ego get to me, I’m screwed.
’cause then I think I’ve had it now. I’m hot crap. And that’s just not, that’s just not going to help me because then I’m in my will and not God’s will. And you know, then my life doesn’t build very
Lane: well. Okay. Okay. Okay. You say you’re speaking my dialect from my right. I get so fired up about recovery and when I meet other like-minded women, I just like my heart just explodes.
Yes. And you said my will versus God’s will. And you know, a lot of my listeners, you know, New and recovery old and recovery, if you believe in God or not, I call it the ocean of yum. Oh, nice. Yeah. That’s where I guide my people into the ocean of yum. And I want to kind of differentiate my will and God’s will, how do you do that?
What does that, what does that mean for you?
Michelle: So when I’m on my way, I am not open to suggestions. I’m really thinking I have the answer. So I do doot into my life, which isn’t necessarily bad all the time, but I, I’m not open to, you know, what? I don’t have control over the outcome. Whereas if I’m in God’s will or higher powers will, or universe’s will, whatever you want to call it. What Type Of Codependent Are You?
I’m open to, you know what I’m going to do the footwork, but I have no control of the results. So I’m more relaxed because I’m not stressing myself into feeling like everything is my responsibility because it’s not. Do you
Lane: have a story that you could share around that? Oh yeah. Oh yeah, come on. So
Michelle: I think this was like three years ago.
I had I have a house in Tahoe. And I rent it during the Christmas holidays and that’s the most important time to rent. So I don’t know. I was just there. Oh yeah. Oh, and all that snow. It was beautiful.
Lane: Yeah. I’ll bet. Oh, stunning. It inspired me to want to go back, which I’m typically like, I don’t want to be in cold.
I want a vacation in Mexico on the beach, but this, it was so I had like this. Oh, this is so nice. It’s. Okay, so you have this place. Go ahead.
Michelle: So I don’t know why, but I was looking at my calendar on BRBO and I realized I had doubled booked someone for Christmas. The worst thing I’m like, and as a codependent, I felt hugely responsible.
I’m ruining their Christmas. Oh my God. So what do I do? I tell the person, right. And he’s flipping out super rude about it, whatever, but you know, I get his point. It’s terrible. So I say, I am going to find you another place. So I find him another place pay three grand for. Ouch. Yeah, ouch. But you know, I’m accountable.
I have to make amends for my mistake and fix it. I do all of this and this is probably in about an hour and a half’s time. I booked the place. I tell him all about it. And then I look back at my calendar and realize I did not double book after all. So I did all of that and you know what? It was a huge wake up call for me because I realized I wasn’t present.
I let my anxiety run them up and I didn’t slow down and say, you know what, let me take a breath. Let me pause. I didn’t do that. Cause I ran on pure fear of, oh my God, I’m ruining somebody’s Christmas. Oh, that is such a good story. Oh
Lane: my God, Michelle. But I think it takes that right. It takes that kind of financial.
Michelle: and the shame, I felt so much shame like, oh my God, I did this to someone. And you know what? I have never had that much shame sense because I, that was such a good lesson to realize that, you know what, Michelle, I did my best. I messed up. I fixed it. I can walk away and love myself. Warts and all, and that’s what I got out of it is now it’s like, I’m a lot more careful when I look at things, especially online.
Cause I can easily misread an email misread dates and and you know, that was a really humbling lesson, but that was the human. And that was around 30 years. Oh, right on track.
Lane: I just, oh, that’s really good. Thank you for sharing that. You know, the shame spirals that people can like go down. I, I don’t recognize them.
At all until I’m, you know, at the bottom, like crying, like what did I do? How am I, w w why am I here? And it’s so brutal. I mean for me. Yeah. I, that’s what it takes for me to have those awakenings for me to get closer to that ocean of yum, where I’m like, okay, you’ve got this. Exactly. And what’s the
Michelle: gift because if we can’t see the pain as the gift, then we’re never going to want to go through the pain.
And every single time I haven’t experienced like that, I get a gift at the other end. And I trust that now I totally
Lane: trust that. When did you start trusting? What year? What do you think
Michelle: when my dad died? Oh, that was about four years into recovery and it was my worst fear. But living through that fear made me realize that, you know what I’m going to be.
Okay. No matter what, and I had my tribe, so
Lane: that got me through it. That’s, it’s so true. Having a tribe, having a community. Oh, it’s a freaking godsend. Yep. So you, you spoke, you just mentioned codependency. So I want to bring that into our conversation because I didn’t know about this topic. I didn’t know about this because I don’t have, like, I’m not, I don’t identify as a codependent person. What Type Of Codependent Are You?
I’m very like solo. I’m doing it. I got it. I Don’t Go on my own trail here. Yeah. And about. Three years ago, four years ago, I got into a relationship and I got to tell you, it was, it was kind of codependent. And I was like, what is going on here? How does this happen? How does Coda’s Hennessy? Like where does it even come from?
I was like, what is going on? Why am I obsessing about this person who I don’t even like, I’m not in love with I, it’s not, my it’s like what’s happening? So I want to hear, I want to talk a little bit about that to give our listeners some insight, perhaps, and your experience.
Michelle: Yeah. So for me, codependency is a relationship pattern where we focus on others at our own expense.
So we get so focused on what other people are doing and how we can help or fix or rescue them that we lose ourselves in the process. So being happy gets. Dependent on what other people feel, what other people think of us versus how we feel within ourselves. So we don’t have a solid sense of self. And that was very apparent when I hit 13 years in recovery because that’s when I started going back to Alanon and doing the deal, the deal. What Type Of Codependent Are You?
And I realized, oh my God, I am literally. Looking outside of myself for my worth, instead of looking in and you know, that messes up a lot of stuff because your self-esteem is like the wind, you know, and it changes every second versus having a solid foundation, which is what I realized I needed to build.
Lane: Okay. So. When I was in this situation a couple of years back and you know, this was, I was trying to fix, I was trying to fix them and rescue those two. And again, I had never even thought about this or even came up and I remember having a conversation with a mentor and they had me do some writing around.
And the tr like the truth started to get revealed, you know like I needed more in my life. I needed validation because I wasn’t getting it from someone. And I was looking for that validation like, oh, you’re doing so great lane. You’re such a great, you’re so awesome. Thanks so much for helping me. Right.
Like I was looking outside to get that sense of validation and. After I came to this conclusion of, oh, this is what codependency is like this, I don’t want to do this. This is not any. Right. It really kind of, I got back on my path. Like I, my, you know raising my flag and being a trailblazer being in my lane, like I got really clear that my happiness.
My self-esteem. My sense of self-worth is dependent on my relationship with that ocean of yum that I was talking about. So this happiness idea, which is so good, I think a lot of people in recovery suffer because they get into these, you know, entangle relations and. You know, they’re like, oh, but they’re not doing what I want them.
And then that affects them and then they’re not happy. And then they go into that shame spiral and it’s a disaster. Right. And so how do we, how do we change?
Michelle: Well, I think the hardest thing for the person who’s, co-dependent realizing these issues is we have to get the focus off of other people. And back on.
I can’t, I can’t make other people be with what I want them to be. I have to do it myself. And that’s where codependency, you know, there’s a lot of different symptoms and it looks different on different people, which is why some people miss it. So some people might relate to being super responsible and they’re the first ones to volunteer and they’re super dynamic and they’re very assertive.
But the other style and actually the assertive style can see. Somewhat controlling. So this is the codependent that tells you what they think you should do versus the other type of codependent to me is like the people pleaser. So What Type Of Codependent Are You?
Lane: Michelle, okay. Let’s get into different types of codependency, right?
Like, because it cuts us off from being happy. It cuts us off from our self-esteem. It cuts us off from this ocean of yum that I talked about. So what are some, what are some true tell signs?
Michelle: So the first thing is this really. Kind of like a tree with many branches. So some people actually miss it. They don’t realize they’re codependent because they don’t necessarily think there are people pleasers, or they don’t feel like they’re somebody who gives too much, but they might be controlling.
So there’s one type of codependent. I know someone that used to go to my church that would fit this. The personality type, where they were kind of super helpful, Jack of all trades, but always telling you what you should do. So you kind of felt bad like, oh God, I’m always doing it wrong. And they mean well, but that’s,, their type of codependency is more.
Because they want to control and that’s how they feel safe. The people pleaser is much more the chameleon. The one that changes depending on who they’re with, they want to please and avoid conflict. That’s me. That’s, that’s definitely the path I was on. And. People tend to recognize their codependency a little bit faster because they really are looking for validation outside of themselves.
Whereas the controlling codependent feels like they have self-esteem thinks they have it, but really gets frustrated when they’re not acknowledged when people don’t do what they want them to do. So they have their own issues. But again, those are two totally different types. What Type Of Codependent Are You?
Lane: Two different types of people completely.
I would be the controller for sure. I was suffering from this. I’m so grateful that I like. It’s kind of off my radar a little bit, but this is common, I find this with a lot of my clients and I think women in general, we culture to do this. Yeah. It’s like exactly. We’re cultured to do this, but there’s also that the fight for.
Freeze and you know, the Fon, I, now I just heard that this term, I can’t stand this term. I’m like, oh, but you know, that’s where we go now. Oh, what can I do to help, right? Yes. Oh, it makes me crazy, but it’s, it’s a real thing. Yeah. And what do we do? Like how do we change? How do you change it? I mean, you’re 32 years into this.
Right? How, how do you change?
Michelle: So I had to get to the point where I hit a bottom with seeking approval and it was many years in my codependency carbonate, honestly, before that happened. So I was still working on stuff, but I was working on my co-dependency really working to better my relationships. I wasn’t ready to really look at myself yet.
I mean, I was, I was looking at my relationship patterns and all that. I had a friendship crash and burn, and that will keep me up. And that made me realize, holy crap, I’m doing it again. I’m depending on someone else to feel good. And that was a huge aha moment. And so then all my work became about how do I really focus on building my own self-esteem and.
Taking that focus off of other people, whether that’s validation, whether that’s rescuing, whether that’s helping and really putting it back to me and saying, okay, what do I need? What do I think, what boundaries do I need to set? And that’s honestly, probably the biggest hurdle in codependency recovery is to get that focus off of them and on to us because we don’t want that.
We want to stay connected. We don’t want to look into. And see ourselves. I’m
Lane: like having a I’m like twitching. I’m like, how come you don’t want to see like, well, I am like, how is that possible? Like, cause I, I, I like you want to be connected to somebody else. So I think what I’m hearing is that you have to redirect your attention to yourself.
Yes. It feel empowered. Yes. Right? Like, so that becomes the work of a codependent is like redirecting the attention. Yeah.
Michelle: And it feels really foreign because we’re so used to getting that approval or that using the relationship to feel good, that it feels really weird to go, oh, how do I feel good without somebody, you know?
Cause a lot of people, their codependency shows up and they’re good as long as they’re in a relationship. But if they’re not in a relationship, they take.
Lane: Oh, I can’t even imagine that. See, I just, that my brain does not think like that. I’m just like, but I know so many people, this is, yeah, this is again, we’re cultured into it.
Michelle: And isn’t that a blessing that you don’t relate
Lane: in some regard? It is. It really is. But on the other side, I’m like, but I could help someone, so many more people if I did, but no, I don’t need one more thing that I can help people with. I have you, Michelle, you got,
Michelle: you’re helping people now, even by identifying with the controlling part and being able to be super responsible part because some people are gonna recognize themselves.
Lane: This is true. Yeah. Sometimes that control thing. When I, when I become too controlling, I know I’m out of alignment, it’s it? But that took a long time for me to get there. Yeah. I mean, I was 20, probably 20, 22, maybe where I was like, oh Jesus, I have a control problem. This, this is out of I’m out of I’m out of control because I’m controlling too much.
Yeah. And my happiness was in the tank. Bottomed out, like there was nothing full about that. So, you know, last month I was talking about happiness this month, I’m talking about happiness because I think, I think it’s so important for women to use happiness and practice happiness. And I believe it’s a skill.
I don’t think it’s something that we just love that know how to do. And I think we need to be taught how to be happy. And I’ve talked about this before, how, you know, when we’re children were dumped off in the, in the sand pit and you know, we watch other kids, you know, dump the sand and we learned from them like, this is how we play.
We see the other child laughing and then we start laughing. Right. We, we modeled. Right. This play I did, but we don’t Mo like happiness is like some obscure. What is that happy? You know, this is an emotion that I, again, I just think about people in recovery. It’s like, am I happy? I don’t know. We
Michelle: might, because how many of our parents showed us how to be happy?
Were they happy? You know, if you don’t see it, you don’t learn.
Lane: That’s it. So we have to learn how to be happy. We have to learn how to recognize it. We have to learn how to celebrate it. So how are the ways, or how do you identify when you are.
Michelle: Well, I can, I can feel it, but I remember when I was raising my son, I was an at-home mom for like the first 14 years.
And I, I don’t regret that. That was really important for me. But I remember being super tired when he was a baby. And my happy place was Starbucks. We would go to Starbucks and I would get a frigging latte. And it was little things like that. That made me happy until I could get to the bigger thing.
You know, but just that watching 9 0 2 on, oh, and that used to be popular. I mean, 30 something. I mean, you know, it’s just, or, or having a connection with a girlfriend that was really meaningful now that would spark my codependency at times, but still it was, there was a joy in that, or going to a meeting and feeling like, oh, I totally get everybody in this meeting.
So there were little things that I liked. Say as moments of happiness.
Lane: That’s so true. Oh, I get so happy. Sometimes watching a TV show, you know, 902, 1. Oh, that was a sober show for me. I used to just binge on it. I’d be like, I can’t wait to Wednesday night. It’s going to be on Wednesday night. I got to watch it Wednesday night, like craziness.
And I like this idea of going to Starbucks.
And where your, where you drinking with your kid or is your kid seeing you only sober?
Michelle: Well, my addiction was. So little bit different. I’ve never been much of a drinker. I mean, I drank a little bit in high school, but it always made me really sick. So, and my dad was an alcoholic, so I knew that really wasn’t the path I was going to go down, but I had had food issues from day one.
So I already had my addiction well before teens. So that was for me, I got sober with the food. When I was about 21, but again, that’s not a perfect process either because you have to deal with it every day.
Lane: So I always share that I live in long-term recovery from alcohol drugs and Snickers bars.
And people always think like, what are you talking about? Snickers bars, but that’s no joke. Food is a beast and
Michelle: AA recovery. Yeah. Those cookies gain weight. It’s
Lane: in my early recovery. I remember. Just eating like popcorn, you know cookies cake chocolate cake. I’ve talked about chocolate cake before on the show, back with Katherine just, and how I had a choice between drinking or eating chocolate cake.
And I chose to eat a chocolate cake. Right. But that later became like my nemesis eating, you know, like really it was too much. So thank you for sharing about your food. Going through that process of putting that in alignment with yourself, because it’s hard, you know, eating three times a day figuring out your food program or how you want to eat and how you don’t want to eat.
It’s really challenging. But you have one kiddo. Yes. So your recovery has, he’s been in your recovery, you got. Before he was born found recovery. Yeah. Yeah. So I have that same story where my kid has never seen me. I’m out of my mind. Yeah. Hungover or binging on Snickers bars. Oh my God. I can’t even imagine I’m gonna go back to Starbucks and that happy moment, because I think that’s important to just identify like what makes you happy?
Right. Right. We forget, like what makes us happy?
Michelle: Well, and we don’t think about the little things we think of, oh, if only I had a relationship, if only I had a better job, it’s like, those are big things, you know, what can you do today to feel happy? What are those little things that make you smile? Because that to me is where the serenity is.
Lane: So, so true. Michelle. So I want to ask our listeners to. Write down. What makes you happy today? What are the small things? You know, what are the small things that you are doing today that bring you joy and fill your heart? And if you’ve been listening to the show a long enough, you know, I always say at the end, may you find something bright, something light that fills you up so you can be the best you can be. What Type Of Codependent Are You?
So I want you to find that today. I want you to indulge in happiness, Michelle, is there anything else that you want to bring to our listeners?
Michelle: You know, the one thing I usually say is don’t judge yourself for what it looks like. You’re you are exactly where you need to be right now. Right this minute, don’t judge it because sometimes when we’re not feeling great, that doesn’t mean we’re doing it wrong.
It just means, you know, we’re in a funk or something’s up and we’re not feeling our best, but this too will pass.
Lane: That’s it right there. This too will pass. Michelle. Thank you so much for being a friend and for being on the road to recovery and sharing all the gifts that you have today. Awesome. So you can also find this recording over in the connected, calm life members area, and perhaps Michelle will be in there as well.
Oh, yeah. May you find something bright, something lightness, something so delicious. It feels so you can be the best. I know you can be until next time. Take good care as always. Thank you for listening. Yes. Is this a lot? I know we’re living in a time where maybe you have some codependency. Maybe you need some help.
Well, I’m so grateful that you. Check out the members’ area. If you’re feeling stuck, if you’re feeling alone right now, the members’ area is free. It’s not going to be free forever. I’ll tell you that right now, I’m looking for founding members. And if that’s you jump in today, I hope to see you there over at members dot connected, calm life.com.
Thanks again for listening. Share this with a friend. I see you next time.
Listen in to Michelle’s episode
Want to Read More?