Co-dependent patterns often lure us into a parade of superficial relationships, emotional crutches we use to avoid our feelings of lovelessness and insecurity. We look for love and security outside of ourselves and in intimate relationships to distract us from feelings of spiritual disconnection. Such unhealthy relationships woven of the co-dependent patterns of two people keeps them from developing a whole and complete relationship with themselves.
Our fear of spiritual disconnection is a universal experience. Painful feelings that we are unworthy of love occur early in life as a result of our disconnection with the divine source of who we are. Much of this disconnection stems from shame. In her ground-breaking research on shame, Brene Brown identifies shame as the “intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore, unworthy of love and belonging.” Throughout our lives, we hear shame messages and eventually repeat them to ourselves such as, “I am bad,” “I’m not good enough,” or “I’m not worthy of love.” This cloak of shame keeps us from being seen, heard and spiritually connected with ourselves and others.
Unfortunately, the human condition is beset by personal suffering rooted in our fear of being unworthy of love. We may hold it differently from previous generations, but suffering still occurs as part of our collective human consciousness. We may even be addicted to the negative patterns of struggle and suffering, which only diminish our ability to create and sustain healthy relationships. In their extreme form, these patterns contribute to an identity structure such as caretaker, victim, or survivor.
This core belief of “I’m unworthy of love” erodes our sense of wholeness and prevents us from experiencing pure love and connection with ourselves and others. As a result, we numb our bodies, close down our hearts, and disconnect from our spirits. Most of all, we live in fear, insecurity, and shame because we think if anyone really saw us, they would not want or love us. So, we hide, resist and distract ourselves from our vulnerable pain of feeling unlovable.
Self-destructive patterns of co-dependency occur when we abandon personal responsibility and expect others to fill the void of love inside us. Displacing our need for love and connection onto someone else, we substitute a physical and emotional dependence for a spiritual connection. Then, feeling disconnected from ourselves and our source, we float through life waiting for someone else to define our purpose, give our life meaning and fulfill our insatiable addiction to love. We project this fantasy by shifting the responsibility for manifesting the real-life version onto someone else. Expecting someone to fulfill our dreams, we dismiss the power we have to create them for ourselves and then wonder why we feel perpetually disappointed and disconnected in our life. But eventually we have to discover that no relationship ever rescues us; we have to rescue ourselves.
Relationships in which neither person takes full responsibility for being loving and expressing love will perpetuate these co-dependent patterns. When we fail to satisfy our own need for love, it results in no one’s needs ever being fully satisfied. Instead of asking for or manifesting what we want, we become masterful at tolerating mediocrity in our relationships. Then, due to our patterns of needing to fix the other person or be fixed, we drain the life force out of the relationship.
Our longing for love and connection makes us susceptible to holding on and staying in unhealthy relationships. We all want to fall in love because in love we feel complete and not alone. To love and be connected is magical. However, we often become blinded by physical attraction and confuse this with unconditional loving and connected relationships with lifelong spiritual companions. The foundation for cultivating soul-connected loving relationships begins loving and opening up a deep spiritual connection to ourselves.