Tag Archives: codependent

These 2 Steps in Forgiveness Will Help You Heal and Let Go For Good

Months back I was spending time with an old friend of mine.  We were hanging out with each other, catching up and just having an overall good time.

In the midst of spending time together, however, my friend had eventually said something that had really hurt me.  The words she said, the way she said it and the way she acted for the remainder of our time spent together left me offended, angry and sad.

In addition, as the night went on I had found that my old friend was following lifestyle choices that made me deeply concerned for her own well-being.

I had no idea what to say, how to say it, or even if I should say something.  And so, I kept my thoughts and feelings to myself for the duration of the time we spent together.

Days later when I was spending time with my boyfriend I told him everything.  What she said, what she was doing, and my own thoughts and feelings about the whole thing.

In response, he said, “Oh I’m sorry babe — that sucks”.

But some validation for my pain wasn’t enough for me to heal and let it go.  The pain still lingered.

I knew I needed to forgive, so I looked into my spiritual toolbox and pulled out prayer and meditation.  I started meditating and praying about it in asking for spirit to help me forgive.

I would do it for a few days and the second I felt some kind of “release” I thought I was “healed” so then I’d stop… only to find that a few days later those hurt feelings would arise again.

This cycle continued for weeks.  And since my hurt feelings were still there I’d talk to my boyfriend about it.  Words of “I can’t believe she said that” were on repeat.

And then one day in the midst of my boyfriend patiently listening to all of this, he eventually said, “Well, you can’t control her”.

I stopped and finally realized the cycle that I was really caught in:  I was caught up in a codependent cycle.

A very basic definition of codependency is when one tries to control another person in some way.  It can be seen through boundary violation either externally or internally.

This can come up externally in the wife of an alcoholic who wants her husband to stop drinking so badly that she tries to throw out all the alcohol in the house.  On the flip side, this can come up internally in a husband who doesn’t like his wife’s spending habits so he complains about her behavior all the time.  The first is a clear codependent behavior because there was an external action.  The second is not as obvious because it is internal, but the energy and feelings of wanting to control is still very present — and can still be felt by others.

Fortunately for me in this case, I wasn’t violating any boundaries externally, but the internal desire to control was certainly there — which was, truly, the reason for my deep struggle to let go and forgive.  I wasn’t fully recognizing the faults in my own behavior, so the prayer and meditation just wasn’t quite cutting it.

So how can we follow to forgive, heal, and let go for good?  Here are the two main steps:

#1 – You gotta recognize your own control patterns

Often when we’re struggling to forgive someone it’s because we wish that the other person would change in some way.  Maybe we want them to apologize to us, maybe we want them to reach out, or maybe we want them to change their lifestyle in some way so the relationship can “heal” and things can be back the way they used to be.

It doesn’t work like that.  People are not going to change on your terms.  They are going to change on their own terms.  And though it may be painful to watch sometimes, the most loving thing to do is to let go and allow the person to live, grow, and learn on their own.


Click to Tweet: People are not going to change on your terms.  They are going to change on their own terms. via @jenilyn8705

#2 – Release it to spirit

Once we’ve been able to recognize our own control patterns, its effective to do some kind of prayer or meditation with the intention to forgive.  Maybe it’s a visualization meditation like my forgiveness meditation in my album Ignite Love from Within.  Or maybe it’s a simple prayer in saying something like:

Spirit of the highest truth and compassion, I’m struggling to forgive [Name] because of [situation].  I have recognized my wrongs in this.  I can see my desire to control and I know that it is no longer serving me or the relationship.  I surrender my control and my desire to forgive to you.  Heal [Name].  Heal me.  Thank you very much.  Amen.

You can tweek the words so that it most resonates with you, but doing some kind of act to surrender and release to spirit/the Universe in some way on a daily basis is what is going to help you truly heal and release your pain and resentments.

Take action now!

If you’re struggling to forgive someone right now, ask yourself: What is my control pattern in this situation?  How am I wanting to control the other person?  How am I controlling?  Share it in the comments below!

Essential Guidelines for Introverts Living in an Extrovert’s World

The original version of this article was published on JenniferTwardowski.com on August 7, 2013 as one of my very first articles.

I’m an introvert.

Always have been and always will be. My energy drains quickly when I have to be around groups of people for a long period of time and sometimes it takes days for me to fully recharge.

Though I love teaching and leading others, I hate being the center of attention and would prefer one-on-one interaction any day over being in a group.

If you’re an introvert yourself, you know exactly where I’m coming from.

As an introvert and recovering co-dependent with this underlying desire to “please” people, there were times where I really felt unsettled and out of control. I felt like I just kept going down this assembly line of social expectation just because everybody else seemed to be doing it. Until, of course, I reached a moment where all I really wanted to do was jump off and run out of the building.

Not really the best way to handle things is it?

So here are a few general guidelines that I’ve found work for me to help maintain a balance between social connection and alone time:

1. Know that it’s OK to leave a social event early.

If you’re at a social event and you’re completely drained, tired, and all you want to do is go home and recharge, then know that it’s OK to leave early. You can say something like, “Sorry, I’m feeling tired so I’m going to head home.  I’ll catch up with you later”.

There is absolutely nothing wrong in leaving an event early! Honor yourself by acknowledging your own feelings and you’ll feel much better!

2. Set one-on-one meet times with friends.

If you’re at all like me and do so much better communicating one-on-one than in groups, then set regular times to meet one-on-one with friends. Set up regular weekly meet-up with the same friend for coffee, lunch or dinner or you may want to switch it up as you feel it’s appropriate.

If your friend happens to be an extrovert, then they may not always understand your intent for “one-on-one time.” So in order to avoid them bringing other people along, you can let them know that you only want to spend time with them. There’s nothing wrong in saying something like, “Hey I’m setting this up so only the two of us can chat cause I’d really like just spend time with you. So if you don’t bring anyone else I’d really appreciate it”.

And if they ask if they can bring someone along, then there’s nothing wrong with saying, “I’d rather you not bring them” if you don’t feel comfortable with it right now.

3. Set some time in your week for your own “introvert time.” 

If you’re constantly around people at work or school and then come home to be around people again, then be sure to set some time for your own alone time. Exercise by yourself or spend some time reading or writing early in the morning or late at night. Perhaps even set time every week to paint, make crafts, play music, or some other hobby to do by yourself.

In America, it seems that the common place for introverts to hang out are at coffee shops. There is the noise of coffee makers and quiet conversation, but it can generally the introvert’s dream place to read or do some extra work without being bothered.

If, at any moment, you’re struggling to find a balance between your recharge time and social time and you’re not sure what to do, then honor your feelings in that moment. If you are feeling drained or overwhelmed, then acknowledge that you are feeling that way and do what you feel is needed to feel better. You and only you have the ability to be fully aware of your feelings and are able to act in accordance to them. Nobody else can or is responsible to do that for you.


Click to Tweet: You & only you have the ability to be fully aware of your feelings & are able to act in accordance to them. via @jenilyn8705

Take action now!

If you’re an introvert, how can you adjust you day today to have more quiet time for yourself? Maybe get up earlier or stay up late? What can you do to help balance your relationships? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

3 Ways to Start Taking Care of Yourself When You’re Codependent

In my early 20s, it was easy for me to become a stressed out mess.

I was always being easily affected by other people’s “stuff”.  Feeling guilty for doing certain things — or not doing certain things.   Putting pressure on myself to try to do anything and everything that was asked of me.

I was often trying to be putting other people’s needs first before mine, because that’s the idea I was taught growing up.  The idea that “taking care of yourself is selfish” was so embedded in my mind and overall psyche that I had no idea how to live my life in another way.

I was a total caretaker — and a total codependent.  I focused so much on other people and their own needs and feelings, that I rarely had any awareness of what was going on with me.  As a result, I had little sense of what proper boundaries were and how to set them effectively.  I constantly found others crossing into my space and myself crossing into other’s space.

It was difficult, it was heartbreaking and boy was it messy.  My relationships were far from what my heart truly desired them to be like and I had no idea what to do.  That is, until I began to do my own inner work.

For those of us who have tendencies toward codependency, learning to stop focusing so much on other people and start to focus more on yourself can be very difficult and damaging.  Here are 3 ways to start taking care of yourself when you’re codependent:

#1 – Break away from other people’s problems.

So you may have a friend, family member or partner who seems to always come to you for help.  Or maybe it’s that they haven’t asked for your help but you think that they need help or a “push” with X, Y, and Z with their life.

Break away from this and allow the other person (or people) to have their own space.  Say no to their request and then over time just watch and see what happens.  Many times if we are having a problem with breaking away from other people’s “stuff” it’s because, deep down, we don’t think that they will be able to survive without our help.  This is completely untrue, with the exception of some more extreme circumstances (such as having a child, partner, or relative with severe special needs or a disability).  It is merely a false belief that our fear-based mind has created to separate ourselves from being able to have more loving and harmonic relationships.

So make the effort to step away and give the other person their own space.  This can be very challenging at first, but be strong and diligent in this.  Often we can find ourselves surprised in doing this because we find that others start doing the things completely on their own that we didn’t think they could do.

#2 – Identify activities that you want to do for you.

If you’re the kind of person who focuses a lot on other people and rarely on yourself, this can be challenging at first.  Ask yourself: What would I really like to do that I haven’t been doing?  What have I told myself that I would try but I haven’t been doing it for myself?  What might be cool to try?  What things may make me feel better, be more relaxed or feel replenished?

Write all of these thoughts down on a sheet of paper or in a journal.  Allow yourself to just brainstorm.  This doesn’t mean that you have to do everything that you write down, but to try something!  Even something as small as meditating 1-2 times a day for 5 minutes or taking a walk every morning.

Once you’re done brainstorming, narrow your list down to about 5 things.  Write these 5 down in big letters on a sheet of paper and post it somewhere where you can see it every single day.  Having a visual like this can be extremely helpful at achieving our goals and intentions.

#3 – Make the conscious effort to start doing these things for you today!

The problem that many of us run into is that once we make a list of things we want to do for ourselves, we end up tossing that thought in the back of our minds and tell ourselves “oh I’ll do that someday”.

When we do this, change never ends up happening.  Codependency is like any other addiction, which means that we have to focus on taking it one step at a time every single day.  Every day is a new day.  We have the power to completely turn our lives and relationships around — we just have to be willing to make a conscious effort every single day.


Click to Tweet: We have the power to turn our lives and relationships around; we have to be willing to make the effort every single day. via @jenilyn8705

So ask yourself: What can I start doing today to start taking better care of myself?

In the comments below, share with me one thing that you are going to do today to start taking better care of yourself.

You Might Be a People Pleaser If…

Have you been debating if you’re a people pleaser? Are you confused which of your traits are people pleaser traits and which are not? Do you want to know what defines a people pleaser?

people pleaser

Nearly everyone has been a people pleaser are some point or another. We have all done something at some point with the hope keep someone else happy and avoid our own true nature. Learning to completely stop being a people pleaser is a long journey, but it is possible!  The biggest obstacle starting out is to understand what a people pleaser is well enough to catch ourselves in the act so that we stop doing it.

So what is the basis of every people pleaser trait?  Simply…

Any moment where you rely on another person to determine your own self-worth and happiness.

With this in mind, I have created this list of people pleaser characteristics. This is list is very long and provides a wide variety of possibilities.  You may only identify a few characteristics or you may find several. You may read some and think “Oh I did that back when I was…”, while others we may not identify with at all. You may feel shaken up or confused by some.  This is PERFECTLY OKAY, because whether you relate or understand all of them, it doesn’t matter. What matters is to be able to identify our people pleaser traits when they arises for us. After all, awareness the first step to become a recovering people pleaser!

Before you begin going through the list I want you to be GENTLE and EASY on yourself.  EVERYONE has experienced at least some of these at some point or another.  We’re all in this together!

You might be a people pleaser if…

  • You enters relationships with the thought of “Will they accept me?” rather than “Does this relationship give me what I truly deserve?”

  • You say “yes” when you truly mean to say “no”.

  • You greatly fear being alone and easily feel lonely when alone.

  • You are more focused on what you “should do” rather than what you truly want to do.

  • You worry about hurting other people’s feelings.

  • You feel unfulfilled in relationships.

  • You are very focused on trying to be “perfect”, according to what you believe is “perfect”.

  • You fear exposing your own faults and mistakes to others.

  • You naturally follow along with stereotypes or social and cultural expectations in order to feel accepted and avoid rejection.

  • You have trouble expressing your own feelings that differ from others.

  • You have trouble expressing your own views and opinions that differ from others.

  • You feel responsible for the happiness and well-being of others.

  • You focus more on other’s needs than their own.

  • You feel drained and worn out from trying to take care of everyone else.

  • You ignore your own feelings in hopes to avoid conflict or make someone else happy.

  • You feel like other people never consider your own feelings and needs.

  • You struggle to make decisions because you are so focused on how other people will react.

  • You feel guilty if you do something for yourself.

  • You hold back from true self-expression because you fear being criticized.

  • You have difficulty listening to and acting on your own intuition.

  • You often feel like you are always “giving” but hardly “receiving”.

  • You are scared of “stepping out of the box” in your career, fashion sense, or lifestyle because you fear judgement.

  • You have a mean inner critic (and, because of it, you may be critical of others as well).

  • You have difficulty accepting compliments.

  • You struggle to establish real intimacy due to a great fear of rejection and shame.

  • You are very unaware of your own emotions, but may be very in-tune with the emotions of others.

  • You have difficulty knowing where “someone ends and you begin” or, in other words, you struggle with boundaries.

  • You feel like you easily get “lost” in other people.

  • You may feel the need to provide and control everything in a relationship.

  • You secretly wish you could do other things, but you don’t because you either feel that others need you to survive or fear being rejected and abandoned.

  • You often feel suffocated or trapped.

  • You secretly wish you had deeper, more fulfilling, connections with people.

  • You are terrified of being called selfish and will do anything to avoid hearing it.

  • You rarely ask others for help or accept help from others.

  • You apologize too much or when apologies are truly not necessary.

  • You constantly seek validation and approval from others.

  • You try to avoid conflict at all costs.

  • You struggle to truly believe in your own abilities.

  • You feel you have to “save”, “rescue” or “be the foundation” for other people.

  • You continue to be a “giver” because you believe that one day someone is going to magically come into your life and make everything all better.
  • You struggle with self-care.

  • You struggle to decide what your own dreams, goals and purpose are in life.

  • You tend to either agree when you truly don’t or you have difficulty accepting it if someone has a different view or opinion.

  • You easily take on other people’s pain, fear, or negativity.

  • You spend more time thinking about other people and relationships than yourself.

  • You deeply question your own feelings and views because you are not sure whether they are “acceptable” or not.

  • You feel the need to convince other people of your belief or feeling in hopes to gain validation.

  • You act out of a mindset that others are “competition” and limited resources rather than a mindset of limitless abundance.

  • You struggle to take full control and responsibility of your life.
  • You believe and feel that there isn’t enough for you in the world to do what you truly want to do.

  • You have difficulty believing that you deserve what you truly deserve.

  • You fail to realize that you already have all that you need to experience happiness and love.


Begin your journey to fulfilling relationships and personal empowerment today!

What are your people pleasing traits?  How are these traits preventing you from having fulfilling relationships?  How are these traits preventing you from feeling empowered?