Codependency: Yours, Mine, Ours?

Greetings. Welcome to my post. Let us talk about this word ownership. For when it comes to relationships and taking ownership of our lives, learning how to take ownership of our problems is crucial to solving relationship problems. It is answering this question: When I do experience a problem between us, what part am I to take responsibility for and what part of the problem are you to take ownership for? How come I always feel that problems are my fault, my responsibility to resolve, and my only response is to figure out whatever crisis the person closest to me is having.

It is almost like this idea. Let’s say your neighbor has a lawn and they have failed to water their lawn. You start to notice that their lawn is turning brown due to lack of water. Your lawn is green because you have a good sprinkler system and you take ownership of your lot and property by making sure your lawn remains green by watering it.

But at the same time, you have recognized in your relationship with your neighbor that over the years you have had various conflicts with them. Some of the battles or conflicts have been difficult to deal with but you know if there is a conflict with this person, it usually ends with them being very angry, or unhappy with you, and you then feeling distressed by this or insecure about this conflict.

So now, as a good kind caring codependent, you want to make sure your neighbor is happy with you and you want to make sure that they like you. So you figure out a way to move the sprinkler heads so when the water comes on, it now waters their lawn. You secretly figure out a way to help them so they will not be angry that their lawn is brown and your lawn is green. As a result you now take co-ownership of his problem by thinking you also have to water his lawn to make sure he is happy.

Now I know this is a silly statement: Why would I water my neighbor’s lawn and neglect my lawn? In real life, you could see how that is a foolish thing to do. But at the same time, when someone in our life does have a problem, we start to neglect our lawn or our lives and we start to think of ways to water their lawn and keep them happy. We falsely conclude our lives are not our own and our choices or our emotions are the property of whatever crisis the people closest to you is having.

So watering and taking care of someone’s brown dying lawn or taking care of someone who is angry or unhappy only leads to you neglecting your lawn, your emotions, and your life. The spotlight is on someone else and taking care of their crisis only leads to the false conclusion that your lawn or life is not worth taking care of. And this is not true.

So how are you watering your lawn or life these days? Can you notice those areas of your life in which you discover that taking care of other’s crisis only leads to you neglecting to take care of you? Can you see and notice how taking ownership of your life first is the healthiest thing to do? What is stopping you from doing this?