What To Do When You’re In A Pattern Of Codependency With Carla Romo
Carla Romo is a certified dating & relationship coach, author, and speaker. She helps women who feel stuck and stagnant build purpose and confidence in their break-ups, dating life & relationships. Her book, “Contagious Love” is about breaking through codependency, so we asked her all our top questions on navigating out it.
What was your experience with co-dependency and why are you passionate about talking about it?
My entire life up until my early-mid twenties, I was in romantic codependent relationships over and over again. Yes, when I say my entire life, I literally mean since I was a kid. It wasn’t until I was 24 years old and in an abusive relationship that I realized it was a choice I was making to be in these relationships.
I saw two paths in front of me:
1.) Break free from codependency and begin the relationship with myself through self-love or… 2.) Continue self-sabotage, and choosing to act on not feeling worthy or enough.
Well maybe you guessed it, but I ended the abusive relationship and began the most important relationship I will ever have, which is with myself.
Through my own self-love and healing journey, I knew others were going through this and I felt my purpose was to help them. It wasn’t until I was doing research for my new book “Contagious Love: Break Free from Codependency for Damn Good”, that I learned up to 90% of us are codependent. Like holy s*@& that’s a lot, right?
How can we know if we’re codependent or if a partner is? What are the signs?
I talk a lot about this in my book “Contagious Love” because you might be thinking, “Am I the 90%, and don’t know it?” It can be really confusing navigating this space, especially if it’s new to you. Here are some signs you could be codependent:
Not feeling good enough, not following red flags in relationships or on dates, coming up with excuses for your partner/date’s behavior, not disclosing what is happening with friends or family, not following your gut, not having boundaries, trying to fix your partner.
How does codependency start? What is it really about?
It starts with yourself. You may have a parent, significant other, friend or co-worker who has addiction or mental illness, but ultimately you are the one who begins neglecting yourself for others.
Long story short, codependency is when you are obsessing over another person, because they can’t take care of themselves. You can lose your identity, needs, boundaries and life because you’re so focused on this other person. As a result, you have excessive reliance on other people for identity.
Okay, so let’s say we see these patterns in ourselves. What are three things we can do if we want to work on it?
Totally ok if you do. I’ve been there, done that before, girl! And I can reassure you that you’re not doomed.
1. Start by practicing self-love. Look in the mirror and say to yourself, “I love you.” Its a lot easier said than done. If you even have trouble uttering those words, then scale back. Practice just looking in the mirror and saying one thing you’re grateful for in this day.
2. Create a boundary. Boundaries are the gateway to allowing toxic people in and out of your life. They’re essential to your damn sanity. Saying “no” is a boundary. Yes it may feel uncomfortable as hell, but it’s what will give yourself identity.
3. Get a life. Literally, go find a new hobby to do. When you’re codependent you’ve probably neglected a big part of your life and sometimes you’ve neglected your entire life. Pick something that sounds interesting to do, research it and set a date for when you will go after it.
How might someone who is self-partnered practice being less codependent if it was a pattern for them in the past?
Start by getting to know who YOU are without jumping into another relationship right away. Take full advantage of creating self-care by getting adequate sleep, learn what you want and don’t want in a partner, get help from a dating coach to guide you and help you dive into changing these patterns.
This is the time to build that relationship with yourself, which is the foundation for any relationship you will ever have. At the end of the day, you teach people how to treat you by showing up for yourself first.
Is there a difference in how this looks in a committed partnership vs when we’re dating?
Yes and no. Ultimately the relationship you’re in or dates you go on are only a symptom of what you’re truly experiencing within yourself. Add someone into the picture and it just becomes symptoms of codependency.
If you’re in a committed relationship a symptom you may be checking in on your partner or coming up with ways to “fix” their problem.
If you’re dating, maybe it’s moving really quickly in the relationship or trauma bonding AKA diving quickly into family issues or past relationships.
What can people expect from your book, and how can people learn more and keep up with everything you’re doing?
Contagious Love is a gentle but perfect kick in the butt book, where I dish out 12 chapters full of inspiring personal stories, relatable client stories, and go-to advice, with an occasional f-bomb. All this knowledge accompanied with a formula for breaking free from codependent relationships for helping you to:
Build successful intimate relationships
Communicate like a boss
Spot red flags in a relationship
Create relationship boundaries
Cultivate contagious self-love
By the end of this book, you’ll have easy but powerful AF action steps so you can break free from codependency for damn good.
Order Contagious Love or ask me a question via my website www.iamcarlaromo.com and please say hello via IG @iamcarlaromo