Codependency For Dummies
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Most codependents have an external locus of control, meaning that they think external factors are the cause of what happens to them and how they feel. Codependents expect and hope that change will come from the outside or some other person. Their focus and power are outside of themselves. They look to others to make themselves feel better and approve of them, especially when it comes to relationships.

They also tend to make excuses or blame others or circumstances for their problems and when things don’t go as planned. As you stop doing that and begin to take responsibility for your life and your feelings, actions, and inactions, you’re gradually taking your power back, and the locus of control becomes internal, on yourself.

Every time you don’t please, react, or control someone, and you voice your feelings, opinions, and limits, you’re building your self-esteem and an internal locus of control. You stop being a victim. You stop spending your energy trying to change or control someone else. If you’re unhappy and get that familiar victim feeling, you take the responsibility to make changes to become happy, even when you can’t “fix” the problem. This is a process that involves building self-esteem, becoming self-nurturing, setting boundaries, and healing your past.

The final step is manifesting that newfound self-esteem and self-confidence. Expressing not just your voice in your relationships but also your talents, skills, and creativity in the world. When you learn something new, when you solve a problem on your own, when you’re doing what you love, and when you’re accomplishing your goals, you feel independent and confident and look forward to each new day. You know you can stand on your own two feet, and it’s a great feeling.

People with an internal locus of control are more successful in all aspects of their lives. They believe that outcomes are contingent on their actions and effort rather than luck, unfair circumstances, and things beyond their ­control. There are quizzes online you can take to determine your locus of control.

The good news is that you can change your locus of control. After you realize that you can make a difference in own life and sense of well-being, you begin to take your power back.

About This Article

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Darlene Lancer, JD, LMFT, is a licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in relationships and codependency. Ms. Lancer has counseled individuals and couples for 28 years and coaches internationally. She's a sought-after speaker to professionals at national conferences and in the media.

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