How I Finally Kicked my Co-dependent Relationship to the Kerb

Strong & independent or insecure & needy?

Strong & independent or insecure & needy?

by Kara-Leah Grant, Musings from the Mat

Who’d’ve thought?

Strong, independent, courageous Moi was stuck in a co-dependent relationship.

Yep, me neither.

Despite getting wind of this fact about halfway through our 3 year or so relationship, it took me another 18 months to break the pattern. Which in the end meant breaking off the relationship.

This relationship had been increasingly volatile ever since I got back from Prana Flow yoga teacher training in LA.

I’d made a commitment to myself on the return plane flight that I would practice staying loving and open, while speaking my truth in a non-violent way.

It’s something I’ve sucked badly at for a long time. The loving and open bit I had down pat. Speaking my truth not so much. I was always too afraid of my partner’s reaction, too afraid of losing the relationship, just too damn afraid full stop.

Which are some of the signs of being in a co-dependent relationship – being afraid to speak up.

So on my arrival back in New Zealand, I began to really speak up. This created conflict – lots of it. But it also created evolution and movement and it felt like our relationship was moving into a space it had never been in before.

I had hope.

Until  the week of the full moon/ summer solstice/ lunar eclipse in December 2010. Talk about a triple whammy.

We were camping up at Glenorchy in the caravan my Dad and step-mum had given us, on my Mum’s front lawn.

I’d had six days myself there over the Summer Solstice and had done a lot of fear-facing.

I’d gone deeper into myself than ever before, staying with all the ickiness as it arose, getting up close and uncomfortable so I could finally see why being in a relationship triggered all these insecurities and fears which made me a pathetic, hyper-emotional, insecure, needy woman.

My partner showed up on Christmas Eve. And every single day we’d ping-pong between this loving state of closeness and fiery confrontations about behaviours.

I just wasn’t going to let anything go, because after being in LA I knew that it was possible to be in harmonious, loving, open, joyous conscious relationships where any angst can be worked through with loving-kindness, and damned if I wasn’t going to be that way.

My partner reckoned if I could just chill out and relax, everything would be fine. But that’s what I’d always done previously – just let things go because I didn’t want to rock the boat. Problem was, then I ended up living with all these behaviours and situations which I didn’t want to experience.

Plus in those six days over the Solstice when I’d gone deep, I’d got to the source of my fears and realized that for whatever reason, deep down in my core I had a belief that meant I didn’t feel safe and secure unless I was in a relationship.

That belief created a need for relationship, and that was the strongest motivation operating in my unconscious – and it was the reason why I’d never rocked the boat previously.

God knows where it had come from, that deep fear and insecurity because it certainly doesn’t sit with my ideas of who I am.

But there it was, buried deep, the reason why I’d always been in co-dependent relationships.

I’ll take care of you, if you take care of me. Make me feel safe.

It was also the reason why I’d always turned into this insecure, needy, fearful woman once I fell in love… ‘cos I was petrified of doing the ‘wrong’ thing and losing the relationship. I blocked my own truth and power out of fear.

This was a deeply embedded samskara (impressions derived from past experiences that influence future responses and behavior) that had been ruling my relationship behaviour for many, many years.

No more.

I wasn’t going to let my unconscious need for safety and security dictate my behavior anymore.

It was a long time coming, this point, and there are many reasons why I was finally able to do it  – remember I’ve left seven times before but never managed to stick to my decision. And I always allowed myself to be wooed back – because my partner is nothing if not charming, charismatic, gorgeous, articulate, witty and intuitive. And I loved him to bits, wanting nothing more to have our relationship work. That desire was so, so, so strong.

This time was different though. and here’s why:

1. Cord-cutting with Anna Conlan

About five weeks ago, I had a cord-cutting with Anna Conlan – an energetic procedure where she cuts the negative cord of attachment between two people.

This sounded pretty woo woo to me, but I’d had one done previously which had had tangible results, and I when I got back from LA I was willing to do anything to sort out my relationship once and for all.

Anna goes in, does an energetic reading of the way in which two people are connected, cuts the cord, and reads the dialogue contained within it – the unconscious agreements that we make when we enter into relationship with another person. And she does it all by phone.

The unconscious agreements I’d made with my ex-partner Luke were so unhealthy it wasn’t even funny – here’s one stellar example:

I love you so much and will do anything that makes your life better, even at my own expense

What was I thinking!? Well, I wasn’t. This was an unconscious thing… but wait, there was more.

Anna also said that our connection was so tight and so strong it was like we were the same person. Energetically I’d always felt this – that my partner’s feelings were my own and vice versus. Makes it real hard to break up with someone because all their pain becomes yours.

Immediately after I’d had the cord cutting I noticed a huge difference. I could feel my strength and power and felt… contained. Like I was me again. In many ways, this was the real beginning of the end. From this place, speaking my truth and holding to it was finally possible.

2. Two weeks in Los Angeles at a Prana Flow Teacher Training

This was the longest I’d spent away from my partner for three and a half years and it was an eye-opener in many ways.

Living with an addict means living with mood swings, lies, broken promises, and words that never mean anything. An addiction means that someone’s focus is entirely on their own internal state. They’re incapable of responding to the needs of the people around them, and they are so not present.

On the other hand, LA showed me what it was like to be around conscious, present people, and I came home with an intention that that was the kind of relationship I wanted to be in. Which meant that was the kind of person I had to be – conscious and present.

Which brought me right back around to speaking my truth. Even if I was afraid of what might happen. So I did, I spoke loud and clear.

Now would I have stayed in my unconscious pattern if those two things hadn’t had happened?

Hard to know.

Previously, I’d struggled enormously to make sense of the situation. I knew we loved each other enormously, and I always thought that if I could just sort myself out then the relationship would be easy. That somehow it was my fault things sucked, so it was in my power to make it all wonderful.

If I could just do the right thing, he’d be happy.


Such is the delusion of co-dependency.

It’s a backward way to try and live – attempting to get other people to do what you want by modifying your own actions and words to suit. It’s something we do when we’re trying to control the external world. It’s something we do when we’re operating on a victim/co-dependent mentality.

Not me. Not anymore.

I finally got courageous enough to turn around face my fears head on.

Which is another reason why this time is different. Previously I’d always run away from the relationship, leaving because I was upset at him for not being how I wanted him to be. This time, I stayed right where I was, continued to love him, and stated:

I don’t want this in my life anymore.

I stopped being the victim of his behavior and become the creator of my own.

Yep, I stopped being a victim and started being a Goddess.

I mean would Shakti stand for that kind of bullshit?

I don’t think so. So why should I?

Result? One co-dependent relationship kicked to the kerb. One needy and insecure woman outed, hugged, consoled, and sent on her way.

Oh she stills shows up now and then and my ex-partner and I negotiate our new relationship as parents to Samuel, but I can feel the energetic difference so strongly that I know instinctively that I’m blocking my power by not speaking up. Just being aware of this helps me choose a different a road – a road of truth, power and aliveness!

I know now too that I’ll never be in another co-dependent relationship. This is one damn pattern I’ve broken once and for all!

Samskara of weak, insecure, needy, afraid woman, begone!


  1. says

    is wow even enough for this?

    besides, “your” wow is the wow that counts 😉

    liked that you gave a definition in italics: “samskara (impressions derived from past experiences that influence future responses and behavior)”

    lot of people might not know the meaning, and lots more might think of it in their own individual way – understandable, since it seems a lot of sanskrit terms, like latin greek and tex-mex, are interpreted in various ways 😉

    and, truly, all the best with “conscious, present people…that was the kind of relationship I wanted to be in. Which meant that was the kind of person I had to be – conscious and present.” – for me it’s always been a process, and, as i’ve gotten older, seems more a process than ever now!

    mucho mucho for you kara-leah 😉

    • Kara-Leah Grant says

      Hey Adan,

      Samskara is such a helpful concept when it comes to figuring out recurring patterns like this… especially when they don’t line up with who we think we are.

      And yes, conscious and present relationships are SO precious. My ex-partner and I are now stepping into that space as we negotiate being single parents, and it’s much nicer!


  2. says

    Thank for sharing your heart with us! I also recently ended a co-dependent relationship, and I was near tears reading your post. You are so strong for finding your voice & seeing what really was. It’s hard to realize you’re standing in sh*t when you’re in it so deep it’s covering your eyes & clogging your nose.

    And now it’s about finding happiness & wholeness within ourselves! We don’t need anyone else to make us complete :)

    *hugs from New Jersey, USA

    • Kara-Leah Grant says

      Hey Elisa,

      You know, I was in two-minds about this article – whether to publish or not. And getting your comment helps confirm that this kind of thing needs to be written about.

      I LOVE your metaphor too. So beautiful, in a shitty kind of way 😉

      I hope you’re rockin’ being by yourself!

      Many blessings,

  3. kate tanner says

    Hi there, warrior woman!

    Kate here, finally reading you. What a journey…. Fear of rocking that boat and then a massive earthquake comes along and rocks it for us…We knew our feelings at that first earthquake together in Christchurch were right, that that was not the end, nor the ‘big one’… seems we were right or rather in tune. Both scared. That absolute truth is sometimes hard for me to accept, hard for me to believe myself. Thanks you for sharing your journey with us all and for being a part of my life. Keep in touch lovely. Still at my tranquil cottage… experiencing momentary waves of truth for myself counteracted by the truth of what others want to hear!

    Blessings to all. kate.

    • Kara-Leah Grant says



      It has been a journey huh? That first earthquake sure shook up the root chakra, in all aspects. And I wish we hadn’t been right about there being another big one coming. But truth will not be silenced eh?

      Enjoy the tranquility of your cottage and stay true to the warrior woman inside!


  4. Charlotte says

    Thanks so much for writing this. In the middle of a similar situation myself. I know it has to end and that the fear of being alone is not worth the price I pay by denying my self every day. Great to hear the story of a strong, independent woman who overcame this type of way of being. Kia kaha, namaste.

    • Kara-Leah Grant says

      Hey Charlotte,

      All power to you sister, face that fear head on! I’m soooooooooooo glad I finally did! Put that Self of yours first.

      Much strength always,

  5. Paula says

    Great post. This is what it is about. Being strong on your own and knowing that you have the inner resources and don’t ‘need’ a partner, but rather are with someone to enhance your already fulfilling life

  6. says

    I can’t tell you how much I relate to your post. I have this suspicion that many of those co-dependent issues that we have, arise from our culture and the “fairy tales” and mythology we learn as we grow up – of what it is to be a human being in our society.

    Women especially, I think are taught to love like this. There’s so much at stake: being partned up = being a worthwhile person, right? And that’s just the tip of the iceberg and definitely relates to that “deep fear & insecurity”.

    Not speaking up is about not wanting to lose the love we so desperately crave – forgetting of course, that we can be and are our own self-generating source of Love. We think we have to get it from someone else, and until we learn to be our own Light and Love, it’s tricky to properly be in an appropriate relationship.

    This is what I’ve been learning about myself, anyway. But totally flying solo for the past five or so years.

    What you’ve done is both wonderful and (I’m sure) scary. But it’s the best thing you could have done for yourself and your child. Because if there’s one thing I’ve noticed with my nieces (no little ones of my own unfortunately), they start absorbing things early. Not just actions and words, but feelings, too. They take on board our anxieties and reactions and they learn the “rules” of this world from how the grown ups around them behave.

    Fabulous post, beautiful words, Kara-Leah!

    • Kara-Leah Grant says

      Hey Svasti,

      I think you’ve hit it bang on – I grew up obsessed with fariytales, and while my Mum bought me a book called “The Practical Princess and other liberating fairytales” (she rescues herself) there’s no doubt that the myth lives on in our cells!

      I know for me, in this relationship in particular (long-term relationship #6, I had a real sense of not wanting to “fail” again, of wanting to make it work. So I worked really, really, really hard at this… not realising the model was inherently flawed!

      And yes, not speaking up was ALL about not losing the love…

      I can’t imagine being solo for five years… but who knows where this journey will take me now?

      Thank you for such a wise & heartfelt comment,

  7. Paul says

    This article struck me. Hard. As I’m reading this, I feel as though this is what my soon to be ex wife must feel. She’s said many of the same things. Leaving me feeling lower than low. Don’t know if we’re both co dependent, but in truth, I absolutely adored her, mind body and soul. She was my moon in the sky. I was hers, for a time. She has stated I “stopped trying” by not securing a more ‘grown up’ job and in those years, she stopped feeling the same. I honored her, respected her, and treated her like a queen. Perfect? Hell no. But she lit up my life and made sure she knew how unconditionally loved she was. I wonder why, when reading this, “I” felt like the bad guy! My heart aches even writing this. We have children, and I always thought I married my best friend….only to watch her fade away and be powerless to stop it. She says we were too ‘small’. Much like what you said about present, conscious, people. I agreed actually. I feel Ive diminished, and sorely wanted growth. Thought we could grow together and uplift each other. Hate feeling this way. I love her with all Ive got and want the best for her. Hurts that it might be someone else…..


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