Self Esteem-Just as important as intimacy is the need for each of us to maintain appropriate boundaries within both intimate and other relationships.
Boundaries simply mean that you know where you end and the other person begins. You don’t define your identity in terms of the other person. And above all, you don’t derive your sense of self-worth and self-authority by attempting to take care of, rescue, change, or control the other person. In the past few years, the terms “women who love too much” and “co-dependency” have been used to define those people who, because they lack a solid, internal basis of self-worth, attempt to validate themselves through taking care of, rescuing, or simply pleasing another person. A good indication of loss of boundaries is spending more time talking or thinking about another’s needs or problems than your own and this can be detrimental on your self esteem.
In her best selling book, Women Who Love Too Much, Robin Norwood advocates the following steps in overcoming co-dependency in a close relationship:
Going for help – giving up the idea you can handle it alone
Making recovery from co-dependency your highest priority
Finding a support group of peers who understand the problem
Developing a personal spiritual life where you can let go of self-will and rely on a “Higher Power”
Learning to stop managing, controlling, or “running the life” of another or others you love
Learning to let go of playing the game of “rescuer” and/or “victim” with the other person
Facing and exploring your own personal problems and pain in depth
Sharing what you have learned with others