A portion of codependency rests on the simple fact that one person wants to keep the peace - to never ruffle the feathers of the other person. In fact, they would likely no longer have a codependent relationship if they were to disturb the calm!
When you leave the codependent relationship where you were the peacekeeper, it’s an interesting conundrum to adapt to becoming inwardly peaceful yet no longer “needing” to keep the peace among others.
Why is this an important distinction and how do you accomplish this?
For starters, it’s necessary to define the type of peacekeeping I’m talking about. I’m not talking about first responders or people who fight for human, animal, or environmental rights. I’m talking to you who don’t want to push boundaries so no one gets upset. The person who’s been in an abusive relationship is likely a peacekeeper by nature but it became exacerbated during this relationship as a survival technique. I’m also speaking to you who have left that abusive relationship but your PTSD includes peacekeeping. I talk to you because I was you, I am you.
Some people believe keeping the peace among others makes you a peacekeeper, one to be revered and necessary for the world. Actually, there’s part of this ideal that isn’t true. We need people to shake up the system every now and then to induce progress otherwise our cultures largely stagnate. Imagine if women never stood up for the right to vote! Someone had to get that started and she wasn’t a peace keeper! MLK Jr, while peaceful, wasn’t a peace keeper. No peaceful protester is ever a peacekeeper.
In some respects, being a “peacekeeper” means we’re a busy body - always involved in other people’s business anxiously fluttering around trying to solve problems that weren’t ours to solve.
Moving on to why the distinction between being a peacekeeper and becoming inwardly peaceful is so important...
A LOT of people look to external sources for their own happiness, peace, love, excitement, etc.
This is why it’s so important to realize that although you can be a diplomatic peacekeeper so that your surroundings are peaceful (or at least peaceful on the surface), it doesn’t make you filled with peace and it doesn’t make you a peaceful person necessarily.
So how do we move away from being codependent/being a peacekeeper and develop our own ability to keep our inner peace?
Realize that everyone you worry about (except your personal kids if you have any) is an adult and fully responsible for their own lives, feelings, survival.
STOP worrying about everyone or everything else. Just stop. In fact don’t worry about anything, but concern yourself with what you can do today toward any personal goal you may have.
START thinking about yourself more often. This doesn’t make you selfish, it makes you more aware of your needs which opens your life up to so much because better awareness leads to better communication, better relationships, a better life.
If/When you have anxiety (unless it’s clinical anxiety) about anything in your life think to yourself, “Can I do anything about this RIGHT NOW,” or, “Is that a realistic thought;” or try writing it down and either save it for when you have the time and energy to really think it through or let it go.
As you’re able, get as much rest as you need (that doesn’t necessarily mean sleep - but you don’t have to go go go all the time!), eat and drink for your adrenals - drink as much water as you can, avoid caffeine (if possible!! I’m an avid coffee drinker and have achieved a certain level of peace for myself without cutting it out entirely!), and eat clean.
Lastly, if you believe in a higher power, give your will to it. Know that it already knows your need and is working in your favor to provide a solution to that which you are anxious over.
Allow me to give you an example. While in the thick of the book, Codependent No More by Melody Beattie, I came across the antidote to codependency which has already been laid out for you above: only be responsible for you: your feelings, your actions, your day, your life. I started transitioning to this way of thinking. My then husband was an angry person about 50% of the time. I distinctly remember the first time I shifted my thinking and released the responsibility of his emotions, his actions, his day, his life.
We worked together and I was off before him so I sat in the restaurant and waited as we often did for each other. I saw him begin to get worked up into an anxious, “I can do it all” mode. I wanted to get up and help him but I decided against that and instead I relaxed and finished my homework or socialized with co-workers. That was one of the first times I found inner peace even within a very anxiety-producing relationship.
Note: if you’re in an abusive relationship, know that you taking a step back will trigger them into wanting to become more controlling, just fyi. Proceed with caution.
Over the next couple of years I kept taking more and more responsibility for my own happiness and peace and am now working on being my own source of love and validation.
When you shift to this type of thinking, it is incredibly freeing. As we used to run around desperate to create a peaceful environment for everyone else just so we could eventually experience it ourselves, it is so liberating to sit as the world spins out of control knowing that all you have to be responsible for is yourself, your own actions, your own life.
I would love to walk you through this further if you're needing help, please DM or email me and we can chat!