For years I’ve heard about Universal Laws, mysterious rules that govern our world at an unseen level. The problem with these laws? No list exists. Nobody tells us the rules, like they do at a seminar, in a classroom or even on a website unless you count Moses etching the Ten Commandments in Stone. So clearly stumbled into two of these Universal Laws. No, three.
1-If we jump out of an airplane, we’ll fall down, not up.
2-If we eat every single thing we want, we’ll gain weight.
3-If all we see is the negative, we’ll begin to see more and more of the negative. We’ll feel worse. Feeling badly will become a way of life. We’ll see nothing but the problems, the things that didn’t work out and the wrongdoings others have done to us. We’ll see our picture and think, Ick. It’s an ugly way of life. The only antidote I’ve found for it… is gratitude. If you couple gratitude with non-dualistic thinking, or non-black and white thinking (this is good, this is bad), which then means we’ll begin to express gratitude for most if not all of life (except for sheer tragedies in which case we’ll learn it’s okay to mourn), we’ll be lifted out of that rut of negativity we’ve learned to call home. We don’t see rejection. We know we’ve been saved from ourselves, saved for something better. Melody Beattie from her blog at
Hard is trying to rebuild yourself,
piece by piece,
with no instruction book,
and no clue as to where
all the important bits are supposed to go.
Healthy self-esteem is created within an individual who knows that he has inherent worth that is equal to others. It cannot be altered by his failings or strengths, which I call a person’s humanity. Parents who are able to affirm, nurture and set limits for their children without dis-empowering or falsely empowering them create children who can functionally esteem themselves. The codependent individual relies on others to determine his worth or gets it from comparing himself to others, so his self-esteem fluctuates between feeling worthless and better than. It is better defined as other-esteem. It is based on external things – how they look, who they know, how large their salary is, how well their children perform, the degrees they have earned or how well they perform activities. The codependent person becomes a human doing rather than a human being. His or her esteem is not self-based. It is based on the opinions of others. The difficulty with other-esteem is that its source is outside of the person and thus vulnerable to changes beyond the codependent’s control. Other-esteem is fragile and undependable. Posted by John on
is like driving through life
with your hand-break on.
As a rule, codependents have difficulty identifying what they need. They often can’t tell what they feel; sometimes they just feel numb – too numb to sense their own fear. They can justify rescuing others in the name of love and concern, but don’t seem to know their own limits. As a result, codependents can be prone to depression, physical illness, or job “burnout.” They routinely overtax themselves, feeling guilty if they take time for their own self care. They seem incapable of relaxing, but seem forever to be giving, rarely allowing themselves to receive. Their friendships consist of caseloads of needy people; yet, codependents rarely feel that they are doing enough for others. They have a hard time saying “no.” In the work setting, they may put in endless overtime (sometimes without pay), but fear they are frauds and incompetents, feeling grateful they still have jobs. They may go from one unsatisfying relationship to another, mystified at how they fall prey to such an endless stream of “losers.” Most ironically, codependents may themselves suffer from compulsive and addictive patterns, including addictions to: destructive relationships; work; overeating and other eating disorders; excitement and chaos; and sometimes substance abuse. They feel sad, deeply alone, drained, and often desperate. They wish that someone could hear their pain. Frederick A. Levy LCSW
I used to spend so much time reacting
and responding to everyone else
that my life had no direction.
Other people’s lives, problems,
and wants set the course for my life.
Once I realized it was okay for me
to think about and identify what I wanted,
remarkable things began to take place in my life.
Ask yourself why you need to love a person who creates pain for you. Ask why you care more for him (her) than you do about your own happiness. Why is your caring so misguided? You know you can’t change your partner. But you can become stronger, set some limits and insist on more appropriate behavior from him (her). Find the weakness that prevents you from doing this. Real love is not about continued pain. It is about creating a partnership which each person cares and nurtures the other person. Codependency is caring too much for another person who has dysfunctional behavior at the expense of one’s own self. Caring too much and enabling the other person keeps people in destructive relationships. Co-dependent people try to get validation from others and are willing to give themselves away to get it, as opposed to those who can know their own self-worth and seek what they need within themselves. Psychologist, Dr. Lynne Namka
Sometimes you hit a point
where you either change
or self destruct.
Knowing how codependency manifests in your own life is not a good enough reason to end a bad relationship. In fact, knowledge will never be enough motivation to do so. The motivation has to come from your gut, your pain. You’ll need to be pushed and pricked and shoved so hard — that you finally recognize how toxic the situation is. And the only way to recognize that, is through your anger. In order to end a codependent relationship, you need to be intimately connected to your anger. Codependency comes from believing that you need to be connected to a dysfunctional person that treats you in dysfunctional ways — for whatever reason. And it comes from being so sure that you can’t lay down a boundary because if you do, the sky will fall and you can forget about ever being happy again. Your anger gives you the fuel to reclaim yourself after you’ve continually given yourself away. Anger… is nature’s signal that a boundary has been encroached upon, or violated. When you listen to your anger, form a bond with it, and work with it — you naturally pay more attention to your boundaries or lack of them. And you set and maintain healthy boundaries to protect yourself. And guess what? That kind of behavior is the complete opposite of codependency.
It’s time to care;
it’s time to take responsibility;
it’s time to lead;
it’s time for a change;
it’s time to be true to our greatest self;
it’s time to stop blaming others.
Recovery from codependency has been about discovering myself; not the pretend self I created in my youth; not the mask I learned to show the world, but the person hidden deep down I have been since childhood; the one I barely knew for most of my life. As a kid I played survival hide and seek with my emotional self to the point that the game became all about hiding. The ability to allow myself to just be a child got lost and I stopped seeking to unfold the ‘me’ I was born to be. Instead I became adept at showing what I thought I had to show; to try to be “good” so my parents would love me. They too lost them self in their young years and in ways of parenting were nothing but children. And the same had to be true of their parents before them and their parents before them… Codependence is a family tradition that often runs deeply backwards into generation after generation and out to the many branches of a family tree. That’s why it can feel almost normal. When a kid is completely surrounded by dysfunction it appears natural and the way one can grow up to be.
Drop the idea of becoming someone,
because you are already a masterpiece.
You cannot be improved.
You have only to come to it,
to know it, to realize it.
A dysfunctional family is one in which members suffer from fear, anger, pain, or shame that is ignored or denied. Underlying problems may include any of the following: an addiction by a family member to drugs, alcohol, relationships, work, food, sex, or gambling; the existence of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse; the presence of a family member suffering from a chronic mental or physical illness. Dysfunctional families do not acknowledge that problems exist. They don’t talk about them or confront them. As a result, family members learn to repress emotions and disregard their own needs. They become “survivors.” They develop behaviors that help them deny, ignore, or avoid difficult emotions. They detach themselves. They don’t talk. They don’t touch. They don’t confront. They don’t feel. They don’t trust.
A torn jacket is soon mended,
but hard words bruise the heart of a child.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
You can’t get enough of it. It’s taking control of your life, but you can’t stop. You know it’s bad for you, but you can’t leave it alone. You’ve pushed friends away, compromised your responsibilities and even walked off the job for it. You’re addicted and you don’t want to admit it. I’m not talking about drugs, alcohol or gambling. I’m talking about relationships. The addiction to relationships or to a person is dangerous and can sometimes result in murder, suicide, stalking or unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as excessive alcohol or drug use. “Codependency, by definition, means making the relationships more important to you than you are to yourself,” Dr. Tina Tessina said in an article on WebMD. “It means you’re trying to make the relationship work with someone else who’s not. Most people who didn’t grow up in a codependent atmosphere aren’t going to put up with it for too long,” Tessina said. “The ones who start with the impression that love is sacrificing for my partner and putting up with whatever my partner wants to dish out, they’re the ones who get deeply stuck in it.”
There is an ache in my heart
for the imagined beauty of a life
I haven’t had, from which
I had been locked out,
and it never goes away.
If you think your wife is codependent, there’s a good chance you are, too. Often codependent men are attracted to women who are needy, demanding, jealous, or critical. Men become dependent on their wives’ approval, and then feel trapped by their manipulation, demands, or expectations. They’re unable to set boundaries and fear emotional retaliation and/or rejection, including withholding of sex. Their wives may be very emotional, providing a sense of aliveness to the relationship and compensating for the numbness many codependent men feel inside. In the beginning, a man can feel powerful, helping a needy girlfriend or wife and giving her attention or gifts. He conforms to her expectations, while being assured that she won’t abandon him, but eventually discovers that it’s never enough to satisfy her. . Fear of rejection and abandonment are powerful motivators for codependency, usually because of early emotional abandonment by a parent. Consequently, the men never leave – physically – but withdraw to the safety of a self-made emotional prison. After a while, they feel trapped, controlled, and resentful. They may use drugs or addictive behavior to manage anxiety and depression, while some look outside the marriage for validation. However, it’s not their wives that are the cause of their problem, it’s their codependency. Darlene Lancer, M.A., MFT, J.D.
More people would learn from their mistakes
if they weren’t so busy denying them.
Harold J. Smith
The best you can hope for in a relationship is to find someone whose flaws are the sort you don’t mind. It is futile to look for someone who has no flaws, or someone who is capable of significant change; that sort of person, exists only in our imaginations. Scott Adam
Indifference and neglect
often do much more damage
than outright dislike.