If we can’t imagine who we would be without our relationship, chances are we come from a dysfunctional family of origin and have learned co-dependent behavior patterns. When we lack a sense of our own identity and the boundaries of the self that protect and define us as individuals, we tend to draw our identities, our sense of self-worth from our partner or significant other as we did in the earliest stage of our biological growth in our family of origin, drawing our sense of worth from their perceptions of us. The structure of the relationship in this case is not that of equals in a partnership but that of parent and child. Leading in some cases to that most unequal of relationships, master and slave. It is quite possible that children developing in a family where the important relationship of the parents is an unequal one will be forced to take on roles as either surrogate spouse and/or adopt roles that it is hoped will restore dignity to the family and balance to the system. If we can’t imagine who we would be without our relationship, chances are we come from a dysfunctional family of origin and have learned co-dependent behavior patterns. Unable to find fulfillment within ourselves we look for such fulfillment in others and are willing to do anything it takes to make the relationship work, just as we may have done in our enmeshed family of origin, even if this means giving up our emotional security, friends, integrity, sense of self-respect or worth, independence, or employment. The rational alternative is to find out who we are and what makes us unique, and we will rejoice in the freedom of this discovery. We will come to realize that our value and worth as a person is not necessarily dependent on having a significant other in our life, that we can function well as an independent person in our own right. When we move into accepting ourselves for who we really are warts and all, we will be able to accept others for who they are; our relationships and ourselves will actually have a chance to grow into emotionally mature adults able to give freely out of choice and flourish in our new-found freedom. John Stibbs http://www.hiddenhurt.co.uk/emotional_boundaries.html
Be who you are
and say what you feel
because those who mind don’t matter
and those who matter don’t mind.