Boundaries are sort of an imaginary line between you and others. It divides up what’s yours and somebody else’s, and that applies not only to your body, money and belongings, but also to your feelings, thoughts and needs. That’s especially where codependents get into trouble. They have blurry or weak boundaries. They feel responsible for other people’s feelings and problems or blame their own on someone else. Some codependents have rigid boundaries. They are closed off and withdrawn, making it hard for other people to get close to them. Sometimes, people flip back and forth between having weak boundaries and having rigid ones. A consequence of poor boundaries is that you react to everyone’s thoughts and feelings. If someone says something you disagree with, you either believe it or become defensive. You absorb their words, because there’s no boundary. With a boundary, you’d realize it was just their opinion and not a reflection of you and not feel threatened by disagreements. By Darlene Lancer, JD, MFT http://psychcentral.com/lib/2012/symptoms-of-codependency/
People who violate
They steal time
that doesn’t belong to them.
Elizabeth Grace Saunders
Codependency comes in many forms. One aspect is doing for others what they should and need to do for themselves. It may make the other person feel good for the moment, and us important, but it keeps them over-dependent on us. This kind of relationship is extremely unhealthy. Another aspect of codependency is rescuing people from the logical consequences of their negative behavior patterns. This, too, keeps them immature and over-dependent on us. For every alcoholic (or other addict), who is already over-dependent on his alcohol, they say there are four codependent enablers supporting him and his addiction. As long as they are doing this, he never has to get better. If he refuses to acknowledge his issue, get into a recovery program, and resolve his problem, there comes a time when those who are enabling him need to say enough is enough! They need to exercise tough love, quit protecting him or her, get out of the way, and let him crash! This is the most loving thing they can do after they have tried every other avenue of tough love and found that none of it worked. The bottom line of codependency is that need is mistaken for love. The codependent needs to feel needed in order to feel loved. But it’s not love at all. It’s need. It may look like love and it may look very Christian but it’s neither. Furthermore, the codependent person wants to fix others to avoid facing his own issues. Taken from “The Counterfeit Love of Codependency” by Dr. Billy Kidd http://drbillykidd.hubpages.com/hub/codependents-r-us
A hot-tempered man
must pay the penalty;
if you rescue him,
you will have to do it again.
Dysfunctional Relationships are relationships that do not perform their appropriate function; that is, they do not emotionally support the participants, foster communication among them, appropriately challenge them, or prepare or fortify them for life in the larger world. Codependency means that one or both people in a relationship are making the relationship more important than they are to themselves. A classic codependent is hopelessly entangled with a partner who is out of control through alcoholism, addiction or violent behavior; but the term has been more recently used to mean anyone who feel dependent, helpless and out of control in a relationship; or unable to leave an unsatisfying or abusive one. Toxic Family Systems are relationships (beginning with childhood families, and carried into adulthood) that are mentally, emotionally or physically harmful to some or all of the participants. Codependent relationships can also be toxic relationships, although the term “toxic” is usually used to mean the more abusive varieties. In short, all three of these terms refer to relationships that contain unhealthy interaction, and do not effectively enhance the lives of the people involved. People in these relationships are not taking responsibility for making their own lives or the relationship work. Adapted from “Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Squabbling About the Three Things That Can Destroy Your Marriage” by Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. http://www.tinatessina.com/dysfunctional_relationship.html
We are all prompted by the same motives,
all deceived by the same fallacies,
all animated by hope, obstructed by danger,
entangled by desire, and seduced by pleasure.
Men want no manipulation of any kind. They do not want to read their partner’s mind or try to interpret signals. They do not want to be forced to move faster in a relationship than they are ready. They do not want to be manipulated into taking all the blame for things gone wrong. They do not want to be on the receiving end of game playing. Women think men want little or no communication, and the only way to get needs met is through manipulation. Women think men either need or want to be reminded that the relationship needs to move forward. Women think men don’t want or value praise and acknowledgment, and so tend to only verbalize criticism. Men want a partner who can laugh at herself and who has courage and strength. They want a woman who can see her part in relationship dynamics and own it. She has to be emotionally stable. Men want a woman who is developing herself personally, and who takes responsibility for her emotional experience. Women think men only want to have a good time. Women think men have no interest in developing and growing a relationship or developing and growing themselves. Women think men want women who are super models, and that they never consider whether a woman is emotionally mature, kind, supportive, or loving. From “What Men Want in a Relationship” by Rinatta Paries http://powertochange.com/sex-love/menwant/
A man is given the choice
between loving women
and understanding them.
Ninon de Lenclos
It’s often obvious that a needy, demanding woman who clings to a man has codependent tendencies. However, a relationship consists of two people, and HE is no less responsible. In fact, his behavior can also be labeled “codependent.” Two people who have codependent tendencies may act in opposite ways: While one is needy and drains her partner, the other may have an enlarged sense of responsibility to his partner, and is overly sensitive to her needs and demands. In fact, people with opposing codependent styles tend to attract each other. These opposing psychological profiles have been termed “takers” and “caretakers.” Codependent relationships are complicated, and they’re often characterized by manipulation, lack of boundaries, repressed emotions, emotional volatility, jealousy issues, verbal abuse, etc. Both partners tend to have complicated back-stories, which often serve to justify abnormal behavior. If you’re a man feeling stuck in a codependent relationship, realize that your happiness is worth the effort it takes to move on. http://www.codependencyfreedom.com/codependency/for-men-11-signs-youre-in-a-codependent-relationship-and-how-to-get-out.html
To be rejected by someone doesn’t mean you
should also reject yourself or that you
should think of yourself as a lesser person.
It doesn’t mean that nobody will ever love you anymore.
Remember that only ONE person has rejected
you at the moment, and it only hurt so much
because to you, that person’s opinion symbolized
the opinion of the whole world, of God.
… being able to “open your heart” to someone who has caused you tremendous pain is… not a test of your spirituality. Many people deliberately put themselves in company with family and “friends” who are profoundly painful for them to be with, in an effort to develop forgiveness or compassion, and because they feel they “should.” And yet, if your heart is not open, and the desire to be with this other is not emanating from a place of true compassion, it does you no spiritual good to do what you “should.” Pushing harder does not create more compassion. Like getting through a grueling spin class, there is a sense of accomplishment, of being able to stay in the room without collapsing or fleeing, but this is not the same thing as spiritual growth. The choice to exclude a person or experience from your life can be the more compassionate choice — for yourself. And indeed, when your heart opens to your own suffering, and your own well-being, that compassion for yourself can open wide enough to include even the one who caused you suffering. But this is something that your heart will tell you — not something that your mind can decide or force. Spirituality is not a test. Being spiritual is about being with what is. If you feel toxic when in the company of someone who has hurt you, then you earn no spiritual points by forcing yourself to be there, and enduring that toxicity. We behave with spirit when we accept our experience the way it is. Deciding to not be with someone who makes you feel terrible, even if that person is your family or “friend,” is an act of courage — honoring yourself and the truth. By Psychotherapist, interfaith minister, writer and public speaker Nancy Colier “Letting Go of Toxic People: When Staying in It Is Not More Spiritual” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nancy-colier/toxic-relationships_b_2758794.html
Just remember, there’s a right way
and a wrong way to do everything
and the wrong way is to keep trying
to make everybody else do it the right way.
Spoken by Colonel Potter
on TV show M.A.S.H.
We all have people in our lives who have profoundly harmed us. Sometimes the situation with the other person has changed. You may have forgiven them and they may even have taken ownership and expressed remorse for their harmful actions. Other times, the same harmful behavior goes on with no change or responsibility. To your reptilian brain however, it often doesn’t matter which of these scenarios is true. With trauma, the body’s memory of a harmful person can remain frozen at the time of the trauma. This is not a blog on trauma, however. Rather, it is about our expectation of what we are supposed to do with the people who make us feel toxic. Many people believe that in order to be “spiritual” they need to:
* Be able to open their heart to the people who have done them harm.
* No longer experience a negative reaction in their company.
I am often asked, “What is wrong with me that I can’t feel open, loving and calm in this person’s presence?” “Isn’t being spiritual about being able to love the person who hurt me?” “Isn’t forgiveness the essence of spirituality?” Firstly, the body’s reaction to someone who has harmed you is simply that: the body’s reaction, something that happens. You don’t choose it. It is not an indicator of your spiritual maturity, nor a gauge of your growth in life or in relationship to the trauma. In many cases, no amount of psychological or spiritual work will change your body’s chemical response to the person who inflicted harm; it is hard-wired into your biology, an aspect of survival. That said, the first thing to take off your plate is the idea that you “should” be able to feel good in their company. Any notion that a negative physical response makes you un-spiritual or un-evolved is, quite simply, hogwash. By Psychotherapist, interfaith minister, writer and public speaker Nancy Colier “Letting Go of Toxic People: When Staying in It Is Not More Spiritual” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nancy-colier/toxic-relationships_b_2758794.html
Letting go doesn’t mean that you don’t care about someone anymore.
It’s just realizing that the only person you really have control over is yourself.
Sometimes we continue in our roles because we are waiting for our parents to give us “permission”; to change. But that permission can come only from you. Like most people, parents in dysfunctional families often feel threatened by changes in their children. As a result, they may thwart your efforts to change and insist that you “change back.” That’s why it’s so important for you to trust your own perceptions and feelings. Change begins with you. Some specific things you can do include:
- Identify painful or difficult experiences that happened during your childhood.
- Make a list of your behaviors, beliefs, etc. that you would like to change.
- Next to each item on the list, write down the behavior, belief, etc. that you would like to do/have instead.
- Pick one item on your list and begin practicing the alternate behavior or belief. Choose the easiest item first.
- Once you are able to do the alternate behavior more often than the original, pick another item on the list and practice changing it, too.
As you make changes, keep in mind the following:
- Stop trying to be perfect. In addition, don’t try to make your family perfect.
- Realize that you are not in control of other people’s lives. You do not have the power to make others change.
- Don’t try to win the old struggles – you can’t win.
- Set clear limits – e.g., if you do not plan on visiting your parents for a holiday, say “no,” not “be.”
- Identify what you would like to have happen. Recognize that when you stop behaving the way you used to, even for a short time, there may be adverse reactions from your family or friends. Anticipate what the reactions will be (e.g., tears, yelling, other intimidating responses) and decide how you will respond.
Don’t become discouraged if you find yourself slipping back into old patterns of behavior. Changes may be slow and gradual; however, as you continue to practice new and healthier behaviors, they will begin to become part of your day-to-day living. http://www.counselingcenter.illinois.edu/?page_id=171
The fastest way to be a bad parent
is to never let your child be a kid.
Keep Perspective. Give yourself a pep talk and take positive action. Circumstances vary but perhaps there’s an underlying cause to your spouse’s negativity. It could be anything from a traumatic event in childhood to difficulties at work. Do things that have a positive effect either on you or the home. Maybe taking some extra time to prepare healthy meals, or clean up clutter that’s been around forever or lose those few pounds you’ve been wanting to will inspire your spouse to have a more productive outlook. It can be difficult but remember that it can’t feel good to behave in that manner. Keep some sympathy in your heart and be ready to listen when they’re ready to talk. Remain true to yourself . Allowing yourself to be pulled under the waters of despair will not help the problem instead it will only cause you to have negative feelings and eventually erode your self-image. Don’t allow your spouse to downgrade your values. There are certain issues that are near and dear to your heart. When it comes to those stand your ground even if it means an argument. If it does go to a verbal fight keep to the subject at hand, don’t allow the conversation to wander unto past hurts. Sometimes clearing the air helps. By Cindy Abbate http://www.helium.com/items/2341232-how-to-deal-with-a-demanding-spouse
You’ve given it your all. You’ve even tried counseling. You’re considering leaving the relationship and even though things still aren’t working right, you’re not sure if leaving the relationship is the best thing to do. Dennis Neder, an ordained minister and author of Being a Man in a Woman’s World, says as long as kids aren’t involved, it’s time to break up a relationship when there’s no longer any mutual benefit. “If you aren’t getting what you want or need from being with someone, it’s time to move on,” says Dr. Neder. While many people may view this as selfish, Dr. Neder says it can’t be good for either person when one person is unfulfilled. It’s much healthier to find a relationship that works for you and gives you what you need, than to cling to one that causes dissatisfaction. “We all know people who are in unhealthy relationships, but either will not or cannot leave them,” says Dr. Neder. “These people use all of their energies propping up the sagging relationship. Life is too short for this,” he continues. In Dr. Neder’s opinion, relationships should enhance your journey. The problem is, many people give up their journeys to take on someone else’s. It’s better to decide where you’re going, find others who are on their own paths and then see where you might fit together, he says. “Give more thought to what you’re looking for before creating your relationships,” he advises. That way you’re more likely have healthy relationships and end unhealthy ones quickly. http://health.howstuffworks.com/relationships/advice/when-is-it-time-to-leave-the-relationship.htm
There are four ways you can handle fear.
You can go over it, under it, or around it.
But if you are ever to put fear behind you,
must walk straight through it.
Once you put fear behind you,
leave it there.
Donna A. Favors