When a Codependent starts a romantic relationship they tend to put too many eggs in that one basket. They invest their whole lives in a guy/girl who ultimately turns out to be an addict, a betrayer, a little boy/girl, a rager, a controller, weak, lost, little, and otherwise not coming as originally advertised. Early on the Codependent is way too emotionally dependent way too quickly. Before too many years go by Codependents learn that the relationship they have arranged for themselves does not include a whole lot of goodies for them. Prince charming who put the full court press on to secure her generally is only interested in her these days to try to extract some sex from her. He is too busy and important to take the time and energy to really get to know her on an intimate and daily basis. That simply isn’t who he is. Codependents also tend to arrange their worlds so that they are financially dependent on a man. Mom is taking care of the kids so that Superman can go out and take over the world. In the mean time each year that passes by is another year that she is out of her career field, not developing her earning power and many times feeling not good enough because they aren’t earning their own money directly. Codependents have big hearts – too big. They rescue men, children, puppies, strangers, neighbors and friends. Their first thought is ‘what does my spouse or my kids need, what will work best for them’. They do not think about their own needs enough. A huge part of their Recovery process is learning to take good care of their own needs. Codependents get lost for decades in the meeting of others needs while ignoring what their own hearts were trying to say to them. Codependents many times don’t have much going on in the hobby department. They have no time devoted to what makes themselves happy. Their lives aren’t really about them. They are rest starved, fun starved and inspiration starved. They need to learn to be selfish in a healthy way. They are parched ground lacking in color and joy. http://www.familytreecounseling.com/marksblog/?s=When+a+Codependent+starts+a+romantic+relationship+
… it’s a lot easier to be lost than found.
It’s the reason we’re always searching,
and rarely discovered…
so many locks, not enough keys.
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.
Knowing how to love yourself is extremely important. Self love is at the very core of wellbeing, joy, self-empowerment, and your ability to create and enjoy the kind of life you want. You cannot enjoy happiness if you are not at peace with yourself. Your relationship with yourself is the most important one you’ll ever have. Not knowing how to love yourself can be severely debilitating. At the very least, you’re plagued by indecision and self-doubt. In more intense cases there is depression and self-hatred, which cripples you in every area of your life. The self-focused negativity cuts you off from your connection to your Life Force. Until you know how to love yourself there will be an inner war going on that divides your energy and sabotages your efforts to move toward happiness. Besides that, if you lack your own love you attract people and circumstances that mirror your negative beliefs and feelings about yourself. We draw to us the manifestations of what we FEEL. So, in order for you to draw in loving people and circumstances, you need to know how to love yourself first. To start building self-esteem, first listen to how you talk to yourself. You first have to be aware of a situation before you can change it. Do any of these thoughts sound familiar? “There is something wrong with me. I’m really messed up.” “I’m bad.” “It’s all my fault.” “I’m incompetent. I don’t know what I’m doing.” “I’m not (good, smart, attractive, rich, etc.) enough.” “I’m not as (good, smart, attractive, successful, etc.) as that person.” Until you learn how to love yourself, this is how you cripple yourself so that you can’t move forward or go after the things you want. http://www.wellbeingalignment.com/how-to-love-yourself.html
My primary relationship
is with myself:
all others are mirrors of it.
DENIAL = a defense mechanism in which the existence of unpleasant internal or external realities is kept out of conscious awareness; refusal to acknowledge painful realities, thoughts, or feelings; an unconscious defense mechanism in which emotional conflict and anxiety are avoided by refusal to acknowledge those thoughts, feelings, desires, impulses, or facts that are consciously intolerable. Denial is one of the most difficult human conditions to deal with. The more old pain and feelings we have “stuffed”, the more difficult denial is to break through. It is important to look truthfully at our past and our parents to realize that everyone did the best they knew how. That way, we don’t get stuck in blaming. It is also important to develop skills in conflict resolution so that we can work through the conflicts that emerge from telling the truth and breaking the “happy family” illusion. With good tools and skills, these conflicts can become doorways to creating real intimacy in a family.
From the book “Breaking Free of the Codependency Trap” by Weinhold and Weinhold
That’s pretty much how we get through
our own lives. Watching television.
Smoking crap. Self-medicating.
Redirecting our attention.
by Chuck Palahniuk
There is a major characteristic about depression that we must always be aware of when turning our minds to fighting and defeating it. Depression feeds on itself. In other words, we get depressed and then we get more depressed about being depressed. Negative thoughts become automatic and are difficult for us to challenge. Being in a state of depression can then, itself, become a bigger problem than the difficulties that caused it in the first place. We need to break the hold that the depression has on us. Depression can manifest in many different ways and we don’t always realize what’s going on because the problems seem to be physical, not mental. Perhaps we tell ourselves we are simply feeling tired or affected by the weather. To recognize depression in ourselves, a friend or a loved one, read through the list below which are the most common signs. Identifying with more than three of these makes depression highly likely. Richard Gosling http://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/counsellor-articles/recognising-and-overcoming-depression
* Being restless and agitated.
* Having difficulty sleeping, or feeling tired and lacking energy.
* Realizing that we are doing less and less.
* Self-harming or being occupied with thoughts of suicide.
* Developing physical aches and pains with no physical cause.
* Not deriving pleasure out of things which we usually enjoy doing.
* Blaming ourselves and feelings of guilt about day-to-day actions.
* Loss of self-confidence and a preoccupation with negative thoughts.
* Using tobacco, alcohol or other drugs more than usual.
* Not eating properly and losing or putting on weight.
* Noticing that we have started to cry a lot.
* Being unusually irritable or impatient.
* Loss of interest in sex.
* Finding it hard to concentrate or make decisions.
* A sense of feeling numb, empty, despairing or helpless.
* Having difficulty remembering things.
* Feeling low-spirited for much of the time, every day.
* Distancing ourselves from our friends and not asking for help.
* Taking a bleak, pessimistic view of the future.
Depression is nourished by a lifetime
of un-grieved and un-forgiven hurts.
A bad relationship is one that involves continual frustration; the relationship seems to have potential but that potential is always just out of reach. In fact, the attachment in such relationships is to someone who is “unattainable” in the sense that he or she is committed to someone else, doesn’t want a committed relationship, or is incapable of one. Bad relationships are chronically lacking in what one or both partners need. Such relationships can destroy self-esteem and prevent those involved from moving on in their careers or personal lives. They are often fertile breeding grounds for loneliness, rage, and despair. In such relationships, individuals are robbed of several essential freedoms; the freedom to be their best selves in the relationship, the freedom to love the other person through choice rather than through dependency, and the freedom to leave a situation that is destructive. Despite the pain of these relationships, many rational and practical people find that they are unable to leave, even though they know the relationship is bad for them.
Signs you may be addicted to the relationship:
- Even though you know the relationship is bad for you (and perhaps others have told you this), you take no effective steps to end it.
- You give yourself reasons for staying in the relationship that are not really accurate or that are not strong enough to counteract the harmful aspects of the relationship.
- When you think about ending the relationship, you feel terrible anxiety and fear which make you cling to it even more.
- When you take steps to end the relationship, you suffer painful withdrawal symptoms, including physical discomfort, that is only relieved by reestablishing contact.
If most of these signs apply to you, you are probably in an addictive relationship and have lost the capacity to direct your own life. To move toward recovery, your first steps must be to recognize that you are “hooked” and then try to understand the basis of your addiction. http://www.counselingcenter.illinois.edu/?page_id=186
I was your cure
and you were my disease.
I was saving you,
and you were killing me.
Detachment refers to separating ourselves from whatever we are obsessed with so we can begin working on our self. Since codependents are typically overly involved or attached to some problem or person outside of themselves, growth must involve giving up that over-involvement or preoccupation with trying to change, control, or please someone else. This requires letting go of the energy you are expending on worry over the other person. This is not hostile withdrawal, indifference, or avoiding your responsibilities to others. Instead, it is giving up your efforts to take other people’s responsibilities so that they can learn to take responsibility for themselves just as you are learning to take responsibility for yourself. We cannot fix problems that are not ours to fix, and all of our worrying, obsessing, and trying to help only perpetuate the problem. After all, as long as we are trying to fix someone, they don’t need to fix themselves, and we don’t have to fix our self! This may mean staying out-of-the-way as an alcoholic spouse or friend loses his job. It may mean getting a separate bank account and letting your mate suffer the consequences of his or her financial irresponsibility. It may mean giving up your role as a people pleaser. And it may mean saying no when you are asked to take on one more responsibility. These can be frightening steps, but you will never break the cycle of codependency unless you take them. You must disengage from your old codependent patterns. Jason T. Li. Ph.D. http://lifecounsel.org/pub_li_overcomingCodependency.html
When he has the power to see things
detached from self-interest
and from the insistent claims
of the lust of the senses,
then alone can he have the true vision
of the beauty that is everywhere.
Then only can he see that what is unpleasant
to us is not necessarily unbeautiful,
but has its beauty in truth.
Joe tells his counselor, “The family I grew up in was pretty normal. I’m not really sure why I am here, or if I need to be. Nobody was alcoholic or abusive, and nothing really dramatic happened in my family. All I know is that something important seems to be missing in my life.” Joe went on to say that he is good at detecting what people around him want and adjusting himself to fit into their expectations. He is a people pleaser. At the same time, he is not really sure of what he needs or feels or wants, and he often feels empty or disconnected from himself and others. As he put it, “Sometimes I feel like a robot on auto pilot.” In still another family, Don spends most of his vacation with his in-laws even though he doesn’t want to. He knows it will upset his wife and her parents if he wants to do something different, so he doesn’t say anything in order to keep peace in the family. Many of us hide our real thoughts and feelings occasionally, but for Don, this has become a way of life. He often winds up feeling frustrated and resentful toward his wife for not being more sensitive to his needs. At the same time, he avoids dealing with his own fears of being more open about his real feelings and wishes. Joe and Don provide examples of codependency in this broader sense of the term. There is no addiction to a physical substance in Joe’s life, yet he is exceedingly dependent on the approval of others. He is so “addicted” to meeting other’s expectations that he has serious difficulties taking care of his own God-given needs and connecting with his own independent thoughts and feelings. It is this loss of self-awareness and failure to attend to his own needs in order to please others that reflect his psychological dependency. Jason T. Li. Ph.D. http://lifecounsel.org/pub_li_overcomingCodependency.html
Don’t numb yourself to your trials and difficulties,
nor build mental walls to exclude pain from your life.
You will find peace not by trying to escape your problems,
but by confronting them courageously.
You will find peace not in denial…
J. Donald Walters
Being codependent is very painful. Perhaps the most painful aspect of codependence is the feeling that there is something very wrong with you, and that no matter what you do, you are never good enough. This is the codependent’s secret shame and most codependents don’t like themselves. Codependents also find it hard to believe that anyone would want them. And they very often feel they don’t belong. I used to believe that people who did not want me must be seeing me clearly, whereas the people who wanted me, well, they had to be seriously flawed like me. Otherwise, how could they possibly want me? So for most of my life I rejected the people wanting me in favor of the people not wanting me, desperately trying to get them to like me and constantly being rejected. This caused me much misery and suffering. Three major character defects are those of minimization, denial and delusion. Minimization is refusing to see how bad a situation really is. Denial is when you can see a problem in some-one else, but are unable to see that you have exactly the same problem. Delusion is when you, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, continue to believe something to be true. Codependence recovery involves seeing the truth. Taken from an article by Gitte Lassen http://www.positivehealth.com/article/psychospiritual/codependence-for-whom-are-you-living-your-life
To be beautiful means to be yourself.
You don’t need to be accepted by others.
You need to accept yourself.
Thich Nhat Hanh
Denial is similar to suppression, in that the person knows what he or she is feeling. In this case, the choice is to insist that the issue and resulting feelings do not exist. This is a very willful response: “I refuse to admit that this is real.” For example there are many people who can’t admit they ever have feelings of resentment toward their parents. Very likely, they have convinced themselves of this. But we all have resented our parents at some time, for real or imagined wrongs. Simple denial can produce very serious problems. Yet it is possible to admit and overcome such resentments. We can discover the source of the emotion, analyze it, learn to forgive our parents, and go on without lives. This simple “denial of reality” can produce serious emotional problems. From “The Enabler: When Helping Harms The Ones You Love” by Angelyn Miller
A man who denies his past
is a man who truly
denies himself a future,
for he refuses to know himself,
and to deny knowledge of oneself
is to stumble through life
as handicapped as the blind mute.