Abuse: Touching someone’s body without their permission, hitting, punching, pinching, slapping, tickling, pulling hair, hitting with objects, banging the head, so that marks are left on the person…Punching someone to the point of knocking them off their feet, slamming them into walls or hard objects, strangling or choking someone…Intimidating someone with the threat of violence, punching walls or throwing objects. …you might think that because some other member of your family was receiving the blows you are not a victim of physical abuse, but (you were) if the underlying fear is, “When will it be me?” Physical sexual abuse is bodily sexual activity with a child or touching in a sexual way. It includes: intercourse, oral sex, anal sex, an adult masturbating a child or having a child masturbate an adult, sexual hugging, sexual kissing, and sexual touching. Many people who have been molested or incested feel responsible for what happened, feel that they caused it to happen or wanted it to happen. I have also heard clients express acceptance since it was the only kind of attention that they received. You are not responsible and it is not acceptable behavior. A child will not seek out sexual encounters except what may be age-appropriate sex play with other children. It is the adult’s responsibility to set appropriate boundaries and protect the child. Taken from “Adults Abused as Children” by Licia Ginne, LMFT http://www.latherapists.com/articles.html
The consequences of your denial
will be with you for a lifetime
and will be passed down
to the next generation.
Break your Silence on Abuse!
Patty Rase Hopson
Children of dysfunctional families come to believe they are responsible for their parents’ problems. As a result they develop low self-esteem, believing themselves to be incompetent or undeserving of love because they have failed their troubled parents. In other words, they internalize their parents’ problems as their own. As such, they develop unrealistic expectations about what is and isn’t their responsibility, and about what they can and can’t control in relationships. Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families carry these distorted beliefs into adulthood. They feel over-responsible for everyone around them, including spouses, children, in-laws, and co-workers. They perceive the problems of others as their own – just as they did with their parents’ problems. They are riddled with anxiety, stress, and guilt in their relationships. They ignore their own needs, feelings, and problems, and, thus, become depressed and resentful. Ultimately, they feel like failures – just as in childhood – because their goal of solving everyone’s problems is unobtainable. Codependency becomes an addiction when codependents subconsciously seek out troubled individuals as a way to avoid dealing with their own problems. By compulsively trying to “fix” an alcoholic, a codependent can feel, by comparison, like a healthy person with no problems. Yet, if the alcoholic goes away, the codependent will compulsively seek out another troubled person to “fix” in order to avoid his or her own feelings of low self-esteem and inadequacy. Like any addiction, codependency stymies personal growth as the codependent uses it to avoid dealing with emotional pain just as the alcoholic uses alcohol to avoid dealing with emotional pain. Codependents are generally nice individuals who are very stressed from carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. They are perceptive of others but not at all perceptive of themselves. Therapy with codependents involves teaching self-care skills, and most importantly, convincing them they are not selfish, or in danger, for choosing to take care of themselves. http://serenityonlinetherapy.com/codependency.htm
One’s dignity may be assaulted,
vandalized and cruelly mocked,
but it can never be taken away
unless it is surrendered.
Michael J. Fox
Codependency is a dysfunction that causes individuals to lose themselves in relationships. Codependents ignore their feelings, needs, and problems while obsessing on the feelings, needs, and problems of others. They possess an exaggerated sense of responsibility for others, and struggle with maintaining healthy boundaries. Thus, they experience relationships as stressful, and often suffer from anxiety, depression, guilt, and resentment. Codependency is born of growing up in a dysfunctional environment. Family dysfunction occurs when overwhelmed parents are unable to meet the needs of their children to a significant degree over a significant period of time. The parents’ problems may stem from addiction, alcoholism, mental illness, physical illness, poverty, overwhelming loss, or community disintegration such as gang violence or war. The key point is this: when parents become chronically overwhelmed by problems, the mental health of their children can be affected, sometimes resulting in codependency. When parents exhibit problems that bring chaos to a family, the children are forced to abandon being children and must enter survival mode. In survival mode, children can become hypervigilent – that is, they compulsively scan their environment to detect the next threat to their safety and well-being. These children quickly learn to ignore their feelings and needs because they perceive their caretakers as too overwhelmed to care about them. Or, worse, they have learned that they will be punished for expressing their feelings and needs. Thus, they reject introspection as a dangerous luxury that might interfere with being alert for the next external threat. Ultimately, these children learn to disconnect from their feelings. http://serenityonlinetherapy.com/codependency.htm
Believe in yourself!
Have faith in your abilities!
Without a humble but reasonable confidence
in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.
Norman Vincent Peale
A parent who is controlling their child’s actions and is constantly concerned with what their child is always doing could be considered a codependent parent. Codependent parents may view themselves as being caring and helpful. However their codependent behavior is damaging the overall well-being of their child. To help understand what are some signs of a codependent parent and how someone can stop being a codependent parent, I have interviewed therapist Nicolle Zapien LMFT. (She said) “Codependence is a complex pattern of excessive selflessness and preoccupation with another person that does not serve both people optimally Codependence is a well-meaning attempt to be kind but really tends to stem from difficulties with anger, boundaries and strong self-structure. The impact of codependency on a child can be great. He or she may have difficulty with boundaries (addressing others’ needs more readily than considering one’s own), may end up as easy prey for people to manipulate, may more easily fall victim to self-harm, rape, date rape or abuse. There is some research to indicate that codependency is related to lack of assertiveness and as a result many codependents end up unhappy because they are less likely to ask for what they need or many changes to get what they want. But it is difficult to say how it will impact anyone in particular, because there are many variables that go into defining us, protecting us and prodding us toward particular emotional, cognitive or behavioral experiences. Codependency is never a positive experience, however, and is not to be misunderstood as altruism or caring. It does not allow the codependent to have full access to his self or feelings and instead is more like a parasitic relationship.” Jaleh http://voices.yahoo.com/how-stop-being-codependent-parent-7503416.html?cat=25
I took a piece of living clay,
And gently pressed it day by day,
And molded with my power and art
A young child’s soft and yielding heart.
I came again when years were gone;
It was a man I looked upon.
He still that early impress bore,
And I could fashion him no more.
Psychologically, triangles are very complicated. Most people don’t seek them out—at least not consciously. They just seem to happen. One moment you are happily single. The next thing you know you are in love with someone who is married. Or you are happily married and suddenly you realize your partner is seeing someone else. Sane people get out of a triangle as soon as they realize they are in one. Love addicts stay engaged hoping things will resolve themselves in time. This is because love addicts can’t let go. They have no tolerance for separation anxiety. Once they have bonded with someone, letting go is like death to them. One of the reasons love addicts have a high tolerance for the pain of a triangle is because when they were children the natural triangle between the mother, father and child, went horribly wrong. Furthermore some love addicts unconsciously try to resolve the wound of their childhood by recreating the triangle of their childhood—over and over again. They are obsessed with the idea that things will end differently each time. Unfortunately, this is not how you heal the wounds of childhood. You don’t go back to the scene of the crime and commit the crime all over again. You go back to the scene of the crime in therapy with an enlightened witness to guide you. You go back to grieve, forgive, let go and move on. Taken from “Triangles: The Agony & the Ecstasy” by Susan Peabody http://loveaddicts.org/triangles.htm
The events of childhood
do not pass,
but repeat themselves
like seasons of the year.
It’s a natural law that our behavior is intrinsically linked to what we believe. Whatever we believe, we act out. Scapegoats see themselves as bad and therefore they act in ways that prove that it’s true. In this way they provide all the evidence needed to verify that, indeed they are the family problem. The family scapegoat feels hurt and unloved inside, even while on the outside, they act out in painfully reactive and defensive ways. They feel blamed, rejected and mistreated and retaliate by hurling insults and assaulting those they perceive as their accusers. The more blamed a scapegoat feels the worse they act. The worse they act, the more alarmed the rest of the family becomes. The family goes from concern to anger to outright fear for (and of) this “problem child”. Family members believe that if the scapegoat would just stop being such a problem everything would be fine. Family members are unaware that on a deep level they actually perpetuate the scapegoats troublesome behavior. They are unconscious of the part of them that needs something outside themselves to blame and so don’t notice how their responses end up reinforcing the problem behavior. The cycle of those who blame and the one who is blamed continues, on and on, the family will continue to need a scapegoat until individuals within the system begin to take responsibility for their part in creating the dysfunction. http://www.lynneforrest.com/clearing-story/dealing-with-strife-hardship-coping-with-life/2008/11/scapegoats-are-necessary-in-dysfunctional-family-systems/
Don’t blame people
for disappointing you,
for expecting too much from them.
Family scapegoats are not born bad; no matter how tempting it is to think so. Scapegoats are created, plain and simple, through guilt & shame. A child, often the second-born, is designated to be the problem child in a struggling family. This is not a conscious assignment but one that occurs naturally in a system in need of someone to hold responsible for the dysfunction that abounds there. The more dysfunctional the family, the more problematic the scapegoat will need to be. Basic needs go unmet. A common rule in dysfunctional families is the belief that it’s selfish to take care of one’s self. Therefore no one has permission to take care of themselves. Instead everyone is waiting for someone else to meet their needs and feeling resentful when that doesn’t happen. The finger of blame is pointed squarely at the designated scapegoat who becomes the one held responsible for the unhappiness and unmet needs of the other family members. Scapegoats most often arrive in the family after the “good stuff”(validation, acceptance & nurturing) has already been given over to an older sibling. So instead of positive reinforcement, this child gets primarily negative attention from parents and other family members. The child who is scapegoated absorbs the family’s pain as if it were their own. They take on the pain of the family and, like the rest of the family, come to see themselves as “the bad seed” — the family problem”. Because the scapegoat buys the story that the problems in the family are their fault, they act out the part they’ve been assigned. http://www.lynneforrest.com/clearing-story/dealing-with-strife-hardship-coping-with-life/2008/11/scapegoats-are-necessary-in-dysfunctional-family-systems/
When we blame,
we give away our power.
Being dependent in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it’s a component of healthy relationships. Some people fear dependency, interpreting it as a sign of weakness or helplessness, or out of a fear of intimacy. If we grew up in a family that encouraged a sense of autonomy and independent growth, with parents who praised our achievements and showed us love, we will reach adulthood with a sense of security about ourselves and our internal worth and our ability to move through the world as successful people… Sometimes things don’t go the way described above, and what’s experienced growing up is criticism, rejection, conditional love (often based on achievement that validates the parents’, not the child’s, sense of self-worth), [and] over dependence promoted as valuable, making it impossible to feel adequate without another person around to shore up self-worth. In this scenario you are unable to take responsibility for your own sense of adequacy. You expect your good feelings about yourself to be validated from outside yourself – usually from another person. You feel weak and vulnerable. You depend on someone else to feel secure, comforted, nurtured, supported, lovable, or worthy. A codependent relationship is one in which someone else’s needs are met before your own. Everything becomes about looking after the other person, at your expense. It tends to be learned behavior, starting either as a coping mechanism to survive painful experiences in a severely dysfunctional family, or in imitation of other family members in your generation or the one above you, who are caught in the same trap. It is a coping mechanism gone to an illogical extreme and has become maladaptivee. By Katherine Rabinowitz, LP, M.A., NCPsyA http://www.therapycanwork.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=49&Itemid=99
If you need encouragement,
praise, pats on the back from everybody,
then you make everybody your judge.
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. http://mentalhealthamerica.net/go/codependency
A torn jacket is soon mended,
but hard words bruise the heart of a child.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The psyche cannot tolerate a vacuum of love. In the severely abused or deprived child, pain, dis-ease, and violence rush in to fill the void. In the average person in our culture, who has been only “normally” deprived of touch, anxiety and an insatiable hunger for possessions replace the missing Eros. The child lacking a sense of welcome, joyous belonging, gratuitous security, will learn to hoard the limited supply of affection. According to the law of psychic compensation, not being held leads to holding on, grasping, addiction, possessiveness. Gradually, things replace people as a source of pleasure and security. When the gift of belonging with is denied, the child learns that love means belonging to. To the degree we are arrested at this stage of development, the needy child will dominate our motivations. Other people and things (and there is fundamentally no difference) will be seen as existing solely for the purpose of “my” survival and satisfaction. “Mine” will become the most important word. From “The Passionate Life: Stages of Loving” by Sam Keen
For God’s sake,
let’s take the word ‘possess’
and put a brick round its neck and drown it …
We can’t possess one another.
We can only give and hazard all we have.
Dorothy L. Sayers