The joke goes something like, “When his wife sneezes, the codependent man says excuse me”. In similar fashion I find myself feeling apologetic when I don’t understand what someone says. Mishearing someone’s words does not call for “I’m sorry”. All that’s necessary is saying “could you repeat that?” Frequently as children codependents were shamed and made to feel bad even thought they had done nothing wrong. As a child having to apologize for reasons not understood contributes to an over developed sense of shame and a feeling of not being good enough. John Bradshaw wrote, “Guilt says I’ve done something wrong; shame says there is something wrong with me. Guilt says I’ve made a mistake; shame says I am a mistake. Guilt says what I did was not good; shame says I am no good.”
Change is hard because people overestimate
the value of what they have
and underestimate the value
of what they may gain by giving that up.
James Belasco and Ralph Stayer