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
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