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
One of the negative emotional habits that codependents develop is categorical thinking. Everything is black and white with no shades in between. This always/never way of thinking leads them to over-react in social situations. Roger, for example, heard that some of the members of his Sunday school class were dissatisfied with his teaching methods. Instead of consulting with them on how to make the class more meaningful, he resigned and joined another class. Another childlike behavior of codependents is personalization – interpreting everything that is said and done in their immediate environment as if it were directed at them. This creates a paranoid perspective, which leads to defensiveness, hostility, and isolation. At a meeting with his prayer group, Mark questioned the unwitting use of sexist language that had begun to occur. Another member of the group, realizing that he was guilty, assumed that Mark was chiding him personally. He took offense and dropped out of the group. A third habit many codependents acquire is what I call obsessive over-analyzing. The mind goes round and round in circles until the emotional system either explodes or shuts down as a result of the overwhelming anxiety that is generated. Another emotional habit typical of codependents is exaggerating or “awfulizing”. Children who have grown up in addictive or traumatized family systems learn to expect the worst. They are constantly waiting for the other shoe to fall. In adulthood, they are prone to place the worst possible interpretation on every event. They see neutral or even positive situations as negative, and they anticipate disaster. This expectation often sets off an emotional chain reaction that creates the very thing they most fear. People who are “stuck” in these immature emotional habits consider them normal. They don’t know any other way to think/believe/behave. Such individuals are not at fault! They need gentle and respectful guidance. http://www.thebridgetorecovery.com/overcoming-codependency.html
The consequences of your denial
will be with you for a lifetime
and will be passed down
to the next generations.
Break your Silence on Abuse!
Patty Rase Hopson
Codependence is the pain in adulthood that comes from being wounded in childhood and leads to a high probability of relationship problems and addictive/compulsive behavior. It is a combination of immature thinking, feeling and behaving that generates an aversive relationship with the self (self-loathing), which the codependent individual acts-out through self-destructive unduly self-sacrificial behavior. The most creative description I came across was this one: codependence is about growing up depending on someone who’s depending on something that’s not dependable. This could include anything from abusing alcohol and drugs to compulsive overworking, overeating, and overdoing almost anything. An example would be the child left in the car for one or more hours, enduring heat or cold, while his/her parents are working in the office. Today, I use this simple, generic definition of codependence: “Codependence is the pain in adulthood that comes from being wounded in childhood, which leads to a high probability of relationship problems and addictive disorders in later life.” Children of addiction, neglect, and abuse acquire social and emotional habits that turn on them in adulthood. Survival behaviors such as compulsive caretaking, martyring, door matting, scapegoating, controlling, people-pleasing, and approval-seeking are classic examples. http://www.thebridgetorecovery.com/overcoming-codependency.html
Research on child abuse suggests
that religious beliefs can foster,
encourage, and justify the abuse of children.
When contempt for sex underlies teachings,
this creates a breeding ground for abuse.
In order to avoid her fears of being alone the woman may make efforts to keep her man close. It might be a criticism for going out with the boys for an evening. By discouraging him to do other things she is increasing their time together. If a woman engages in such efforts and is successful in controlling her man she will have influenced his behavior by her emotional reactions. With influence over his emotions she will have influence over what he does with his time. He will learn to avoid the activities that bring emotional reactions and criticism and do the things that she approves of. They will spend more time together which will help her to feel solid in the relationship. It also distracts herself from the fear of being alone. In one part of her mind she has helped their relationship, but she has unknowingly created a separate feeling of not being safe. When a woman sees that she can modify her man’s behavior she might perceive him as not being as strong. She will see him as someone that gives up his interests, runs around trying to make her happy. He has stopped being his authentic self and started being what she wants him to be. At some level she perceives him as no longer being his own man. She could perceive him as having weak character and could lose respect for him. More importantly she will not feel safe with a man she sees as having a weak character. Some women will conclude that if they can influence or control their man then other women will also be able to control and influence him as well. All of this adds up to losing respect and trust in the man. One assumption sometimes deep in the mind is that the stronger person controls the weaker person. If she can direct him then he must be weaker than her. This image of weakness is amplified if the woman already considers her self as weak to begin with. The loss of trust in her man’s strength may not be conscious to her, but at some level it affects her feeling of safety with him. From “Emotional Security” http://www.pathwaytohappiness.com/relationship_safety.htm
Consider how hard it is to change yourself
and you’ll understand what little chance
you have in trying to change others.
The essence of an I message is “I have a problem”… There are four parts to an I message:
* When … Describe the person’s behavior you are reacting to in an objective, non-blameful, and non-judgmental manner.
* The effects are … Describe the concrete or tangible effects of that behavior. (This is the most important part for the other person to understand – your reaction.)
* I feel … Say how you feel. (This is the most important part to prevent a buildup of feelings.)
* I’d prefer … Tell the person what you want or what you prefer they do. You can omit this part if it is obvious.
The order in which you express these parts is usually not important. Here are some examples: ” When you take company time for your personal affairs and then don’t have time to finish the urgent work I give you, I get furious. I want you to finish the company’s work before you work on your personal affairs.” “I lose my concentration when you come in to ask a question, and I don’t like it. Please don’t interrupt me when I am working unless it is urgent.” “It is very hard for me to keep our place neat and clean when you leave your clothes and other stuff lying around. It creates a lot more work for me and it takes a lot longer, and I get resentful about it. I’d prefer that you put your clothes away and put your trash in the basket.” “I resent it when your flirting with the women keeps you from having time for your work, because it means more work for me.” by Larry Nadig,Ph.D. http://www.drnadig.com/feelings.htm
Numbing the pain
for a while will
make it worse
when you finally feel it.
“I Feel Statements” are used in situations that are clear and fairly simple, when you what to express yourself and avoid a buildup of feelings without attacking or hurting the self-esteem of the other. I messages are used in more complex situations to clarify for yourself and the other person just what you are feeling when a) you have difficult negative feelings, b) you confront someone and want them to change their behavior, and c) it is very sensitive and important that the other person accurately understand. These statements take the form of “When you did that thing I felt this way. That thing is a behavior of the other person, and this way is your specific feelings. Here are some examples:
* “I felt embarrassed when you told our friends how we are pinching pennies.”
* “I liked it when you helped with the dishes without being asked.”
* “I feel hurt and am disappointed that you forgot our anniversary”.
It is called an I message because the focus is on you, and the message is about yourself. This is in contrast to a You message which focuses on and gives a message about the other person. When using I messages you take responsibility for your own feelings, rather than accusing the other person of making you feel a certain way. by Larry Nadig,Ph.D.
We are taught you must blame your father,
your sisters, your brothers, the school, the teachers,
but never blame yourself. It’s never your fault.
But it’s always your fault, because if you wanted
to change you’re the one who has got to change.
If you have mixed feelings, say so, and express each feeling and explain what each feeling is about. For example: “I have mixed feelings about what you just did. I am glad and thankful that you helped me, but I didn’t like the comment about being stupid. It was disrespectful and unnecessary and I found it irritating”.
* Express feelings productively.
* Respectfully confront someone when you are bothered by his or her behavior.
* Express difficult feelings without attacking the self-esteem of the person.
* Clarify for you and the other person precisely what you feel.
* Prevent feelings from building up and festering into a bigger problem.
* Communicate difficult feelings in a manner that minimizes the other person’s need to become defensive, and increases the likelihood that the person will listen.
When you first start using these techniques they will be cumbersome and awkward to apply, and not very useful if you only know them as techniques. However, if you practice these techniques and turn them into skills, it will be easy for you to express difficult feelings in a manner that is productive and respectful. by Larry Nadig,Ph.D. http://www.drnadig.com/feelings
You cannot make someone love you.
You can only make yourself
someone who can be loved.