The other extreme is to become overly detached in relationships. This also originates as a self-protective measure, usually against an intrusive, controlling other. It often begins in childhood and develops as the person matures and enters adult relationships. Some detachment and ability to set boundaries is healthy. It is important to let the other person in your life accept responsibility for feelings and choices. It is appropriate to protect yourself from someone who might abuse you. It becomes problematic when it results in a pattern of disengaging in every relationship. When you perpetually disengage, there is no real connection – therefore, no real relationship, emphasis here on relating. Just two people co-existing in a very superficial way. An overly detached person finds it difficult to ask for help. It implies weakness. Attempts to allow closeness and intimacy provoke a lot of anxiety. Someone who can’t connect has difficulty feeling or expressing emotions. As a result, the emotions get bottled up and come out in inappropriate ways over (often) unrelated matters. Distance is maintained by keeping conversation superficial, finding reasons to frequently go or stay out alone (work, manufactured obligations to friends or family, etc.), or inability to commit to a long-term relationship. These behaviors come from a deep fear of being trapped or suffocated. There is fear of loss of the self, loss of choice, loss of independence. Ironically, an overly detached person often chooses a controlling, needy, clingy person to become involved with. The two then push each others’ buttons and bounce off each other like crazy till they light up like a pinball machine, and the relationship self-destructs. From an on-line article by Katherine Rabinowitz, LP, M.A., NCPsyA http://www.therapycanwork.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=49&Itemid=99
Real hope combined
with real action has always
pulled me through difficult times.
Real hope combined with doing nothing
has never pulled me through.
Grief is a natural reaction to loss, and the breakup or divorce of a love relationship involves multiple losses: #1) Loss of companionship and shared experiences (which may or may not have been consistently pleasurable). #2) Loss of support, be it financial, intellectual, social, or emotional. #3) Loss of hopes, plans, and dreams (can be even more painful than practical losses). Allowing yourself to feel the pain of these losses may be scary. You may fear that your emotions will be too intense to bear, or that you’ll be stuck in a dark place forever. Just remember that grieving is essential to the healing process. The pain of grief is precisely what helps you let go of the old relationship and move on. And no matter how strong your grief, it won’t last forever. Don’t fight your feelings – It’s normal to have lots of ups and downs, and feel many conflicting emotions, including anger, resentment, sadness, relief, fear, and confusion. It’s important to identify and acknowledge these feelings. While these emotions will often be painful, trying to suppress or ignore them will only prolong the grieving process. Talk about how you’re feeling – Even if it is difficult for you to talk about your feelings with other people, it is very important to find a way to do so when you are grieving. Knowing that others are aware of your feelings will make you feel less alone with your pain and will help you heal. Remember that moving on is the end goal – Expressing your feelings will liberate you in a way, but it is important not to dwell on the negative feelings or to over-analyze the situation. Getting stuck in hurtful feelings like blame, anger, and resentment will rob you of valuable energy and prevent you from healing and moving forward. Remind yourself that you still have a future – When you commit to another person, you create many hopes and dreams. It’s hard to let these dreams go. As you grieve the loss of the future you once envisioned, be encouraged by the fact that new hopes and dreams will eventually replace your old ones. Know the difference between a normal reaction to a breakup and depression – Grief can be paralyzing after a breakup, but after a while, the sadness begins to lift. Day by day, and little by little, you start moving on. However, if you don’t feel any forward momentum, you may be suffering from depression. http://www.helpguide.org/mental/coping_divorce_relationship_breakup.htm
No, the divorce
It was the marriage
Why do breakups hurt so much, even when the relationship is no longer good? A divorce or breakup is painful because it represents the loss, not just of the relationship, but also of shared dreams and commitments. Romantic relationships begin on a high note of excitement and hope for the future. When these relationships fail, we experience profound disappointment, stress, and grief. A breakup or divorce launches us into uncharted territory. Everything is disrupted: your routine and responsibilities, your home, your relationships with extended family and friends, and even your identity. A breakup brings uncertainty about the future. What will life be like without your partner? Will you find someone else? Will you end up alone? These unknowns often seem worse than an unhappy relationship. Recovering from a breakup or divorce is difficult. However, it’s important to know (and to keep reminding yourself) that you can and will move on. But healing takes time, so be patient with yourself. Recognize that it’s OK to have different feelings. It’s normal to feel sad, angry, exhausted, frustrated, and confused—and these feelings can be intense. You also may feel anxious about the future. Accept that reactions like these will lessen over time. Even if the marriage was unhealthy, venturing into the unknown is frightening. Give yourself a break. Give yourself permission to feel and to function at a less than optimal level for a period of time. You may not be able to be quite as productive on the job or care for others in exactly the way you’re accustomed to for a little while. No one is superman or superwoman; take time to heal, regroup, and re-energize. Don’t go through this alone. Sharing your feelings with friends and family can help you get through this period. Consider joining a support group where you can talk to others in similar situations. Isolating yourself can raise your stress levels, reduce your concentration, and get in the way of your work, relationships, and overall health. Don’t be afraid to get outside help if you need it. Source: Mental Health America http://www.helpguide.org/mental/coping_divorce_relationship_breakup.htm
Divorce isn’t such a tragedy.
A tragedy’s staying in
an unhappy marriage,
teaching your children
the wrong things
died of divorce.
If you suffer from chronic anxiety and worries, chances are you look at the world in ways that make it seem more dangerous than it really is. For example, you may overestimate the possibility that things will turn out badly, jump immediately to worst-case scenarios, or treat every negative thought as if it were fact. You may also discredit your own ability to handle life’s problems, assuming you’ll fall apart at the first sign of trouble. These irrational, pessimistic attitudes are known as cognitive distortions. Although cognitive distortions aren’t based on reality, they’re not easy to give up. Often, they’re part of a lifelong pattern of thinking that’s become so automatic you’re not even completely aware of it. In order to break these bad thinking habits and stop the worry and anxiety they bring, you must retrain your brain. Start by identifying the frightening thought, being as detailed as possible about what scares or worries you. Then, instead of viewing your thoughts as facts, treat them as hypotheses you’re testing out. As you examine and challenge your worries and fears, you’ll develop a more balanced perspective. Stop worry by questioning the worried thought:
– What’s the evidence that the thought is true? That it’s not true?
– Is there a more positive, realistic way of looking at the situation?
– What’s the probability that what I’m scared of will actually happen?
– If the probability is low, what are some more likely outcomes?
– Is the thought helpful? How will worrying about it help me and how will it hurt me?
– What would I say to a friend who had this worry?
By Melinda Smith, M.A., Robert Segal, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D.
I’ve had a lot of worries in my life,
most of which never happened.
Treating Codependency is not something a doctor does to or for a ‘patient’. It is more like having diabetes. The patient has to learn how to take care of themselves every day for the rest of their lives. Recovery starts when a Codependent understands and has insight into their condition. …I almost always strongly encourage… Codependency Recovery groups. Group is like the gym. It is where a Codependent goes to lift weights and get stronger… Group therapy rocks – it is inexpensive, weekly, powerful, fun, insight building and affirming. Recovery from Codependency is not just about gaining a strong voice. It is also very much about learning how to take good care of one’s self. It is about learning how to take the time to have fun, to exercise, to have a huge hobby that enriches your life and to nurture one’s self well. It might involve getting regular massages, joining a book club, making new friends, scheduling travel with your newly romantic and sensitive husband, getting enough sleep, eating right, exercising often, getting enough help in raising the kids, getting help with the household chores and getting enough alone time. Doesn’t all of that sound great? You can make it happen. You are in charge of your own life. The Recovery process for Codependency is an adventure. It is not torture. Recovery works. You just have to work at it really hard over a period of time. Today is the best day for you to start… From “Codependency – A Serious Disease of Lost, Confused, Undeveloped and Other-Centered Selves” by Mark Smith http://www.familytreecounseling.com/fullarticle.php?aID=278
Scars are not injuries…
A scar is a healing.
After injury, a scar is
what makes you whole.
Making small sacrifices for your partner when you don’t feel like it could be damaging your relationship, according to social scientists from the University of Arizona. Men and women offering to take on a chore normally done by the other may make them seem like the perfect partner. Yet when these sacrifices are done by a partner who is feeling stressed, it can make the stress worse, the study found. Doing chores to help out a partner may seem like the right thing to do, but if you’re in a bad mood, these sacrifices can do your relationship more harm than good, claim researchers from the University of Arizona. This in turn can lead to an increase in arguments and partners feeling taken for granted. Research scientist Casey Totenhagen and her team at the university carried out daily surveys among 154 married and unmarried couples. The length of relationship ranged from from six months to 44 years. The couples recorded all their activities from time spent with friends, to child care and chores. They were then asked to record which activities they considered to be ‘sacrifices’. Sacrifices included those they had done that were usually done by their partner. Alongside this, everyone filled in details of how well their day had been, the hassles they had experienced and how it had affected their mood. And finally, a section was reserved for them to rank their feelings towards their partners on a daily basis, including how close, committed and satisfied they felt about the relationship. The kind of sacrifices made were small and not significant in terms of how it could change a relationship but generally carried out to show ‘niceness’, said the researchers. Carrying out such good deeds while in a good mood made the person doing it feel more committed to their relationship. However, it appears to have little effect on the other partner who, in general, felt no different about the relationship after the nice act than they did before. The key to a long and happy relationship is sharing chores, instead of making sacrifices and doing your partner’s chores for them, claims research from the University of Arizona. From A Daily Mail article by Victoria Woollaston http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2317712/Being-MORE-selfish-key-successful-relationship-claims-research.html#ixzz2ezLEFZDV
Almost every sinful action ever committed
can be traced back to a selfish motive.
It is a trait we hate in other people
but justify in ourselves.
Codependents usually haven’t experienced enough sense of mastery in their lives to give them a life-long sense of competency and strength. They are lost and confused. They are looking for someone to give them direction. They just haven’t quite found their true place in the world yet. They are usually in the wrong place, with the wrong person, at the wrong time for the wrong reasons. 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 (a little girl), a rager, a controller, weak, lost, little, and otherwise not coming as originally advertised. Codependents have big hearts – too big. Codependents get lost for decades in the meeting of others needs while ignoring what their own hearts were trying to say to 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. The roots of Codependency are always in childhood. Controlling, critical, abandoning, abusive and shaming parents and caretakers inflict the wounds in the tender psyches of children that result later in life as the low self-esteem, powerlessness, voicelessness, other centeredness, low entitlement, passiveness and depression that we correctly call Codependency. Many times this damage can seem subtle during the childhood itself. If it is all that you have ever known then what do you have to compare it to? In a healthy family children and teenagers are encouraged to have a voice. They are encouraged to speak up and make their cases. That is a skill that they will need in relationships, in school and on the job down the road. In a healthy family a child gets the focus and the attention and the care that they need. The focus isn’t on dad’s alcoholism or mom’s depression. The parents have the ability to really be there for the kids consistently. Parents can give praise directly to the children and they are lavish with it. Home is a safe and a predictable place. The child does not have to grow up too quickly. They can just focus on being a kid. They don’t become the emotional caretakers of their parents. The message a Codependent gets growing up is that they aren’t quite good enough. They don’t quite rate dad’s attention or his time. They don’t quite measure up to mom’s expectations. They need to try harder. They need to eliminate the self and anything positive that the self could have done for them. They need to live for others. From “Codependency – A Serious Disease of Lost, Confused, Undeveloped and Other-Centered Selves” by Mark Smith http://www.familytreecounseling.com/fullarticle.php?aID=278
If you’re not comfortable
enough with yourself
or with your own truth
when entering a relationship,
then you’re not ready
for that relationship
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. The term arose from situations of living with an addict, typically a substance abuser, but over time it has come to encompass a much broader population. It means chronically seeing in someone else the need to be “helped.” And helping develops into control – control of someone’s choices, behavior, even feelings. 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 maladaptive. It’s carried through to your own relationships, making them difficult and unsatisfying. The “co” in codependent implies that each person is dependent on the other. The one being taken care of obviously depends on the caretaker for exactly that. But the one doing the caretaking is also dependent. Implied here is not basic needs like those of a child or a sick person, but just about anything you can imagine from being the exclusive scheduler of your mutual social events and vacation plans to choosing the other’s clothing to deciding what “we” ought to do about… This person doesn’t do well alone. Self-esteem is evaluated by how well you’re pleasing the other. Often neither person sees a problem, at least not initially. It feels very “giving.” You’re working so hard to please the other that whoever you are gets lost. The one being catered to is so well taken care of that the self of that person gets lost as well. In accommodating someone else (or being accommodated to) you ignore your own wants and needs. Eventually, resentment develops on both sides, and problems arise. From an on-line article by Katherine Rabinowitz, LP, M.A., NCPsyA http://www.therapycanwork.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=49&Itemid=99
...worrying about people
and problems doesn’t help.
It doesn’t solve problems,
it doesn’t help other people,
and it doesn’t help us.
It is wasted energy.
“Codependent” is a word that comes up frequently… 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. In healthy relationships, this is not the case. It is altogether possible to be an autonomous person and yet be able to be dependent on another. If you exhibit healthy dependency you are willing to admit the need for others in your life, and to let them need you. After all, we all start out life as completely dependent on our caretakers. 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, in whatever way we define that for ourselves. Setting emotional boundaries, giving someone space (and taking it for ourselves) is acceptable. We can allow people to be who they are, not who we want them to be. We understand that we can’t change other people, and balance feelings of closeness with feelings of separateness. Yet we also know how to care for others and let them care for us – we’re able to ask for help when we need it. In other words, it’s ok to need and be needed, because we know and feel good about who we are independently of another person if that person happens not to be around. We are able to form healthily interdependent relationships without losing our sense of self. 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), 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. You can’t make a decision without the approval of the other person. Your relationships tend to be enmeshed rather than engaged, and the other person in your relationship probably complains about feeling suffocated. More than likely you’ve been called “clingy.” Since it’s hard to set your own agenda, you’re often at a loss, looking to the other person to fill in what’s missing for you. From an on-line article 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
then you make
everybody your judge.
1) – Love doesn’t keep a score of wrongs. Love doesn’t bring up past failures. None of us is perfect. In marriage we do not always do the right thing. We have sometimes done and said hurtful things to our spouses. We cannot erase the past. We can only confess it and agree that it was wrong. We can ask for forgiveness and try to act differently in the future. Having confessed my failure and asked forgiveness, I can do nothing more to mitigate the hurt it may have caused my spouse. When I have been wronged by my spouse and she has painfully confessed it and requested forgiveness, I have the option of justice or forgiveness. If I choose justice and seek to pay her back or make her pay for her wrongdoing, I am making myself the judge and her the felon. Intimacy becomes impossible. If, however, I choose to forgive, intimacy can be restored. Forgiveness is the way of love. 2) – What is emotional intimacy? It is that deep sense of being connected to one another. It is feeling loved, respected and appreciated, while at the same time seeking to reciprocate. To feel loved is to have the sense that the other person genuinely cares about your well-being. Respect has to do with feeling that your potential spouse has positive regard for your personhood, intellect, abilities and personality. Appreciation is that inner sense that your partner values your contribution to the relationship. Two quotes by Dr. Gary Chapman author of “The Five Love Languages”
We are products
of our past,
but we don’t have
to be prisoners of it.