The hardest part of therapy for codependents is getting into it! Denial plays as big a role in codependency as it does in substance abuse. Since codependents are focused on the other person’s behavior, it’s easy for them to believe that their problems will be resolved when the other person changes. While it’s true that another person’s behavior can influence use, codependents have problems of their own. Letting someone else’s behavior affect you to the point that it interferes with you life is the codependent’s – not the other person’s – problem. Learning to let go of the myth that you can control another’s behavior (detach, as Al-Anon puts it) is a big step toward recovery. Building self-esteem is essential for recovering codependents. A good therapist can help you define your own identity and boost your self-worth so that you don’t need another person to create or validate you as a person. Obsession with someone else’s life becomes less appealing when your own is full and rewarding. Additionally, people who feel good about themselves are much less likely to start or stay in relationships that are abusive or otherwise unhealthy. http://www.drshirin.com/codepend.htm
Delay is the deadliest
form of denial.
C. Northcote Parkinson
In a war, soldiers are forced to deny their emotions in order to survive. This emotional denial works to help the soldier survive the war, but later can have devastating delayed consequences. The medical profession has now recognized the trauma and damage that this emotional denial can cause, and have coined a term to describe the effects of this type of denial. That term is “Delayed Stress Syndrome.” Codependence is a form of Delayed Stress Syndrome. Instead of blood and death (although some do experience blood and death literally), what happened to us as children was spiritual death and emotional maiming, mental torture and physical violation. We were forced to grow up denying the reality of what was happening in our homes. We were forced to deny our feelings about what we were experiencing and seeing and sensing. We were forced to deny our selves. We were born into the middle of a war where our sense of self was battered and fractured and broken into pieces. We grew up in the middle of battlefields where our beings were discounted, our perceptions invalidated, and our feelings ignored and nullified. The war we were born into, the battlefield each of us grew up in, was not in some foreign country against some identified “enemy” – it was in the “homes” which were supposed to be our safe haven with our parents whom we Loved and trusted to take care of us. From the book “Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls” by Therapist Robert Burney
Child abuse casts a shadow
the length of a lifetime.
Public truth-telling is a form of recovery, especially when combined with social action. Sharing traumatic experiences with others enables victims to reconstruct repressed memory, mourn loss, and master helplessness, which is trauma’s essential insult. And, by facilitating reconnection to ordinary life, the public testimony helps survivors restore basic trust in a just world and overcome feelings of isolation. But the talking cure is predicated on the existence of a community willing to bear witness. ‘Recovery can take place only within the context of relationships,’ writes Judith Herman. ‘It cannot occur in isolation. Lawrence N. Powell
A lie will easily get you out of a scrape,
and yet, strangely and beautifully,
rapture possesses you when
you have taken the scrape and left out the lie.
Charles Edward Montague
When I was eleven and twelve I prayed to God many times for the abuse from my stepfather to stop. It never did, so I grew up to believe that either there was no God or else He/She/It did not care about me. In adult life, my relationship with a Higher Power have been tenuous at best. My attitude for a long while was “if it is to be, it’s up to me”. I made myself my own God of sorts and felt whatever happened was by my own doing. Many years had to pass and my recovery had to begin before I could even admit the smallest possibility of a power beyond me. Even today I remain skeptical but accept there is something outside of me that is beyond my power to fully grasp and comprehend. Whether it is the power of the Universe, cosmic law or God the Creator does not materially matter to me. What does is believing in the possibility.
The human mind is not capable of grasping the Universe.
We are like a little child entering a huge library. The walls
are covered to the ceilings with books in many different
tongues. The child knows that someone must have written
these books. It does not know who or how. It does not
understand the languages in which they are written.
But the child notes a definite plan in the arrangement
of the books, a mysterious order which it does not
comprehend, but only dimly suspects.
Someone once said that codependency is needing others so much that a codependent becomes too afraid of losing someone to ask for what he wants. Or else, if I do ask for what I need a person may not be able to give it to me or choose not to. Simply asking to have my needs and wants met was a huge step and to this day presents a giant challenge. As a child I was taught to “shut up and be quiet” and that the desires of a kid did not matter. Things like being ignored when I had a horrible toothache and begged to go to the dentist taught formative dysfuction which followed me into adult life. Even though I have learned to ask to have my needs met by others (sometimes), I often feel guilty when I do. Even something as simple as asking a friend to help me my piano around is something I hesitate doing. Somehow it feels like I am being a burden if I ask. When I do manage to ask for and get help, it is empowering. As a recovering codependent I will always be one who jumps up too quickly to help others or give advice, but too slowly getting around to asking to have my needs and wants met. Doing a little better, a little at a time, is a rewarding struggle.
If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it.
If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.
If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.
Depression: a condition of feeling emotionally down; a prolonged sadness; feelings of inadequacy; waning interest in things outside the self; generally sad mood, and thoughts that affect the way a person eats, sleeps, feels about himself, and thinks about things. By that definition it becomes obvious that just about all codependents suffer at least from occasional depression. Many deal with it regularly. Most males don’t ever seek help for depression. As men it’s often hard to admit we need help as we’ve been taught to keep our self under control. Accepting something emotional can get a hold on us that we can’t control is thought wrongly by many to be male weakness. That’s all macho bravado and unadulterated BS! Trying to control what can’t be controlled can even make it worse. Men get depressed just as often as women! Men just don’t do anything about it as frequently. Feelings are not a weakness nor is feeling depressed, sad or inadequate. Real and true weakness is not seeking help and treatment when a man needs it. Simply stated, it is STUPID to be depressed and not reaching out for help for it!
He who is afraid of asking
is ashamed of learning.
Asking for what I want and need from others is still frequently difficult. It used to be almost impossible. Most anything someone I cared about wanted, I’d do without question. Usually I’d do what was asked of me and then throw in a lot more that was not requested. Yet, I felt guilty asking for someone to do the same for me. It felt like I was imposing and it embarrassed me to ask even when the courage could be summoned. I’m better today, but asking for what I want and need is still damn difficult because it makes me feel weird; like I don’t deserve to have my needs and wants met. Relationships need to be a door that opens both ways. When efforts are allowed to mostly flow only one way, what is shared ends up half-way starved with one person burdened with too much received and the other far too little.
There are three things that a child can teach an adult:
To be happy for no reason;
To be always busy doing something;
And to know how to demand,
with all one’s might,
what one wants.