People who won’t leave a bad marriage because it scares them too much are afraid of independence. Dwelling in a bad marriage is a form of need wrapped up in resentments, which can get very ugly. Remember that drama always obscures the real issues. It is important to learn to stop the drama and learn to soothe yourself. It is too often true that the work and struggle of solving relationship problems is avoided. Ask yourself: What are new ways to give yourself comfort? As difficult as it can be to make new friends reach out and build up your support system. Don’t tally up the rejections while licking your wounds, but instead learn how to be able to be alone. Try going to a bargain matinée or eating lunch by yourself; tolerate the anxiety that this may provoke by knowing no one is really paying much attention to you. Learn what your triggers are for anxiety, the ones that make you lurch into retreat and old patterns of hiding. Remember that transitions are the hardest parts of life and that they must be faced in order to grow. From “Anxiety, Control & Codependency” by Rhoda Mills Sommer, L.C.S.W. http://therapyideas.net/anxiety.htm
In a consumer society
there are inevitably
two kinds of slaves:
the prisoners of addiction
and the prisoners of envy.
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.
The best way to deal with any kind of addiction is to seek the help of a qualified therapist. Neither sex addiction nor porn addiction is considered an official mental disorder, but they are compulsions that can have serious effects on one’s sexuality and can be detrimental to social functioning. Any decent therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist will recognize this and be able to provide you with tools to reduce your dependency on pornography. There is a variety of software available that can filter out certain content from the internet before it gets to your computer. These filters are usually used to prevent explicit content, including pornography, from reaching the innocent eyes of children, but they can have applications for the porn addict too. Of course, it’s easy to disable your own filters, but simply having them in place may provide enough of a deterrent when you’re craving a porn fix. There is also keylogger software that will track every move you make on the internet and even accountability software that will not only track your internet activity, but will also send a weekly report to your “accountability partner” to keep them up to speed on the sites you’re visiting. For most of us, viewing pornography is an occasional guilty pleasure. But for those who are driven to use porn constantly, it can represent a genuine mental, emotional and physical trap. With a combination of therapy, internet filters, affirmations, accountability, and research, it can be overcome. http://www.askmen.com/dating/love_tip_400/404_love_tip.html
of any addict
is to anesthetize
the pain of living
to ease the passage of day
with some purchased relief.
We may cling to the irrational belief that things are good enough as they are, we feel a measure of security in the relationship, that change is a difficult and fearful prospect, or that we don’t deserve any better, our life has always been a sacrifice of the self, and that this is as good as it’s likely to get. In the process, however, we give up the chance to be the person we were meant to be and to explore our sense of personal fulfilment in life. We give up not only our own life dreams but our sense of worth in order to maintain the security of a relationship. A healthy relationship is one in which boundaries are not only strong, but flexible enough, to allow us to flourish with our own uniqueness, but are also known to and respected by each other. There is a sense of respect on the part of both partners that allows each to live as full a life as possible and to explore their own personal potential. We don’t have to give up ourselves for a relationship but can become interdependent. Healthy boundaries allow trust and security to develop in a relationship because they offer an honest and reliable framework by which we can know each other. But if we don’t know where our self ends and the other begins it is impossible. John Stibbs http://www.hiddenhurt.co.uk/emotional_boundaries.html
I imagine one of the reasons
people cling to their hates so stubbornly
is because they sense, once hate is gone,
they will be forced to deal with pain.
From “The Fire Next Time” By James Baldwin
Isn’t it selfish to put so much emphasis on my needs and my personal boundaries? While there is valid concern over becoming overly preoccupied with yourself to the exclusion of others, most codependents are on the other extreme of the continuum where they may feel badly about normal healthy self-concern. For some codependents, it may be necessary to go through a period of focusing on self and learning how to set boundaries before they can arrive at more balanced interdependent relationships where they can, in the words of Melody Beattie, “become free to care and to love in ways that help others and don’t hurt ourselves.” Some people, of course, may use the need to “be in touch with themselves” or “be honest” or “meet their own needs” as an excuse for selfishness or doing whatever they please. That is obviously… unhealthy. The goal in overcoming codependency is not to become selfish and ignore others. It is to become emotionally and spiritually mature by being responsible people who, by our health, encourage others to become responsible adults as well. Only when we stop doing for others what they can do for themselves will they begin to grow. Jason T. Li. Ph.D. http://lifecounsel.org/pub_li_overcomingCodependency.html
Our thoughts create our reality.
Where we put our focus
is the direction we tend to go.
It takes time to overcome lifelong patterns of codependency, and the process often involves “two steps forward, and one step back.” But there are several specific steps you can take to break out of an ingrained codependent style. The first step is to face the problem honestly. Chances are, you have rationalized and justified and even spiritualized your codependent style. Now is the time to face it head-on. For someone who has spent a lifetime using denial to ward off pain, shame, or fear of rejection, this can be a terrifying experience. You will need support from people who can provide safe relationships that allow you to be emotionally honest on your journey. Support groups with other people on a similar road of recovery often provide more support for recovering from codependency than family and friends because members of these groups know what it is like to struggle with these issues. (http://coda.org/) One way to begin breaking through denial is to seriously consider the experiences that have contributed to your codependency. Most often this involves exploring significant aspects of your family history. Because codependents have learned to cope by disconnecting from their inner emotions, this exploration cannot be simply an intellectual exercise. It must involve a process of coming to terms with your actual feelings as a child. It also means being completely honest about your family of origin. Jason T. Li. Ph.D. http://lifecounsel.org/pub_li_overcomingCodependency.html
Stop trying to hold onto your past,
you can’t start the next chapter of your life
if you keep re-reading your last one.
If you are codependent and struggle with your basic sense of self-worth, it can be easy to believe that you are inherently defective. Taking time to look beyond the lie that you are just plain defective to really understand how you personally learned your codependent patterns is a significant step in learning to respect yourself more. Every person has a story that is worth listening to and understanding, including you. As you begin to understand how you have been impacted by your experiences and recognize that your codependent patterns are understandable ways of trying to cope with difficult situations and not signs of inherent defectiveness, you will experience less self-blame and more compassion for yourself. You also will experience restored hope that you really can learn healthier ways of relating to yourself and others. The first step is to face the problem honestly. Chances are, you have rationalized and justified and even spiritualized your codependent style. Now is the time to face it head-on. For someone who has spent a lifetime using denial to ward off pain, shame, or fear of rejection, this can be a terrifying experience. You will need support from people who can provide safe relationships that allow you to be emotionally honest on your journey. These supportive relationships might come from friendships, support groups, or professional counseling. Jason T. Li. Ph.D. http://lifecounsel.org/pub_li_overcomingCodependency.html
The thing you fear most has no power.
Your fear of it is what has the power.
Facing the truth really will set you free.
It’s not a good idea to label yourself codependent, unless you plan to do something constructive about it. Because labels don’t empower you; they reinforce the undesired effect. Codependency is, however, a label of our time. So many facets of society are codependent. It’s usually synonymous with romance, too. Codependency is so ubiquitous that first of all, it’s hard to recognize. Secondly, it’s hard to end it — the healthy way. You need to do three things to determine if a relationship you’re in is codependent: 1. Educate yourself on codependency. Learn about what codependency is, and why it’s so fatal. 2. Be honest about how you relate to others and yourself. Understanding codependency at an intellectual level doesn’t do you much good. You need to recognize your codependent behaviors so that you can choose more functional and healthier ones. 3. Be mindful of how you use the label. The whole point of using the label “codependency” is to quickly identify dysfunctional behaviors and assertively reprogram them. In other words, the whole point is so that you take care of yourself. It’s empowering to refer to the label only when you’re ready to move on from it. By Melissa Karnaze http://mindfulconstruct.com/2010/07/09/end-a-codependent-relationship-the-healthy-way/
The only consistent feature
of all of your dissatisfying relationships
Being codependent is very painful. Perhaps the most painful aspect of codependence is the feeling that there is something very wrong with you, and that no matter what you do, you are never good enough. This is the codependent’s secret shame and most codependents don’t like themselves. Codependents also find it hard to believe that anyone would want them. And they very often feel they don’t belong. I used to believe that people who did not want me must be seeing me clearly, whereas the people who wanted me, well, they had to be seriously flawed like me. Otherwise, how could they possibly want me? So for most of my life I rejected the people wanting me in favor of the people not wanting me, desperately trying to get them to like me and constantly being rejected. This caused me much misery and suffering. Three major character defects are those of minimization, denial and delusion. Minimization is refusing to see how bad a situation really is. Denial is when you can see a problem in some-one else, but are unable to see that you have exactly the same problem. Delusion is when you, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, continue to believe something to be true. Codependence recovery involves seeing the truth. Taken from an article by Gitte Lassen http://www.positivehealth.com/article/psychospiritual/codependence-for-whom-are-you-living-your-life
To be beautiful means to be yourself.
You don’t need to be accepted by others.
You need to accept yourself.
Thich Nhat Hanh
This is just part of a long story I found on-line, but it rings true in many ways about my childhood. This is much longer than what I usually post, but since it is Thanksgiving and a difficult time for many of us codependents I felt it was appropriate. As far as I have come to now have mostly healed wounds, the scars remain. They are my reminders to keep my recovery strong.
In our house meal time was a huge production, even everyday meals. Holiday dinners were especially dramatic. We had purchased everything on the list and didn’t dare sneak any treats for ourselves because once my brother had stolen a candy bar from the drugstore and my mother made him return it and apologize to the druggist. I, too, had taken some colored cotton balls from a friend’s bathroom and was reprimanded severely. Neither one of us wanted to face my mother’s wrath so we made sure we only brought back what she requested. By the time we returned home, the final trip, it was cocktail hour. She and my stepfather “Cee” had just begun to warm up from the bitter cold outside.
John and I unpacked the groceries eye’ing everything that was needed for the Thanksgiving dinner. We were starving. Actually we were hungry most of the time. The reason being; there were NO snacks allowed in our house and by the time we would finally eat dinner each evening it would be around 8:00 – 9:00 pm. As we were putting away all the items in the refrigerator we spotted a box of Mavrakos Chocolate Turtles on the second shelf halfway to the back. It was new, for we hadn’t seen it earlier.
What was distressing for two hungry kids was the sign that read, “PRIVATE PROPERTY, DO NOT TOUCH.” Wow, this fueled our anger and we began plotting how we could get some of those turtles. We knew Cee had planned to offer chocolate to his guests and that it was hands off for us. We were never allowed the same delicacies as he. Cee had a lot more money than we did and he didn’t like to share. My brother and I were called “It” and “Ut” and were in the way of his codependent relationship with our mother. The food for the Thanksgiving meal was a different story. Because it was a holiday and my dear Aunt Letha and Uncle Wally were invited, we knew we would be fed. But that wasn’t until the next day.
The next morning everyone in the household was up early. Cee was already perched on his throne, the heavy metal chair at the end of the kitchen table. There was an empty shot glass next to his coffee cup. These days he spent most of his time grunting and grumbling under his breath about the two “Things,” (my brother and I) he was forced to have in his life. From “Thanksgiving Tradition: Highlights Of An Alcoholic Home” by Kay http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/Thanksgiving_Tradition_Highlights_Of_An_Alcoholic_Home.html
A torn jacket is soon mended;
but hard words bruise the heart of a child.