Maturity is being able to move from environmental support to more internal self-support. 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. One thing to keep in mind is that people will often get angry as a way to avoid saying goodbye. That is how hard transitions can be. 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.
Douglas Besharov states in Recognizing Child Abuse: A Guide for the Concerned, “Emotional abuse is an assault on the child’s psyche, just as physical abuse is an assault on the child’s body”(1990). Children who are constantly ignored, shamed, terrorized or humiliated suffer at least as much, if not more, than if they are physically assaulted. Danya Glaser (2002) finds that emotional abuse can be “more strongly predictive of subsequent impairments in the children’s development than the severity of physical abuse.” An infant who is severely deprived of basic emotional nurturance, even though physically well cared for, can fail to thrive and can eventually die. Babies with less severe emotional deprivation can grow into anxious and insecure children who are slow to develop and who have low self-esteem. Although the visible signs of emotional abuse in children can be difficult to detect, the hidden scars of this type of abuse manifest in numerous behavioral ways, including insecurity, poor self-esteem, destructive behavior, angry acts (such as fire setting and animal cruelty), withdrawal, poor development of basic skills, alcohol or drug abuse, suicide, difficulty forming relationships and unstable job histories. Emotionally abused children often grow up thinking that they are deficient in some way. A continuing tragedy of emotional abuse is that, when these children become parents, they may continue the cycle with their own children. Some children may experience emotional abuse only, without ever experiencing another form of abuse. However, emotional abuse typically is associated with and results from other types of abuse and neglect, which makes it a significant risk factor in all child abuse and neglect cases. Emotional abuse that exists independently of other forms of abuse is the most difficult form of child abuse to identify and stop.
There is no greater evil
than those who willingly
hurt an innocent child.
The desire to be part of a loving family; to have parents who are loving, supporting, and caring; to have siblings who love you and care for your well-being; to have family members who listen to you, who share themselves, who make your life happier by being in it (and who are happy in your being in their lives)…. All those are very human desires. Everyone wants those. Who doesn’t want to be loved well and loved for who they are? … not everyone gets that family. Yet abused children will do anything to convince themselves that, yes, they do have that family. Myriad children, for the sake of being able to survive to adulthood, have to convince themselves that their family is loving…. even if the children are being routinely cut into shreds emotionally. Abusive parents, knowing this on some level, often tell their abused children that they deserve such verbal takedowns, that the parents are only being honest or caring, that the parents need to correct their children, etc. The abusive parents often cling to an idea that they are fantastic parents and, as emotionally abused children often experience a type of brainwashing, children repeat what they hear. “We are a loving family,” a child will repeat, even if bearing emotional scars from distant, selfish parents. “My parents are great parents,” a boy will repeat even if he has been treated harshly and been abused routinely. The child’s mind needs to believe that the loving family is true… because the truth of the matter is very difficult for a child to accept. But it’s also difficult for an adult survivor to accept the fact. However, an adult has the ability to break away from the abuse. And one way to make sure they stop engaging in relationships that are abusive is to remember the truth of the relationship. Remember the facts of what really have happened. Unfortunately, many adult survivors of emotional child abuse—-longing for family, longing for parents, hating how judgmental society is regarding estranged family members—hurry back to the fold almost as quickly as they told their abusers to stop it. The adult survivor’s deeply rooted desire for what could be makes them return to the fold in the very foolish, heart-breaking hope that everything will be different now… By Veronica Maria Jarski http://theinvisiblescar.wordpress.com/tag/adult-survivors-of-emotional-child-abuse-2/
There are many
who don’t wish to sleep
for fear of nightmares.
Sadly, there are many
who don’t wish to wake
for the same fear.
Richelle E. Goodrich
Looking at codependency therapy, “family involvement is key,” according to Smith (Ann W. Smith MS, LPC, LMFT, NCC). She says that “the addiction was not caused by the family, but it thrives in a painful system.” She then goes on to explain the Attachment Theory Perspective, saying, “Every human being adapts to some degree in an effort to sustain emotional attachment.” She notes that “anxiety increases when we don’t have a secure and consistent connection as children” and goes on to explain three factors that determine how a person adapts and tries to maintain that connection: Temperament, Birth order and Degree of stress or trauma. If a first-born child is born exhibiting traits of compassion or a “Leader Gene,” that child will most likely demonstrate a natural fear response to move toward painful situations to try to help. Smith says this side of the spectrum is called “Anxious Attachment Style.” On the other side of the spectrum, children that are born second, third or fourth and exhibit traits of an extrovert or independent spirit, may tend to leave the situation when anxiety increases. A child in this same birth order category that shows traits of an introvert may withdraw into themselves when anxiety increases. Either one of these is known as the “Avoidant Attachment Style” as they pull away from conflict. Smith also touches on insecure attachment and says that these patterns often emerge without conscious awareness. “They are stuck in patterns that they have no awareness of and they end up not knowing themselves at all,” she explains. Attachment injury, she says, occurs when a person feels abandoned or betrayed at key moments where comfort and connection are important. By Shannon Brys, Associate Editor http://www.addictionpro.com/article/codependency-patterns-attachment
Behavior is a mirror
in which every one
displays his own image
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
1. Love – Development of self first priority.
* Toxic love – Obsession with relationship.
2. Love – Room to grow, expand; desire for other to grow.
* Toxic love – Security, comfort in sameness; intensity of need seen as proof of love 3. Love – Separate interests; other friends; maintain other meaningful relationships.
Toxic love – Total involvement; limited social life; neglect old friends, interests.
4. Love – Encouragement of each other’s expanding; secure in own worth.
* Toxic love – Preoccupation with other’s behavior; fear of other changing.
5. Love – Appropriate Trust (i.e. trusting partner according to fundamental nature.)
* Toxic love – Jealousy; possessiveness; fear of competition; protects “supply.”
6. Love – Compromise, negotiation or taking turns at leading. Problem solving together.
* Toxic love – Power plays for control; blaming; manipulation.
7. Love – Embracing of each other’s individuality.
* Toxic love – Trying to change other to own image.
8. Love – Relationship deals with all aspects of reality.
* Toxic love – Relationship is based on delusion and avoidance of the unpleasant.
9. Love – Self-care by both partners; emotional state not dependent on other’s mood.
* Toxic love – Expectation that one partner will fix and rescue the other.
10. Love – Loving detachment (healthy concern about partner, while letting go.)
* Toxic love – Fusion (being obsessed with each other’s problems and feelings.)
11. Love – Sex is free choice growing out of caring & friendship.
* Toxic love – Pressure around sex due to insecurity, fear & need for gratification.
12. Love – Ability to enjoy being alone.
* Toxic love – Unable to endure separation; clinging.
13. Love – Cycle of comfort and contentment.
* Toxic love – Cycle of pain and despair.
Love is not supposed to be painful. There is pain involved in any relationship but if it is painful most of the time then something is not working. There is nothing wrong with wanting a relationship – it is natural and healthy. There is nothing wrong with wanting a relationship that will last forever – expecting it to last forever is what is dysfunctional. Expectations set us up to be a victim – and cause to abandon ourselves in search of our goal. If we can start seeing relationships not as the goal but as opportunities for growth then we can start having more functional relationships. A relationship that ends is not a failure or a punishment – it is a lesson. By Robert Burney http://joy2meu.com/codependent2.htm
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.
“As long as we believe that someone else has the power to make us happy then we are setting ourselves up to be victims”. One of the biggest problems with relationships in this society is that the context we approach them from is too small. We were taught that getting the relationship is the goal. It starts in early childhood with Fairy Tales where the Prince and the Princess live happily-ever-after. It continues in movies and books where “boy meets girl” “boy loses girl” “boy gets girl back” – the music swells and the happy couple ride off into the sunset. The songs that say “I can’t smile without you” “I can’t live without you” “You are my everything” describe the type of love we learned about growing up – toxic love – an addiction with the other person as our drug of choice, as our Higher Power. Any time we set another human being up to be our Higher Power we are going to experience failure in whatever we are trying to accomplish. We will end up feeling victimized by the other person or by our self – and even when we feel victimized by the other person we blame our self for the choices we made. We are set up to fail to get our needs met in Romantic Relationships because of the belief system we were taught in childhood and the messages we got from our society growing up. There is no goal to reach that will bring us to happily-ever-after. We are not incomplete until we find our soul mate. We are not halves that cannot be whole without a relationship. True Love is not a painful obsession. It is not taking a hostage or being a hostage. It is not all-consuming, isolating, or constricting. Believing we can’t be whole or happy without a relationship is unhealthy and leads us to accept deprivation and abuse, and to engage in manipulation, dishonesty, and power struggles. The type of love we learned about growing up is an addiction, a form of toxic love. As long as our definition of a successful relationship is one that lasts forever – we are set up to fail. As long as we believe that we have to have the other in our life to be happy, we are really just an addict trying to protect our supply – using another person as our drug of choice. That is not True Love – nor is it Loving. By Robert Burney http://joy2meu.com/codependent2.htm
You have no control over
what the other guy does.
You only have control
over what you do.
A. J. Kitt
Unhealthily dependent relationships have serious consequences, both psychological and physical. Feelings of anger, resentment, irritation, emptiness, conflict, guilt, rejection, low self-esteem, insecurity, lack of respect or appreciation are all at risk to become manifest in the various forms of dependent relationships. Emotional consequences include chronic anxiety and stress, suppression of feelings, and the diminishing ability to trust and experience true intimacy. It is not uncommon for physical illness to arise as a result of the persistence of anxiety and stress. So how can this be fixed? It’s not an easy process. One of the most difficult ideas to grasp and accept is the fact that you are not responsible for someone else’s feelings, nor can another person be responsible for yours. Your thoughts, your feelings and your behavioral choices are yours and yours alone. Nor do you have control over someone else’s feelings. Believing that someone “made me feel guilty” is among the most common refrains to surface in therapy sessions. No one can MAKE you feel anything you choose not to feel. True, you are always entitled to your feelings, no one can take them away from you, and we can be affected by what others say and do to us, but if you decided you weren’t guilty in a particular situation, then you don’t have to feel guilty. And if someone is mad at you, it doesn’t mean you are “bad.” It just means the person is angry. The emotion belongs solely to the person in whom it arises. That person is entitled to it, and also responsible for it. This is a very tough concept to accept. It’s so easy to think that someone else made you feel as you do. But the first step in having healthy, interdependent relationships is being willing to be responsible for your own (and only your own) emotions. Learning to use true “I” statements (as in “I feel guilty about…” instead of “you made me feel guilty about” or “I was made to feel guilty about…”) will be crucial. 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
makes slaves out of us,
especially if this dependency
is a dependency
of our self-esteem.
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