Having a healthy sense of one’s self is not being selfish. It goes hand in hand with being able to enter into loving relationships. A solid personal identity and awareness of our needs leads to mutual respect and love. Every codependent needs relationships where they can work on relating in new and healthier ways. Seek relationships with mature people with healthy boundaries. Then work on developing a mature, mutual relationship instead of a dependent one. Make sure that you and your friends communicate honestly. Share your thoughts, wishes, and feelings mutually. And learn to make mutual decisions and to give and take and compromise equally. This may initially be difficult since you may have developed a “sixth sense” for finding people with poor boundaries who need rescuing. But only this kind of mutuality growing out of a healthy sense of your own self-hood or identity allows for intimacy and mature closeness to develop. In a mature relationship neither party is demanding or controlling and each opens up his inner self to being loved and being truly loving. A very practical step is starting to set boundaries that you are comfortably able to live with. You simply cannot learn to care and give of yourself in a healthy manner until you have a basic place of safety for yourself. This includes having the ability to set clear boundaries and to say no. At times, saying no is more important to our spiritual growth than saying yes to another activity. If you are growing out of codependency, you don’t always need to have a clearly articulated or spiritual-sounding reason for saying no. Sure, you may occasionally say no when it may have been good to say yes, but after a lifetime of erring on the yes side, don’t be afraid of occasionally missing the perfect ideal! It is far more likely that you will continue to err on the side of compulsive giving or doing. Jason T. Li. Ph.D. http://lifecounsel.org/pub_li_overcomingCodependency.html
Half of the troubles of this life
can be traced to saying yes too quickly
and not saying no soon enough.
For years I’ve heard about Universal Laws, mysterious rules that govern our world at an unseen level. The problem with these laws? No list exists. Nobody tells us the rules, like they do at a seminar, in a classroom or even on a website unless you count Moses etching the Ten Commandments in Stone. So clearly stumbled into two of these Universal Laws. No, three.
1-If we jump out of an airplane, we’ll fall down, not up.
2-If we eat every single thing we want, we’ll gain weight.
3-If all we see is the negative, we’ll begin to see more and more of the negative. We’ll feel worse. Feeling badly will become a way of life. We’ll see nothing but the problems, the things that didn’t work out and the wrongdoings others have done to us. We’ll see our picture and think, Ick. It’s an ugly way of life. The only antidote I’ve found for it… is gratitude. If you couple gratitude with non-dualistic thinking, or non-black and white thinking (this is good, this is bad), which then means we’ll begin to express gratitude for most if not all of life (except for sheer tragedies in which case we’ll learn it’s okay to mourn), we’ll be lifted out of that rut of negativity we’ve learned to call home. We don’t see rejection. We know we’ve been saved from ourselves, saved for something better. Melody Beattie from her blog at http://melodybeattie.com/the-other-side-of-that-story-6/
Hard is trying to rebuild yourself,
piece by piece,
with no instruction book,
and no clue as to where
all the important bits are supposed to go.
The past is a bottomless pit. No matter how far I fall into its depth there is no bottom; no sense to be made of it; no previously unknown reality to be found. Sometimes I yearn to forget the past, but could not be who I am without it. As I remember, it’s critical to acknowledge those memories are about who I ‘was’, not who I ‘am’ or ‘can be’. Yes, to a large degree I am a product of my past. However, as I man I am still moldable clay, not as pliable as I once was, but still with the ability to be shaped. It is my choice, and FULLY my choice, if I stay the same or not; whether I grow or not; whether I take responsibility for myself or continue to blame others and my circumstances. “There are no lessons to be learned from the past. This is the first thing I learned from it. There is nothing back then that there isn’t here now. There is nothing here now – nothing that matters – that wasn’t back then.” Tom Lichtenberg
I have learned that if you must leave a place
that you have lived in and loved
and where all your yesteryears are buried deep,
leave it any way except a slow way,
leave it the fastest way you can.
Never turn back and never believe
that an hour you remember
is a better hour because it is dead.
Codependence kills! Everyone knows there are diseases that kill rapidly, but it is a surprise to many that a dis-ease like codependency is a killer. It snuffs out relationships. It destroys careers. It emotionally lacerates lives. Then there are the “addictions”: alcohol, drugs, sex, food, money, gambling, smoking and more that kill more slowly, but just as surely as a fast acting poison. Each comes from an attempt to mask the hurt and feel better, yet all that is accomplished is to trade one type of pain for another. As long as an addiction is active, most can never see the root of their problem and why they work so hard to medicate and hide it away. Frequently, if not almost always, codependency is at the root of an addict’s addiction. Until it is treated successfully and recovery is underway, old behaviors will usually come back again and again until codependence shows itself as the killer it is.
If you were to meet me on the street
and I’d smile and introduce myself
could you tell the scars I hide underneath theses clothes?
would you see thru my eyes?
that I’m killing myself slowly inside
or could you only tell that they are blue.
From “Killing Myself Slowly” by “silenttears09”
Found at allpoetry.com
I used to get mad way TOO much, far too easily. I wasn’t angry all the time, but embers of past pain needed little to flame into a blaze. My thinking was it was a natural tendency for me from either heredity or environment and not in my control. Clear in memory is being told numerous times I had a bad temper and needed to do something about it. When one is ‘in-control of being out-of-control” such things are impossible to see. What I know now is the vast majority of my anger was very old and just kept recycling up within me over and over. Like a lion with a thorn stuck in its paw, when pressure was applied the pain came and anger followed that was stored within me form a long, long time ago. Once I began to see my behavior in the present had a lot to do with what was deeply imbedded from my distant past, I was finally able to see and overcome my volatile temperament which was actually a self-protective bad habit.
The more anger towards the past
you carry in your heart,
the less capable you are
of loving in the present.
Barbara De Angelis
As a child I remember being told to leave a healing scab alone. “Don’t pick at that! If you do it’ll leave a scar” was the instruction of the grown ups. Of course, I didn’t always listen well. I had to learn the hard way if you injure further a healing wound it truly can leave a worse scar than it might have other wise. The same has been true of emotional wounds of my adult life. My habit has been to pick at those hurts over and over not realizing I was making the injury worse and the blemish left behind more severe. Just like a sore on the skin “itches” as it gets better, abrasions of the heart and mind itch as well. But if I resist the urge to scratch, the compulsion passes quickly most of the time and I do no additional damage.
The wounds that never heal
can only be mourned alone.
There are far less things I do now which end up as sizeable regrets. When there is something regrettable, it is usually smaller with lesser pangs of guilt than before. Sometimes it is because I have grown to see my tendencies more clearly and with that knowledge am able to avoid repeating past mistakes. At other times it is a feeling of regretfulness for what I have done in the past that are the road markers keeping me out of the ditches. Wisdom came when I could allow the lessons of what was behind me to be a guide in the present. Instead of seeing old transgressions as only actions to regret and try to forget, I came to see how the past is helpful in lighting the path forward. At first it felt very strange to find gratitude for the bygone errors. However, once thankfulness came not for the deeds, but for the lessons learned, my life became better. It was then hope began to arrive in greater quantity than I had ever previously allowed myself.
One must always maintain one’s connection to the past
and yet ceaselessly pull away from it.
You are smarter than you think. You can solve problems that you don’t believe are possible to remedy. You are stronger than you give yourself credit for. You contain greater love in your heart than you show. You have more to give than you have ever given. You can be completely faithful even if you never have been. More success than you’ve ever imagined can be yours. You can speak the truth with stronger clarity than ever before. You can believe in yourself and push away doubt. You can grow and be a better man, more so than ever imagined. You are… you will… you can… It is only the internal liar called codependency that tells you otherwise. Take one day; today, and do the best you can NOT to listen to what the lying voice says.
Everybody is a genius.
But if you judge a fish
by its ability to climb a tree,
it will live its whole life
believing that it is stupid.
Definition of CHANGE: To cause to be different; to transform: to exchange for or replace; to lay aside, abandon, or leave for another; to become different or undergo alteration; to undergo transformation or transition. When we make a change, It’s so easy to interpret our unsettledness as unhappiness, and our unhappiness as a result of having made the wrong decision. Our mental and emotional states fluctuate madly when we make big changes in our lives, and some days we could tight-rope across Manhattan, and other days we are too weary to clean our teeth. This is normal. This is natural.This is change. (Jeanette Winterson)
I have found that the only thing
one can be sure of changing is oneself.
A dead giveaway that I am a codependent is loving people who can’t love me back. Often in my past meeting a woman who was damaged and emotionally impoverished, yet smart, attractive and sexy caused a deeply yearning response. Like a moth to a flame I would be drawn to her and not infrequently ‘fall head over heels’. While thinking I’d found a great love I’d usually just fallen into the pit of my own neediness. My feeling was if I could show her with all my being how much I loved her she would fix me and give me the love I lacked. Getting “fixed” by “fixing” someone is not the path to love. That knowledge has been mine for a good while, but the knowing didn’t stop me from continuing to hit the trip wire of my old conditioning from time to time. The compulsion to “fix” others can make me crazy and has… frequently. Those tendencies still exist but I don’t let them take me over like they used to. The only difference is being in recovery. No one can over come the power of codependence all by them self. The force is too strong. Therapy helped but substantial growth only began when my higher power led me to CoDA (Codependence Anonymous) where I met others much like me. Discovering I was far from alone and not uniquely crazy was a HUGE step forward.
If you can’t get what you want,
you end up doing something else,
just to get some relief…
Just to keep from going crazy.
Because when you’re sad enough,
you look for ways to fill you up.