Do you want to rescue others? Does it hurt you to see others in pain and helping others relieves the sympathy pain you feel? Do you help to feel needed or fulfill something within yourself? Do you want others to view you as helpful? Is it more important to have a helpful image than to truly benefit another? What am I getting out of this unhealthy dynamic of rescuing, enabling, or encouraging something not helpful for me or the other person? The reasons why we help others can be endless. After reading this, you may get the impression that it’s not good to help others. That is simply not true. It is good to help others, it is not good to rescue others or create a dependence with another person. So how can we help others in a healthy way? The key to helping in a healthy way is setting boundaries or setting limits. Understand what you are able to do for someone, what they can do or start to do for themselves and set up the “rules of helping” early and continue to reinforce it. It is not about pleasing or attempting to not disappoint someone else. It is about protecting yourself and empowering the other person. When helping, your main goal should be to help someone help themselves and become a stronger, more independent person in the future. The support/assistance you provide needs to become the inspiration that compels the person to adopt their own plan to manage their lives and create their success. The hardest part is once you realize your assistance is doing more harm than good, you will need to stop. There will be times when not doing is the most helpful thing you can you do. http://sueb.hubpages.com/hub/Helping-Too-Much
God loves us the way we are,
but too much to leave us that way.
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
What defines codependence or codependency is the way that: 1) we place the needs of others first to the exclusion of our own; 2) our self-esteem is dependent on gaining the approval of others; 3) we worry excessively about how others may respond to our feelings, so we walk on eggshells or tiptoe around each other; and 4) how all of this makes it very difficult for us to feel like we can be free to be ourselves in relationship. Ask yourself if you truly have an individuated sense of yourself separate from your partner’s feelings, interpretation, or perception of you. Individuation is the innate tendency we have as humans to become individualized away from others (especially our parents), as well as to become conscious of our life purpose and know who and what we are and where we are going. Codependency on the other hand, keeps us locked in our emotionally immature patterns with one another and keeps us from maturing and growing as an individual on the planet. Excerpt #3 from “He Said, She said: Codependency vs. true love — how to tell them apart” By Hanalei Vierra, Ph.D. and M’Lissa Trent, Ph.D.
Having a low opinion of yourself
is not “modesty”. It’s self-destruction.
Holding your uniqueness in high regard
is not “egotism”. It’s a necessary
precondition to happiness and success.
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. 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… 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), [and] 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. 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. 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 maladaptivee. 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 from everybody,
then you make everybody your judge.
I’ve known numerous men who have been in relationships with clingy, needy, overly emotional, jealous, and controlling women. These men are frustrated with what they perceive as their girlfriend’s flaws. They often don’t realize that their own behavior is contributing to the unhealthy relationship and allowing it to persist. When a man stays in a relationships with a clingy, jealous, critical partner, he feels dependent on her approval. Any man with a high level of self-esteem and healthy attitude towards relationships would not tolerate such a relationship. He’d either take action to stop the pattern, or simply leave. Men who get stuck in a codependent relationship, on the other hand, end up pursuing an endless pattern of trying to please their partner, and feeling frustrated when their desire for freedom conflicts with their partners need for rigid conformity to her needy patterns of behavior. Michael S. Freeman
Don’t smother each other.
No one can grow in the shade.
Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection. Success, popularity, and power can indeed present a great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the way they are part of the much larger temptation to self-rejection. When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions. The real trap, however, is self-rejection. As soon as someone accuses me or criticizes me, as soon as I am rejected, left alone, or abandoned, I find myself thinking, “Well, that proves once again that I am a nobody.” … [My dark side says,] I am no good… I deserve to be pushed aside, forgotten, rejected, and abandoned. Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the “Beloved.” Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence. Henri J.M. Nouwen
your innermost feelings.
Asa Don Brown
We must become so alone, so utterly alone, that we withdraw into our innermost self. It is a way of bitter suffering. But then our solitude is overcome, we are no longer alone, for we find that our innermost self is the spirit, that it is God, the indivisible. And suddenly we find ourselves in the midst of the world, yet undisturbed by its multiplicity, for our innermost soul we know ourselves to be one with all being. Hermann Hesse
The loneliness you feel
with another person,
the wrong person,
is the loneliest of all.
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.
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.