Sometimes we continue in our roles because we are waiting for our parents to give us “permission”; to change. But that permission can come only from you. Like most people, parents in dysfunctional families often feel threatened by changes in their children. As a result, they may thwart your efforts to change and insist that you “change back.” That’s why it’s so important for you to trust your own perceptions and feelings. Change begins with you. Some specific things you can do include:
- Identify painful or difficult experiences that happened during your childhood.
- Make a list of your behaviors, beliefs, etc. that you would like to change.
- Next to each item on the list, write down the behavior, belief, etc. that you would like to do/have instead.
- Pick one item on your list and begin practicing the alternate behavior or belief. Choose the easiest item first.
- Once you are able to do the alternate behavior more often than the original, pick another item on the list and practice changing it, too.
As you make changes, keep in mind the following:
- Stop trying to be perfect. In addition, don’t try to make your family perfect.
- Realize that you are not in control of other people’s lives. You do not have the power to make others change.
- Don’t try to win the old struggles – you can’t win.
- Set clear limits – e.g., if you do not plan on visiting your parents for a holiday, say “no,” not “be.”
- Identify what you would like to have happen. Recognize that when you stop behaving the way you used to, even for a short time, there may be adverse reactions from your family or friends. Anticipate what the reactions will be (e.g., tears, yelling, other intimidating responses) and decide how you will respond.
Don’t become discouraged if you find yourself slipping back into old patterns of behavior. Changes may be slow and gradual; however, as you continue to practice new and healthier behaviors, they will begin to become part of your day-to-day living. http://www.counselingcenter.illinois.edu/?page_id=171
The fastest way to be a bad parent
is to never let your child be a kid.
I used to think that finding the right one was about the man (woman) having a list of certain qualities. If he (she) has them, we’d be compatible and happy. Sort of a check-mark system that was a complete failure. But I found out that a healthy relationship isn’t so much about sense of humor or intelligence or attractive. It’s about avoiding partners with harmful traits and personality types. And then it’s about being with a good person. A good person on his (her) own, and a good person with you. Where the space between you feels uncomplicated and happy. A good relationship is where things just work. They work because, whatever the list of qualities, whatever the reason, you happen to be really, really good together. Deb Caletti
Forgive the past. It is over. Learn from it and let go.
People are constantly changing and growing.
Do not cling to a limited, disconnected,
negative image of a person in the past.
See that person now.
Your relationship is
always alive and
Brian L. Weiss
A man ought never to “should” on himself and he never ought to “should” on anyone else. “Should’s” are future expectations that have yet to be born. The problem with expectations about others is they are built from assumptions. When a codependent man assumes he knows what his wife or girlfriend thinks, or believes he understands how they feel, he makes a decision on how they should behave toward him. The expectation is for her to act a particular way based on some crazy idea that she”should” know what he wants or what he meant! The result is that his hints about his birthday get missed. He assumes she got the message. Resentment comes on strong when his birthday passes without the gift he expected. Or he helped clean up after dinner and took the kids out of her hair but was disappointed when she did not want to have the same romantic encounter that he was expecting! He ends up angry and resents trying to help out when she seemingly doesn’t care about his needs! Luckily there is hope if communication can be kept from breaking down. Keep it honest and keep it open! Say what you honestly mean and mean what you honestly say. adapted from an article by Corinna Craddock
It is not a lack of love,
but a lack of friendship
that makes unhappy marriages.
He often comes on strong at the start a of relationship. He wants love, but a part of him that is deathly afraid kicks in. As a child he felt the need to take care of one parent or fill in for another, such as in single parent families. Instead of being a carefree child, he thinks it is his duty to play the part of a little adult. Instead of being nurtured, he becomes the nurturer compelled to fulfill someone else’s needs. Consequently he turns into a commitment phobic who refuses to take a relationship beyond a certain level. He is the philanderer who never stays with just one person for long. “He” is a Love Avoidant and the ‘he’ is me.
To cheat oneself out of love
is the most terrible deception;
it is an eternal loss
for which there is no reparation,
either in time or in eternity.