Everything was enemy to me. I used denial as a defense mechanism, a way to preserve my ego and pride. I would not admit to myself that I was weak and needed help. This is how I built my monsters. I started to self medicate. Towards the end of high school and the first semester of college, I used alcohol heavily at the worst times. I would seek it out on the weekends and drink alone in the corners of house parties and in the back seat of parked cars. This was not a social activity. I smoked cigarettes in the same secretive way. When I had happy and together moments in life, I abstained from drinking and smoking – to this day, I don’t enjoy either. When I was in the valleys – when I hurt – alcohol and cigarette tobacco always arrived. The emotional abuse I saddled on those around me remains the worse product of my depression. I allowed depression to burden not only me, but two girlfriends, my family, and my closest friends. One girl could not deal with it and ended up leaving me. The other stuck around longer, and I abused her emotions without knowing it. I was terrifyingly cold and unfeeling, even as she broke down into tears and begged me to say anything. I made her feel responsible for anything that went wrong in my life. I left her more than once without warning, but would soon come back and manipulate her damaged emotions to get back together. All of it was a way for me to artificially build myself back up. I was trying to destroy my depression, but I ended up harming the most vulnerable people in my life. Cowardice and dishonesty dictated my thinking. What underlies all these abuses is a fundamental disgust and anger with one’s self. I manipulated the emotions of everyone around me to bring them down to my level and feel better about my station in life. Admitting my weakness terrified me so much that I went out and tore away. The booze and cigarettes, I think, show a self-destructive streak common to all those who suffer with depression. Although the exact motives for self-destructive thoughts vary, they usually revolve around the ideas that a man cannot deal with such a great burden or, as in my case, that a man is not worth it, that he does not deserve to live because of such weakness. . By S.M. Leahy http://www.artofmanliness.com/2009/09/01/dealing-with-male-depression/
I didn’t want to wake up.
I was having a much better
time asleep. And that’s really sad.
It was almost like a reverse nightmare,
like when you wake up from a nightmare
you’re so relieved. I woke up into a nightmare.”
If your usage of a substance like alcohol or drugs, or habit like excessive shopping or sports-watching, ever prompted someone you love to say to you, “Too much,” listen up. The biggest mistake people make with addictions, alcohol and otherwise, is that they deny that they are over-doing it. They get defensive. They insist “I’m only drinking so much because …” They claim, “You do it too..” or “Everyone drinks like that..” They minimize, “I just drink….” Denial is tempting, and extremely self-defeating. Resist this temptation, and you have a chance at averting the potentially marriage-threatening consequences of an addiction that you persist in sustaining. The remedy: Take your loved one’s concern seriously. Seriously reassess your habit. Ask yourself, “If I look at my drinking in the best possible light, what is it meant to accomplish?” If the answer is that drinking enables you to escape from stresses in your life, it’s time to face those stresses head on. Addictions usually are an alternative to addressing and resolving problems, marital and otherwise. Replace running away with talking about your problems with someone you trust. By clinical psychologist, marriage counselor and author Susan Heitler, Ph.D. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/resolution-not-conflict/201110/resisting-the-3-main-temptations-destroy-marriages
First you take a drink,
then the drink takes a drink,
then the drink takes you.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
A growing body of research… suggest that self-compassion, rather than self-esteem, may be the key to unlocking your true potential for greatness. Self-compassion is a willingness to look at your own mistakes and shortcomings with kindness and understanding – it’s embracing the fact that to err is indeed human. When you are self-compassionate in the face of difficulty, you neither judge yourself harshly, nor feel the need to defensively focus on all your awesome qualities to protect your ego. It’s not surprising that self-compassion leads, as many studies show, to higher levels of personal well-being, optimism and happiness and to less anxiety and depression. People who experienced self-compassion were more likely to see their weaknesses as changeable. Self-compassion – far from taking them off the hook – actually increased their motivation to improve and avoid the same mistake again in the future. Why is self-compassion so powerful? In large part, because it is non-evaluative – in other words, your ego is effectively out of the picture – you can confront your flaws and foibles head on. You can get a realistic sense of your abilities and your actions, and figure out what needs to be done differently next time. When your focus is instead on protecting your self-esteem, you can’t afford to really look at yourself honestly. You can’t acknowledge the need for improvement, because it means acknowledging weaknesses and shortcomings – threats to self-esteem that create feelings of anxiety and depression. Here’s an unavoidable truth: You are going to screw up. Everyone – including very successful people – makes boatloads of mistakes. The key to success is, as everyone knows, to learn from those mistakes and keep moving forward. But not everyone knows how. Self-compassion is the how you’ve been looking for. So please, give yourself a break. Taken from “Forget Self-Esteem” by Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-science-success/201209/forget-self-esteem
If you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way
that you sometimes speak to yourself, how long
would you allow that person to be your friend?
Destiny, I feel is also a relationship-a play between grace and willful self-effort. Half of it you have no control over, half of it is absolutely in your hands and your actions will show measurable consequences. Man is neither entirely a puppet of the gods, nor is he entirely the captain of his own destiny; he’s a little of both. We gallop through our lives like circus performers balancing on two speeding side-by-side horses-one foot is on the horse called “fate” the other on the horse called “free will”. And the question you have to ask everyday is, Which horse is which? Which horse do I need to stop worrying about because it’s not under my control, and which do I need to steer with concentrated effort? Elizabeth Gilbert
You will have bad times,
but they will always
wake you up to the stuff
you weren’t paying attention to.
When you are born…your courage is new and clean. You are brave enough for anything: crawling off of staircases, saying your first words without fearing that someone will think you are foolish, putting strange things in your mouth. But as you get older, your courage attracts gunk, and crusty things, and dirt, and fear, and knowing how bad things can get and what pain feels like. By the time you’re half-grown, your courage barely moves at all, it’s so grunged up with living. So every once in a while, you have to scrub it up and get the works going, or else you’ll never be brave again. Catherynne M. Valente
Play is the highest
form of research.
This morning at my regular Saturday Codependents Anonymous meeting I talked about past suffering from the sexual compulsion, a somewhat less severe form of sexual addiction. Alcoholics drink, drug addicts drug, food addicts eat and sex addicts screw. That’s a callous word, but it accurately describes what I was guilty of: using sexual activity devoid of love and emotion as a way to stop feeling bad or depressed. As I look back it’s easy to see how hard I tried in all other aspects of my life to over achieve as a counter balance for my behavior. Somehow it seemed if I could be impeccably honest, successful, giving, righteous, helpful, spiritual and caring in all other aspects of my life it would make up for my compulsions regarding sex and the lies and deceit that came with that behavior. What did I learn? Nothing makes up for bad behavior! Absolutely NOTHING! Bad is bad. Wrong is Wrong.
It takes less time to do a thing right
than it does to explain why you did it wrong.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
When I began to get better and my recovery from codependence was showing good results, I became fairly self-impressed. My thinking included “look at me and how well I am doing”, “you should be proud of me for all that I have accomplished”, “look how far I’ve come”, “you should love me more now that I am better” and so on. It took time, but I came to see framing my thoughts in such a manner was actually dysfunctional. All I had accomplished was some level of becoming “normal”. Millions of people are “normal” every day and don’t get merit badges for it. I shouldn’t either. Being pleased with myself for accomplishments in recovery is healthy. Expecting others to fawn over me because of them is not!
Don’t show off every day, or you’ll stop surprising people.
There must always be some novelty left over.
The person who displays a little more of it each day
keeps up expectations, and no one ever discovers
the limits of his talent.
Going far beyond what is expected to be good, helpful and caring the majority of the time does not make up for indiscretions some of the time. Cheating within a committed relationship is wrong, no matter how many things you do to make up for it. Being emotionally abusive, or worse yet, physically abusive can not be compensated for. A basket of ‘rights’ does not make up for a ‘wrong’. The only possible way to save a troubled relationship if you are the cheater or abuser, is to make lasting change, correct your ways and then ask for forgiveness. It may be too late, but you won’t know unless you try.
When people are ready to, they change.
They never do it before then,
and sometimes they die before they get around to it.
You can’t make them change if they don’t want to,
just like when they do want to, you can’t stop them.