Saturday, August 17

Freedom From Codependency: No Longer Naive; Not Pleasing Unpleasant People ..................8/17/13

     I am thankful for peace of mind. It is the result of relating with healthy people.  Calmness takes place when avoiding those who are not.

     I was reminded of this second point recently, at a restaurant. I witnessed a toxic parent in his thirties. He raised the hackles on the back of my neck.  And made my heart pound, like it hasn't, in years.

     Dark emotions from long ago revisited me.  Rage, shame, embarrassment and fear, melded within.  I was transported to the scariest depths of my youth.

     He blasted his second daughter, saying, "You stupid fool!"  His glares and ridicule not only demeaned her but also slugged my emo-tional belly.  I put my food down, looking for the restroom.  I was getting sick.

     Unwanted bookmarked portions of childhood memories flipped open.
     My heart sank.  His three young daughters squirmed at the table, their si-lence thick with fear.  This par-ent didn't know grace.  He did not express kindness when correcting his middle child.He did not know how to say his no as gently as his yes.

     How we do something is as important as any task we do. Often, it is more impor-tant.

    The little girls needed nurturing.  Support and encouragement from their daddy would strengthen their self-esteem.  This would be helpful during their awkward adolescent years.

      He yelled at her, "You clumsy fool."  She had spilled her soda.  The shame applied towards this middle daughter had me in a cold sweat. The scenario transported me to the angst of my youth.

      As I witnessed what unfolded before me I bonded with this blond-haired girl.

      From my table, her seven-year-old face was in full view.  Her defiant, sullen expres-sions reflected the attitude I had as a kid.  Her stubborn-ness mirrored my resistance as a boy while living in a per-formance oriented, black and white thinking home, in a no-mercy-given household.

       My emotions while wit-nessing the parenting in that restaurant had me reverting to my pre-recovery default mode.  I was sad.  Fear filled my body.  I had the dreaded feeling that I was about to be  hit, an emotion I often experienced as a kid.  And I was hit that night in the restaurant. I was struck by unpleasant memories from my past.  That's just as bad as being physically belted.

       I was filled with rage and anxiety at the same time.  I was mindful of the following quote:
“Worrying about people and problems doesn't help. It doesn't solve problems, it doesn't help other people, it doesn't help us. It is wasted energy.” ― Melody Beattie, Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself
Codependents are reactionaries. They overreact. They under-react. But rarely do they act. They react to the problems, pains, lives, and behaviors of others. They react to their own problems, pains, and behaviors.”         
― Melody Beattie, Codependent No More
     The codependency of the wife and little ones was clear. They jump-ed at pleasing this anger-infested father.  They feared his knitted brow, his glares and impatience.

      I was edgy as he berated his middle daughter.  If he continues treating his strong-willed middle daughter, this way, depression will be her companion through childhood, adolescence and when she's an adult.

      I was thankful for freedom from codependency. I am thankful for the strength we gain when we are internally referented:
“I used to spend so much time reacting and responding to everyone else that my life had no direction. Other people's lives, problems, and wants set the course for my life. Once I realized it was okay for me to think about and identify what I wanted, remarkable things began to take place in my life.”     
― Melody Beattie, The Language of Letting Go
       Dormant negative childhood feelings can be overcome.  Emotional maturity is possible when we are present.  When we apply recovery. With it, I no longer tolerate mistreatment or accept unacceptable be-havior.  I am freed from the disease of codependency

        I am grateful for boundaries.  They protect me.  They prompted me to pour my milkshake on the guy's head when I walked out of the restaurant.  I'm just kidding.  But I did feel like giving that guy a piece of my mind.

        My personal growth allowed me to leave that restaurant emo-tionally intact.  Slipping into my car, I was no longer triggered. Past memories were seen for what they are: memories.  They are not de-mons that still haunt me.  With recovery, I leave unpleasant memories where they belong: in the past.  

        This way I move forward unencumbered by the weight of ancient emotions.

        I appreciate boundaries let me know who is safe and who isn't.   With them, naivete is replaced with common sense.  Manipulators are not given reign because I am being "nice."  Now, I say no, when I am un-comfortable in a conversation.  I say what disturbs me.

        Recovery teaches me that I am not "causing problems" when adhering to my values.  Now, I know I'm being "nice" when I stand for my boundaries.

        It lets others know who I truly am.  I am no longer Mr. Nicey.  When I was him, I always was kind.  I wanted to please everyone.  There was a problem.  Operating this way, I lack sincerity.  I didn't let people know how I truly felt because I was a coward.  I feared the disapproval or anger of others if I disagreed with them or saw things differently.

        Now I'm authentic.  I am true to my values.  I have my voice. I own something else, too.  I have self-respect and the peace of mind that goes along with it.

Related Post:
 A Detailed Overview of Codependency
Guarding Our Emotional Sobriety (Second half of this Link)


Loredana Donovan said...

Yeah, cats are better than people sometimes ... stay safe, Pablo :)

Anonymous said...

It's so nice that you can cat sitting =)!Enjoy these moments...
I'm sorry you had to witness the above scene with a child,but I'm also glad that you realized that you no longer let abusers near you.That's important you know,because sometimes in a rush of a moment we forget that at one point in the past we had decided that we'll not allow bad people to interfere with our lives.
It's good to remind ourselves of this...always!
Have a great week :)...

Pablo said...

Dear Loredana,

Ain't that the truth about cats. Thank you, for dropping by, reading and commenting!

I love your poetry, photos and positivity. Please drop by again.

Pablo said...

Dear Jasmina,

What a delightful surprise, you visiting the inn! I find the more we work on ourselves, the more likely we are to respond and think about our options when relating with others---especially those who unkind.

I'm wishing you a terrific week, too. Hope to see you again, soon!

Carl H said...

Dear Innkeeper,

My belated Saturday gratitudes (we got home from Shingle Springs after midnight last night...)are;

1. That we could attend a lovely, Saturday, 20+ person, family reunion in the Sierra Nevada foothills, at my sisters house, and bring my 89 year old mom with us; play Bocci Ball, Croquet, Badmitton, swim in the pool, and enjoy tri-tip, chicken and family fellowship!

2. That we found the nail in the tire and fixed it in Walnut Creek, BEFORE we got on the long, hot freeway north.

3. That three of our four sons could join us for the day, as well!

4. That we could host my older cousin Tim, and his wife Karen for tea and desserts this afternoon, after they came up from Claremont to attend his 50th high school (Tennyson H.S., Class of 1963!)reunion.

5. That I have this Sunday "day of rest" to recover, exhale, deflate, and rest up for the coming week.

Pablo said...

Dear Carl, I overlooked the comment you posted here. Just discovered it. What did you like best about the family reunion?

Thank you, for filling this inn with your gratitudes!

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From "My Character Determines My Destiny." To read it, please click here.

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From: "Do You Know What It Means If You Are Too Busy?" For more, please click here.