He's in a bog. Care needed when enmeshed in a bog of
circumstances that don't serve us.This fellow is a co-
dependent. That's why he'shappy. He's accustomed to
being stuck in a mess. Life offers more: peace of mind.
Below, is a letter I wrote to someone enmeshed in an des-tructive, emotionally abusive, addictive relationship. He is in prison. Depression and oppression are her normalcy, her companions. It is what she
grew up with as a child.
grew up with as a child.
This letter deals with externally referenting (another view of codependency). And low self-esteem and the need for character discernment and disappointing qualities of defensive hope.
A big part of our disease is that, without working on healthy alternatives in the areas where we are vul-nerable, using the resources of a mentor, or connect-ing with emotionally mature others, we allow those who disturb us to own big chunks of our mind. And heart. We give away our serenity.
We are easily externally referented. [Yes, that's a word. For more about this concept, please read here.] When in the grips of this malady, our conversation and thoughts are consumed, dwelling on the person we want to please, usually due to us not having intrinsic sense of worth.
Often these we yield to individuals are emotional bullies. Upon meeting us, they smell our codependent qualities----through lead. We allow them to abuse us because of our deep-seated need for their approval. And low self-esteem.
Externally referented, we focus on the needs of others. We wonder why we suffer from depression, self-loathing and anxiety when the answer is we are neglecting our needs, behavior, thoughts. Our op-tions are overlooked. (Courage to Change, p 359) We assume the victim role. That's what I notice about those who relate with narcissists, sociopaths and emo-tional bullies.
"Acting like a victim is a choice, not a destiny."
Hope For Today, p. 189.
When we view ourselves as victims, we don't see our contributions to the troubled relationship.
Looking back, I can accept that plenty of unacceptable behavior was directed at me, but I was the one who sat and took it and often came back for more. I was a willing participant in a dance that required two partners. I felt like a victim, but in many ways I was a volunteer.
Today, as a result of my [personal growth] I know that I am not helpless. I have choices. When getting that feeling that tells me I am a victim, I can a red flag, a warning I may be participating (with my thoughts or actions) in something not in my best interests. I resist the temptation to blame others. I look to my own involvement instead, where I can make changes. Courage to Change, p. 361
We deserve better than tolerating abuse. Allowing it speaks volumes about our low self-esteem.
Often we don't see reality. We live in a fantasy. Defensive Hope. Insanity is not doing the same thing, again and again, seeking a different result.
No, it isn't, despite what many in recovery say.
Such behavior is a symptom of insanity. What causes us to do so is the insanity: we don't want to face reality. We'd rather believe fiction, a fantasy about the relationship, how the relationship will be if we only try harder, give more and please these unpleasant people who are emotional vampires.
This is is the tell-tale indicator we in the grips of the disease of external referenting. We don't get better by isolating----healing ourselves by our efforts alone. Characterological growth requires a different consciousness than the one that created the problem---our own thinking and feelings---our distorted values. [To read more, click here. ]
Seeing things through the prism of damaged self-esteem, due to growing up in an unhealthy home---perhaps one harmed by alcoholism, verbal and/or physical, emotional abuse---is a chancy proposition. Often the ideals learned there, aren't. Other conditions that make a troubled home include perfectionism, raging, mental illness or emotion-ally unavailable parents.
This is where Al-Anon Family Groups helpful. However, this organization is not for those who need it: it's for those who want it. I know it has a great source of help for me. The best I've found. [Please see note at the end of this post.]
I'd encourage you to return to meetings. Of course, that's your choice. For me, I'd rather stay in the solution and learn alternatives rather than emotionally staying in the funk of depression and battered self-esteem.
"A situation in which the lives and sanity of an entire family are at stake is not so easily solved, but the super optimist resolutely clings to the illusion that Al-Anon Family Groups can fix everything. It "fixes" no-thing. That is up to us. Not in the once-a-week meeting alone, but with plenty of in-between reading, constant recall of the principles, and constant use. Al-Anon does have the formula, but it is we who must use it." One Day at A Time, p. 351.
Legacies created by generational abuse and neglect will not be overcome by only investing one hour a week in overcoming these areas. (One Day, same page.) No, transformation requires hard work. It involves learning better principles, getting sup-port. Growth and recovery does not happen without effort.
I believe happiness and a better future is worth the struggle. Don't you?
Innkeeper's Note: Al-Anon Family Groups is not Alcoholics Anonymous. It is a separate, entity for those who relate or have lived with an Alcoholic. Even if you didn't, you qualify if you live with or grew up in a home marked by emotional drama, perfectionism, controlling or emotionally unavailable parents.