Wednesday, April 26

Codependency: Getting Enmeshed In Unhealthy Relationships

    No, I am not dead.

    I recently got my laptop back from the repair shop.  How are you?  Are you glad to see me?  I am speaking somewhere tonight, so I have to leave the inn.

     But, not before I leave a post with you.

He's in a bog. Care needed when enmeshed
in a bog of circumstances that don't serve us.
This fellow is a codependent. That's why he's
happy. He's accustomed to being stuck in a
mess.  Life offers more: peace of mind. 
      Below, is a letter written to someone enmeshed in a destructive, emotionally abusive, addictive relationship.  I'm sharing it with guests to this inn.

       It deals with externally referenting  (another view of codependency), low self-esteem, the need for character discernment and defensive hope.
     Dear _________,
A big part of our disease is that, without working on healthy alternatives in the areas where we are vulnerable, using the resources of a mentor, or connecting 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 individuals are emotional bullies.  Upon meeting us, they can smell our codependent qualities----through lead.  They 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 options are overlooked. (Courage to Change, p 359)  We assume the victim role.  That's what I notice about those who relate with narcissists and emotional 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 [growth] I know that I am not helpless.  I have choices. When I get that old feeling that tells me I am a victim, I can regard it as a red flag, a warning that I may be participating (with my thoughts or my actions) in something that is not in my best interest. I can resist the temptation to blame others and look to my own involvement instead.  That’s 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.  [For guests to the inn, more about this subject can be found here. You'll be glad you did.] 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, screaming indicator that 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 about this, 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 emotionally unavailable parents.  
       This is where Al-Anon Family Groups extremely 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 ever 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" nothing. 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, learning better principles and getting help from supportive others.  Growth and recovery does not happen without effort.
       I believe happiness and a better future is worth the struggle. Don't you?
Related Post: 

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.

Friday, March 24



     My computer remains broken. It's been a few weeks now.   I'm using a borrowed laptop to make this post.

My Gratitudes for Today:
1.  I love what I do, my profession.  I am thankful I am able to serve others.  I help them become the person they want to be.  They learn how to find the direction needed to have the life they want.
2.  I look forward to resting tomorrow.
3.  I will spend time with family tomorrow and next week. We'll have a special occasion next Friday.
4.  I ran this week.  I love taking in nature as I run in the hills at a local regional park.
5.  I love my home and the peace of mind I enjoy after and before a hard day of work. 

Monday, March 13

Special Day.............. 3/13/17

      Celebrate with me.

      Hello there, friends, guests and passersby.  Today is special.  I'm publish-ing this post before the day changes its name, for good reason.

      Six years ago, on this day, this inn

Thursday, March 9

Overview of Nearly Six Years............. 3/9/17

The Attitude of Gratitude Inn
        My computer is broken.  Now, for several weeks.  Not working is the space bar.

        The last post was a pain.  In between every sing-le word, I added a letter.  Then colored it black, thereby

Wednesday, March 1

Calmness in the Eye of the Emotional Storm 3/1/17

Troubles are often the too;s by which God fashions us for
better things.  Image:  "Countryside: Across the Valley by Tim
      Blessed.   Copyrighted photo
      Thanks for drop-ping by.   Please remember the vision for this inn. This is a gratitude journal for those who drop by in cyberspace.

        It's a great feeling, not persev-erating when stressed. Getting agitated

Monday, February 13

Authenticity, Revisited ............ 2/13/17

     How hard it is, genuinely relat-ing.

     It is sensa-tional having heart-to-heart connection with someone, where we are accepted. What a joy it is, being seen for who we are.  Our weaknes-ses are revealed and we are loved nonetheless.

      Expressing vulnerable thoughts.  Scary idea, saying what we feel, letting others know what

Friday, February 3

The Source for Strength, Hope and A Dynamic Life 2/3/17

      It is in our best interests, connecting with God.

     Several hours before work that is something I do.  It is best that way before mundane concerns distract us from drinking in His Presence.

     Avoiding the Internet, and video games is a good idea.  Little personal growth happens when we are consumed by e-mails, Facebook, Youtube, and TV.  It is better profiting our souls.

      Yes, we can find a biscuit in a garbage can.  But that is not where we

Monday, January 23

Joy, Love and Peace Discovered While Cooped-Up 1/23/17

       Went through a box of Kleenex yes-terday.  My bed and I have been compan-ions for nearly a week.

Insights gotten during this time:

1.  Never take for granted the ability to breathe normally.  I have been abnormal since last Thursday.  My friends will say I have

Friday, January 13

Another Video: The Three A's: Awareness, Acceptance, Action: Getting Unstuck.... 1/13/17

   The key point for per-sonal growth is under-standing acceptance.  It is a critical stage we must go through to overcome difficul-ties.  Acceptance is active.

    It is not yielding to nega-tive circumstances. Nor is it believing there no alterna-tives for our plight. We can transcend whatever challenges

Wednesday, January 11

Being Present Conteracts Manipulation From Others. Also, Coming to Your Neighborhood, A Visit With Your Innkeeper

      I made a mistake.

      I gave a title to a second video I created.  It goofed things up.  I am not able to upload it to my Youtube channel.  Accomplishing this would let me present it here.

      I am working on this glitch.  Being the positive guy I am, I see this problem is

Friday, January 6

The Courage to Wait During Restless Times 1/6/17

      What is written below is a comment from a visitor of this inn.  It is his response to "Expressing Feelings," written on New Years Day.  He sent it to me in an e-mail.

       Please, join me in welcoming Tony Barreto as today's guest blogger!  Let me know your re-sponse.  I appreciate his insight and sensitivity.

      Thank you, for dropping by.

         Dear Innkeeper,

         I love this stuff, too.  Thank you for your share.  I reread a book I interestingly found at a used bookstore, on New Year's Eve.

         I was familiar with it years ago.  It's a small thin book with 88 small pages. It comes with a strong message.  The book is called Practicing Peace in Times of War, written by a Buddhist monk.

     The main theme was about having the courage to wait.  Wait for what, one might ask.

Thursday, January 5

Discernment Needed For Healthy Relationships. The 1st Video Message From the Innkeeper ...................1/6/17

      Today's content is different.

      And how.  It fol-lows my strongest suit as a public speak-er. This is my foray into using video at this inn.  It is the first of many that will be shared here.

      Today's topic is in line with the previous post, "Expressing Our Feelings."  It deals with discernment.  There are indicators that help us determine whether it is wise relating with someone.

      It is important to know who is safe and those we want to

Sunday, January 1

Expressing Our Feelings, Revisited 1/1/17

        It great expres-sing feelings.

       It helps to be constructive, when we do.  If we are sup-portive and affirming while communica-ting, that's even better. Ongoing prac-tice is necessary if this way of conver-sing is to be a part of our lives.

Quotes from the Posts

"I'm mindful that our thoughts affect the words we use, our words influence our actions, our actions shape our character and our character determines our destiny."

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

"Progress not perfection, is better than no progress at all, especially when we're trying to rid ourselves from unwelcome dragons that dwell within the closets of our soul."

From, "Still Learning" which, within four days, became the most popular post
written. To read it, please click here.

"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its trouble, but it does empty today of its strength"
From the post: "Life Is Not a Correspondence Program." Click here to read it.

"Even though we cannot control our circumstances, we can control how we choose to respond to them."

From, "Handling Stress and Dealing With an Emotional Bully."Click here to read this post.

"Nope, being busy isn't exciting. Boring is good. Because boring is not boring; boring is being healthy, living a balanced life that has serenity"

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