You’ve had some Aha! moments, you realize there are some problems with the way you have interacted with others in the past. You no longer accept emotional manipulation or bullying as normal. You’ve stepped back emotionally to evaluate. You’ve implemented new patterns of thought and behavior into your situation or relationship.
Wow! You are a badass!!
But something still feels “off.”
There’s this awkward process when you realize that co-dependency no longer works for you. You’ve gained insight and grown emotionally but those around you haven’t. This means that you are left with a disconnect you didn’t have before.
Before, while still in your co-dependency, you clicked, you connected with your significant other or counterparts because your dysfunction matched theirs. Where they were needy, you were willing to fill the holes. You knew how to respond to the emotional distancing, the criticism, the blame shifting- and when you did; when you were able to successfully fit the bill- you felt connected.
Either that, or you would withdraw until the other came to collect you.
With the maladaptive connection gone, you no longer have “that spark” of connection.
So What Now?
There's a grieving, a healing process to go through. When we come out of co-dependency, we have to let go of old relationships, the old self, and find something new, different and healthy. And that takes work. And some grieving. And some healing.
The only way out is through, my friends. Roll up your sleeves and get to work,- M
The video version (vlog) of this blog entry is at https://youtu.be/aSBOp2-OuQ0 And I think you might notice I'm getting less awkward on-screen. Or I'm trying anyway.
Photo credit: pixabay
I'm so tired of hearing people- professionals included- say that people attract unhealthy people because they themselves are unhealthy. "You are co-dependent"... blah, blah.
Here's the deal: You attract people who want what you have. Nobody looks a piece of slop and says, "Mmmm, I want some of that." No. They are attracted to your light, your goodness, confidence, beauty, intelligence, and so forth.
But here's the backhanded compliment. You knew it was coming. Or, at least I hope you did: You stay with people because of your co-dependency.
Let that sink in.
See, your newfound not-so-good-for-you friend, romantic interest or business associate was attracted to you for a reason. Remember I said, they "want what you have"? And they will try to siphon the positives that are in you and destroy what is left. Think of the thief who steals your gas and puts water in your tank.... Not good.
In all fairness, I fully believe that most of the leeches do not do this on purpose. They most likely are unaware that their inter-personal relationship skills are lacking. They are oftentimes oblivious to the fact that they are desperately trying to fill their own emotional void, rather than enter into a mutually fulfilling partnership. And, frequently they are suffering from unhealed trauma or attachment wounds.
So this isn't a blame-game. People do what they need to do in order to survive.
Nevertheless, Guard Your Heart
All finger pointing aside, what can we do about such things? First, we just accept the fact that people are going to be attracted to us. Maybe a few. Maybe a lot. Some, healthy. Some, not so much. We get to meet various kinds of people on different levels of growth and on different parts of their own healing journey. We get to find out about them, see how they operate in life and watch the decisions they make.
And then we get to choose to keep them around. Or not.
Don't miss that part. We don't have to keep everyone who shows up on the welcome mat of our life. I think a lot of us don't really get that. That's why we are swimming in nonsense. That's why we are saying, "Wft happened? How did I get here?" When really, we should have already done said, "Not my circus. Not my monkeys" a long time ago.
The lesson is: It's not only okay to 'pick and choose' your friends, it's wise. Like putting a lock on your gas tank.
I've honestly had to relearn this lesson from time to time.
The Problem With NOT Being Picky
The co-dependency aspect kicks in when we realize that someone is choosing- as a lifestyle- to make poor, self-defeating, unhealthy decisions in their life... and then we keep them around. In close proximity. Where they have access to hurt us.
We think, "Oh, but they are a good person," or "Poor them, they are having a hard time," or (subconsciously?") "I can help them with my love/ friendship/ sex/ money/ pep talks."
Knock That Stuff Off!
Realize that 1) people make their own choices and 2) even when they didn't make this (whatever it is at the time) particular choice, they are on their own journey to learn and grow. Rescuing them and/or excusing bad behavior only delays their personal, spiritual, emotional, financial and/or professional maturity. You don't want to do that, do you?
Integrity is a stake here. Yours and theirs. You can protect integrity and honor their journey by setting - and keeping - healthy boundaries. Soon you will find that you don't even have to worry about how to politely excuse certain people from your life. When you cut off the Co-D "supply," they will leave on their own.
Above all else, guard your hearts my friends, - M
Walk with the wise and be wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.- Prov. 13:20
See Confessions of a Former Doormat
photo credit: www.flickr.com
It's been said that Narcissists always cheat. They "can't help it" because of their self-focused brain disorder. They are wired for instant gratification- not the long-term junk commitments are made of.
But, that's someone else's narcissist. You just know it won't happen to you. There is something unique, special or extra-strong about your relationship. While you acknowledge that he/she has some narcissistic traits- or has even been diagnosed- you revel in the fact that your love is stronger than that. There is a passion between you and your partner that could never be duplicated. Either of you would be crazy to even look somewhere else.
Then it happens,- the bomb is dropped and your world is shattered. It's nearly impossible to see through the dust, smoke and blinding pain to pick up the million little pieces you will need to carry on. It's hard to breathe, let alone plan for a future without the person who was supposed to be your soul mate, the love of your life. And dammit, you've worked too hard and put up with too much N-crap to deserve this sh%t storm now.
Then there's the family! The kids... the house... the bills.. the photographs on the wall... the memories of the happier times... Not to mention the Great Unknown that's looming out there.
Besides, he or she is sorry. They have real tears and everything. Your partner has never been so remorseful before. It's touching, really. Maybe this is the thing that really turns his or her heart around for good. Maybe this is just a really difficult turning point for your relationship, and it will all be worth it in the end.
Plus, those million broken pieces.
So, you stay. You determine that you two will come out of this stronger, better and closer than ever before. You read about affair recovery and reconciliation. You set your heart toward forgiveness. You go to couples and/or individual counseling. You remind yourself of the other couples who have survived with success - and you hope for the best.
Then reality sets in. There is no true remorse. There is annoyance over how inconvenient your suffering is. There are demands to heal already, forget it and move forward. There is no acknowledgement of the pain that was caused. There is no 'working together to heal.' There is only justification, rationalization, blame shifting, bragging that it was done, threats that it could be done again, and many other defensive techniques that only cause more pain. That promised journey toward healing was a lie. Another mirage in a desert world.
But the human soul is strong and resilient, and those million pieces cry out the truth. "You may be broken now, but not forever!" And, slowly, steadily, you realize that you can heal on your own. You must heal on your own. Slowly, steadily, your pieces come together- wiser, healthier, more beautiful than before.
And eventually, you emerge. Transformed. Complete. Whole. Smiling, even, with an inner joy you never knew you had.
You no longer feel the need to fix or save or stay. You no longer carry the burden of guilt that was never yours in the first place. You see differently now. Clearly. You see that it wasn't about you. It was never about you. Your partner's behavior is a reflection of his or her own brokenness. And in its own way, it too is beautiful. Like a wildfire or a lightening storm.
Beautiful, but not safe. As with wildfires and lightening storms, you now experience a distant awe for your partner; a curiosity over the mysterious combination of magnificent force and captivating loneliness.
You look at them now with stillness of heart. Compassion. It wasn't about you. And now you know that in a way that can never be unknown.
And you are free.
Don't fight the moments that shatter you, my friends. Broken pieces make gorgeous mosaics, - M
Photo credit: http://artbybryn.com/Artbybryn.com/Blog/Entries/2014/9/7_Isaiah_61.html
The Motley Ms.
Hi! My name is Melinda. I'm a saved-by-grace-er, lifelong learner, INFJ, health & fitness trynabe, Mom, #vanlifer, mental health vlogger, and Director & Clinical Supervisor at a Child & Family Therapy Practice in Northern California.
The Motley Ms
The Therapist's Therapy Blog