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 a curious thing to me when I see people who always want comfort and ease. They call it "blessing." They talk about living a prosperous life and they constantly rebuke every from of adversity or uncomfortable circumstance that might make them less than perfectly happy in the present moment.
What they are missing is the bigger blessing- the more important blessing. The lessons, the strength, the growth, The sanctification process. All of this happens through trial, pain, heartache.
If you are in the middle of a storm, seek not to escape it. Seek to learn from it. Consider it joy that you have been given a precious opportunity to grow.
Be brave, my friends, - M
I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship. - Louisa May Alcott
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This information contains triggers. It will also probably make every parent feel sick to their stomach but you need to know this. The predator grooms their target for abuse. The predator will typically start by making the child- the target- feel special.
The child or teen gets emotional or financial attention. Emotional meaning attention or praise. Financial meaning games, toys, clothing, jewelry, food, etc.
The child – the target- trusts the person- the predator. The child sees this person as a great friend or relative who is really fun and cool and cares for the child. Get this, typically the parents also see this person the same way. The parents usually trust the Predator. Sometimes the parents see this person as a blessing.
After the Predator has established trust with the child and/or family, the predator begins their preliminary sexual behavior by using safe touching (a rub on the shoulder, hugs, sitting close or playful touching like roughhousing).
At this point, no sexual boundary has been broken- or so it seems- because we can’t see the motives behind the generosity and friendliness. When the Predator takes it to the next level- a secret touching game- for example- the child will usually comply because 1) trust has been established and 2) they feel obligated- Remember all the kindness and generosity? Remember this is a really fun, cool person?
Eventually it gets very icky for the child. He or she has a bad feeling about it. The child begins to fully realize this is not right. Here’s the kicker parents. You have to hear this. Because most of us believe that our child would tell us if something every happened. No they won’t. And here is why…
In the child’s mind, they were a willing participant. They complied with requests. They let it go this far. They are to blame. They feel dirty and shameful.
Hear this, parents- this is the hook. They blame themselves. Wrongfully so, yes- but they don’t realize that.
Not only that, the Predator by now has laid a guilt trip on the child. Possibly YOUR child. “No one would understand our special relationship. You don’t want me to get in trouble, do you? Here’s a phone, iPad, new video game.” Or other bribe.
In the child’s mind, they’ve helped create this, they are taking bribes for silence and they are continuing in it. And we haven’t even mentioned the Predator’s threats to harm family or pets if word gets out.
That is why every parent is always shocked- I can’t believe my child didn’t tell me this was going on. And why every parent feels guilty when they find out it has happened to their child. Don’t. Please, if you are or were a victim or you are a parent of a victim, do not own that guilt. That predator knew exactly what they were doing. It’s the rest of us- the innocent children and unsuspecting parents who have no clue and fall victim.
If you suspect that someone is a victim of child abuse, call the child protective services division in your area or call your local police department. You don’t have to have proof- just suspicion.
And, if you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, there is help. There is hope. There is recovery. Contact Victim Witness in your area, they typically are associated with the District Attorney’s Office. Sometimes they are able to pay for counseling services for victims of crime. Or, you can do an internet search for therapists in your area. Be sure to find one with training in sexual abuse. In most states, children aged 12 or 14- depending on where you live- can consent to medical and therapy services without their parent’s permission. This is important for any teen who has a parent that is not safe, or who won’t listen.
This is a tough message. If anything has triggered you, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 RAINN.
Don’t suffer in silence. My friends, above all else guard your heart. So much love to you. Be strong- M
Watch the video version (breathy rant) of this at https://youtu.be/ud5lvzCRKjo
Photo credit: pixabay
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