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Magical Thinking...........reality.
September 24, 2009
1:11 pm
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atalose
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As codies we expect others to provide all of OUR happiness combine that with other issues many of us have had or currently suffer with, low self esteem, neediness, un-trusting of ourselves and others, desperately wanting to be loved……..that whole mix makes for relationship disasters filled with hurt and pain.

We fall in love with words on computers and phones sent by strangers and create that MAGICAL perfect relationship we have always desired often don’t understand it’s not even real except to OUR emotions……someone else providing our happiness and self esteem.

Real life inter-personal relationships are difficult so it’s far easier to fall in love with a voice or words.

MAGICAL thinking also applies to those real life relationships as well. A relationship to an alcoholic or addict or verbally abuse controlling person can go like this……….

Magical thinking: If I love someone enough, I can change them.

Reality: The only person I can change is myself.

Magical thinking: If I show them how much I love them, they will change and love me back in the way I seek.

Reality: Not able to accept what is.

Magical thinking: Marriage means lifelong love and commitment.

Reality: Sometimes marriages don't last.

Magical thinking: This time will be different.

Reality: Past behavior is the best indication of future behavior.

Confusion is mostly the result of “magical thinking”. Reality is not very confusing at all we just don’t want to face it.

Any thoughts???

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

September 24, 2009
1:23 pm
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It No Longer Matters
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I came from a different background on what "magical thinking" is then realized I was on the support side not Lib side. You are so right.

Bitsy

September 24, 2009
1:42 pm
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darkeyes
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atalose my thoughts on this.. is love not magic?? what is it? ok if we think reality where is the risk.. i think being codependant, we are a certain way, we expect things that weve been conditioned with from other people with unhealty ways, je as you know theres no one more than me knows the pain in unreal circumstances,i didnt know better but i do now and maybe if it happens again, it l be how it should be, i dont know!.. love is wonderfull if you find the right person and thats the struggle with us cos do we know that when we see it??.. i want to love again in the real world but at the same time if i fell in love bby text it could be wonderfull but youd have to bring it into the real world for it to work that was a hugh mistake i made..i know now also the only person that can love me the way i need is me and only me first.. magic comes after!!

September 24, 2009
1:58 pm
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darkeyes
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reality: when i told this guy i loved him it should have been in person, when he said he couldnt return that love i should have walked away and deal with it... magical: if he could have loved me back. if we were both healthy people and it was in the real world, bliss.

September 24, 2009
2:27 pm
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soofoo
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I think to call this magical thinking is extreme. An example of magical thinking would be "If I keep my wedding ring on, my husband and I will get back together." I don't mean to nitpick.

"If I love someone enough, I can change them"

I agree, that this statement is false. But it is born of certain truths. I think we can inspire people to change, and have some influence over them. But this is only successful if done in love, and only if the other person is receptive. It isn't something you can count on or control. It's just something that happens sometimes. If you count on it, then you are putting your life in someone else's hands.

"If I show them how much I love them, they will change and love me in the way I seek."

I also think this statement is false, the way it is put. You can never count on a person to change, based on your love. But it does happen sometimes. It's just not something you can make happen.

"Marriage means lifelong love and commitment"

I think this statement is true. That is what most people are vowing to do when they pledge themselves in marriage. And I think it is perfectly okay to believe in it. Why shouldn't you? Of course, some people divorce and there isn't anything you can do about that, but that is a flaw in our society. That is not a reason to stop respecting marriage. You can still have faith in yourself and your vows, even when you live in a society that does not.

"This time will be different." VS. "Past behavior is the best indication of future behavior"

Here is where I really disagree. Maybe it would be nice if we had real predictors of an individual's behaviors, but we don't. I hear many people say "people don't change." but in my experience this is not true. People DO change. You can count on that. Nobody stays the same. None if us looks and acts the way we did when we were born. It's just that we have no control over how and when others will change. Some people get better with age and some people get worse. Some people go up and down a lot. Some people were born with very good temperaments, and over time become harsher. Yet some people are born fiery and difficult and mellow out over time. Anything can and does happen when it comes to human beings because they have free will. So, I don't think it is helpful to hold either of these beliefs.

Here are the big myths I see on this site a lot. This is my opinion. You may think what you want of course!

Myth: You are only as healthy as the people you have relationships with.
Truth: Mental health is not contagious. Nor is it true that you somehow "attract" healthy people by being a healthy person or unhealthy people by being an unhealthy person.

Myth: People only treat you the way you allow them to. If someone has treated you badly it is because you allowed it.

Truth: People do what they choose. People can do nasty things without your permission and they often do.

Myth: Sexual molestation can occur between two children.

Truth: Sexual molestation is when an adult touches a child, and sexual assault is when an adult touches another adult without consent.

Myth: It is always codependent and therefore unhealthy to take care of another person.

Truth: It is sometimes appropriate to take care of people.

Myth: If you have had bad relationships it's because you are doing something wrong, you have deep issues that need to be worked out and you shouldn't connect with people intimately until you do that.

Truth: Bad relationships happen to everyone. Not everyone you are attracted to will be good for you. The trick is to realize this and let go ASAP.

Myth: Our lives need to be solved, fixed, or figured out.

Truth: Our lives are meant to be lived.

Myth: After lots and lots of hard work and scrutiny of yourself, your parents or your life, you will finally attain happiness.

Truth: Happiness comes and goes and is found in your heart, in the moment. It is always available and is not something you earn.

Myth: If I do everything right, I won't experience pain, devastation, unhappiness, depression.

Truth: Shit happens.

September 25, 2009
5:49 am
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darkeyes
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soofoo, the moral of this story is, you can only ever change youself, you allow everything that happens to you happen, we have choices,choose better, so we have to learn better.. so at the end of the day whose right and whose wrong.... lesson here do what you want, when you want, to whom you want, and dont give a shit, cos honey thats LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!

September 25, 2009
7:49 am
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Martin Eden
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atalose,

I love the way you have illustrated magical thinking versus reality; particularly as it relates to codependency and a relationship/marriage to an addict. Your describing my world.

I believed if I did more it would be ok, if I did this or that it would be ok; and even when my "stuff" came out sideways I gave myself a pass because love and committment were my starting points and that was a good thing. Of course I realize how wrong all of that was.

12 years of marriage, which is in process of ending, and I have come to realize much of what you said in the above column. You can not change anyone but yourself. My qualifier always says that I do not recognize my part; well I have come to realize a few things. I have been with an addict that has really only been clean for maybe two of the 12 years we have been married and I did not know how to handle it. And second I did not know how to manage myself which is the real issue. Third, that I am just as sick as she is and not to fool myself or underestimate the consequences.

Another thing I became very good at doing was practicing denial. What a powerful thing that is; it clouds your ability to be objective, suppreses rational thinking and outcomes, and worse it marginalizes yourself as a person and makes you beleieve you are inept, unworthy, and undeserving. Basically a second class citizen with busted esteem, and indecision.

I have been doing a lot of "heavy lifting" in this department to grow, develop, become what I know I am. Aint been easy. I read a line once that: "only by understanding grace, can one discover art and only through art you can achieve; but art does not come easy."

I agree with soofoo on the institution of marriage in our society. With all of the choices made available to a consumer based culture we always beleive we can trade in and trade up. Unfortunately it is an "off the rack" world; and that the relationship you are in is ususally a good one; if you are both committed, and able to work through issues instead of around them. However all of this goes out the window if active addiction is involved because three is a crowd!

I attended a seminar a few years ago; the speaker I believe had an interesting play on what you wrote. He called it "prison thinking." This gentelemen was a retired POW Navy pilot who had spent 7 years in a 6x8' cell. He described "prison thinking" as any thoughts, feelings, or emotions that were debilitating to his goals or desires. And even if there was no goal; it was any kind of thought or emotion that made him feel negative or helpless. The idea was that no matter what the situation or circumstance that you are responsible for how you feel about it. I thought that was cool, but not always easy to do.

So, as for realtionships....magical thinking versus reality??? I would prefer to live in a world that has a little of both...in a healthy balanced kinda way. It just may not be available in this lifetime.

Have a good weekend!

September 25, 2009
8:36 am
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learning2luvme
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Is "Magical Thinking" "Hope"? If not what is the difference? Is it okay to hope?

September 26, 2009
8:38 am
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freedom_calling
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Hey Atalose,

"Reality is not very confusing at all we just don’t want to face it."

I totally agree.

I am right here with you.....I find that magical thinking is a way I stay in DENIAL.

RED FLAG!

I try to ask myself what pain am I trying to avoid when I slip into this type of thinking. And the slip happens so quickly!
All of a sudden I am thinking of how things may have been different, or could be different, if only this and only that.

Then I start listing THE FACTS. That helps but the back and forth with the magical thinking can be exhausting and disheartening to say the least.
It keeps me STUCK to the abuser.

How do you stop/control/diminish it?

September 26, 2009
11:55 am
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atalose
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As Martin said our society has become a “trade in” “trade up” when it comes to marriages for many people the solution will always lie in “someone else” especially with codies, alcoholics and addicts.

One person alone cannot carry and shoulder the entire relationship. A firm commitment and willingness to work jointly and individually on the issues that cause the destruction and breakdown of the relationship must be in place for a workable resolution.

As codies we often don’t get that willingness and commitment from our chosen partners and end up carrying and shouldering all the weight of the relationship.

I believe we should always have HOPE but HOPE is not a plan.

I HOPE I win the lottery so my financial security in life will be set but I better plan in case I don’t.

MAGICAL THINKING: I really don’t have to work or save money because I cut the “blue dot” out of the National Inquirer which told me if I carry it around in my pocket I am going to become extremely wealthy.

Here’s a real life situation a good friend of mine is going through:

Her husband has had a drinking problem for years. As we all know alcoholism is a progressive disease. In the past he kept his drinking to after work hours, today he is having liquid lunches and often doesn’t return back to his job. He is hanging on by a thread at work and they have become 2 months behind in their mortgage. She has only ever worked part time and has NOT stepped up to seek full time employment because she has MAGICAL THINKING that he will wake up one day and realize HIS drinking is putting the entire family at risk of losing everything. He on the other hand doesn’t think he even has a drinking problem and refuses to discuss it.
Her HOPE/PLAN lies on her MAGICAL THINKING with her confusion, stress and anxiety stuck within the walls of denial with the reality of the situation.

My own MAGICAL thinking kept me in a marriage where I and I alone kept trying to do more, give more be more understanding and caring. I had even some how convinced myself that by accepting his controlling uncaring and disrespectful ways I would some how be rewarded and the life I had HOPED for would come about.

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

September 26, 2009
3:48 pm
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bonni
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