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Chapter 9 (Melody's Book) UNdependence
February 24, 2007
7:54 pm
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Rasputin
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Good news! I am able to make it tonite against all odds! So here we go!

Chapter 9: The title: UNDEPENDENCE

What it means. It simply means when we depend TOO Much on others.

We all need people, friends, and others in our life. However, when our dependence becomes Too much, then it becomes unhealthy.

Take a look at what Melody says in an excerpt from her book "Codependent no more.":

"Needing people too much can cause problems. Other people become the key to our happiness. I believe much of the other-centerdness, orbiting our lives around other people, goes hand in hand with codependency and springs out of emotional insecurity. I believe much of this incessant approval seeking we indulge in also comes from insecurity."

"Many of us expect and need other poeple so much that we settle for too little. We may become dependent on troubled people - alcoholics and other people with problems. We can become dependent on people we don't particularly like. Sometimes, we need people so badly we settle for nearly anyone. We may need people who don't meet our needs. Again, we may find ourselves in situations where we need someone to be there for us, but the person we have chosen cannot or will not do that."

"We may even convince ourselves that we can't live without someone and will wither and die if that person is not in our lives. If that person is an alcoholic or deeply troubled, we may tolerate abuse and insanity to keep him/her in our lives, to protect our source of emotional security. Our need becomes so great that we settle for too little. Our expectations drop below normal, below what we ought to expect from our relationships. Then, we become trapped, stuck."

Does this describe you? Does it ring a bell to you? Can someone relate? Could you share with us some of the events that happened/is happening with you right now? How do you handle it?

Please share, be vulnerable!

~Ras

February 24, 2007
8:57 pm
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"People who feel trapped look for escapes. Codeps who feel stuck in a relationship may begin planning an escape. Sometimes our escape route is a positive, healthy one; we begin taking steps to become undependent, financially and emotionally. We acknowledge and meet our healthy, natural needs for people and love, yet we don't become overly or harmfully dependent on them.

We may go back to school, get a job, or set other goals that will bring freedom. We may try to escape our prison by using alcohol or drugs. We may become workaholics. We may seek escape by becoming emotionally dependent on another person who is like the person were were attempting to escpae."

February 24, 2007
9:15 pm
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mj
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I have a strong need for acceptance by others. I think at times I depend on others far too much to help me feel okay about myself. I really needed to read this again tonight. Thanks for Posting our new Chapter Ras!

February 25, 2007
5:45 am
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I think we ALL do that Mj due to our dysfunctional background. Thanks for sharing that!

February 25, 2007
11:37 am
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"Ultimately, too much dependency on a person can kill love. Relationships based on emotional insecurity and need, rather than on love, can become self-destructive. They don't work. Too much need drives people away and smothers love. It scares people away. It attracts the wrong kind of people. And our real needs don't get met. Our real needs become greater & so does our despair. We center our lives around this person, trying to protect our source of security & happiness. We forfeit our lives to do this. And we become angry at this person. We become controlled by him. we are dependent on that person. We untimately become angry & resentful at what we are dependent on & controlled by, because we have given our personal power & rights to that person."

Why do we do that? How can we stop that? Anyone cares to share...?

February 25, 2007
2:27 pm
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mj
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What I enjoyed about this Chapter is that it gives suggestions on how to become undependent.

Today I have been watching some of my home movies. I felt very happy seeing some of my loved ones and very sad at some of scenes. It brought back alot of unhealed grief. So I took some time crying and feeling my sadness. Then I called my sister to share with her my feelings. I called my Granddaughter and told her I loved her and listened to her project she is doing on Goddesses. This makes me smile.

Suggestion one said to finish business from our childhoods. Grieve and get some perspective. Figure out how events from our childhoods are affecting what we're doing now.

So this is where I am at today in my recovery. Acknowledging my pain and grieving some losses.

February 25, 2007
4:53 pm
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I'm glad you've had this healing enjoyable day Mj. Sharing with family memeber is always healing as well. Good for you! I was watching a movie a couple of weeks ago about a dysfunctional famliy, and how the brothers in the family started to diffuse their dysfunction in every area in their life. It brought so many tears to my eyes as well. However, the film ended very happily. The father, who abused & was very picky on one of his sons, was hugging him lovingly and they both seemed to get along Finally with each other AFTER years of conflict, abuse, criticism and non-acceptance.

Anyway, grapping my book from my cutie kitty who is using it as a pillow. I will resume with Meloldy's book:

Melody states the reason why we behave the way we behave in this chapter: "Many of us learned these things because when we were children, someone very important to us was unable to give us the love, approval, and emotional security we needed. So we've gone about our lives the best way we could, still looking vaguely or desperately for something we never got. Some of us are still beating our heads against the cement trying to get this love from people who, like mother or father, are unable to give what we need. The cycle repeats itself until it is interrupted and stopped. It is called UNFINISHED BUSINESS."

We really need to Forgive (even if we don't forget) what our family of origin - Parents, siblings, relatives & even strangers - have unintentionally diffused in our soul & mind. All the negative messages, the tearing down...even if our family Never admitted to us soemthing like "please forgive me/us for all the harm, abuse...or whatever pain I/we have caused you."

Without doing so, we would remain emotionally paralyzed robots!

February 25, 2007
7:41 pm
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And now I move to the part where Melody gives us some ideas about how we can become UNdependent:

1- Finish up business from our chidlhoods, as best as we can. Grieve. Get some perspective. Figure out how events from our childhoods are affecting what we're doing now.

2- Nurture and cherish that frightened, vulnerable, needy child inside us. The child may never completely disappear, no matter how self-sufficient we become. Stress may cause the child out. Unprovoked, the child may come out and demand attention when we least expect it. Listen to the child. Let the child cry if he or she needs to. Comfort the child. Figure out what he or she needs.

Has anyone started doing any of these 2 ideas of becoming undependent? Please share with us!

February 26, 2007
10:44 am
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mj
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I am someone and yes, as I stated I am doing this. Suggestion 1.

February 26, 2007
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Good for you. So am I. I believe it is NOT easy to acknowledge this 1st one. I know it can be very painful and even embarrassing to admit to this. Put I'd rather go thru this painful process than pretend it did not exist or that I don't need it.

Every day in our healing journey, we are becoming better human beings, no matter how frustrating this journey might seem to be. That's why it's crucial to mix with people who are like-minded who affirms us and builds us up, not think that we are crazy or nuts or wasting our time doing so.

On we go:

3- Stop looking for happiness in other people. Our source of happiness and well-being is not inside others; it is inside us. Learn to center ourselves in ourselves.

4- We can learn to depend on ourselves. Maybe other people haven't been there for us, but we can start being there for us. Stop abandoning ourselves, our needs, our wants, our feelings, our lives, and everything that comprises us. Make a commitment to always be there for ourselves. We can handle and cope with the events, problems, and feeling life throws our way. We can trust our feelings and our judgments. We can slove our problems. We can learn to live with our unsolved problems, too. We must trust the people we are learning to depend upon - Ourselves.

5- We can depend on God too. He is there and He cares. Our spiritual beliefs can provide us with a strong sense of emotional security. Here Meldoy gives a beatiful metaphor about her husband stading womewhere watching over her and how it's similar to God over us. I liked this metaphor a lot, Very true!

6- Strive for undependence. Begin examining the ways we are dependent, emotionally & financially, on the people around us.

Start taking care of ourselves whether we are in relationship we intend to continue, or whether we are in a relationship we are trying to get out of. It is when you feel scared, but you do it anyway. This is what is called "Courageous Vulnerablility."

February 26, 2007
4:44 pm
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We can and probably will have feelings of fear, weakness, and even hopelessness. That is normal and even healthy. Real power comes from feeling our feelings, not from ignoring them. Real strength comes, not from pretending to be strong all the time, but from acknowledging our weaknesses and vulnerabilities when we feel this way.

February 26, 2007
7:51 pm
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I think that life would have been so much easier if we were HATCHED instead of born from our mothers.

(Then - we would not ever long to feel that primordial "oneness." we felt in the womb and would have known that we were seperate from the getgo.)

But alas, that's not how us humans work.

Aside from that, I stuggle between extremes of fierce independence and severe co-dependence.

Guess it will all shake out in time....to become what a therapist once said as "intra-dependence."

Wrapping our neo-cortex around the fact that while we are indeed seperate - we are also all connected.

Taking me a lifetime to determine the distinctness and difference....and I'm still learning...........

February 26, 2007
8:22 pm
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TB - It is a gradual process, does Not happen overnite. So, please be patient with your self and reward yourself for every breakthru you achieve.

Thanks for sharing!

February 27, 2007
12:22 pm
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Ok, today I will practice centering myself within. Not being needy just being me.

I have a meeting of Coda today. I enjoy working the steps to recovery along with doing this bookstudy.

I hope everyone is enjoying this chapter and will share with us.

I did an exercise yesterday where I drew pictures of my childhood home and wrote about incidents that had occurred in each room. I feel overwhelmed by my emotions today of doing anymore so I am being gentle and letting it go until I feel centered again. My next exercise is writing about my father. I answered a few questions and started feeling so sad, I put it down. I know for me that my grieving is with my father and my abandonment issues. I am beginning to realize that it was my fathers inability to share and show love not mine. I am beginning to know that I am okay today just the way I am. I am worthy of love, loveable and loving. I am enough.

February 27, 2007
7:44 pm
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Hey

I read this - "…..if that person is not in our lives. If that person is an alcoholic or deeply troubled, we may tolerate abuse and insanity to keep him/her in our lives, to protect our source of emotional security. Our need becomes so great that we settle for too little. Our expectations drop below normal, below what we ought to expect from our relationships. Then, we become trapped, stuck."

I did this with my mother and her family. . Mental illness runs in that side of the family, as well as alcoholism. I was so adept at "handling" drunk, drugged, or "crazy" people, it stood me in good stead when I started working the ER. Whenever there was one of those patients, I was called. Other techs did not have the patience for these patients. Drunks proposed to me, addicts were calm with me, and the folks on the way to behavioral health hugged me goodbye. So - I guess it was good training for the field I selected.

And as for settling for too little? I have done this repeatedly throughout my life. Accepting crumbs. Accepting less - for friendship, companionship, for regular sex. Thinking, it's better to give than receive. Thinking, it's better than nothing or it's better than being alone. I have been able to recognise and break some codep patterns in myself, but it's still very difficult. I have found that instead of it's better than nothing, what is true for me is that a flat empty nothing kind of feeling is better than the pain of a codep relationship - even though I feel lonely sometimes.

When I feel lonely, I try to find things to do that will make me feel good about myself. Getting my cleaning done is a great way to expend energy, and by not procrastinating, I can't tell myself what a lazy person I am. Reading for fun is good entertainment and gives me a much needed escape from thoughts of me. I don't care for television, so I read. Walking the roads around the lake near where I live is good exercise and an opportunity to marvel at the beauty of where I live right now.

When I withdrew from the people I had become codependent on and their problems, it de-cluttered my mind. I think that codependency has some elements of obsession to it. When I stopped focusing or fixating (mildly obsessing) on other people's problems, I was able to redirect my attention to myself. I still slip from time to time. My family has not changed. And they still contact me. I visit AAC, and sometimes I find myself worrying about folks here. Needing to help, or give that advice. I have to guard against that.

But the thing that I congratulate myself for is that I can see it now and I'm able to step back. No one heals overnight. I beleive it is going to take a while.

Later because I think I am rambling...

Bevdee

February 27, 2007
7:46 pm
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Mj...I hope your coda meeting will be fruitful. It is also much better to do our healing with others' support not alone, even tho I've done my own healing on my own.

It is very overwhelming when we face the truth about ourselves. Not fun. Perhaps that's why many people are scared of facing the truth about their life.

When I started my healing journey several years ago, I was in pain, having all the negative emotions coming up to the surface. It was never easy. Nevertheless, I am so happy that I went thru all that despite the agony...It was really worth ALL the trouble!

I am glad you're digging deep down inside your soul and doing some introspection, in particular with the help of some photos of your past. It would feel like watching a movie of our life of having a flashback into our own life.

Thanks for your support on this thread and I hope you will share some more when you're back from the meeting.

February 27, 2007
7:55 pm
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MJ and Ras

MJ, thank you for the suggstion about the photos. Ras thank you for pointing it out again.

I have photos all over the place, but none of them are of my mother or her family. After our wretched Xmas, she sent me 5 disks with all of the pictures she had taken throughout my life. I haven't looked at them. I think she did it to try to tug on my emotions and draw me back, and I avoided that.

Well, the disks are still unopened. MJ, if you have any insights with your pictures and feel like sharing them, well that would be great. I need a shove. I am afraid to look at pictures of my little girl self. All the pictures always had my mom and sister in the forefront and me smiling shyly, drawing away from the camera.

Later

Bevdee

February 27, 2007
7:57 pm
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mj
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Hey Bevdee, What does the symbol mean that you use frequently?"…"

You use it all the time and it has my curiosity going? 🙂

Thanks for the Great Share too!

Yes Ras, the meeting was good. I have been working on myself for over 33 years and it is work especially when you are raised in an extremely dsyfunctional family and carry with you so many toxic styles of survival. I take recovery seriously and sometimes it does get overwhelming. I like to keep the focus on the things I can change, me.

February 27, 2007
8:06 pm
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mj
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Ok Cross post....

Not a cross like angry post 😉

All I can say is Bevdee, when you are ready, you will feel compelled to look at them. I have been scanning my childhood photos to my new computer from my photo albums. It is a slow process for me because I feel the pain that each photo brings out in me and so I am lucky to scan a photo a month. If I do it slow, then I continue with it. My goal is to have them scanned and made into a slide show for my 5oth Birthday. A gift to myself.

My home movies is another story. My camcorder broke and my cousin volunteered to take all my movies and copy them to dvd. Talk about feeling vulnerable. Six months later I got them all back with wonderful dvds. I have watched 6 out of the 20. It does really help to see reality as reality. I couldn't believe what I was seeing and hearing. With my ex husband, it was so crystal clear after 10 years since our divorce. It validated what I had been feeling and was afraid to face. It also showed my father totally ignoring me and talking with my ex. It made me realize that I did good for myself by leaving my marriage to him. He and my father both were incapable of true intimacy. I am getting healthier too so hopefully eventually I will know what true intimacy feels like 🙂 I am getting closer to the real mccoy with all my mistake making and lessons learned 🙂

February 27, 2007
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Thanks Bev for your lovely and smart thread. I'm so proud of you. You seem to make healthy and wise choices, good for you!

Way to go!

February 27, 2007
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Yes I am also curious to know what that symbol mean which Mj indicated to and I saw it in many other posts.

What does it mean"…", sweet Bev?

February 27, 2007
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MJ

What symbol? It's probably a mistake - me tryin to be fancy.

February 27, 2007
8:45 pm
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This one "…"

February 27, 2007
8:48 pm
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Well it's got to be a mistake- if it was at the first of my post - I meant to say .... then the quote.

It doesn't mean anything.

February 27, 2007
8:58 pm
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Mj - I can sympathize and empathize a lot with you. I come from dysfunctional family as well. I think it leaves us with sour soul. I had to forgive almost every one in my family. Life is NOT easy, nor it's rosy. However, after forgiving my family I felt like a bird which has been set free from cage/prison.

Now, I have very good relationship with my parents. I am the ONLY overcomer in my family of origin. The rest is in denial.

Know that NO effort is being wasted in every emotional investment we put into our emotional healing. It will eventually pay off.

I am here to support you and others in every step of the way.

Love & (((Hugs))), Ras~

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