Forum Replies Created
July 19, 2015 at 8:14 am #80064
Co-Dependency: In its broadest definition, a codependent is someone who cannot function from their innate self and whose thinking and behavior is instead organized around another person, or even a process, or substance. One of the distinctions is that healthy empathy and caregiving is motivated by conscious choice; whereas for codependents, their actions are compulsive, and they usually aren’t able to weigh in the consequences of them or their own needs that they’re sacrificing. Codependency has been referred to as the disease of a lost self. Codependent relationships are marked by intimacy problems, dependency, control (including caretaking) denial, dysfunctional communication and boundaries, and high reactivity.
Commonly cited symptoms of codependency are:
intense and unstable interpersonal relationships,
inability to tolerate being alone, accompanied by frantic efforts to avoid being alone,
chronic feelings of boredom and emptiness,
subordinating one’s own needs to those of the person with whom one is involved,
overwhelming desire for acceptance and affection,
dishonesty and denial, and
While you want to be that woman who is strong, confident, and independent even if she doesn’t have a man in her life, at this moment you are not that person. What I am hearing from the brief post you made above is essentially you don’t like yourself very much. I say this as it is apparent to me that you find your sense of self-identity and self-worth ONLY in a relationship with another, and without this relationship you’re stuck… with yourself, and it seems you don’t like that very much.
But now is a great opportunity for your to start to discover who you are REALLY. Too often when we enmesh ourselves with others (identity, worthiness, life goals, etc.) and essentially lose connection to who we are. Working in addiction, I’ve seen too many people struggle with establishing a self-identity, life goals, and meaning and purpose in their lives with out drugs or alcohol in the picture, as much of their lives were dependent/enmeshed in addiction. I continually hear the question: “who am I now”?
Without taking the time and space to engage in self-exploration, we’ll never truly “Know Thy Self”, and thus will always be dependent on external entities (people, roles, social media/messages) to give us our sense of self-identity, and consequently self-worth. So take this time to be alone with yourself, to get to know yourself, to get more comfortable with yourself, and most important start to love yourself for who you are… REALLY.
WestonSeptember 7, 2014 at 9:59 am #64499
Be patient. Just breathe.
In my experiences when people blast their raw, vulnerable, passionate, and sometimes insecure energy at me too soon into a date/relationship I tend to feel overloaded, shocked, and defensive… as in too much too soon. I believe Pamela made a valid point about unpacking your (past) baggage too soon. For me it’s off-putting to say the least.
However, as the relationship develops, trust is formed, and you get to know one another I believe then it’s more appropriate to start showing the contents of your baggage to her; but again not too much too soon.September 5, 2014 at 10:23 am #64429
Good morning wow90.
I totally empathize with you, as I too feel stuck in endless loops from self-sabotage, and it’s been a hell of a process trying to break these ingrained cycles. Self-awareness, while important in all aspects, is critical in working with self-sabotage. It seems like you’re aware in fact that you’re engaging in self-sabotage, which is the first step in working with it. What I did is start to reflect (by journaling) what my self-sabotage was all about: are their certain people, situations, or events that trigger self-sabotage? What does my self-sabotage look like? What does it feel like and where do I feel it? And most importantly, what is REALLY underlying this behavior?
For me it is fear: fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of change, fear of death, fear of pain/hurt… all these fears were what was subtly motivating my self-sabotaging behaviors. I’ve noticed self-sabotage particularly comes out when I’m actually succeeding/doing well/achieving my goals because the self-sabotage voice says “give up. You’re going to fail anyways, so why even try?” So when I hear you say you’re making your mental health/healing a top priority, I can hear you’re self-sabotage screaming for you to back down, to crawl back into a hole and pretend everything is okay. The more you challenge yourself, to change those thoughts/behaviors that no longer nourish and grow your heart and soul, the louder these self-sabotaging voices will yell and throw tantrums.
What has kept me going is the hope/faith/belief in myself and in this process… that if I keep challenging myself and not give up… that if I continue to love myself and be grateful for the messages hidden within… that I will be able to direct my life as I see fit, rather than being controlled by fear.
Peace and blessing.
WestonSeptember 5, 2014 at 9:52 am #64428
Good morning Elephant Girl.
I totally agree with Katarina’s recommendation of doing 30 days no contact; or at least as minimal contact as possible. I too have ALWAYS had a painful time being friends with my Ex’s, and again Katarina is right… it wasn’t possible until I healed the heartbreak and was able to move on emotionally; because those old wounds of hurt and betrayal couldn’t heal because I was continually exposing them to hurt over and over again. Don’t keep exposing yourself to more hurt and betrayal, because, as I’ve experienced, it keeps me trapped in a self-perpetuating cycle of anger, despair, and loneliness.
Peace and blessings.
WestonSeptember 5, 2014 at 9:42 am #64426
I agree with Matt in that this relationship you’re in is absolutely toxic, and seems to be causing you WAAAY more harm than good. Also, he is totally manipulating you, intentionally or unintentionally, to fulfill whatever void he has in his heart. The push-pull thing he is doing will drive any person insane, and it seems the only way he is dealing with his issues is to project his insecurity on to you and (try) control you via manipulation and aggression. In short, he is a self-centered asshole, and he is causing more harm than you deserve, want, or need.
If you’re afraid of breaking up with him, I’d be curious as to why? Fear of loneliness? Fear of rejection? Fear of not being worthy or loved? I don’t know you, but I’d recommend exploring your fear either through self-reflection or with a professional counselor.
Also, take your power back! Don’t let some egotistical asshole, who lacks his own personal power, strip you of yours! Any relationship that’s vampiric like this one will always lead to destruction, and never fulfillment, happiness, or (authentic) love; so why invest your energy and time into a relationship that is unfulfilling, unloving, and destructive? So take your power back and break up with him. Tell him what you want and need in a relationship, and that you’re not going to deal with his bullshit (setting boundaries).
You deserve better because you are better. Don’t let someone else determine your self-worth.
Peace and blessing.
WestonJuly 20, 2014 at 3:48 am #61282
I would recommend talking with both of these parts and get to know them. I know it might sound strange, but it seems both parts most definitely have something to say. The practice aligns with Gestalt using Empty Chair Technique as a means to have a dialogue between parts.
1) While you don’t wholly need it, set up 2 chairs, cushions, etc set up; setting one directly across from the other will be helpful in starting this practice.
2) Decide who is going to speak 1st – you or the part you want to communicate with.
3) I would recommend starting as YOU. Ask your selected part some questions: Who are you? What do you want? What are you trying to tell me? How are you protecting me and what are you protecting me from?
4) Now you switch places and answer those questions from the voice of your PART. ***Pay attention to what you are feelings as you switch roles***
5) Go back-and-forth between YOU and the PART, switching places between the parts, as if you are having an actual conversation.
Now keep in mind Gestalt is a form of therapy. I’ve done it and have been trained in it, and it’s a VERY potent modality to use, so please use with caution. You may want to seek a professional trained in this modality as well.
Peace and love.
WestonJuly 20, 2014 at 1:10 am #61280
Hello Tiny Butterfly.
I’m intrigued by your story. Thanks for sharing it with us.
As much as you might not like hearing this… you are in a great place for healing and transformation to occur.
I have always been interested in what in us attracts certain people into our lives. I don’t wholly believe things happen by mere coincidence, but result from cause-effect relationships. I would ask my self (which I’ve done) some questions like: “Why am I attracted to these types people”? “What about me finds some form of security in these relationships”? (I only say this because you stayed in these types of relationships for the past 3yrs). “What is this emptiness feeling and how am I trying to fill the void”? “What do I need in a (healthy) relationship”? My goal in asking myself such questions is to figure out what’s REALLY going on inside.
This quote you used in your original post – “I want to build myself up to that happy, bubbly girl I once was but I’m so scared that she’s gone forever” – I found interesting. Your desire to “build myself up” seems like a mask, a false persona, an inauthentic “this-is-not-who-I-TRULY-am identity to hide those vulnerable, afraid, hurt parts of ourselves we don’t want others to see. While I don’t know exactly what you are going through, I know what if feels like to feel utterly lost. What I learned from my lostness was I wasn’t being the REAL me. Basically I was a poser. I showed everybody a false persona to cover up deep (often subconscious) wounds so people couldn’t see my vulnerability. The lostness arose when I started to challenge the poser and get in touch with the deep wounds of my past because I started to realize my self-identity was based all on defenses created to protect my vulnerability.
I will end this with 2 quotes:
“Whenever something negative happens to you, there is a deep lesson concealed within it” Eckhart Tolle
“The most powerful moments in our lives happen when we string together the small flickers of light created by courage, compassion, and connection, and see them shine in the darkness of our struggles” – Brene Brown
WZJuly 20, 2014 at 12:45 am #61279
My understanding is the Law of Attraction (LoA) is based on one’s intent: wherever my intent goes, my thought and actions soon follow. For me intent = will (power). Most of know the analogy “if there’s a will, there’s a way”.
Uliner John makes some very good points. However, I believe if LoA’s in fact has limits they are based on certain universal laws. Like we have physical bodies, so naturally we are limited by certain physical laws (i.e. death, disease, injury). I don’t think LoA works so well in the physical realm, although the “Placebo Effect” does arouse some interest.
During my studies in psychology I learned (perception) of reality is merely an external projection of internal (subjective) content. If this is true, then if I change my internal content the changes would be reflected in my external “reality”. I believe LoA works better in the metaphysical/energy transference/mental realm more so than in the literal physical realm.
For example: I had 3 females in my life causing significant stress. There was a lot of conflict, hurt, disengagement, and arguing in my relationships with all three. I asked that which I interpret as “God” to not have this in my life anymore. I really, really didn’t want empty, unfulfilling relationships; and I wanted to stop doing the whole caretaker thing. What occurred after I made this “wish” was each of these 3 women fell out of my life in one way or another each month. After 3 months they were all gone and I felt a whole lot better.
I can only see LoA causing harm if the individual has a lot on shadow content/(-) energy/trauma and they DON’T DEAL WITH IT IN HEALTHY, HEALING WAYS. I see this all the time working in substance abuse. Almost every client I have seen has some form of overt or covert trauma, doesn’t deal with it, and uses drugs/alcohol to numb out the pain and fear. Naturally this causes a vicious self-destructive cycle.
@ Natasha: No child whatsoever deserves such a thing. Maybe such an event was written into her soul blueprint so she can heal, triumph, and help others who suffered a similar experience. Maybe not. Either way no human, especially a child, deserves to be abused. I highly doubt a child could manifest such a experience.July 6, 2014 at 1:47 am #60275
I’m curious about what you’re trying to protect (within yourself) by not opening up to others and isolating? What hurts about saying “I love you” to your family members? What about feeling vulnerable in the presence of others (open and exposed) is frightening?
When you say your experiences with other people feel shallow – “as if I’m not even there” – I suspect you are truly not there i.e. present. How does disengaging/disconnecting from other’s protect you/keeps you safe? And from what?
I implore you to explore yourself by asking these questions and answering as honestly as possible. In my experience, disengaging from others is a means to protect me from feeling vulnerable in their presence. Ultimately my underlying fear is the fear I won’t be accepted for who I am or I don’t deserve love and intimacy from another; thus the fear inhibits my willingness to socialize and connect to others. Obviously this sets me up for conflict – my desire for intimacy and connection vs. fear of vulnerability/judgment/heartbreak – which creates the “slowly eating away at me” feeling.
And since you said you’re last true social experience was around the time your dad left you completely, I’m suspecting this was a wound to your masculine heart, and a notable experience to further explore (whether personally or with professional assistance).
WestonJuly 1, 2014 at 12:42 am #60019
I want to commend you on sharing and socializing here. I know you said it’s extremely painful for you to be social, and I want to honor the courage takes to share your pain and suffering to strangers.
I’m sensing an immense amount of shame hidden in your words. It seems like you feel you don’t deserve these things – happiness, love, support, relationships – but I assure you that you are worthy of them all. I noticed a lot of “I can’t’s” in your posts. Something I find useful is to change “I can’t” to “I won’t” – “I won’t go out and socialize”, “I won’t look for a job”, etc. Doing so give you some wiggle room because it’s implying you having free choice rather than it being some extraneous entity beyond your control. Since you have some time on your hands now is the time to get curious about yourself. What about going outside, having a relationship, searching for a job scares the crap outta you? How does staying inside, avoiding socializing, or beating yourself because you “can’t/won’t” help protect you/keeps you safe? And from what?
Many others’ here already gave you plenty of wonderful advice. Take things gradually. Gently push the edge of your comfort zone. You already seem very uncomfortable so what do you have to lose? Keep in mind you’re challenging some deep seated beliefs, some true and most untrue. It is a difficult, anxiety-provoking, and painful process to challenge our deep seated wounds.
Having support always helps, but only from people you trust. And if you won’t trust (some) people, again, get curious about it. Remember you have the support of us Tiny Buddhists here, and we do our best to support each other.
Be gentle with yourself… You are worthy of everything you think you’re not…
Peace and love,
WestonJune 29, 2014 at 4:43 am #59846
You have been having one chaotic and hellish experience, and I admire your courage to share with us. It takes a lot of bravery and strength to even own your experience, let alone be vulnerable and exposed.
Something that comes to my mind regarding the end of your relationship is: the betrayal of disengagement. I know this very well as I’ve been on both the receiving end and the giving end; and most recently the receiving end.
Here’s a quote from Brene Brown’s “Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead” that may help put the betrayal of disengagement in perspective:
“In fact, the betrayal usually happens long before the other ones (cheating, lying, choosing other people over us, breaking confidence). I’m talking about the betrayal of disengagement. Of not caring. Of letting the connection go. Of not being willing to devote time and effort to the relationship… When the people we love or with whom we have a deep connection stop caring, stop paying attention, stop investing, and stop fighting for the relationship, trust begins to slip away and hurts starts seeping in. Disengagement triggers shame and our greatest fears – the fears of being abandoned, unworthy, and unlovable. What can make this covert betrayal so much more dangerous than something like a lie or an affair is that we CAN’T POINT TO THE SOURCE OF OUR PAIN (emphasis mine) – there’s no event, no obvious evidence of brokenness. IT CAN MAKE YOU FEEL CRAZY (emphasis mine).”
I had this betrayal occur in my life after being blindsided with the end of a 3 year relationship with my girlfriend, who I anticipated on marrying and spending the rest of my life with. She pretty much straight up told me she wasn’t happy and didn’t want to be with me any more. I can still hear those words to this day. Heartbreaking pain, utter darkness, and emptiness hardly convey my experience. While my girlfriend didn’t cheat on me with another person, she cheated on me with her work, which to her was way more important than our relationship. I too asked similar questions as you have: “Why did this end?” “What did I do wrong?” “How could I not see this coming?” “When did we become totally disconnected from each other?” I ruminated on these questions and the break up every day for months on end. I never got an answer and most likely never will, and that is what made the break up even more painful… because I will never truly know.
For quite a while I moved back and forth through the first 4 of 5 stages of Kubler-Ross’s Stages of Loss and Grief: 1) Denial and Isolation; 2) Anger; 3) Bargaining; 4) Depression. I isolated and denied I was affected by the break up. I yelled and screamed how much I hated her dragging me along in an empty relationship (although not to her face). I pleaded to god my willingness to give up everything in order to be back together, and I cried enough to warrant a flash flood warning. I did this for at least a year after our break up because there was literally nothing else I could do. Also, like yourself, I just needed to get my thoughts and feelings out.
Now what helped me get to Kubler-Ross’s 5th stage of Acceptance was a culmination of getting my Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Naropa University (a Buddhist-inspired school); mindfulness/meditation practices (especially the metta practices Matt mentioned); and having the courage to express my hurt, fear, and vulnerability to others (therapist, friends, family, group process class). Can I say I’m 100% healed? Heck no! But I do feel more accepting of myself and my experience, and WAAAAY more compassionate towards the painful experiences which make me feel SOOO exposed and vulnerable.
You’re not alone! Even though I don’t know you and may never meet you, my heart goes out to ya brotha!
WestonJune 28, 2014 at 2:06 am #59799
I too am curious about how much these popular people are influencing your self-worth and self-esteem. While this is just guess work on my behalf, I’m sensing feelings of shame as if “I’m not good enough to be accepted and included (in this group)”. I know what we humans crave the most is unconditional love and unconditional acceptance, and it doesn’t seem like you are getting any of this from the popular people. And while I don’t personally know you, you seem like you’re being forced to be someone deep down you are not in order to be accepted by these people.
Also, I would suggest you take some time and actually list what qualities you look for in “real friendships”, because it doesn’t seem like you have real friendship even in your present social group, let alone this inner circle of popular people. Don’t sacrifice yourself – the core of who you are – for these people. In my personal experience the cost of being inauthentic and superficial in order to gain social acceptance is TOO high, and I never really felt any happier (only on a superficial/surface level). Plus, “real friends” would never ask you to be someone you’re not. Why? Because they accept you for WHO YOU ARE!!! Not who you are trying to be.
And in regards to using “The Secret”: your reality is merely a culminations of your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs being projected onto the external world, manifesting as what you see/belief as “reality”. You can manipulate, deceive, and seduce all the people you want in order to gain power, success, and acceptance; but in the long run you’ll never feel “real” and thus you’ll never feel truly happy (unless of course you’re a sociopath or a politician lol). As you change your self-talk (what you say to yourself in your mind), the beliefs you have about yourself, and relate to your feelings with more openness your external reality will change and become more congruent to what you TRULY feel, think, believe internally.
As with Sean’s first question: until you can love and accept yourself you’ll never feel loved or accepted by others. If you don’t love and accept yourself, now is the perfect time to explore those inner messages telling you you’re not worthy of love and acceptance.
Peace and love.June 28, 2014 at 1:34 am #59798
I admire your courage to be vulnerable. It’s always painful to feel so exposed and vulnerable, and even more so to share our vulnerabilities with others. You are in a heart wrenching place and I want to honor that.
It’s hard to find hope between a rock and a hard place, especially when one feels depressed, confused, and uncertain. I noticed a lot of shame hidden within your words. Shame is a difficult one to feeling to work with as (at least for me), shame holds some deeply rooted messages in my mind; most of which tell me I’m not _____ enough or I’m not worthy of love or success.
It sounds like you need a lot of love, support, and a safe space to express your feelings; none of which it seems you are presently getting. Again I want to honor the fear and pain of your experience, and the courage it takes to express your vulnerability.
Lots of love…