Denial…It ain’t just a river in Egypt! The degrees of it in our lives vary, but I firmly believe that every single human on Earth has experienced it at some point in our lives. This is because, for a time, denial serves us. We deny what we cannot accept or handle, and it protects us from ourselves. But it cannot last forever. At some point, the veil falls, and we become hyper-aware of whatever it is we were trying to deny, which can be so painful. We may feel shame from it, or aggravated from it, but that can be normal when beginning to process things we have denied for so long!
Sometimes, it looks easier to be in denial. As the saying goes, “Ignorance is bliss.” Denial does not stay blissful for long. It becomes a monster that grows and grows, skewing our behavior, creating chaos and unmanageability in our lives. Denial and control go hand in hand; as long as we deny that we are being controlling and do not change our behavior, we will continue to control and deny as a form of trying to feel in control in the mess that we’ve gotten into. Continue reading
Today I want to do a little something together. You’re going to need a pen and paper, because we are going to write our action plans for the day (if you’re reading this at night, go ahead and do tomorrow’s).
As a codependent, one of the things I tend to do is procrastinate. Some things don’t seem as important, and they go to the bottom of my list. Something as simple as doing the dishes will be left for days, because I live alone and it doesn’t bother me, so why do them? Beyond that, I forget to do things I had planned, or I plan to do too much, and then berate myself for not getting it all accomplished. Making an action plan has helped me remain accountable to myself for the things I want to do, and it helps me adjust my goals if I find that something stays on my plan for more than a few days. When this happens, I look at the task, and see if I can break it into smaller, more completable goals that won’t discourage me. Continue reading
I think it’s safe to say that most of us have heard someone say, “Visualize what you want and you will get/achieve it,” in our lifetimes. If we’re lucky, we’ve heard it more than once, and if we are even luckier, we’ve tried one ourselves and found that it can be a great tool. If you have yet to discover them, then today is for you!
Today’s project can be one of two things: either write out a vision statement of what you would like your life to look like in three to five years, or create a vision board filled with photos that represent what you want your future to look like. It’s a fun project, and it helps us really realize exactly what we want.
The vision board or statement works through the law of attraction. The energy that you put into the universe through it is what you are going to attract back. If you are able to, look at your board or read your statement every day. Remind yourself what it is you need and desire, and let the universe know what you want so that it may respond appropriately. Continue reading
When I first realized I was a codependent, one of the things that I began to understand was that I lived my life playing the victim. Everything was always happening TO me, people were always doing harm to me, and I was completely innocent, and the list could go on forever. I victimized myself, and I wallowed in every bad emotion I had. Doing this made me lose sight of the good things in life.
Today, I’d like everyone to grab a pen and paper so that we can make gratitude lists. This is one of the tools that helps me feel good about myself and my life, and it helped reframe the misery I was putting myself in. Continue reading
Many of us have heard the phrase, “When you point your finger at someone else, remember you have three fingers pointed back at you.” It took me a long time to truly get an understanding for this phrase. It wasn’t until going into recovery for codependence that I finally realized what it meant. Now, it is a sort of tool that I use to help guide myself in my own recovery.
One of my biggest problems was judging and criticizing others. I would blame them for things that I had a hand in, and I would comment on how something they were doing was irritating me. When I began recovery, I started looking at myself rather than others. In doing my fourth step, my eyes were truly opened to my behaviors and actions. Suddenly, I realized I was all of the things I saw in others that bothered me about them. That’s why they bothered me so much! Continue reading
Growing up with an alcoholic parent, we were taught to see things in extremes. It was either the best possible thing that could ever happen, or the worst possible thing that could ever happen. Our parents had been taught, and were passing on to us, the lesson that people in the world are good or bad, right or wrong, smart or stupid, strong or weak. If something bad happened, we often heard phrases such as, “I should just give up, then.” Our world was framed around these extremes. We have extreme reactions to situations and people in order to get what we want.
When we are choosing the people in our lives, we like to pick ones that comfort us and support us in our times of need. Part of our relationships with these people means supporting them as well. Some of us don’t really know what it means to be supportive, and we do the best we can.
So, what does it mean to be supportive? What can we do to connect with our loved ones better, and help lift them up without any burden to ourselves? Luckily, the answer is quite simple.
Many of us are fixers – we like to solve other people’s problems, lend a hand, and make sure everyone else’s lives are running smoothly. As a fixer myself, I know that more than enough time is spent on these tasks. Living as an adult child of an alcoholic means that I am well versed in the art of fixing, whether it is cleaning up after someone, fixing their mistakes, or bailing them out of trouble when that might not be the best thing for them. Being a fixer is not a bad thing; many of us are caregivers by nature, and we genuinely do love to help out. Being a fixer just means we spend a little too much time focused on fixing others.
Unfortunately, the best intentions can sometimes go astray. We know that we are coming from a loving place or wanting to help and connect with the other person. Constantly telling them how to fix their problems, however, is not what someone wants out of a supportive friend, and we often get pushed away. Continue reading
For a long time, there was a point in our lives where the things we were saying were not being heard. Nobody was listening, and we didn’t understand. But we saw our mothers and fathers get things done in more evasive ways. They never came out and said directly what they needed or what they wanted done, but things got done. As we got older, we noticed that we had picked up the habit, but that other people didn’t communicate in the same way. They felt no shame asking someone for what they needed, and they didn’t have to stomp around, cursing and making noise in order to get a message across.
For the most part, passive-aggressive tendencies are not appreciated. For instance, someone I once knew moved to college and was put into a suite with several other ladies. Having an early class, and not wanting to wake the other girls, she left a note that asked if the person that left the dishes in the sink could please clean them up. Well intended as the note was, it did not have a happy reception on the other end. The note ended up causing tension, and the writer of it did not understand what was so bad about it. In her mind, she was doing what she was taught – tell someone something indirectly when she felt like she couldn’t directly. She felt since the note wasn’t angry or very urgent, it wouldn’t make sense to wake someone up just to tell them that. The other girls, however, thought that she was too afraid to go directly to the person that left the dishes and ask them. Of course, things were returned to normal afterwards, but it led the note writer to examine her communication skills, and find that she really was not very direct – even though, in this case, it worked out. Continue reading
Hello all! Today I want to talk about the topic of perfection. As codependents and love addicts, we have striven for perfection constantly, only to be disappointed when our expectations were not met. Whether it was someone else we were trying to impress or just ourselves, we were hard on ourselves for not executing it perfectly.
We don’t have to be hard on ourselves. Nobody in this world is perfect! We seem to hear that from people all the time, but the struggle is in understanding and really believing it.
We look at other peoples’ lives, especially with social media, and they seem to have it all – jobs, families, houses, vacations, and happiness. But there is so much of peoples’ lives that we do not see, and each person has their struggles. Truly, nobody is perfect. Continue reading
We all have a right to say no. Most of us are used to hearing this phrase in terms of drug use or consent (“Just say no!” and “No means no!”). Many of us feel as though we are obligated to do things, or that if we commit to something, we cannot change our minds and back out. This is false. We have the ability to make our own decisions, and to say no whenever we feel we need to.
Saying no can be hard! There are people that we want to impress, and a lot of the time, we truly don’t mind doing something for a person here or there. There are some of us however that feel overwhelmed with how much we have agreed to do, and we find ourselves unable to say no. Perhaps we want to seem like we are always willing to help, or we want to give a good impression of ourselves. Maybe, we don’t even realize that our problem is saying yes to everything. The good news is that there is always room to grow. Continue reading