Saving Face Through Surrender & Grace

  If you have already sought to understand the meaning of codependency, you have found that just learning about it does not in itself bring relief, and you are just beginning to understand that there is another side of you inside, crying to get out. Inside, there is the spark of a strong healthy person waiting for you to give it the love and encouragement it needs to emerge. You can learn to love and care about yourself.

  Developing a healthy life style takes serious and dedicated commitment on your part. the first toward doing so is to learn about surrendering and being true to yourself. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by reading and trying some of the principles set down for you in this book.

Take the first step:

  STEP 1: We admitted we were powerless (over alcohol or substances), that our life had become unmanageable. What does the first step mean? Look behind the words. They mean that being codependent is not your fault. Well, you already knew that, didn't you? Still isn't there a feeling of failure, of confusion, of shame that tells you "Maybe, if I had been a better person, a more educated, a stronger person, or a better child, a more deserving child...if I had more opportunities, better parents, more money...then maybe my partner would not act as he or she does.

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            Getting down to piratical cases....

Codependency is too complicated for simple solutions, yet you must start somewhere. If one can find within oneself the honesty to confront problems head-on and surrender to the fact of the many different ways in which codependency has affected emotions, behavior, life style, and growth; if one can look honestly and completely at oneself, ways to be healed can be found. Healing codependency is a tall order and requires much work, persistence, prayer, and 100 percent of willingness most of the time. If the willingness is not present, all the work, persistence and prayer are empty gestures that at best will assuage your conscience, and make you believe you've done all you can. To know one's self, to understand codependency and it's effects, to be willing and open minded, and to have faith in a Higher Power-----these are the tools for recovery from codependency.

  Your codependency has been with you for many years. During those years your relationship with yourself has been smothered and weakened. It will take time to mend. You have not begun to know the full person you are. You know the you that hurts --- that side of yourself you keep trying to hide or leave behind, so others will not know what you see as the" truth". This is the you who suffers from anxiety attacks --- the kind that leaves you week in the knees, flushed with heat, fearful that your heart might stop beating. This is the you who tries desperately to measure up and never quite makes it. Codependency is a disease of mystery and one of the most mysterious things about it is the broad way it affects people: socially, spiritually, physically,and emotionally. Its stealthy and insidious work erodes the whole complex human system and damages the soul.


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Saving Face Through Surrender & Grace

  Codependency is a family disorder. Passed down from generation, it is a way of living assumed to protect oneself from hurting. And not just from hurting, but sometimes, even from dying. it is an existence characterized by loneliness, perfectionism, clutching fear, and alienation. Whole families wrap themselves in tight little cocoons as strong as invisible steel and go through the emotions of looking "right", looking "good", Looking as if they do not have a care in the world. One of the most outstanding characteristics of codependency is the personal, familial, and social need to save face at all cost. Where one codependent is found, there will usually be two or more. Often two codependents from two different families end up marrying each other. An unfortunate result is that children from such a marriage learn their lessons all too easily and well.

  Being a codependent in a codependent family is always a difficult role, and the difficulty can be further complicated by the many hats each person in the family wears at any given time. Anyone in a codependent family may turn into a oppressor, the enabler, the punisher, the victim, the straight arrow, or the righteous martyr. A codependent family member may at any time simultaneously point a finger at, condemn, try to control, inflict and elicit pain--and still fell totally righteous.

  Much of the pain that goes with being codependent are the feeling of shame and inadequacy that come from being unable to create change. Everything is tried--threats, promises, bargains, bribes, ridicule, humiliation, and shame. Nothing works. It does not work because the codependent is completely wrapped into other persons' lives. The codependent is thinking about what is necessary to force change on others. Thinking that if only he/she can say it right, do it right, then others will surely see the light and do what he/she wants, and feeling when this doesn't happen a devastating sense of worthlessness, hopelessness, and guilt. A codependent never tries to live his or her own life from his or her own view. A codependent may try to bring another to live that life,or a codependent may try to live another's life.

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Blood, Sex and Tears and traumatic memories

Memories are a part of life - sometimes they are the thing that makes life worthwhile and can bring great comfort. However, sometimes they are like a den of snakes under the back porch of the mind, curling and ready to strike when least expected. Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) is the scientific name for traumatic memories that flare up and create problems in coping with everyday living. These memories can be triggered by a smell, a sound, a face, a song or any number of things. Walking down the isle of a grocery store I can smell a whiff of shaving lotion or hear a song and suddenly be transported to a different place, a different time. Everybody does this. When it becomes a problem is when the memories are disturbing and interfere with normal functions by creating anxiety or emotional pain.

While most people think PTSD is only a problem for Veterans, it can actually happen to any one. Children who have been abused or witnessed abuse, battered spouses, floods, fires, car accidents, war. Anything that creates a fear of eminent death can generate trauma. Even people who watch too much TV violence or see something horrifying on the news. Unfortunately our society and very often our families  have a great investment in ignoring trauma and pretending that only weak people have difficulty with emotions stemming from hellish experiences. Adults in war and children from abusive homes have a mandate to "suck it up" and do the best they can to survive without making waves. The hard thing about trauma is the jolt, fear, shock and revulsion coupled with feelings of being helpless and trapped in a situation they can do nothing about. The aftermath is extreme anxiety.

The effects of trauma include angry outbursts, avoidance, depression, sadness, withdrawal, drinking, drugging, suicide ideation, withdrawal, insomnia, emotional numbness and feelings of extreme loneliness. If this is happening to you or someone you know, reach out. Help is available.

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Blood, Sex and Tears and crazy making families

Are you as happy as you want to be? Are you maybe hampered by poor self-image or feelings of failure. Have you thought about your parenting skills or those of the people who raised you? Why does the problem of poor parenting perpetuate poorer and often worse parenting?  Why do a large percentage of children endure sexual and physical abuse or worse yet neglect? This blog is not about blaming or pointing fingers. It's about facing the reality of what sometimes happens in families where there is addiction or mental illness. It's really hard to have any measure of self-esteem if the parent's responsible for you do not treat you with dignity and respect and when their self-esteem is sorely lacking.

Most people, when they talk about the parenting they received, either do it with anger and resentment or breezily dismiss any bad memories they have by saying "They did the best they could." Admittedly most parents do the best they can. Some times their best is not good enough.  Anxiety and depression are often the results of less than adequate parenting and a large percentage of the American public takes anti-depressants or anti-anxiety meds. If your not doing it, you know someone who is.

Life too short and too valuable to live with the pain of depression or anxiety. There are many methods available to give hope and new life to anyone who is willing to walk the walk. You must be willing to explore the reality of where you came from. Not a task for sissies. If you do it you will eventually find that the problem is not you. The problem is what happened to you and what you told yourself about it at the time.

Many adults who have had traumatic childhoods suffer from PTSD and complicated grief which often gets misdiagnosed as something other than it is. Children who suffer from trauma related emotional problems often get mislabeled as oppositional defiant. They are ostracized and punished by teachers and society.

Family Systems developed by the late great Virginia Satir proved to be the best way to heal memories, relationships, and self-esteem.    

Your questions and comments are most welcome and will be answered in the next blog.



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