Tag Archives: psychology

What Does Co-dependent Look Like?

Such a complex word.

Here’s what it looks like to me …

My former husband was in love with himself. His needs, desires and wants came before all else. I thought if I did everything he wanted, I’d make him happy. I believed if I agreed with his every comment and wishes, only then would I have some measure of peace. I figured if I made the peace in letting him have his way with me, then surely he’d show me tenderness and love, preferring me over his need for others – hobbies, friends or conquests. But I was merely fooling myself. I received no respect and he continued his ill-treatment toward me. Silently, I resented what he was doing to me, but not enough to do anything different. By me allowing the offenses, I was giving him permission to continue to do me wrong, as if I signed all my rights and life away. I was slowly dying inside. I felt undone, unloved, with a low-self esteem and zero self-worth. I felt lonelier with him than without him. Yet I still wanted him around. As I yearned for his approval and acceptance, I lived in constant fear with him and lived with the fear of losing him.

We think if we can control our environment, we will find peace and tranquility. But in reality, serenity is usually miles away. You might have a false sense of peace and trust me when I say it isn’t lasting. And oh, the price it comes with!

I’m no psychologist, nor am I a psychiatrist. But I also think there’s another side to this spectrum. Sometimes a person may love so much and love so deeply that they tend to do everything for another, thereby potentially stagnating and handicapping that loved one from doing anything for themselves. That person then becomes dependent on you for their needs and outlook in life. They are hindered from growth and maturity in making wise decisions or choices.  They are emotionally immature and can remain psychologically traumatized.

Such as in the situation with my mom. From her childhood early on, Mama was an introvert and extremely shy. Grandma loved her so much that she felt sorry for her. She tended to overcompensate in trying to help Mama by doing everything for her. Mama naturally grew dependent on others to do things for her all of her life. Then in my early years, I tried looking out for Mama and did everything I could in trying to protect her. Most of the time my help was unwarranted, as she sought and relied on her significant others to fulfill that need.

So, co-dependency can be a vicious circle and left untreated can fester like a sore that won’t go away.

Here here are some examples of what it means being co-dependent:

• The need to be needed
• People pleasing
• Trying to control others (aggressively or passively)
• Focusing on helping others before working on your own issues
• Being consumed with other people’s problems
• Rescuing
• Self-doubt
• Unclear boundaries in friendships and relationships
• The tendency to date (or marry) alcoholics or addicts
• Perfectionism
• Workaholism (or always being busy)
• Exhaustion

Your turn. What does co-dependency mean to you?

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Filed under Behavior, Co-dependent, Relationships

Are You Damaged Goods?

Definition of damaged goods: inadequate or impaired. Products that are broken, cracked, scratched, etc.: a person who is considered to be no longer desirable or valuable because of something that has happened: a person whose reputation is damaged.

Is that you?

Regardless of your past or present, you don’t have to remain that way.

Was that ever me?

You betcha!

Read on …

Hollow. Pure loneliness. Dark, like a bottomless pit. Ripping in my chest. Piercing my heart. Again, he stays out all night. Overcome by torment. Abandonment accompanies me. Consumed with depression, isolation wraps itself around me. My mind races with wild imaginations of where he has gone, what he is doing, and with whom.

Instead of going to bed to sleep, I am wearing a hole in the couch. At the sound of every car approaching, like a jack-in-the-box I spring to peek out the window hoping he has returned. With every disappointment, my stomach turns into knots. My own sobs mock me until I cry myself to semi-consciousness. Hideous lies will follow after he returns and add to my anguish and emotional decline. 

This was me back then dealing with my former (cheating) husband. His words like rubbing alcohol pouring over fresh wounds, stung! No band-aid could heal my emotional pain. No quick-fixes. Deeper and deeper I sunk into a dark abyss, crushed beyond repair. For several years, that was my pathetic frame of mind. I know now it didn’t have to be. So, what was the deal?

I had an overload of abuse: physically, verbally, emotionally. I had low self-esteem and zero self-worth. I believed and accepted a lie about me and my situation. I figured since this was my lot in life, better make do. I witnessed my mom go through a cycle of abuse, but I was obviously blind to my own. I made him mad againMaybe I deserved it … Talk about co-dependency!

How do you perceive yourself? Have you been lied to, beaten down and trodden upon? Feel like you’ll never come up for air? Are you tired of stumbling around in blindness, things so bleak you can’t even see your own self-worth? Drowning in sorrow and self-pity? Or maybe you feel you’re at the point of no return in trying to please another. You compromise your values, your mental state, your resources, your health!

Stop allowing someone’s negativity or ill-treatment to rob you of your joy and develop a callous heart. Realize you are worthy. You are valued and matter. There’s nothing wrong with being fragile … but let it be like fine china. Just know that you are not damaged goods; a throw away or a faded memory. Don’t be someone’s victim because you listened to their lies and empty promises.

Get up! Rediscover yourself. Feel your wrist. What is that? A pulse? Then you have purpose! Allow the Master’s hand to reach down and set you on high places. He’ll wipe the tears and dust the soot from off your heart. If God could get me out of the pit, He can get you out, too. It takes a made-up mind. A determination that today is the best day of the rest of your life.

What’s in your hands? What’s in your heart? A dream? A gift? A precious child? You have something worth fighting for. Choose your battles.

 If you don’t know my pain, you’ll never understand my praise.

 

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August 20, 2015 · 7:00 AM

UnMasked

Photo Credit: justposhmasks.com

All through my life, I’ve dealt with feelings of low self-esteem and self-worth. I felt undone, incomplete, or insignificant. Along the way, I realized this stemmed from my childhood. I did not ask for it. I certainly did not want it. But with an undeniably painful past and a seemingly questionable future, I muddled through life. I thought a man could save me, but he only tried to create me into his own image! I became his shadow, even worshiped the ground he walked on, subservient to his every whim. I was truly lost, with no identity, no voice – no me. Yet I held on, not wanting to lose him. This by the way, is a perfect example of insecurity: the more easily threatened we are, the more insecure we are.

Beth Moore says: “Insecurity lives in constant terror of loss.” As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been reading Beth Moore’s So Long, Insecurity with the subtitle you’ve been a bad friend to us. How I wish she wrote this book 40 years ago! She says, “insecurity is not only a woman’s battle.” She identifies insecurity as a “profound sense of self-doubt – a deep feeling of uncertainty about our basic worth and our place in the world. The insecure man or woman lives in constant fear of rejection and a deep uncertainty about whether his or her own feelings and desires are legitimate.”

I thought about myself as a Christian, why from time to time do I still struggle with insecurities? Why does rejection crush me so? Why do I second guess everything? Beth reveals an interesting point about herself in her book: “I not only lack security, I also lack faith. I don’t just doubt myself, I also doubt God about myself.

Now I don’t know about you, but that struck a chord in me!

She goes on to say how some of us never seek healing from God for our insecurities because we feel like we don’t fit the profile. But insecurity’s best cover is perfectionism. Now there’s a mask for you!

A person who has no self-worth or a low self-esteem

tends to hide behind a mask.

Note: Here’s a thought provoking poem I came across: Don’t Be Fooled By Me

What masks are you prone to wear? Looking back, I recall hiding the pain behind my smile…

Don’t try to be somebody you’re not, no one is perfect. It’s okay to let your guard down. We will face difficult and troubling times. Just remember God loves us just the way we are; He loves us too much to leave us that way.

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Filed under Beth Moore, insecurities, Masks

UnMask

  purple_masquerade_masks_for_kids_BAMPIC02G

All throughout my life, I’ve dealt with feelings of low self-esteem and self-worth. I felt undone, incomplete, or insignificant. Along the way, I realized this stemmed from my childhood. I did not ask for it. I certainly did not want it. But with an undeniably painful past and a seemingly questionable future, I muddled through life. I thought a man could save me, but he only tried to make me into his own image! I became his shadow, worshiped the ground he walked on, subservient to his every whim. I was truly lost, with no identity, no voice – no me. Yet I held on, not wanting to lose him then. By the way, that’s a perfect example of insecurity: the more easily threatened we are, the more insecure we are.

Beth Moore says: “Insecurity lives in constant terror of loss.” As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been reading Beth Moore’s So Long, Insecurity with the subtitle you’ve been a bad friend to us. Wish she wrote this book 40 years ago! She says that insecurity is not only a woman’s battle. She identifies insecurity as a “profound sense of self-doubt – a deep feeling of uncertainty about our basic worth and our place in the world. The insecure man or woman lives in constant fear of rejection and a deep uncertainty about whether his or her own feelings and desires are legitimate.”

I thought about myself as a Christian, why from time to time do I still struggle with insecurities? Why does rejection crush me so? Why do I second guess everything? Beth reveals an interesting point about herself in her book: “I not only lack security, I also lack faith. I don’t just doubt myself, I also doubt God about myself.

Now I don’t know about you, but that struck a core in me!

She goes on to say how some of us never seek healing from God for our insecurities because we feel like we don’t fit the profile. But insecurity’s best cover is perfectionism. Now there’s a mask for you!

What masks are you prone to wear? Looking back, I recall hiding the pain behind my smile.

A woman who has no self-worth or a low self-esteem tends to hide behind a mask. 

 Note: Here’s a poem I came across: Don’t Be Fooled By Me

6 Comments

July 6, 2014 · 6:30 PM

Did You Say, “Insecurities”?

So, I’m reading Beth Moore’s, So Long, Insecurity. I’m not even past chapter four yet and find myself re-reading and digesting the words on the pages. She states in her book that we all have insecurities and most have enough insecurity to hinder. As I reflect on whether I’ve felt insecure before, I’m sad to admit that I am well acquainted with insecurity.

Beth Moore ties insecurity to a profound sense of self-doubt. Ouch! But I think I knew this already. How many times have I determined to do something but then reneged on my decision? How often have I started a task only to lack the courage to move forward? My palms get clammy. My confidence deflates. My resolve wavers. My bravado crumbles. I bet I’m not the only one who struggles with this.

I’m a common woman sharing common problems seeking common solutions on a journey with an uncommon Savior.

The word rejection is also mentioned in the book and that brings me to ask: Well, who in the world likes to be rejected? To the point where I sometimes think, if you reject me, I’ll go out of my way to prove you wrong—sometimes—in spite of my own hurt, creating my own misery. I can honestly say, I know my own flaws, or at least I’d like to think so. But the astonishing thing for me is reading what an insecure woman looks like:

She may easily cry, avoid the spotlight, and have a strong desire to make amends whether it’s her fault or not. If someone gets angry at her, she has a difficult time not to think or to dwell about it. The insecure woman sometimes feels anxious for no apparent reason; her feelings get hurt when she learns someone doesn’t like her, and she may even fear that her husband might leave her for another.

Talk about a lack of self-worth!

Well, I asked my husband what insecurities did he see in me? (Because after all, I know I have some.) And this is what he answered: The big one is you not being in control. Not having a say so about something, and having a tendency to micro-manage. He said this goes back to my early years when others told me what to do and when to do it. What an eye opener! While this was true during my childhood, it was certainly the same in my first marriage.

Before I became a Christian I struggled with insecurities, and now as a Christian I still struggle at times. I learned a long time ago I’m not perfect, but I’m forgiven. I’ve opened myself up in sharing some of these truths with you because I know they are life’s lessons. I’m still learning and if there’s a pulse and breath in your being then you are still learning, too. No one on this earth is perfect or has arrived. I’ve determined to work on my insecurities.

How about you?

© M.A. Pérez 2014, All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Beth Moore, insecurities