Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tough Love is a Bitch

I've been eating through my Codependent No More book like it's candy.

One of the most unbelievably common traits among codependents is how weak we are when it comes to ourselves. We're so strong for everyone else. We have such ideas for how to fix others and their issues. We know exactly what they should be doing in order to be happy. We'll even suggest things we are unwilling to do ourselves. We take on the world, shoulder everyone's burdens, stand strong and statuesque in the shadow of the pain of the world.

Then treat ourselves like shit.

I'm noticing that I do it... as well as many others in my life. Lately, I've felt very quiet, almost observing myself and everyone around me.

I'm also feeling a bit... cynical. I don't mean to be this way. Perhaps it's my own awareness of how I've given so much and expected, no, settled for so little in return. I actually expected much more but then silently resented the fact that I never received much. And truly, it's my own damn fault.

The problem is knowing exactly where that line is. I mean, I know better than to crawl all up in my ego and act like a victim or act all bratty like I deserve better. I think it goes back to that deserving vs. worth thing. I'm finding it very difficult to adjust or assess, in my eyes, my value in certain situations. Often times, I feel as if I'm completely disregarding someone's feelings - which is something I've tried my damnedest NOT to do. Sometimes, I find that I'll say I'm okay with something, only to realize later that I, in fact, am not.

I'm a work in progress, I guess.

The most ironic part of this self-discovery is that I'm more comfortable using tough love on my children than other adults. I'm more apt to say to my girls, "you did this so you have to fix it" than I am to another fully grown and capable grown up. Maybe it's because I'm teaching what I need to learn. Maybe it's because it was always the ADULTS that needed "fixing" in my life.

I'm feeling the need for a mentor. I realize we all have our own stuff to process and our own lessons to learn. I'm just tired of being a teacher of lessons, a fixer of problems, the one with all the answers. I can't even help myself sometimes! (I mean that statement on so many levels!)

I'm craving an older, wiser person who understands. I can feel myself almost seeking out a "wise elder" to help guide me through.

I met an 80 year old woman at my yoga retreat. She was such a gem. She had only just begun practicing yoga 2 years ago at age 78! She was tough, flexible, happy, charming, and so full of spirit! I could have talked to her for days.

"I want to be just like you when I grow up," I told her on our last morning.

"Well, I'm not planning on growing up!" was her reply.

Yes.

THAT.

In Codependent No More, the author lists a fairly common reason for codependency or other unhealthy relationship behaviors:

"(It begins with)... the unwritten, silent rules that usually develop in the immediate family and set the pace for relationships. These rules prohibit discussion about problems; open expression of feelings; direct, honest communication; realistic expectations such as being human, vulnerable or imperfect; selfishness; trust in other people and one's self; playing and having fun; and rocking the delicately balanced family canoe through growth or change - however healthy and beneficial that movement might be."

Unlike my sweet elderly friend, I think I grew up way too fast and a very very long time ago.

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