2.18.2008

codependent crazies

there are a metric ton of definitions for codependency on the interwebz, ranging from being an alcoholic's or an addict's loved one all the way up to having unhealthy boundaries and poor coping skills. one i tend to agree with the most i found at all about counseling, to wit:

...a set of *maladaptive, *compulsive behaviors learned by family members in order to survive in a family which is experiencing *great emotional pain and stress.

*maladaptive - inability for a person to develop behaviors which get needs met.

*compulsive - psychological state where a person acts against their own will or conscious desires in which to behave.

*sources of great emotional pain and stress - chemical dependency; chronic mental illness; chronic physical illness; physical abuse; sexual abuse; emotional abuse; divorce; hypercritical or non-loving environment.

as the codependent daughter of a codependent daughter of several codependents, it's safe to say i've danced with what brung me, if you will. i won't go the route of blaming my childhood, but these patterns certainly developed at an early age. looking back, i can remember situations where i needed to be codependent in order to cope and, ironically, stay sane. i say "ironically" because these are the same coping skills that are driving me batshit now.

one of the things that challenges me the most as i work through my codependency issues - and there are many - is the fact that the actions of other people are not my responsibility or my problem, and that the consequences that they must face for their actions are just that. the consequences that they must face.

it is such a fine line for me to cross over from taking care of my family and loved ones to getting into a dangerous caretaking mindset. (by caretaking, i refer specifically to more of the controlling aspects of codependence, notably: believing, however subconsciously, that most other people are incapable of taking care of themselves and must be looked after; becoming resentful when others will not let me help them; offering advice and directions without being asked; etc...) j has more than once turned to me during one of my "overly helpful" moments to remind me that he is not a 4 year old and is perfectly capable of performing whatever activity he is engaged in. and he is. i'm the one with the issue.

one of my goals for this year is to reign in my "codependent crazies." namely, get my boundaries into shape, limit my caretaking reactions, release myself from "perfectionism purgatory", dial down my hypervigilance (a heightened awareness for potential threat/danger), and generally learn what it's like to feel healthy for more than a few days at a time.

the first step, as they say, is laying those cards out on the table.

3 comments:

Shar said...

Thanks for coming by my blog. And you chose an interesting day to stop in. Ha, I usually don't air dirty laundry so freely.

:) come back by again.

cricket said...

and thanks for your visit...i could say the same for the post here, lol...we'll just chalk it up to being even on the laundry, shall we? :D

Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

I know this post is months and months old, but the title caught my eye (of course) and I thought it would be a good place to pop in and say I'm glad you came by to visit me today.

 

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