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Archive for October, 2013

Work DisputeWatch out!

When a codependent has a break through and they find their voice and how to make a stand in their life things can get a little rough. It follows the old cliche that things might get worse before they get better.

Underneath all of the self sacrifice that has been stuffed down and stacked up inside resurfaces going in the opposite direction. Instead of self sacrifice in order to get love from another person, this new found sense of freedom and independence turns into tough love. The codependent understands that it is okay to express themselves, their opinions and not worry any longer about what others think about them. It’s not that they don’t care, they just no longer worry about it.

Now comes the good and the not so good.

The good is personal freedom is often being experience for the first time in a very long time and quite possibly for the first time in their lives. This is not a move toward self-centeredness but a move toward self care taking and exercising some personal independence. It’s moving the self out from the subjection of others and into being objective in relationships and the environment in which they work and live.

Being objective in any situation means that the opinions, thoughts and feelings formed are unique to the individual who is experiencing them. These thoughts, feelings and opinions are viewed by the person who is holding them as just as worthy as anyone else, so there is a bit of self esteem that comes with this new freedom. It goes like this “my thoughts, feelings and opinions are just as valid as anyone else.”

Now the not so good, but it often gets better. Just like any new skill learned it takes practice to get the hang of it. Here is another cliche; “it’s not what we say, it’s how we say it. ” Here comes the stuffing. Like an overstuffed pillow, when the zipper first gets cracked open all the stuffing comes flying out all over the place. The idea is to treat it like a balloon, let out more air than is coming in bit by bit.

Usually the first few attempt come across as angry and brash. By validating and accepting themselves they struggle with the concept that they are doing harm or wronging another person by not putting the other person’s needs first. The codependent is finding their voice often for the first time and is learning how to communicate it. This takes time and practice. In this phase, learning self forgiveness goes a long way. Arguments may erupt, especially with family members who may not understand and only see a shift in behavior. Family and loved ones, not fully understanding what is going on, have to make adjustments as well since the dynamics of the relationship have changed.

One of the most common reasons why codependency happens is that somewhere along the road of the life the codependent learned to allow others to validate them. When they feel this validation is when they feel accepted, loved and liked as a person. When they move into this new sense of freedom they have learned how to accept themselves and not seek this validation from others. This can be a difficult behavior and habit for the codependent to detach from and learn new ones.

Learning how to live up to other people’s expectations is a tall order to fill. The codependent struggles to fit in with changing scenarios and compromises their true self in order to feel accepted or loved by others. People in healthy relationships have a genuine respect for each others thoughts, feelings and opinions, not because they match theirs, but because they are comfortable in their own skin, and their own right. It kinda follows one last cliche, “We can agree to disagree and still be friends. ” How is this possible? Because dropping codependency is about someone who accepts themselves for who they are, not who they think they ought to be in the eyes of another.

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Man stressWhy do men struggle with going to a counselor? Often they feel it is a threat to their masculinity, counseling is for wimps, or it will make them less of a man. Okay, if a man is so tough then why run from counseling? Face your fears, turn into the fight, enter the battle. Anxiety produces fight or flight, so what is going to be tough guy? Fight or flight? That’s right, I’m calling you out! What are you afraid of and hiding from? Join me, we’ll enter that fight together!

Running away from problems never works. It doesn’t work because it is a simple formula, wherever you go so there is your problem with you. It’s like those little hitch-hikers you get on your pants after walking through tall grass. I recall walking in the woods one day and I looked down and I was covered in these little thorny stickers. Not only was I unaware I was picking them up along the way, but when I tried to remove them they stuck me in the fingers. After trying to pick a few off my friend says to me, “such is life.” Reflecting on that situation it became apparent that is life. We pick up sticky annoying things along the way and don’t even realize they are there until we stop, look down and do some self examination. We find things we don’t like and try to remove them only to find out it’s painful, sticky and don’t like it. The easy way out is avoidance. To go somewhere else, ignore the problem, suffer silently, make excuses but inevitably sooner or later the problem has to be dealt with.

So often men struggle in this way. They just try to grit it out, suck it up or if the problem is ignored long enough it will just go away. Part of this is society expectations. Men are often raised to treat problems like water to a duck, just let it roll off. If only it were just that easy. Common long term effects from this thinking are depression, anger, ulcers, high blood pressure, worry, fatigue and what some “male therapists” call “Dead Men Walking.” Men become discouraged and hopeless and give up on life. The weight of all that emotional baggage begins to wear them down. They become compliant to the demands of their jobs, wives and society. They walk around feeling low, beaten and get an attitude of “whats the use, nothing changes.” It is amazing what can happen to a man when he takes the time to talk to another man in a confidential professional setting and work it out. The idea is to be men for an hour, talk like men, act like men, enter the wound and fight it out.

 

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Usually on this website I write about mental health topics. I normally don’t write in the “I” voice as most of my work is for educational purposes to help people. I recently came across something I wrote in a journal a few years ago and I wanted to share it. Those who know me know how profound Christ is in my life. I have found no greater joy than being with Him in this world. I was saved 13 years ago and I am very thankful for my life…and He knows it!

Meditating The New Day

Embrace today, it is unique, special and beautiful.  There will never be another one like it. 

I went on a camping trip down the Suwanee River over the weekend and discovered some things about God and His wonderful creation. I awoke on Saturday morning I took a stroll down a trail near the river while everyone was still sleeping.  The new day brought a mist over the water and the sun’s rays were breaking through the trees.  Each ray of light was individually on display fanned out evenly as if it’s direction was intentionally being directed upon a specific object.  A beam of light so intense and direct and no matter how I changed my direction I could not escape it. 

 

I then began to thank God for such a glorious new day, His presence was the beginning of this day and I began to think about how creative our God is.  He is magnificent and holds each day new and unknowing what it will be like.  How many different ways the sun will rise, how it will set and how different and yet beautiful every time.  On some occasions the sun doesn’t shine, at least not the rays but clouds abound throughout giving yet another angle or perspective on His creation, His works, how marvelous.

 

I began to reflect on my life, and this new day and how many days of my life were similar to what was before me.  I thought about how I was saved and made new.  About how sinners are forgiven and made new.  About how Christ gave us the New Covenent and a new life.  I thought about the passage in Rev. 21:5 “And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.”   This is so true and everyday we experience it.

 

Life in many ways is like the birth of every new day.  Every day we are given a new day, and a renewed chance on life.  Christ through His infinite love gave us grace, it kinda works like a get out jail free card but there is something you have to do first, ask Him for it.  The new day brings new life, a new sunrise, new opportunities and a new chance to receive Christ in your life.

 

Brian

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