Posts Tagged ‘worry’

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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Earlier today I was confronted by a thought. What can be accomplished with pessimistic thinking? Hmm…the short answer is nothing. When a person changes their thinking they can change the outcome regardless of what it is. So I focused on worry. Like the Eagles song “Long Run” the lyrics say “I used to worry a lot, I used to hurry a lot, I used to stay up till the break of day.” Sounds like a very restless mind.

So what do you worry about? What keeps you awake at night? What thoughts are gripping you so tight that it is robbing precious energy? Worry is often rooted in fear, the unknown, and a future that can seem out of control. Jesus asked a very simple question regarding this very thing: “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”(Mt.6:27). He was trying to point out that worrying was useless, and for good reason.

Worry causes a lot of problems such as anxiety and depression. It wears holes in stomachs, creates tension headaches, high blood pressure, insomnia and so on. I guess Sigmund Freud wasn’t too far off the mark when he said the body betrays the mind. I have heard the expression that worry and anxiety is fear of the loss of control over the future. Perhaps this was a message Jesus was trying to convey, “don’t worry, I got this.” Let it go.

Here is a final question if you find yourself struggling with worry, and it’s related to the pessimistic thinking. “What purpose does my worry serve?” Suggestion: journal out the answer, or journal about the cause of the worry. Sometimes journaling is all that is needed to relieve the mind of it’s burden.

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WorriedHow much a person worries is subjective and varies from person to person as to what defines too much worry. Persistent and long term worry about life events can be disabling and frustrating not only to the worrier but also to those around them. Worry is often the result of getting stuck in a negative thought pattern. Common side effects of negative thinking lead to anxiety, stress and depression. All of these patterns taken to a level deeper are often based on fear whether imagined or real.

Worry has a common companion in the form of anxiety. Anxiety is a normal reaction to a perceived fear and when it is put into the right context it is useful for survival by activating our fight or flight response. Being confronted by an angry animal or a dangerous person activates the response to run away or fight and defend. However, when fear based worry leads to anxiety out of context it can lead to unnecessary negative feelings. The cost of long term worry adversely affects many areas of life that are critical for good health and overall life satisfaction. Common areas that typically suffer are job satisfaction and performance, sleep loss, impulse control issues and long term depression.

There are a few techniques a person can use if suffering from unhealthy worry and anxiety. First is to challenge the thoughts that are associated with the worry. Thoughts can be challenged through self examination by asking for the evidence that supports the thinking. If there is evidence that validates the worry then the associated anxiety is valid. An example of this might be financial problems after long term unemployment. However, if evidence is absent then what may be happening is cognitive distortions. Cognitive distortions can hamper or paint a skewed picture of reality by creating a scenario in the thought process that has nothing to support its validity.

While there are many different types of cognitive distortions, some common cognitive distortions often associated with worry are catastrophizing, prediction and compare and despair. Catastrophizing is imaging the worst is going to happen in a given situation. Prediction is much like catastrophizing by making predictions about what is going to happen in the future with a negative outlook. Compare and despair is looking at a situation and comparing it to another situation and then comparing ourselves negatively toward the outcome and then getting upset about it.

Chronic worry can be disabling however it can be avoided if managed appropriately. Look for balance in thinking processes and challenge the validity of the thoughts. Hold the thoughts captive until an objective examination of those thoughts has been completed. When the perspective on a situation in life is changed it can help resolve feelings of excess worry and anxiety.

Philippians 4:6-7 The Message (MSG) 6-7 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

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