“Healing may not be so much about getting better, as about letting go of everything that isn’t you- all of the expectations, all of the beliefs – and becoming who you are.” -Rachel Naomi Remen
Did you know that much of our healing, from any hurtful event, depends on our attitude? How we feel about ourselves, and our choices impacts our healing ability.
If we didn’t form a strong sense of self as children, we can easily grow up to be followers. We may develop a “black-and-white” (all or none) thinking-style because we weren’t allowed (or haven’t had the opportunity) to learn and develop critical thinking skills. Sometimes the very idea of making a decision can cause us to feel anxiety or fear. We may give up our personal power and let others make decisions for us in order to relieve that anxiety or fear. Of course, handing over our personal power to someone can temporarily free us from the fear of making a poor (or wrong) choice, but avoiding decision making altogether can become our default. Ironically, not making a conscious decision is still a form of making a decision , one that’s based on avoidance or not taking action. The consequences for the choice will still naturally occur, whether we choose to take responsibility for them or not. When we’ve handed over our personal power to another, for any reason, we become “people-pleasers,” and this is the beginning of codependency.
Codependent people find it easier to remain in one-sided, emotionally hurtful, unsupportive, non-nurturing relationships than non-codependent people do.
Codependency was first identified over a decade ago, the result of years of researching the interpersonal relationships of alcoholics. Codependency is a set of maladaptive coping skills that affect one’s ability to have healthy, mutually satisfying relationships. It can be a learned behavior, passed down through generations. Unaddressed, unhealed codependency lends itself nicely to all kinds of unhealthy adult relationships involving alcoholism, substance abuse, and mental illnesses (including narcissism).
The key to healing from this unhealthy way of thinking and behaving is to learn how to identify codependent thoughts and behavior and make the necessary changes. We can’t fix or heal another person, but we CAN control what and how we see the world and think about it. If you’re codependent, start working to heal your codependency.
- Keep it simple: simple solutions are often the most effective. Look at what’s really happening. Stay away from the “what if’s.” Take a rational, gradual approach to solving problems instead of allowing fear or panic to take the lead.
- Respond rather than react. (Homework: look up the difference and try responding the next time you have the opportunity. See how it feels)
- Easy does it: forcing a solution often does not work. We’re simply not able to solve every problem in the time frame we want it to happen. Healing codependency requires us to understand and accept that some problems are not ours to solve.
- Take a more accepting attitude toward yourself. Find ways to enjoy your day, no matter how much or how little you achieve.
- “Let go,” emotionally detach. Let go of trying to control things that you cannot control. Let go of people, what they said or didn’t say, what they did or didn’t do. Let go of expectations. Let go of controlling the outcome.
- Let yourself observe and just be surprised.
- Practice “live and let live” and “not my circus not my clowns.” Look those up and think about their meaning. Can you start using these new attitudes to let go of the need to control?
Until next time, here’s to all of our continued emotional growth and prosperity!
You may also like these resources:
What are Trauma Bonds?
Lemon Moms: Resources to guide you in healing from childhood trauma, abuse or neglect. Available on Amazon and wherever books are sold. (Kindle, Audiobook and paperback format.)
Diane Metcalf earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology in 1982 and a Master of Science in Information Technology in 2013.
She has held Social Worker, Counselor, and Managerial Positions in the fields of Domestic Violence and Abuse, Geriatric Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities, and Reproductive Health. She is an experienced Advocate and Speaker on the topics of Domestic Violence and Abuse and has been a guest on Lockport Community Television (LCTV), sharing her knowledge and experience regarding Domestic Abuse with the local community. In addition, she experienced Maternal Narcissistic Abuse and has been involved in other toxic relationships. She consciously learned (and continues to learn) appropriate coping skills and strategies to live happily. She shares those insights here.
Her books and articles are the result of her education, knowledge, and personal insight regarding her own abusive experiences and subsequent recovery work. She is no longer a practicing Social Worker, Counselor, Program Manager, or Advocate, nor is she or has she ever been a licensed psychologist.
Currently, Diane runs her own website design company, Image and Aspect, and writes articles and tutorials for Tips and Snips, her inspirational blog for creative people. She continues to learn and write about Emotional Healing.
This website is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional therapy.