“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 of 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)
- “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.
Until next time, here’s to all of our continued emotional growth and prosperity!
As a result of growing up in a dysfunctional home, and with the help of professional therapists and continued personal growth, Diane Metcalf developed strong coping and healing strategies. She happily shares those with those who want to learn and grow in their own recovery journies.
Diane is an experienced advocate, speaker, and writer on narcissism, family dysfunction, and abuse. She draws from her personal childhood experiences, as well as her work in human service fields like domestic violence and partner abuse. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and a Master of Science in Information Technology.
Her transformational books about healing and moving forward include the highly praised “Lemon Moms” series. This emotionally supportive collection explains narcissistic traits and teaches how to reconcile past hurts to begin self-nurturing, healing, and moving forward.
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This website is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional therapy.