“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 so much of our healing, from any hurtful or toxic event, depends on our attitude? How we feel about ourselves, our choices, and whether or not we have a strong sense of self, all impact our healing process.
As children, if we have a weak sense of self, we can easily become followers. We may develop a “black-and-white” (“ all or none”) style of thinking because we haven’t been allowed (or had an opportunity) to develop necessary critical thinking skills. When we have faulty thinking skills, the very idea of making a decision can cause anxiety and fear. When this happens, we’d rather let someone else make our choices for us, than make them ourselves. As we mature and become adults, it becomes easy to give up our personal power. We’ve learned that handing over our power to someone else will free us from the anxiety and/or fear that come from the very idea that we might make a poor choice.
Codependent people find it easier to be in, and maintain, one-sided, emotionally damaging and/or abusive relationships than non-codependent people.
Codependency was first identified over a decade ago, the result of years of studying interpersonal relationships within families of alcoholics. It is an emotional and behavioral illness that affects one’s ability to have healthy, mutually satisfying relationships. It’s also a learned behavior, able to be passed down through generations. It is usually learned by watching and imitating codependent family members. 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 acknowledge our codependency, and make the necessary changes to the ways we perceive, think and behave. We can’t fix or heal another person, but we CAN control our attitude and choices.
- 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.)
About the author
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.