“The secret to your recovery is to learn to embrace your own history. Look at it, become aware of it, and experience your feelings about the less-than-nurturing events of your past. Because if you don’t, the issues from your history will be held in minimization, denial and delusion and truly be behind you as demons you are not aware of. And this situation will continue to make you miserable through your own dysfunctional behaviors….hug your demons or they will bite you in the ass. If you do not embrace what is dysfunctional, you are doomed to repeat it and stay in the pain.” P. Mellody.
“That’s just it,” she said. “I know I’m in this crazy cycle of dysfunction, I’m just not sure I’m ready to go through all the pain that I know will be required to get out of it.”
I’ve said those words. You’ve said those words. Pain. It’s palpable. Visceral. Jarring. Yet, it can be so comforting for those who…that’s all they’ve known. To question it in order to bring about healing, wholeness, joy, excitement, functional and healthy relationships…well, it’s often met with “I don’t deserve it.”
This deep seated belief is insidious. It wreaks havoc in our relationships but most excruciatingly within our very selves.
It can develop in a number of ways most of which stem out of our childhood experiences. Maybe your parents wouldn’t allow you to play outside or with other kids. Maybe your parents were hyper aware of what others thought of you and your family…your needs were never considered because you were taught “God first, others second and myself last” (this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, either).
“Our caregivers encouraged us to believe that our problems arose because we didn’t respond appropriately to what happened to us.” P. Mellody
In order to work through our dysfunction, we have to be willing to acknowledge our own demons. Here are 5 core symptoms of codependence that Pia Mellody has organized through years of research and her own journey (by the way, most of us are codependent so keep reading)….
- Difficulty experiencing appropriate levels of self-esteem
- Difficulty setting functional boundaries
- Difficulty owning our own reality
- Difficulty acknowledging and meeting our own needs and wants and being interdependent with others
- Difficulty experiencing and expressing our reality moderately
In the coming weeks, I’m going to parse out each of these core symptoms and what it looks like in action. Our childhood tells a very interesting story if we’re willing to go back and sit with it. How we would describe our parents, the memories associated with our mom and dad, the unspoken messages that we were taught about life, sex and relationships. Where we felt rejected.
The greatest measurement of our courage is our willingness to be vulnerable, honest and authentic. Are you willing to go there and begin to live a whole-hearted life? One that is joyous, full, healthy and integrated with your whole self? It will be painful. The only question is, then, will the pain outweigh what you’ll gain?
Olivia specializes in restoring relationships and helping people identify what is keeping them from living in the full expression of who they were created to be. Check out her website to get to know her a bit better and how counseling could be the key to unlock all that is keeping you small, insignificant and frustrated in life.