Self love or codependence

My eyes, photo by Lucretious, Thessaloniki, GreeceAn important part of being in recovery from codependence is having a healthy relationship with self. In other words, the choice is self love or codependence. A comment from Maranda on my post about having a relationship with self shows how difficult it is for some to conceptualise this – “Nice theory… How can you start “loving yourself” in real life, I wonder?” Some people can only feel lovable when someone else loves them and then they see themselves through someone else’s eyes. No one can make you feel in a certain way unless you allow yourself to feel that way to begin with. So the ability to feel one way or another comes from within. The same way that you can feel terrible about your self, you can feel confident about yourself and, therefore, feel lovable – that’s self love. To hand over your power about how you feel is codependence or being neurotic.

Loretta came home with her small children and
found his clothes gone!
she managed to get the toddlers bathed, fed and to sleep
then she collapsed as the reality hit her
what happened? how come she didn’t know?
how did he expect them to survive without him?
she got through the night without any sleep
then the next day she was in ‘shell shock’
but the next night, too exhausted to stay awake
she drifted off believing that without him she
would be forever alone raising their children
it never occurred to her that she was lovable
at 25 she thought she would live alone forever!
fortunately, she remembered that she is lovable
and when faced with self love or codependence
she chose to focus on the relationship with self
he came back but in time she just sent him away
because she discovered that she deserved better

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Music, flowers and incense

Romantic, photo by Meliha Gojak, Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzegovina,  romantic symbolsWhen you want to lift your spirits then put on music and use some flowers to decorate the room. Then light some incense, there are different ones that please different people. These items will please three of your senses and whether you have a massage and a special something to eat of drink for the other senses depends on how much cheering you need. These are guaranteed to lift your spirits and make you feel special. Mind you, getting someone to share this with you is excellent but not essential, because on your own you prove that this experience has its merits.

It was Melbourne Cup Day and I had to
go to hydrotherapy instead of the usual
Fancy Hat Luncheon and Cup Sweep
my children phoned to say they had got me
Cup Sweep tickets at their workplaces
so I turned on the TV and for ambiance I
prepared the incense and some music
put on my huge black beach hat
and with half a glass of wine I sat
to enjoy my horses coming first
at that point my black cat Midnight flew out
obviously scared of my black hat but
returned immediately and spent the afternoon
poised opposite me on the lounge, staring
I thoroughly enjoyed myself and
one of my horses came third
that was a first for me
in more ways than one
and my spirits were lifted

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Isolation

Black 5, photo by Ana Labate, Santos Brazil, alone timeIt’s so easy to justify isolation as being time alone. When you prefer to be alone rather than being a part of the community and feel intolerant about everything and everyone then it’s a warning sign that all is not well. To ignore that is to toy with serious consequences. Many people would rather suffer than do whatever it takes to heal. Sometimes all it takes is writing about how we feel until the core anger or fear is released. Other times it may take joining a group to share similar interests or hobbies. Another solution is seeing a doctor or therapist to sound out your innermost thoughts. Perhaps there may be a need for a change in diet, exercise, or taking supplements (vitamins). It could be you need medication or anti-depressants under doctor’s supervision. Or all of the above. Whatever it is, don’t let the dysfunction or ill health ruin your life and that of others. Deal with it and turn your life around to be more joyful and fulfilling.

she’s in her eighties and totally alone
full of complaints about her family
whom she feels has abandoned her
over the years she’s had interesting friends
for short periods of time because
she constantly ‘leaves bodies in her wake’
her dysfunctional behaviour shows as
meanness and blame levelled at all ages
any suggestion for therapy or medication
incurred her wrath
then one day as a result of some
medication for vertigo for 2 weeks
she seemed so sane and serene
then she stopped taking the meds and
life was misery again, for her and others
yet she could not see the difference!

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Codependence and pets

My dogs 1, photo by Debbie Miller, Monroe United  States,  love a petWhen we want to live functional lives, a solution is to get a pet. A codependent flips between manipulation, attempts at controlling, and becoming an enabler causing the victim to remain dependent. Codependence and pets means that the need to overwhelm someone with love is then directed to a creature who thrives on such devotion. So the behaviour is diverted to a healthier end. When a mother wishes to avoid being over-protective towards her growing children, I as a therapist recommend that they get a pet. This way the pet will not suffer from too much affection and it will keep her busy looking after and training the pet.

my children were 11 and 12
it was time to let go in order to avoid
too much mothering, or so I thought
so I got a German Shepherd called Kara
who at 6 months couldn’t even walk,
due to an overwhelming fear,
so I taught her to walk and I
loved her and called her my baby
she just bloomed and so did
my kids who were learning
how to be confident and independent
childrearing was a success thanks to
Kara, who I still miss a lot
but now that I’m alone I have a cat, Midnight,
who’s my baby to coo over
much to my adult children’s relief
no doubt!

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New beginnings

behold, photo by Arjun Chennu, Chennai, India, new relationshipsWhen relationships end, either by death or divorce, part of the growth process is how we make new beginnings. We complete our grieving and only then can we accept that it’s over. Some decide to spend time alone to recover from their loss, while others search for a new relationship. Nevertheless, Life goes on and so do we, that’s the way it should be.

every other time he had gone after her
this time he waited for her to come back on her own
and she didn’t!
so he licked his emotional wounds and
got back up from the depths of his depression
“Life goes on” someone had said
and now it was the best thought
as he considered new beginnings
the future was more promising
last time I saw him he was smiling and his life
was so much brighter now
behold, photo by Arjun Chennu, Chennai, India, http://arjmage.blogspot.com

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Lonely

lonely, photo by Hipolito Alonso, Rio Gallegos,  Argentina, alone, singleHuman beings have an innate need to belong. This includes being in a union with a significant other and groups such as family, friends, community, work. Happiness also comes as a result of activities carried out alone such as walking and meditation. Then again sometimes being alone can bring on feeling lonely. This may not last long but it is a feeling which is unsettling. Nevertheless, without this feeling we would not socialise, so it has its value even though it is a nuisance.

it was a relatively happy day for me
then out of the blue I felt lonely
so I sat with the feeling for a moment
am I isolating? have I socialised lately?
then I realised that I am faced with a
necessary but unpleasant task to do now
which made me miss having fun with others
so feeling lonely was more manageable than
feeling self pity!
better get on with it I guess and
if I still feel lonely I’ll call someone

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