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!

Touch to stay alive

Danny and Me, photo by Joe DeCarlo, Sparksville, United States,  love therapyWithout touch babies have been known to die, that’s why attachment in the early years of childhood is so important. We need touch to stay alive. To touch and be touched is the necessity of life. That’s why one of the methods of torture or punishment has been isolation, it can make a person go crazy. It is important to teach children from a young age that sulking (withdrawal) is counter-productive to having their needs and wants met. Communicating what they are feeling is vital to their own wellbeing and future relationship development.

they argued constantly
from early morning and then
when he came home from work
late into the night
sometimes they wouldn’t talk for days
sulking so badly that you could
cut the air with a knife, so to speak
I often wondered how they managed
to get through the day in such an
atmosphere of bitterness and misery
with no touching
then after 13 years they divorced
and took their dysfunctional behaviour
to their new separate relationships
which did not last long either
we need touch to stay alive
in more ways than one

Formative years

Baby, photo by Kathryn McCallum, Orlando, United States, nurturing chilhoodWhen a child is born we have a huge responsibility to be nurturing and caring especially for its formative years because it is so vulnerable and precious. That initial treatment has long-lasting benefits. However, should those childhood experiences be traumatic and filled with abuse or neglect, then there are serious consequences to the child’s growth. Such trauma can cause low self esteem in a person, resulting in them turning to feelgoods to cope better. Such feelgoods as becoming addicted to substances or processes to fill the void inside and ease the pain.

as they cuddled their new born baby
their gentleness and love showed
I knew how long they had waited
now they planned their parenting skills
not too fussy and overprotective
nor too busy and emotionally absent
so important to get a good balance
careful not to treat the baby as a toy
make sure there is a routine so
the baby gets proper rest and yet
ensuring that limits are set early on
they knew that these are
the formative years for
good self esteem and healthy living