The Codependent's Dilemma with Boundary Violations and DisrespectThis article is for anyone who has trouble maintaining equal relationships. I wrote most of it while I was in line at Starbucks this morning. Hahaha! Eureka, all these realizations started coming: boom, boom, boom. Below you will find 25 reasons why and how you abandon, blame, and disrespect yourself in your close relationships. Please leave a comment and let me know that I am not alone in these self-destructive, twisted thoughts and behavior.
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This article pokes fun, but Codependency is a serious issue rooted in childhood conditioning that causes you to deny yourself and give your power away. The list of 25 Reasons Why You Let People Treat You Like Shit below shows you exactly how you're unconsciously screwing yourself and allowing yourself to be screwed.
A codependent person tends to merge with others in relationship and fails to maintain ego strength with healthy boundaries and self protective measures. It's nice to know this, but realizing exactly how this occurs in action is a different matter.
A codependent gives too much in relationships and is easy prey (and feels most comfortable) with people who are narcissistic and exploitative. In short, whether we realize it or not, we WANT to be treated like shit, and it's up to us to flush the toilet. We are NOT victims. We're in control of what happens to us. Whatever is on the inside of us manifest on the outside. If we get treated like shit, that means we're doing it to ourselves first. We must go inside and heal our core wounds by releasing the frozen emotions and uprooting the negative core beliefs and uncovering our true, authentic selves.
Recovery from codependency is hard; it requires extensive examination and reclamation of your personal worth and value. If you want to recover your sense of self and operate in a way that garners respect, you must learn to respect yourself. You must stop putting other people ahead of yourself and start seeing yourself as equal. Codependency is a relationship issue that must be healed on every level from the inside out. It may seem like a lost cause, but take it from me--there is hope for healing if you do the work necessary. Don't ever give up.
One issue for the codependent is that he or she is often abused, disrespected, violated and treated like a doormat in personal relationships.The codependent was not taught as a child to value and to protect oneself or to recognize when he or she is being harmed relationally. We protect others from the ramifications of violating our boundaries and disrespecting us. This is a major problem as it invites abuse, mistreatment and disregard from others. The question is, WHY and HOW do we do this?
1. I feel uncomfortable for YOU when you violate my boundaries. My loyalties are maligned due to the conditioning of my childhood. Instead of advocating for myself in my close present day relationships, I advocate for the other person. I minimize my needs in favor of the other. I love too much and it feels like poop.
2. I don't realize when I'm being subtly and sometimes blatantly disrespected. Again, due to conditioning, I do not notice initially when I'm being disrespected. I was not valued as a child, so it feels normal to me, that is, until it gets out-of-hand; which it always does when I fail to set boundaries.
4. I overvalue the relationship at the expense of my dignity. I need and want relationships in my life which is a healthy desire. I don't want to be alone, therefore, I place more value on keeping the connection than I do on protecting myself from being trampled or bull-dozed by abusive or controlling behavior. Technically, this cognitive distortion is caused by Betrayal Blindness that I acquired from childhood trauma.
5. I try to prove myself worthy when disrespected, rather than asserting a boundary. I try to get the other to cooperate instead of standing up. I remind you what a good friend, lover, family member I am. I bring up the ways I care for you and expect the same thing in return. This is at the heart of codependent merging behavior--trying to change how they're thinking instead of thinking for and about myself. And, it doesn't work. The only thing that shows another person you are worthy and valuable is if you ARE worthy and valuable. The only way to be worthy and valuable is if YOU believe it. When you know your worth, there is nothing to prove.
6. I want to believe that someone I love is perfect and would never disrespect me. I pretend the world is Pollyanna and rearrange my reality by believing that someone I care about will not harm me. I live in a fantasy, delusional fairy-tale that ends up being a hellish nightmare rerun. Just because I love someone does not guarantee they will treat me well. I always need to protect myself by setting limits no matter how much I love the person.
7. I assume the other person feels and thinks like me. My goal in relationship is to always think of the other person's feelings, to protect them and keep them safe--this is the codendent's curse. I wrongfully assume that other people have the same standards for me. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. There are mean-spirited, selfish, rotten people out there--and I've been hurt by a lot of them. Still, I ignore all the warning signs and give myself away. There goes my heart as it runs from my brain.
8. I need the relationship, so I take more than my share of responsibility. I want to keep the relationship intact no matter what. I take responsibility for the other person's behavior instead of staying true to myself. When someone violates my boundaries or disrespects me, I become Mother Theresa and try to fix it. I learned this in childhood to survive. I keep forgetting I don't need it anymore.
9. I don't want to offend anyone, even if they're offensive to me. I am extra careful of stepping on the toes of loved ones out of fear they will abandon me. I don't want to cause them pain, even at my own expense. I try to keep them safe from feeling badly for hurting me by hiding my truth and ignoring my needs. In exchange, that person farts on my head. Gee, thanks--you know who you are. #psyche!
11. I try to validate myself by trying to get you to validate me. Due to childhood conditioning, I feel inherently wrong or invalid. I need validation that I haven't yet learned to give to myself. I've been taught to seek external validation. I try to convince you to validate me by proving to you that you're wrong in disrespecting me. I need the other person to admit that they are the piece of shit, and I am the sweet honeysuckle soap. Why do I need this? That's another article.
12. I am a magnet for people who play power and control games. My relationships are usually based on power and control, however unbeknownst to me. Against my will. I am playing a game that I let them win. I am playing in a game I don't want to play, that I don't know how to play and worse, that I don't even know is being played, yet I always end up the loser. The cards were counted long ago.
13. I over-empathize with others. I take responsibility for the other person's feelings while abandoning mine. I feel more uncomfortable for the other person than I do for myself, even when I'm being abused, discounted, rejected, disregarded or ignored. I have an overabundance of empathy for the other person and zero for me; even when no empathy is being shown towards me. This is the victim role that promises heaven but takes me to hell.
14. I automatically assume that others are right and I am wrong. When I am being violated, my first thought is that I am wrong in some way. I am wrong for feeling hurt. I am wrong for expecting respect. The confusion of not knowing which end is up keeps me from asserting myself.
15. I don't know what respectful behavior feels like. The concept of being respected for who I am is foreign to me. I feel like I have to fight for my own identity by convincing others to validate me. I don't have an internal working model of relating in a healthy, respectful and self-affirming way. My only guide is the mistakes that I have made and my desperation to know true love.
16. I become entangled with narcissistic, selfish and exploitative people. I have been taught to put my head on the chopping block. I allow myself to be used. I am blind to the grooming phase of narcissistic, blood-sucking behavior. I am most comfortable being a victim. I've been taught to be selfless in response to the selfishness; to value giving myself away more than holding onto my power. The universe keeps bringing me what I do not realize I am asking for...
17. I feel uncomfortable when someone else feels uncomfortable for disrespecting me. I take too much responsibility for other people's feelings. I am so busy trying to help the other feel okay, that I neglect how I feel or what I need. Instead of using my energy to take care of myself, I use it to protect the other person from feeling badly about hurting me. I hide my own truth and keep quiet instead of standing up. I am more emotionally attuned to the other person than I am to my own self. I love others with all my heart, then they take my heart away.
18. I ignore actions that show that the other person is un-empathetic. I am not cognizant of my right to be heard, understood and respected. When someone is un-empathetic and invalidating towards me, instead of setting a boundary, I work harder trying to convince that person to feel for me. It's like I get stuck on this sentence. "This is not the way it's supposed to be. This is why and how you are hurting me, don't you agree?" I try to lay it out so they will understand... Ah, the bloodletting.
19. I am trained to seek agreement with the other as to what is right and wrong. I do not decide for myself. I withhold judgment of what actions are devaluing, degrading or abusive (unless it's a blatant slap in the face). I seek consensus before taking action on my own behalf. This powerlessness keeps me in the victim-cycle. I wrongfully think that unless I get agreement from the other party, I do not have the right to assert myself. I seek approval from the one who is being disrespectful as to whether they're being disrespectful. Can you guess their response?
20. I fail to set boundaries. I don't set boundaries because 1.) I want to please the other person; 2.) I don't want to be rejected; 3.) I am out of touch with my own needs and feelings; and 4.) I often don't know how, when or where to assert myself effectively. My lack of boundaries cause other people to disrespect me and the cycle continues...
21. I feel guilty when I assert boundaries. I feel guilty when I have to set boundaries to protect myself from the other. I feel guilty for not being able to give the other person whatever it is they want from me, even if what they want is to devalue, control and take away my power. When I must set a boundary, instead of realizing my own worth and value, I feel guilty for not being able to provide the other person what he or she wants, even if what is wanted is harmful to me. Self abandonment at its finest.
22. I blame myself whenever someone else treats me poorly. Instead of asserting a healthy boundary, I second guess myself and question whether I have the right to feel, think or behave as I do. I minimize the offense as a way of taking full responsibility for the other person's poor treatment of me. Blaming myself is the way I learned to stay safe as a child, when it wasn't safe to be assertive.
23. I fear being abandoned and rejected. I wrongfully think that I need connection with the other more than I need connection with myself. I disrespect my truth by succumbing to fear of rejection and abandonment that is left over from when I was little and would die without love. I allow others to treat me in a substandard way in order to keep them in my life. I'm stuck in my old story. I don't realize that I have a self or any power of my own because up until now, I've given everything away for nothing.
24. I feel inherently flawed in relationships, so I try to make up for it by overlooking disrespect. I have been taught that I am bad or wrong, and this spills over into how I see myself in relationships. When you disrespect me, my first thought is that I have done something wrong to deserve maltreatment. Instead of advocating on my own behalf, I take your side against me. This shame keeps me tolerating what deep down I feel I deserve.
25. I feel uncomfortable with equal relationships. I feel most at ease when I am the one who is doing most of the giving. When I'm the one who gives the most, I feel like I have the upper-hand. Giving more is a way for me to control your image of me. I overcompensate because I have a faulty understanding of my own worth and value to myself and to others.
Instead of setting boundaries, I try to make the other person feel guilty for hurting me. Since I never learned that I had a right to set boundaries, the only tactic I know of that may actually work is to try to make the other person feel guilty for treating me like shit. Note to self: You're out of toilet paper.
I share my truth with people who are unsafe. My psyche is numb to the dangers of unsafe people, so I allow them to get too close. I am vulnerable to toxic people as a sort of "repetition compulsion" in order to get something from them that I desperately needed, but couldn't get in my childhood. I'm compelled to depend on the undependable. The stench is unbearable.
I am turned-off by nice, healthy people. People who will love me unconditionally and treat me well have less appeal than the charming, glossy manipulators who feed me with flattery and promise me sandcastles. I'm not comfortable with the seeming dullness of reality. I wrongfully think that I am not able to receive healthy love.
I am looking for the perfect savior. I'm looking for someone (a parent) to come and save me rather than taking responsibility for myself. Instead of grounding in my own mature, adult power, I give it all away like a helpless child to all the wrong people. When someone lets me down I can stay the good-gal by blaming them for hurting me instead of being responsible. I'm ever looking out for the one who will finally keep my boundaries intact and who will tell me who I am. Will you be my mother? My savior is me.
We learn codependent behavior from our caretakers in childhood who learned this in their childhood, and on and on. I learned to relate codependently as a survival technique. In order to maintain connection with my primary caretakers, which I needed to survive and develop, I learned to deny my own needs and focus on their needs. I learned to be hyper-aware of what the other person needs instead of focusing on my own needs. This survival technique served me well, for here I am... However, this way of relating is detrimental to having healthy relationships as an adult. Putting the needs of others over myself and denying my own needs to accommodate other people is self abandonment; it causes confusion, pain and turmoil. Now that I'm aware, I can reinforce my own needs by realizing that my own personal dignity trumps any and all relationships with others.
*Why do I let people treat me like crap?
*Why do people treat me badly?