Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Women Who Love Too Much

Excerpt from "Women Who Love Too Much" by Robin Norwood from pgs 6-8
"... it's important to understand, however, that what all unhealthy families have in common is their inability to discuss root problems. There may be other problems that are discussed, often ad nauseum, but these often cover up the underlying secrets that make the family dysfunctional. It is the degree of secrecy--the inability to talk about the problems--rather than their severity, that defines both how dysfunctional a family becomes and how severely its members are damaged.

A dysfunctional family is one in which members play rigid roles and in which communication is severely restricted to statements that fit these roles. Members are not free to express full range of experience, wants, needs, and feelings, but rather must limit themselves to playing that part which accommodates those played by other family members...  In dysfunctional families, major aspects of reality are denied, and roles remain rigid.

When no one can discuss what affects every family member individually as well as the family as a whole--indeed, when such discussion is forbidden implicitly (the subject is changed) or explicitly ("We don't talk about those things!")--we learn not to believe in our own perceptions or feelings. Because our family denies our reality, we begin to deny it, too. And this severely impairs the development of our basic tools for living life and for relating to people and situations. It is this basic impairment that operates in women who love too much.

We become unable to discern when someone or something is not good for us. The situations and people that others would naturally avoid as dangerous, uncomfortable, or unwholesome do not repel us, because we have no way of evaluating them realistically or self-protectively. We do not trust our feelings, or use them to guide us. Instead, we are actually drawn to the very dangers, intrigues, dramas, and challenges that others with healthier and more balanced backgrounds would naturally eschew.

And through this attraction we are further damaged, because much of what we are attracted to is a replication of what we lived with growing up. We get hurt all over again.

5 Ways to Detach

While we're on the subject of Codependency and Detachment, I thought I'd write an article to help myself and you, my reader, in detaching from anything and everything necessary to live a happy, full and complete life. Let's start by making a list of things we may need to detach from as we venture on this journey of healing and recovery.

We may need to detach from any of the following: (Add your own too!!!)
  • The opinions of other people in reference to our right to have and express our own individual needs.
  • The opinions of other people relative to our behaviors, reactions, decisions within our relationships.
  • The opinions of others regarding what we need in our relationships.
  • The opinions of others regarding whom we should spend time with or not.
  • The opinions of others regarding choices we make to attend certain events or not.
  • The opinions of others regarding our healing journey.
  • The opinions of others regarding our personal rights.
  • The opinions of others regarding our enthusiasm and vibrancy.
  • The opinions of others regarding how we live.
  • The opinions of others regarding our needs in relationship and connection.
  • The drama that other people bait us to engage in.
  • The games people want us to play. 

5 Ways to Detach

1. Detach as a Mental Meditation

Just like the meditation practice of letting thoughts go by like clouds, you can detach from the opinions of others by letting them go. Don't judge yourself for caring about what the person thinks, has said or is saying, but rather, notice the thoughts and feelings, and just allow them to be there. Let these feelings or ruminations pass overhead in the sky like so many clouds. Watch the opinions of others pass you by. That feels good just writing it! #deepbreath #sigh

 2. Detach Emotionally

There are some things that can be known in the mind, but that don't quite penetrate the emotional part of us, our Inner Child. Detaching emotionally may require a few different things, such as expressing your feelings about the situation, talking to a safe friend, writing, journaling, doing art or doing some form of movement such as yoga, karate or dance. Maybe singing is your thing? Whatever it is, allow your inner child to express his or her feelings of sadness, fear, loneliness (sometimes it's lonely to stand up to others and not seek agreement from loved ones). Allow your Inner Child to let go in his or her time, all the while allowing your Healthy Adult Self to gently lead the way.

3. Detach by Self Validation

Validating yourself is a way of reparenting yourself using positive affirmations, self talk and I AM statements. Validating yourself is the process of telling yourself that "it's okay to let go." or perhaps, "That person is lashing out because of what's going on inside of them, don't take it personally." or "Your needs are valid. You have a right to need what you need regardless of what that lady thinks." or "Way to go! You just validated your need and asserted a boundary. You rock!" Self validation is about underscoring your own truth just like a healthy parent would.

4. Detach by Distraction

So often when we're addicted to people pleasing or getting the approval of others, we become almost obsessed to getting the consensus of those who are important to us. One way to override the obsessive rumination and fear of not pleasing others is to distract yourself with some other activity. Perhaps you can exercise, call a friend, go shopping or practice visualization techniques. Whatever it takes to get your mind off the person or people from whom you are detaching.

5. Detach by Your Higher Power

Admit to your Higher Power that you are powerless to the desire to get everyone to agree with you, to like you, to be pleased with you. Release this need to your Higher Power by doing a Step 1 and reciting the serenity prayer. "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the power to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."Your higher power will carry you through... God is stronger than your habit of people pleasing, fixing and rescuing others.

These are all healthy ways to detach from the drama and unhealthy, toxic behaviors of yourself and others. The more we detach from unhealthy relating, the more free we will be to allow good, nourishing people and experiences into our lives.

Here's to YOU. :)

Monday, August 29, 2016

Who Cares What She Thinks?

I have always been overly concerned about what other people think about me and my life. I know I'm not the only one who does this, but I'm definitely one of the few people who will admit this to the world. It's hard to admit. I am a recovering People Pleaser and I've been trained since infancy to seek approval and validation not from within, but externally from others.
  • I was not taught to trust in my own intuition.
  • I was not taught to determine my own values.
  • I was not taught that I had a right to set my own values.
  • I was not taught that I had a right to make my own decisions.
  • I was not taught that I had the ability to make sound decisions.
  • I was not taught that I have a right to preferences in how others treat me.
  • I was not taught that I have a right to expect others to treat my body with respect.
  • I was not taught that I have needs.
  • I was not taught that my feelings matter.
  • I was not taught that I matter. 
  • I was not taught that I have a right to express my needs.
  • I was not taught that I could be loved without subjugating myself to the will of another person.
  • I was not taught that I could be imperfect and still be loved.
  • I was not taught that I could trust my own inner knowing. 
  • I was not taught that I deserve to be validated.
  • I was not taught that I deserve to speak and be heard.
  • I was not taught that I have any rights to human dignity.  
When I was a child, I was not connected to myself. I was emotionally and physically abused. This childhood trauma was chronic throughout my formative years--from age 0 to 7 years old. I was beaten and punished for playing with toys and for having normal feelings. I was taught to be ashamed of my truth.
  • I was taught to distrust my inner voice. 
  • I was taught that my inner voice was invalid, incorrect and very bad. 
  • I was taught to be ashamed of who I am. 
  • I was taught that I was valuable, only if I was perfect.
  • I was taught that I had to earn love based on conditions.
  • I was taught that I was not enough to be loved on my own, that I had to perform to earn love.
  • I was taught that other people know better than me about my life.
  • I was taught that the opinions of others are far more important than my own opinions.
  • I was taught that I am too stupid to know what to do.
  • I was taught that my feelings were bad, wrong, shameful.
  • I was taught that I would be punished if I took-up for myself. 
This training that I received in childhood has caused a lot of problems for me throughout my life.
  • It has caused me to betray myself and look to others as my soul source of solutions. 
  • It has caused me to have internal conflict regarding the smallest decisions. 
  • It has caused me to follow the advice of other people to my own detriment. 
  • It has caused me to abandon myself and treat myself poorly.  
  • It has caused me to seek out advice from other people who were seeking to control and manipulate me.
  • It has caused me to think that abuse is love.
  • It has caused me to trust untrustworthy people.
  • It has caused me to feel pain, despair and depression.
  • It has caused me to love too much.
  • It has caused me to follow another person's advice even when it was totally wrong for me.
The point of this article is to say, WHO CARES WHAT SHE THINKS!?!?! Because of this rotten upbringing that I endured, this backwards training, I still have some tendencies to put the opinions of others ahead of my own. I haven't completely come to realize how right I am and how wrong it is for me to put the opinions of any other person ahead of my own regarding how I am to live my life, who I am to love, how I am to expect to be treated, and what I will tolerate in relationships. There is really nobody better than me to make decisions for my life.

There is no one better than me to make my life decisions. My goal is to continue detaching from the need to get the approval of others before I make decisions, and before I validate my own needs, feelings, wants, desires and preferences. Nobody knows better than me what is best for me. Nobody but God has the reigns over my life. I am detaching from caring what anybody else thinks about me and my personal business. This is not a group effort. I am me and I know who I am, what I want and what I need.

It was not my fault that my step father was cruel to me. It was not my fault they did not know how to raise a child. It is not my fault they tried to squash my spirit and take me out. But it is my job to tell myself today that I am correct. My feelings are correct. My needs are correct. My decisions are correct. My passions are correct. Everything about me is alright, okay, supposed to be here. There is no question about it and it doesn't matter what she thinks, or he thinks or they think, or anyone else for that matter. It's my life and I'm living it. Anything but respect for who I am and what I need is invalidation and I will set boundaries (both internally and externally) against it. Hereye Hereyeeee. #muahs

Standing In Your Own Column of Light

Someone once told me to "stand in my own column of light" in reference to a relationship issue I was having at the time. This phrase stuck with me and I've expanded the concept to assist me in healing from codependent thought patterns and relationship habits. I'm using the concept of STANDING IN MY OWN COLUMN OF LIGHT to define the separation process required to self differentiate and become my own person. I'll be using this term a lot in future videos and articles.

Standing in your own column of light, is an analogy that I'm using to describe the process of recovering from codependency and relational enmeshment. Caring too much. Loving too much. Living for others. Seeking external validation. The process of tearing yourself away from codependent attachments, enmeshments and toxic caretaking and rescuing of others.

When you are raised in a less-than-nurturing environment, you are not able to develop a full, mature and self supplying identity. Your identity becomes toxic-bound to your caretakers and the child ends up becoming either narcissistic or codependent depending on the level of abuse, dysfunction, neglect and/or abandonment by the primary caretaker. Neither type of person can maintain their own "column of light," or stand on their own, be their own person without the support of external validation. 5 Ways to Detach.

In simple terms, the narcissist depends on narcissistic supply from others to maintain self esteem, whereas the codependent depends on giving narcissistic supply to others to maintain self esteem. Both narcissists and codependents have a problem with being themselves, nurturing themselves, protecting themselves and functioning without external validation.

Healing from the enmeshment of is necessary if you want to become your own person. Which means, healing from being dependent on the approval of others, and healing from the need to control others and make them like you, and healing from the need to feel responsible for other people at the expense of self.

This to me is the healing that is required if you wish to stand in your own column of light. You have to let go of attachments to things outside of self, and learn to get your emotional supplies from within. This means, you have to help yourself to attach to your higher self, or higher power within, and you have to learn to operate completely from self--with or without the need of the approval or validation of others. 


Your Own Column of Light
is held in place
by healthy detachment. 
The only way to stand in your own column of light and be your own person is through the process of healthy detachment. As a codependent, we take too much responsibility for the feelings of others, and we try to control the opinions that other people have of us. We try to earn love by pleasing others since we, as codependents don't feel worthy of love in and of ourselves. We do all sorts of unhealthy things as codependents, like trying to control other people with our own caring and then resenting them for not caring back. We try to get our personal supplies externally through the approval of others. We try to get other people to make our decisions for us. We try to get other people to do the heavy-lifting in our lives, then turn around and resent them for it. We must learn healthy detachment.

Part of the healing process is what I'm going to call detaching from the "Caring Attachment." You must detach from unhealthy attachments if you want to be your own person and stand in your own column of light. By attachment, I mean CARING. Part of the healing process involves NOT CARING as much as you did before about things that are outside of your own Column of Light. You must learn to recognize where these unhealthy caring attachments are in your relationships with yourself and others.

Example of Unhealthy Caring Attachments
  • Caring about what other people think about your life's decisions. 
  • Caring about someone so much that you ignore the fact they're abusive towards you.
  • Caring about someone who is totally and completely disregarding you.
  • Caring about how you look to the extent that you avoid being social with others. 
  • Caring about someone who is ignoring your basic human relationship needs. 
  • Caring about someone who does not respect your boundaries. 
  • Caring about someone and sacrificing for someone who is rude and disrespectful to you. 
  • Caring what someone else thinks about your personal relationship choices. 
  • Caring what someone says about your body, mind, possessions and making adjustments accordingly.
 There is nothing wrong with having compassion. There is nothing wrong with empathy. However, there is something very wrong about caring--caring to the extent that you make decisions relative to your caring for others that are detrimental to yourself.

As a recovering codependent, it is so easy for me to relate to this caring attachment. My family of origin was highly codependent and they all cared about each other way too much. I was taught to put others before myself. I was taught that it was selfish to think of myself first, and that it was noble to put others before me. I was taught this by my parents, by society, by the church. No where in my upbringing was I taught to care about myself first. However, unless you learn to loosen your care and concern for others, you are doomed to cave in on yourself.  Just like you need to put the oxygen mask on yourself first before you try to save anyone else, you need to put yourself first, and care about yourself first before you can care about others.

This means that you detach from caring about people and people's opinions and attach to your own thoughts and feelings that are relevant for your life. This is a difficult task, especially if you've been taught that your needs should always come last. If you've been taught that you should care about what everyone thinks over what you think, then it's time for you to LET GO and CATCH YOURSELF. It's time to detach from giving so much care at the expense of yourself.

This is one way to stand in your own column of light. Just DETACH.
  • Detach from ruminating about the opinions of others.
  • Detach from trying to please someone who keeps changing their mind about your life.
  • Detach from making everyone else happy but yourself.
  • Detach from giving a rip about what other people think about your lifestyle.
  • Detach from trying to make other people love you.
  • Detach from trying to impress others.
  • Detach from trying to prove yourself to anyone.
  • Detach from pleasing other people.  
  • Detach from caring, from giving and from using your over-love to make up for your own perceived flaws. 
This is a really difficult concept to convey. I hope I've done it justice. In my heart, I feel a tearing. A tearing, like a tearing of flesh, but more in the emotional realm. I feel an emotional tearing away of my attachments to people, places and things. I feel myself separating, becoming a single person--yet a part of the whole, someone who is gradually re-learning how to think for myself and care more about my own opinions, values, judgments than I do about any others. It's not fun, but I'm making progress. I hope this helps you too.


Елена Никешичева Hard to write but excellent! For me it's very useful to remember that fear and attachment are related in the amygdala. That's why it is so difficult not to help, not to please, not to resque. I did it to survive. And now I mustn't do it to live as a normal human.

Danielle Excellent article. Although I am not Buddhist I have been reading a lot about Buddhism and the art of non attachment. No doubt I have a negative/anxious attachment style so even the thought of non attachment makes me a little nervous but I feel such peace within myself when I just let go of outcomes and mindfully practice non attachment. Thx for sharing

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Self Knowledge and dealing with Negativity (Video Series by Robert Najemy)

Self Knowledge and dealing with Negativity 1 Self Knowledge and dealing with Negativity 2 Self Knowledge and dealing with Negativity 3 Self Knowledge and dealing with Negativity 4 Self Knowledge and dealing with Negativity 5 Self Knowledge and dealing with Negativity 6 Self Knowledge and dealing with Negativity 7