Twisted Codependent Thinking
Looking at things in absolute, black and white categories. "Either / or" thinking.
3. Mental Filter:
4. Self discount:
5. Jumping to conclusion:
7. Emotional reasoning;
9. Self labeling:
10. Personalizing and blame:
Here is that longer version:
You see things in black-or-white categories. If a situation falls short of perfect, you see it as a total failure. When a young woman on a diet ate a spoonful of ice cream, she told herself, "I've blown my diet completely." This thought upset her so much that she gobbled down an entire quart of ice cream!
You see a single negative event, such as a romantic rejection or career reversal, as a never-ending pattern of defeat by using words such as "always" or "never" when you think about it. A depressed salesman became terribly upset when he noticed bird dung on the windshield of his car. He told himself, "Just my luck! Birds are always crapping on my car!"
You pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it exclusively, so that your vision of all reality becomes darkened, like the drop of ink that discolors a beaker of water. Example: You receive many positive comments about your presentation to a group of associates at work, but one of them says something mildly critical. You obsess about his reaction for days and ignore all the positive feedback.
Discounting the positive
You reject positive experiences by insisting they "don't count." If you do a good job, you may tell yourself that it wasn't good enough or that anyone could have done as well. Discounting the positive takes the joy out of life and makes you feel inadequate and unrewarded.
Jumping to conclusions
You interpret things negatively when there are no facts to support your conclusion. Mind reading: Without checking it out, you arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you. Fortune-telling: You predict that things will turn out badly. Before a test you may tell yourself, "I'm really going to blow it. What if I flunk?" If you're depressed you may tell yourself, "I'll never get better."
You exaggerate the importance of your problems and shortcomings, or you minimize the importance of your desirable qualities. This is also called the "binocular trick."
You assume that your negative emotions necessarily reject the way things really are: "I feel terrified about going on airplanes. It must be dangerous to fly." Or "I feel guilty. I must be a rotten person." Or "I feel angry. This proves I'm being treated unfairly." Or "I feel so inferior. This means I'm a second-rate person." Or "I feel hopeless. I must really be hopeless."
You tell yourself that things should be the way you hoped or expected them to be. After playing a difficult piece on the piano, a gifted pianist told herself, "I shouldn't have made so many mistakes." This made her feel so disgusted that she quit practicing for several days. "Musts," "oughts" and "have tos" are similar offenders.
"Should statements" that are directed against yourself lead to guilt and frustration. Should statements that are directed against other people or the world in general lead to anger and frustration: "He shouldn't be so stubborn and argumentative."
Many people try to motivate themselves with shoulds and should'ts, as if they were delinquents who had to be punished before they could be expected to do anything. "I shouldn't eat that doughnut." This usually doesn't work because all these shoulds and musts make you feel rebellious and you get the urge to do just the opposite. Dr. Alber Ellis has called this "musterbation." I call it the "shouldy" approach to life.
Labeling is an extreme form of all-or-nothing thinking. Instead of saying "I made a mistake," you attach a negative label to yourself: "I'm a loser." You might also label yourself "a fool" or "a failure" or "a jerk." Labeling is quite irrational because you are not the same as what you do. Human beings exist, but "fools," "losers," and "jerks" do not. These labels are just useless abstractions that lead to anger, anxiety, frustration, and low self-esteem.
You also label others. When someone does something that rubs you the wrong way, you may tell yourself: "He's an S.O.B." Then you feel that the problem is with that person's "character" or "essence" instead of with their thinking or behavior. You see them as totally bad. This makes you feel hostile and hopeless about improving things and leaves little room for constructive communication.
Personalization and blame
Personalization occurs when you hold yourself personally responsible for an event that isn't entirely under your control. When a woman received a note that her child was having difficulties at school, she told herself, "This shows what a bad mother I am," instead of trying to pinpoint the cause of the problem so that she could be helpful to her child. When another woman's husband beat her, she told herself, "If only I were better in bed, he wouldn't beat me." Personalization leads to guilt, shame, and feelings of inadequacy.
Some people do the opposite. They blame other people or their circumstances for their problems, and they overlook ways that they might be contributing to the problem: "The reason my marriage is so lousy is because my spouse is totally unreasonable." Blame usually doesn't work very well because other people will resent being scapegoated and they will just toss the blame right back into your lap. Its like the game of hot potato - no one wants to get stuck with it.
One Day at a Time
You can get through dark situations, too. You can take care of yourself and trust yourself. Trust God. Go as far as you can see, and by the time you get there, you'll be able to see farther.
It's called One Day at a Time." - The Language of Letting Go
The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie is a great daily meditation book that is full of Love and great insight. A invaluable resource in recovery - every recovering codependent should have a copy.
As a Person I have the Right to:
Refuse requests without feeling guilty.
Be competent and be proud of my accomplishments.
Feel and express anger.
Ask for affection and help (may be turned down, but can ask.)
Be treated as a capable adult.
Be illogical in making decisions.
Make mistakes - and be responsible for them.
Change my mind.
Say, "I don't know."
Say, "I don't agree."
Say, "I don't care."
Offer no reasons or excuses for justifying my behavior.
Have my opinions be given respect.
Have my needs be as important as the needs of others.
Tell someone what my needs are (they may not care to do anything about it.)
Evaluate my own behavior, thoughts, and emotions and be responsible for their initiation and the consequences upon myself.
Take pride in my body and define attractiveness in my own terms.
Grow, learn, change - value my age and experience.
And sometimes to make demands on others.
The individual Growth / Recovery Process
In Dance 2, I talk about the growth process as being an upwardly spiraling process - and use an example from my Trilogy where my Unicorn / Higher Self and I are discussing the Medicine Wheel. Sacred Circles are not really circles at all - they symbolize levels in a Sacred Spiral that is spiraling upward in a circular pattern.
A Unicorns horn spirals out of it's forehead - out of the Third Eye Chakra
of Spiritual Vision.
I mention the upwardly spiraling nature of the growth process briefly in my February Update this year. Here are a few lines from the quote I used in Dance 23 from that Update - along with an excerpt from later in on that page.
"The thing that I wanted to share here about the Spiritual growth process, is that a measure of a person's Spiritual growth, of the level of enlightenment / consciousness they have reached, is not how high they feel when feeling their best, but how high they feel when feeling their worst. . . . .The dance of wounded souls is a vibrational dance of energy governed by mathematical, musical laws of energy interaction - one of which is the Octave Principle.
We are all experiencing a Spiritual evolutionary process which is unfolding perfectly and always has been. Everything is unfolding perfectly according to Divine plan, in alignment with precise, mathematically, musically attuned laws of energy interaction.
In my book, words, phrases, sentences that I felt were exceptionally important were italicized (although the ones in the Swan story were italicized as they were in the Medicine Card book - and in writing this, I realized that for much of this writing frenzy I have not inserted the italics in the quotes that I have used - oh well.) The basis for this quote about laws of energy interaction is something that I wrote in my Trilogy at least 10 - and possibly as long as 14 - years ago.
"The energy patterns of interaction with the Illusion are governed by precise mathematical formula. The language of mathematics as presently understood by humans does not, however, have a large enough perspective to include all of the levels of multi-dimensional interaction. In other words, mathematical formulas now known to humans can be applied to many of the interactions within the Illusion but not to all."Multiple levels which reflect each other." As above so below. As within so without. The macrocosm is a reflection of the microcosm and vice versa.
"Due to the planetary conditions, the human ego developed a belief in separation - which is what made violence possible and caused the human condition as we inherited it. The reflection of that human condition on the individual level is the disease of Codependence. Codependence is caused by the ego being traumatized and programed in early childhood so that our relationship with ourselves and the God-Force is dysfunctional - that is, it does not work to help us access the Truth of ONENESS and Love. It is through healing our relationship with ourselves that we open our inner channel and start tuning into the Truth." - Jesus & Christ ConsciousnessPlanetary conditions caused polarization which brought about reversity which caused humans to develop a black and white, shame based perspective of life. That created the war within that is codependence. The war within gets reflected back outward.
I started writing my book about the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001 a few days after watching the towers of the World Trade Center crumble in explosions of dust and debris. I started writing because it was such an obvious manifestation of codependency from my perspective.
"In my definition codependence is not some term of pop psychology. It is a word that for me describes not only individual human behavioral defenses, but the human condition itself. It is really a lousy word for that purpose - but it is the word I have.The short quote I used within the quote from my February Update came from an article in my emotional honesty and responsibility series. Here is a little larger excerpt.
"In my first attempt at this article it spiraled off into the realm of Metaphysics - specifically an explanation of the vibrational dynamics of the growth process from an energetic perspective. An explanation of how our repeating patterns are in fact a reflection of the Octave Principle (do, re, me, fa, etc.) in energy interactions dynamics. In our disease we keep repeating the same octave over and over again - and sometimes even descending to lower octaves. In recovery we are spiraling upward to new levels - so that each "do" feels somewhat like the "do" before it, but in reality reflects a higher vibrational level - a Higher level of consciousness, a more enlightened perspective. . . . .
"Of course part of the reason that I was willing to make the changes which have resulted in the lifestyle changes and weight loss, was the processing I did in my October Update. That processing started the paradigm shifting. Touching on the deeper level of pain and terror in relationship to my fear of intimacy issues started the energy moving in a new direction, started a domino effect that would result in the breakthrough I just had. It caused enough of a shift for me to become willing to start shedding some of my defensive armor. Even though I ran away from the issues terrified on one level, I knew I would get back to it and that it was crucial. I knew the process would unfold perfectly, that I just had to go with the flow and pay attention.In our growth we have relative highs and lows within a process that is moving forward / spiraling upward over time. The closest I have ever seeing this depicted in a chart was in Healing the Child Within by Charles Whitfield.
I would depict it a little differently than this, primarily to represent the major breakthroughs / milestones a little better, and to show the line being drawn as moving in a spiraling pattern as it spirals up through levels - that is spiraling horizontally as it moves in an upwardly spiraling pattern vertically - but I think it gives you a visual of basically what I am talking about.
I am going to be using references to our upwardly spiraling growth process in future installments of this processing - to explain the dynamics of our relationship patterns among other things - but the primary reason for focusing so much of this page on leading up to and explaining the dynamics of the growth process is to remind you and me of the Truth of Grace.
A "state of Grace" is the condition of being Loved unconditionally by our Creator without having to earn that Love. We are Loved unconditionally by the Great Spirit. What we need to do is to learn to accept that state of Grace.
The way we do that is to change the attitudes and beliefs within us that tell us that we are not Lovable. And we cannot do that without going through the black hole. The black hole that we need to surrender to traveling through is the black hole of our grief. The journey within - through our feelings - is the journey to knowing that we are Loved, that we are Lovable.
It is through willingness and acceptance, through surrender, trust, and faith, that we can begin to own the state of Grace which is our True condition.
We are all beautiful swans who exist in a state of Grace, in a condition of being unconditionally Loved. The dance of Recovery is a process of learning to accept and integrate the Truth of Grace into our lives.
This is not a test we can fail. This is not prison, and we are not being punished. This is boarding school and we do get to go home when we graduate - when the curtain rings down on our part in this particular play.
This is the age of awakening, of raising our consciousness, of becoming aligned with Divine Truth. This age is the time of atoning, of tuning into the higher vibrational emotional energy of Love, Light, Truth, and Joy. This higher vibrational energy is the homing beacon that guides us back home.
There is a reason that we never felt at home here. It is because we have felt disconnected, and then when we made all those attempts to reconnect, we were dialing the wrong number. We were looking outside for the answers.
This is not home. This is also not a prison. This is boarding school and we are getting ready for graduation. And it is all a perfect part of the Divine Script.
We are here to experience this human evolutionary process. The more we awaken to the Truth of who we are (Spiritual beings) and why we are here (to experience being human), and stop giving power to the false gods of money, property and prestige; people, places and things; the more we can celebrate being here!
"Anytime I have a chance to speak my Truth, to share the beliefs and knowledge which I so passionately embrace, I get to touch the Divine. I get to be a channel for Love to flow through. (One of the things I want to talk about in this Newsletter is that it can be easier to be a channel for Love to flow through than a receptacle for Love to flow into.)" - Joy to You & Me and Joy2MeU Update10-20-2000Joy2MeU JournalThe Path of one Recovering Codependent ~ the dance of one wounded soul My Unfolding Dance 24 Published November 2003
A couple of months ago I was contacted by the webmaster of the site of Dr. whitfield and his wife - thanking me for recommending his work and letting me know about their website. This is the link I added to the recommended links page:
Whitfield Recovery Resources - Free recovery resources for addiction, PTSD, adult children of dysfunctional families and other childhood trauma from Charles Whitfield MD, author of the best selling book, "Healing the Child Within" (Which I recommend on my Joy2MeU Bookstore page). Spiritual Emergence and awakening help from Barbara Harris Whitfield, author of "Spiritual Awakenings," "Final Passage," and "Full Circle." A free site dedicated to recovering the Whole Person.