Friday, December 26, 2008

Temper tantrum

We have a dog, the dog is kind of neurotic...


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For two years he was the baby of the household. Now he's not. I have a grandbaby (I'm the live in baby sitter), the dog's behavior has changed in way that illustrates non functional boundaries like no other metaphor I can think of.

I've not posted to this blog as often as I used to because my professional life as a Search Engine Copy writer has taken off. The holidays added to my lack of time to devote to this series of blogs I author.

I just had to post this because it's so difficult to describe what bad boundaries are both to someone who has them and even more difficult for people with good boundaries to fathom.

For starters, there isn't such a thing as *bad* boundaries, it's not a cut n dry thing. Just like an gasoline powered engine's spark plug gap is not X amount or it wont work. A spark plug gap is between a given range, closer to too wide and the spark weakens, too close together and the spark is too hot.

A car can run as long as the gap is "within specs".

The dog... I'm digressing.

OK, the dog is NOT jealous of the newborn in the house. The dog is not aggressive, nor is it vindictive, the dog loves the baby, the dog seems to instinctively know that the baby is family.

The dog patiently allows the baby to smack him, pull his ears, the dog is very delicate in it's dealings with the baby (had to get that out of the way)

When I walk the dog however... well, the dog is more "needy" than he used to be.

The dog (my daughters family doesn't want names, not even the dogs name, so in this blog his name is "the dog") behavior is extra childish.

it's as if he's saying: "I deserve special consideration due to my decreased standing in the pecking order"

He misbehaves more, he gets himself off the leash a lot more than he used to.

It's like he's saying to us: "You'd misbehave too if you lost face like me"

kinda reminds me of hearing old timers say: "You'd drink too if you had a wife like mine"

Victim behavior is what you get from less than functional boundaries.

Boundaries are where you end and another person begins.

I'm gonna have to elaborate more after I change my grand babies diaper
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year if I don't hear from you until then

==========
This article is for informational purposes only.
Please contact a licensed professional in your area
if you are in crisis or require mental health services

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Overcoming your Soft Addictions

The holidays are wearing me out, and I'm a grandfather now, a full time grandfather... that's why I've not posted to this blog (or these series of blogs) in over a month.

At least I can say the posts from last month were good.

It's between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I've got a lot to be Thankful for this year.

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I've heard the phrase: "Grateful Alcoholic" in regards to someone recovered from addiction and had a "spiritual awakening". I "sorta" understood in theory how an addict could say that, but since I was a love addict chasing someone who was going to cheat no matter who they were with (I learned to not take it personally, she was an 'equal opportunity cheater'), the thought of being grateful for living in abject misery (depression bordering on suicidal)... I thought it was bullshit.

Now that's not true, I *KNEW* others could pull that off, Mother Teresa types, but not in the real world where I lived:)

This created within me something NLP calls MetaShame, that is before you were fucked up and unaware, a kind of ignorant bliss, now you find out the *source* of your shame, and you know damn well you aren't going to be able to do shit about that one.

So now you're ashamed of BEING ashamed, catch 22 doesn't even come close to describing this pile of shit.

This is like 'quiting smoking' or you're not really clean and sober.

Substituting addictions? get real, you can quit heroin, crack, alcohol, but quit cigarettes?
Not gonna happen


Fast forward me to today... I love my granddaughter. I love the fact that I AM extended family now, I never had extended family... it's beyond cool.

I was 'bonding' with my son in law, he knows I've had my ups and downs with addictions... he told me something that Blew me Away!

and it was true actually, after I had a chance to ponder it:

He's glad I fucked up back then, he's glad I did exactly what I did, warts and all.

Embarrassing as some of it was for me in the 1990's, he's Grateful to God that everything happened EXACTLY the way it did.

He's not happy I suffered, not happy I was in pain, but and this is THE but.

If everything hadn't happened exactly the way it did, there would be no daughter for him to fall in love with, and no granddaughter to be the apple of both our eyes.

One of the things that I learned from 'bonding' is that he has respect for me that I didn't have, he saw through the addictive lying, rationalizing, the shit that I passed off as " eccentricities " ( House is really an asshole, he's not cool, he's a controlling self absorbed asshole, and I wish I wasn't so much like him)


So.. in retrospect, it wasn't such a bitter pill to swallow after all.

Damn near forgot the thrust of this post was to pitch a book that taught me useful stuff:

Overcoming your Soft Addictions


Overcoming your Soft Addictions



==========
This article is for informational purposes only.
Please contact a licensed professional in your area
if you are in crisis or require mental health services

Victim Behavior is codependent behavior

Victim behavior is learned.


So what!


What are you going to do NOW?

"80% of success is WHY to, not how to" Tony Robbins


"The purpose of having boundaries is to protect and take care of ourselves. We need to be able to tell other people when they are acting in ways that are not acceptable to us. A first step is starting to know that we have a right to protect and defend ourselves. That we have not only the right, but the duty to take responsibility for how we allow others to treat us."

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This is a Great Book for working with Boundaries within your family. What is said here about 'Natural & Logical Consequences' is particularly useful. My heartfelt thanks go out to the middle school counselor that told me about this book 22 years ago, it's called S.T.E.P. or

Systematic Training for Effective Parenting



S.T.E.P.
Basically, if you can't implement Natural and Logical Consequences as described in this book, that is a dead giveaway that you don't have healthy, functional boundaries.

"Setting boundaries is not a more sophisticated way of manipulation - although some people will say they are setting boundaries, when in fact they are attempting to manipulate. The difference between setting a boundary in a healthy way and manipulating is: When we set a boundary we let go of the outcome."

Beyond Codependency by Pia Melody

From the book: "Beyond Codependency" by Melody Beattie
"Setting boundaries is about learning to take care of ourselves, no matter what happens, where we go, or who we're with.

  • Boundaries emerge from deep decisions about what we believe we deserve and don't deserve.

  • Boundaries emerge from belief that what we want and need, like and dislike, is important.

  • Boundaries emerge from a deeper sense of our personal rights, especially the right we have to take care of ourselves and to be ourselves.

  • Boundaries emerge as we learn to value, trust, and listen to ourselves.

  • The goal of having and setting boundaries isn't to build thick walls around ourselves. The purpose is to gain enough security and sense of self to get close to others without the threat of losing ourselves, smothering them, trespassing, or being invaded. Boundaries are the key to loving relationships.

    When we have a sense of self, we'll be able to experience closeness and intimacy. We'll be able to love and to be loved.

    Intimacy, play, and creativity require loss of control. Only when we have boundaries and know we can trust ourselves to enforce them and take care of ourselves, will we be able to let go enough to SOAR. These same activities help develop a sense of self, for it is through LOVE, PLAY, and CREATIVITY that we begin to understand who we are and become reassured we can trust ourselves. Having boundaries means having a self strong, NURTURED, HEALTHY and CONFIDENT enough to LET GO--and come back again INTACT."

    Beyond Codependency by Pia Melodyhttp://search.barnesandnoble.com/Beyond-Codependency/Melody-Beattie/e/9780894865831/?itm=1&afsrc=1&lkid=J27117615&pubid=K144142&byo=1












    ==========
    This article is for informational purposes only.
    Please contact a licensed professional in your area
    if you are in crisis or require mental health services

    Wednesday, October 08, 2008

    People dont want to get better?

    My mother is an L.C.S.W. (Licenced Clinical Social Worker), she's retired now.

    She worked for the State of Louisiana and had a private practice.

    She gave up her private practice... in disgust!

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    Why?

    Almost everyone she counseled... couples mostly... wanted to:

  • Pay her to make it look like they were doing something about their problems

  • Use the counseling to 'make the other partner wrong'

  • Didn't really want to make anything better

  • Were completely UNAWARE that they had any 'hidden agenda'


  • the last line there is related to the previous post in this blog.

    http://victimbehavior.blogspot.com/2008/10/approach-avoidance-psychological.html
    Ever wonder why people buy exercise bikes and leave em in the back room gathering dust?


    They want to LOOK like their concerned about X, Y or Z

    But unconsciously they don't really want to 'fix' x, y or z.


    Unconsciously we actually would be lonely if our dysfunctions and neurosis left us.

    We're so accustomed to the paradigm of dysfunction, paradigm where we suck and everyone else is allowed to succeed.

    What our family of origin's premise was is this:

    You aren't LOVED unless X
    You're supposed to go out and find a mate that replays the script your parents had when you were growing up...

    and you're supposed to pretend that you aren't aware of this...you're supposed to act, think, walk, talk, smell, eat and sweat as if your criteria for choosing a mate is actually YOUR decision.

    Bullshit

    quit reliving your parents fucked up ness and ... you'll have to wait for another post for that


    ==========
    This article is for informational purposes only.
    Please contact a licensed professional in your area
    if you are in crisis or require mental health services

    Thursday, October 02, 2008

    Approach Avoidance/ Psychological Reversal

    Simply put:

    Psychological Reversal is where you want X, and your insides want Y.

    of course this is an oversimplification but that’s it in a nut shell.

    Now here’s the kicker: the part of you that wants Y, he’s a LOT bigger than you are.


    From Crack Cocaine Addiction Recovery


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    Now this is gonna sound like the movie, “Cybil”, like we have multiple personalites… but it’s generally accepted that we have a subconscious, and that we have both analytical, logical left brains and intuitive, non rational right brains.

    We're All a little schizophrenic

    Left Brain is:
  • logical

  • analytical

  • pragmatic

  • linear representational


  • Right Brain is:
  • symbolic representational

  • intuitive

  • NON rational

  • emotional




  • When you're viewing life through your left brain ONLY, you're valuing it's perspective and ignoring your right brain's perspective.

    When you're viewing life through your right brain's perspective, there are options available to you that were unavailable in the other mode, you're 'thinking outside the box'.


    Before you read this, you weren't even aware that you viewed life through a perspective at all!

    A *Life View Perspective* can be seen as a "Premise", a Built in Unconscious Premise.

    Most of us (in the western world view)hold our right brain's perspective in contempt.

    Right Brain is a 'red headed step child', not to be taken seriously...

    "The only thing right brain can think up is superstitious, shaman, Hari Krishna, hocus pocus" is the unspoken premise the entire Western World View is based upon since Newton and Descartes

    Approach Avoidance

    The way this relationship works out is like a piece of machinery’s governor, some trucks have governors that prevent them from accelerating past 63 mph.

    Most of us are totally unaware of this internal Governor, Tony Robbins called it an internal thermostat.

    In his model, when we get in need of something, when we want something, when a situation comes up that’s unacceptable to us, the thermostat kicks in… we have energy available to heat things up…

    What’s not obvious is that it also works in reverse!

    Once you exceed your internal self image’s limit…
    The thermostat kicks in again… and cools things down.

    we F*** up, screw up, are late for an important appointment, all of a sudden anything and everything that could cause us to lose focus, is mysteriously more important…
    fancy that!

    Self Sabotage

    "Somethings gotta be wrong because everythings goin to damn Good"

    Irresponsibility IS codependency




    ==========
    This article is for informational purposes only.
    Please contact a licensed professional in your area
    if you are in crisis or require mental health services

    Tuesday, September 30, 2008

    Installing new behavior

    Semantics.

    What you call something, the context you 'hold' a concept, determines what the parameters of what you believe is possible and not possible.

    This is part and parcel of the underpinnings of the science of N.L.P.

    What exactly IS N.L.P?

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    Neuro Linguistic Programming

    NLP was begun in the mid-seventies by a linguist (Grinder) and a mathematician (Bandler) who had strong interests in (a) successful people, (b) psychology, (c) language and (d) computer programming. It is a difficult to define NLP because those who started it and those involved in it use such vague and ambiguous language that NLP means different things to different people.

    NLP is also used for individual psychotherapy for problems as diverse as phobias and schizophrenia. NLP also aims at transforming corporations, showing them how to achieve their maximum potential and achieve great success.

    NLP claims to help people change by teaching them to program their brains. We were given brains, we are told, but no instruction manual. NLP offers you a user-manual for the brain. The brain-manual seems to be a metaphor for NLP training, which is sometimes referred to as "software for the brain."


    What I'm getting at here is that Victim Behavior is learned, not permanent, and the words we say to ourselves reinforce that behavior consistently.

    And our behavior is determined by pre suppositions, unconscious beliefs, that we adopted without being aware that we define what is and what isn't possbile for us.

    What IS behavior?

    According to Pia Melody, reknown author who influenced much of my thinking, Our Behavior is:

  • What we do

  • What we don't do

  • what we're willing to do

  • what we're NOT willing to do


  • Why is that significant?

    Most of us, most of the time walk around in a pre suppostition.

    We're not even aware of any such pre-supposition... that doesn't mean it's not there.

    Look up at the sky (hopefully it's day time or I'm gonna look foolish)

    Is it blue?

    Ya sure about that?


    If the sky is blue, if that's the presupposition you're working with, the concept that you accept without wondering or pondering if it really IS true or NOT...

    Then, how bout when it's dark?

    If the sky was so blue, why aren't the stars blue? or the planets???

    Let's see now, if we were looking thru yellow colored sun glasses and we looked up at a Red Light, what, exactly, would we see?

    Red?

    OR Green ?????

    the sky isn't really blue, it only looks that way when the sun is warming the air, heating up the atmosphere and exciting certain molecules...

    We have the PERCEPTION that the sky is blue


    so tell me...

    If we had an erroneous perception, and that perception was woven into our presuppostion...
    and we didn't even know, (or were aware of) we had a pre-supposition...

    Might we find it useful to discover that pre-suppositions are changeable?

    In N.L.P. or Neuro Linguistic Programming, we learn that we have presuppositions that govern/ limit/ define the limits of what we're capable of, what we're willing to expend time, effort and energy on.

    so... if you're a crack addict and you're walking around with the unconscious presupposition that addictions are just something we're gonna have to live with, the presuppositition that OTHERS, somebody can quit smoking crack, but I'm not likley to be one of them... what would that do to your willingness to expend:

  • time

  • effort

  • energy


  • towards?

    And the irony of it is that you didn't even know you HAD any presuppostitions.

    How can you install a new behavior when you didn't even know behaviors were installed in the first place?

    More coming



    ==========
    This article is for informational purposes only.
    Please contact a licensed professional in your area
    if you are in crisis or require mental health services

    Sunday, September 07, 2008

    Poor Me Syndrome and what you can do about it.

    Poor Me Syndrome, and what you can do about it

    What does Victim Behavior look like?
    ...the opposite of healthy boundaries, that's what


    A victim has their
    Internal Boundaries
    backwards

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    Below are some lists of victim behavior characteristics, see if you recognize any of these patterns.

    I personally struggled with the problem of what to do about Victim Behavior for a long time before I came upon this extremely useful web page from Dr, James J. Messina, on the topic of:

    "Overcoming the Role of Victim and Martyr" at his
    Tools for Coping Series site.

    For years I felt terrible because I could clearly see parts of my pain was victim behavior based- Dr Messina's site zeroed me in on the difference between a Martyr and a Victim. I was more martyr than victim with respect to a failed long term relationship.

    Definition of victim behavior reprinted with Dr Messina's permission:


    Victims often:


    -Lack the knowledge that they are being taken advantage of by others.

    -Are so used to a certain way of being treated that they don't recognize it as unhealthy for them.

    -Lack healthy self-esteem or self-concepts.

    -Have little belief in themselves.

    -Come from high-stress families where their rights were never respected; therefore, they lack the competencies, skills, and abilities to stand up for their rights.

    -Lack information about assertive behavior and have no experience in using assertive behavior.

    -Lack of ``others'' in their lives who can point out alternative healthy solutions to their problems.

    -Are timid, scared, and suspicious of help being offered to them.

    -Are skeptical about someone really wanting to help them.


    Victims often hold to some of the following irrational beliefs in their lives:

    -You must be nice to everyone, even if they are not nice to you.

    -Life is supposed to be filled with unhappiness and uncertainty.

    -The small guy never wins.

    -This is the way things are supposed to be.

    -There are winners and losers in all transactions between people.

    -My role in life is to be a loser.

    -Most people are basically selfish, mean, self-centered and disrespectful.

    -You should never complain.

    -Take it like a "man" (woman)!

    -Be silent with your feelings


    Victims often do not stand up for their rights because they suffer from the irrational fear of:

    -disapproval

    -rejection

    -conflict

    -taking a risk

    -the unknown

    -change

    -confrontation

    -being overwhelmed emotionally and physically

    -loss of self-respect

    -making a mistake.



    The following is a list of common characteristics of Adult Children of Alcoholics.

    These characteristics were developed by Dr Janet G. Woititz. You may not feel that each one applies to you, but I found that most of them fit my personality or lifestyle in some way, especially the first one.

    Adult Children (short for A.C.O.A.)

    ...guess at what normal is

    ...have difficulty following a project through from beginning to end

    ...lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth

    ...have difficulty having fun

    ...have difficulty with intimate relationships

    ...overreact to changes over which they have no control

    ...constantly seek approval and affirmation

    ...feel that they are different from other people

    ...are either super responsible or super irresponsible

    ...judge themselves without mercy

    ...take themselves very seriously

    ...tend to lock themselves into a course of action without giving serious thought to alternative behaviors or possible consequences. This impulsivity leads to confusion, self loathing, and loss of control of their environment. As a result, they spend tremendous amounts of time cleaning up the mess.


    Of course this is not the final and inclusive list of characteristics, but it gives you a good idea where some of your so called 'personality flaws' or problems in relationships may be coming from.




    ==========
    This article is for informational purposes only.
    Please contact a licensed professional in your area
    if you are in crisis or require mental health services

    Wednesday, September 03, 2008

    God's Eye View- the subject object relation

    God's Eye View

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    I took E.S.T. in August 1979, There I was exposed to the idea that God is nowhere...
    we are 'here' by virtue of us not being anywhere else,
    God is no where because he's Everywhere.

    This is a lot more than just semantics.

    I'm a codependent.
    I'm an incest survivor.
    I'm an addict.

    I came to that conclusion from reading and listening to
    John Bradshaw's work. Bradshaw bases much of his work on
    Family Systems Theory.

    One of the tenants of Bradshaw's work is that as codependents, we're
    "Other-centered"
    we identify ourselves from others, not from ourselves.



    Up till now you thought you were the voice inside your head
    That voice is your Ego

    You are much more than an Ego

    It is: Logical, Analytical, Pragmatic and virtually useless to heal


    “Up till now you thought you were the voice in the back of
    your head”

    “You actually thought that was you”

    What you are, in reality, is a space for events to occur in"


    Ahh "The denigration of the ego"… and why at least the temporary subjugation of the ego would be a good idea.

    http://codependentboundaries.blogspot.com/2008/08/whats-wrong-with-reason-rationality.html

    hmm, it seems in my vigor to explain our ego construct’s (and it is a construct, of our own creation) limitations…

    I forgot to express that busting our ego from Sargent back to private was supposed to be temporary. (I wrote a book where I described our Ego as a non com (non commissioned officer- a "Sargent" that runs the show internally)

    my bad…

    Our ego IS useful, without it, I feel we’d be like the character Dustin Hoffman played in Rain Man. OK, so Raymond was an autistic savant, sue me… you get the picture.

    John Bradshaw, who shaped most of my theology/psychology says that “in order to give up the ego, we’ve gotta have a healthy one, first!”

    Our ego (construct) is not broken

    It got us here didn’t it?
    It kept a roof over our head, kept us from losing our jobs, we still have (most of us) have all our fingers and toes???

    Our Ego is without a doubt, probably the most useful tool at our disposal.

    If you ask it, however, it wants to think it’s the ONLY tool at our disposal… as a matter of fact, our ego also thinks it IS us (and right now it’s wondering who the hell you think you are implying that some other part of you might be present, let alone in charge???)

    It’s simply not the best tool to have at the wheel full time, if the only tool in your tool box is a hammer, all of your problems tend to look like nails.

    Our ego is HALF of our management.
    It just doesn’t know it.

    Does your car have a stick shift?

    A car’s clutch pedal is not deficient because it fails to be a gas pedal.

    A gas pedal is not deficient because it fails to be a clutch pedal.

    With the tool of Neuro Linguistic Programming ( NLP) we can take our minds out of gear, long enough to fiddle with the clutch and learn to work our logical, analytical left brain in harmony with our non linear, intuitive right brain… without slipping the clutch!



    ==========
    This article is for informational purposes only.
    Please contact a licensed professional in your area
    if you are in crisis or require mental health services

    Friday, August 29, 2008

    Part of you is looking at you with contempt

    Up till now you thought you were the voice inside your head
    That voice is your Ego

    You are much more than an Ego

    Your Ego is in charge of "Doing"

    Your 'greater self' (for lack of a better term) is in charge of "Being"

    How does one "Be"?

    You do nothing... constructively.

    That's what you do when you meditate... you focus on nothing.
    Your rational mind is going to go crazy over this concept, it sounds silly,
    almost "hari krishna-ish"

    Don't worry, your ego will get over it.

    See this post on another of my recovery blogs:

    http://codependentbounaries.blogspot.com/2008/08/whats-wrong-with-reason-rationality.html

    Oh yeah, I'm going to have to make a post on how to meditate.

    There is no 'wrong way' to meditate, however there are many ways to 'assist' you, for starters you have to know what you want to get out of meditating.

    Tony Robbins says "Why to" is more important than "How to".

    ==========
    This article is for informational purposes only.
    Please contact a licensed professional in your area
    if you are in crisis or require mental health services

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008

    Paradox, to give up the ego, you have to have a healthy one

    Paradox, seemingly incompatible ideas:
    There is a paradox in recovery theory and it's about the denigration of the ego, the giving up of the ego. "Virtually all the major spiritual traditions speak of the giving up of the ego...it seems that in order to give up the ego, you've got to have a healthy one FIRST" (paraphrased from John Bradshaw)

    If you 'give up your ego' and you don't have a healthy one FIRST

    - you might as well 'offer up' all your worldly possessions and become Hari Krishna, or climb a mountain in the Himalayas...how would you contribute to society that way?

    What follows below seems contradictory, but both family systems theory AND what a sponsor might say are both good things to do!

    Inner child work IS useful

    ...to help you get to the point where you forgive yourself

    ...and it IS true that at some point you're just gonna have to take responsibility for your actions.

    Twelve Ways To Tell The Difference Between Your Sponsor And Your Therapist:

    1) Your sponsor isn't all that interested in the "reasons" you drank.

    2) Your therapist thinks your root problem is your lack of self-esteem, negative self-image, and your poor self-concept. Your sponsor thinks your problem is a 3-letter word w/no hyphens... YOU.

    3) Your therapist wants you to pamper your "inner child." Your sponsor thinks it ought to be "Spanked" or "Taken out and Shot!"

    4) Your sponsor thinks your inventory should be about you, not your parents!

    5) Speaking of parents, your sponsor tells you not to confront them, but you apologize to them.

    6) The only time your sponsor ever uses the word "closure" is before the word "mouth."

    7) Your sponsor thinks "boundaries" are things You need to take or tear down, not build up.

    8) Your therapist wants you to love yourself first; your sponsor wants you to love others first.

    9) Your therapist prescribes care taking and medication; your sponsor prescribes prayer making and meditation.

    10) Your sponsor thinks "Anger Management Skills" are numbered 1-2-3...12

    11) Now that u haven't had a drink in six months, your therapist thinks you should make a list of your goals and objectives for the next five years, starting with finishing up that college degree.

    Your sponsor thinks you should start today by cleaning the coffeepots and helping him or her carry a heavy box of literature to the jail.

    12) Your sponsor won't lose his license to practice if he talks about God...



    No site involving the 12 steps or relating to the 12 steps could be complete without a list of useful one liners that could be heard in a meeting.
    Here's what I found useful:

    About the 3rd step, let go and let God:

    "Everything I ever let go of had claw marks all over it"

    "I had an ego that would kill a lesser man"



    Damn, this last one was me to a tee!


    ==========
    This article is for informational purposes only.
    Please contact a licensed professional in your area
    if you are in crisis or require mental health services

    Wednesday, August 13, 2008

    Healing the Shame that Binds You

    Healing the Shame that Binds You
    by John Bradshaw


    In an emotionally revealing way, Bradshaw shows us how
    toxic shame is the core problem in our compulsions,
    co-dependencies, addictions, and the drive to superachieve,
    resulting in the breakdown in the family system and our
    inability to go forward with our lives

    Excerpts from the Book
    "Healing the Shame that Binds You", by John Bradshaw
    ":

    Shame and Guilt

    Toxic shame needs to be sharply distinguished from guilt
    (guilt can be healthy or toxic). Healthy guilt is the
    emotional core of our conscience. It is emotion which
    results from behaving in a manner contrary to our beliefs
    and values. Guilt presupposes internalized rules and
    develops later than shame. According to Erikson, the third
    stage of psychosocial development is the polar balance
    between initiative and guilt. This stage begins after age
    three. Guilt is developmentally more mature than shame.
    Guilt does not reflect directly upon one's identity or
    diminish one's sense of personal worth. It flows from an
    integrated set of values.

    (note to self, save the table that's supposed to go here and make a graphic
    out of it so I can post it here... blogger won't do tables)

    "SHAME AS THE SOURCE OF SPIRITUALITY"


    Abraham Maslow, the pioneering Third Force Psychologist,
    once wrote,

    "The spiritual life is...part of the human essence. It is a
    defining characteristic of human nature....without which
    human nature is not full human nature"

    From--"The Farther Reaches of Human Nature"

    "What is spirituality? I believe it has to do with our
    lifestyle. I believe that life is ever unfolding and
    growing. So spirituality is about expansion and growth. It
    is about love, truth, goodness, beauty, giving and caring.
    Spirituality is about wholeness and completion.
    Spirituality is our ultimate human need. It pushes us to
    transcend ourselves, and to become grounded in the ultimate
    source of reality. Most call that source God.

    Our healthy shame is essential as the ground of our
    spirituality. By signaling us of our essential limitations,
    our healthy shame lets us know that we are not God. Our
    healthy shame points us in the direction of some larger
    meaning. It lets us know that there is something or someone
    greater than ourselves. Our healthy shame is the
    psychological ground of our humility."

    ame is the psychological ground of our humility."

    SHAME AS TOXIC
    Scott Peck describes both neuroses and character disorders
    as disorders of responsibility, Peck writes;

    "The neurotic assumes too much responsibility; the person
    with a character disorder not enough. When neurotics are in
    conflict with the world, they automatically assume that
    they are at fault. When those with character disorders are
    in conflict with the world, they automatically assume the
    world is at fault."

    From his book--"The Road Less Traveled"

    "All of us have a smattering of neurotic and character
    disordered personality traits. The major problem in all of
    our lives is to decide and clarify our responsibilities. To
    truly be committed to a life of honesty, love and
    discipline, we must be willing to commit ourselves to
    reality. This commitment, according to Peck, 'requires the
    willingness and the capacity to suffer continual
    self-examination.' Such an ability requires a good
    relationship with oneself. This is precisely what no
    shame-based person has. In fact a toxically shamed person
    has an adversarial relationship with him/herself. Toxic
    shame--the shame that binds us--is the basis for both
    neurotic and character disordered syndromes of behavior."



    NEUROTIC SYNDROMES OF SHAME
    "What is the shame that binds you? How did it get set up in
    your life? What happens to healthy shame in the process?

    Toxic shame, the shame that binds you, is experienced as
    the all pervasive sense that I am flawed and defective as a
    human being. Toxic shame is no longer an emotion that
    signals our limits, it is a state of being, a core
    identity. Toxic shame gives you a sense of worthlessness, a
    sense of failing and falling short as a human being. Toxic
    shame is a rupture of the self with the self.

    It is like internal bleeding. Exposure to oneself lies at
    the heart of toxic shame. A shame based person will guard
    against exposing his inner self to others, but more
    significantly, he will guard against exposing himself to
    himself.

    Toxic shame is so excruciating because it is the painful
    exposure of the believed failure of self to the self.
    [selves to selves too we believe] In toxic shame the self
    becomes an object that can't be trusted, one experiences
    oneself [selves] as untrustworthy. Toxic shame is
    experienced as inner torment, a sickness of the soul. If
    I'm an object that can't be trusted, then I'm not in me.
    Toxic shame is paradoxical and self-generating. There is
    shame about shame. People will readily admit guilt, hurt or
    fear before they will admit shame. Toxic shame is the
    feeling of being isolated and alone in a complete sense. A
    shame-based person is haunted by a sense of absence and
    emptiness..."

    "SHAME AS AN IDENTITY --INTERNALIZATION OF SHAME"

    "Any human emotion can become internalized. When
    internalized, an emotions stops functioning in the manner
    of an emotion and becomes a characterological style. You
    probably know of someone who could be labeled 'an angry
    person', or someone you'd call a 'sad sack'. In both cases
    the emotion has become the core of the person's character,
    her identity. The person doesn't have anger or melancholy,
    she is angry and melancholy.

    In the case of shame, internalization involves at least
    three processes:


    1)Identification with unreliable and shame based models
    2)The trauma of abandonment, and the binding of feelings,
    needs and drives with shame
    3)The interconnection of memory imprints which forms collages
    of shame

    Internalization is a gradual process and happens over a
    period of time. Every human being has to contend with
    certain aspects of this process. Internalization takes
    place when all three processes are consistently
    reinforced."


    IDENTIFICATION WITH SHAME BASED MODELS

    "Identification is one of our normal human processes. We
    always have the need to identify. Identification gives one
    a sense of security. By belonging to something larger than
    ourselves, we feel security and protection of the larger
    reality.

    The need to identify with someone, to feel a part of
    something, to belong somewhere, is one of our most basic
    needs. With the exception of self-preservation, no other
    striving is as compelling as this need, which begins with
    our caregivers or significant others and extends to family,
    peer group, culture, nation and world. It is seen in lesser
    forms in our allegiance to a political party or our rooting
    for a sports team.

    This need to belong explains the loyal and often fanatic
    adherence people display to a group...their group.

    When children have shame based parents, they identify with
    them. This is the first step in the child's internalizing
    shame."


    ABANDONMENT: THE LEGACY OF BROKEN MUTUALITY

    Shame is internalized when one is abandoned.

    Abandonmentis the precise term to describe how one loses one's
    authentic self and ceases to exist psychologically.
    Children cannot know who they are without reflective
    mirrors. Mirroring is done by one's primary caretakers and
    is crucial in the first years of life. Abandonment includes
    the loss of mirroring. Parent who are shut down emotionally
    (all shame based parents) cannot mirror and affirm their
    child's emotions.

    Since the earliest period of our life was preverbal,
    everything depended on emotional interaction. Without
    someone to reflect our emotions, we had no way of knowing
    who we were. Mirroring remains important all our lives.
    Think of the frustrating experience which most of us have
    had, of talking to someone who is not looking at us. While
    you are speaking, they are fidgeting around or reading
    something. Our identity demands a significant other whose
    eyes se us pretty much as we see ourselves.

    In fact, Erik Erikson defines identity as interpersonal. He
    writes:


    'The sense of ego identity is the accrued confidence that
    the inner sameness and continuity...are matched by the
    sameness and continuity of one's meaning for others.'



    From --"Childhood and Society"
    Besides lack of mirroring, abandonment includes the following:


    Neglect of developmental dependency needs
    Abuse of any kind
    Enmeshment into the covert or overt needs of the parents or
    the family system needs"



    FEELING NEED AND DRIVE SHAME BINDS

    "The shame binding of feelings, needs and natural
    instinctual drives, is a key factor in changing healthy
    shame into toxic shame. To be *shame-bound* means that
    whenever you feel any feeling, and need or any drive, you
    immediately feel ashamed. The dynamic core of your human
    life is grounded in your feelings, your needs and your
    drives. When these are bound by shame, your are shamed to
    the core."

    THE INTERCONNECTION OF MEMORY IMPRINTS WHICH FORM COLLAGES OF SHAME

    "As shaming experiences accrue and are defended against,
    the images created by those experiences are recorded in a
    person's memory bank. Because the victim has no time or
    support to grieve the pain of the broken mutuality, his
    emotions are repressed and the grief is unresolved. The
    verbal (auditory) imprints remain in the memory as do the
    visual images of the shaming scenes. As each new shaming
    experience takes place, a new verbal imprint and visual
    image attach to the already existing ones forming collages
    of shaming memories.

    Children also record their parent's actions at their worst.
    When Mom and Dad, stepparent or whoever the caretaker, are
    most out of control, they are the most threatening to the
    child's survival. The child's survival alarm registers
    these behaviors the most deeply. Any subsequent shame
    experience which even vaguely resembles that past trauma
    can easily trigger the words and scenes of said trauma.
    What are then recorded are the new experience and the old.
    Over time an accumulation of shame scenes are attached
    together. Each new scene potentiates the old, sort of like
    a snowball rolling down a hill, getting larger and larger
    as it picks up snow. As the years go on, very little is
    needed to trigger these collages of shame memories. A word,
    a similar facial expression or scene, can set it off.
    Sometimes an external stimulus is not even necessary. Just
    going back to an old memory can trigger an enormously
    painful experience. Shame as an emotion has now become
    frozen and embedded into the core of the person's identity.
    Shame is deeply internalized."


    SHAME AS SELF-ALIENATION AND ISOLATION

    "When one suffers from alienation, it means that one experiences
    parts of one's self as alien to one's self.
    For example, if you were never allowed to express anger in
    your family, your anger becomes an alienated part of
    yourself. You experience toxic shame when you feel angry.
    This part of you must be disowned or severed. There is no
    way to get rid of your emotional power of anger. Anger is
    the self- preserving and self-protecting energy. Without
    this energy you become a doormat and a people-pleaser. As
    your feelings, needs and drives are bound by toxic shame,
    more and more of you is alienated.

    Finally, when shame has been completely internalized,
    nothing about you is okay. You feel flawed and inferior;
    you have a sense of being a failure. There is no way you
    can share your inner self because you are an object of
    contempt to yourself. When you are contemptible to
    yourself, you are no longer in you. To feel shame is to
    feel seen in an exposed and diminished way. When you're an
    object to yourself, you turn your eyes inward, watching and
    scrutinizing every minute detail of behavior. This internal
    critical observation is excruciating. It generates a
    tormenting self-consciousness which Kaufman describes as,
    'creating a binding and paralyzing effect upon the self.'
    This paralyzing internal monitoring causes withdrawal,
    passivity and inaction.

    The severed parts of self are projected in relationships.
    They are often the basis of hatred and prejudice. The
    severed parts of the self may be experienced as a split
    personality or even multiple personalities. This happens
    often with victims who have been through physical and
    sexual violation.

    To be severed and alienated within oneself also creates a
    sense of unreality. One may have an all-pervasive sense of
    never quite belonging, of being on the outside looking in.
    The condition of inner alienation and isolation is also
    pervaded by a low grade chronic depression. This has to do
    with the sadness of losing one's authentic self. Perhaps
    the deepest and most devastating aspect of neurotic shame
    is the rejection of the self by the self."


    SHAME AS FALSE SELF

    "Because the exposure of self to self lies at the heart of
    neurotic shame, escape from the self is necessary. The
    escape from self is accomplished by creating a false self.
    The false self is always more or less than human. The false
    self may be a perfectionist or a slob, a family hero or a
    family scapegoat. As the false self is formed, the
    authentic self goes into hiding. Years later the layers of
    defense and pretense are so intense that one loses all
    awareness of who one really is.

    It is crucial to see that the false self may be as polar
    opposite as a superachieving perfectionist or an addict in
    an alley. Both are driven to cover up their deep sense of
    self- rupture, the hole in their soul. They may cover up in
    ways that look polar opposite, but each is still driven by
    neurotic shame. In fact, the most paradoxical aspect of
    neurotic shame is that it is the core motivator of the
    superachieved and the underachieved, the Star and the
    Scapegoat, the 'Righteous' and the wretched, the powerful
    and the pathetic."


    SHAME AS CO-DEPENDENCY

    "Much has been written about co-dependency. All agree that
    it is about the loss of selfhood. Co-dependency is an
    condition wherein one has no inner life. Happiness is on
    the outside. Good feelings and self-validation lie on the
    outside. They can never be generated from within. [until
    one begins to recover] Pia Mellody's definition of
    co-dependency is a 'state of dis-ease whereby the authentic
    self is unknown or kept hidden, so that a sense of
    self...of mattering... of esteem and connectedness to
    others is distorted, creating pain and distorted
    relationships.' There is no significant difference in that
    definition and the way I have described internalized shame.
    It is my belief that internalized shame is the essence of
    co-dependency."

    SHAME AS BORDERLINE PERSONALITY

    "Kaufman sees many of the categories of emotional illness
    which are defined as DSM III as rooted in neurotic shame.
    It seems obvious that some of these types of disorders are
    related to symptoms of shame. These include: dependent
    personality, clinical depression, schizoid phenomena and
    borderline personality. My own belief is that toxic shame
    is a unifying concept for what is often a maze of
    psychological definitions and distinctions. While I realize
    that there is clinical and psychotheraputic value in the
    kinds of detailed etiological distinctions offered by
    accurate and precise conceptualizing. I also think some of
    it is counterproductive.

    My own study of James Masterson's work on borderline
    personalities, as well as my experience with watching his
    working films, convinces me that there is minimal
    difference in the treatment of some toxically shame-based
    people and his treatment of the Borderline Personality. I'm
    convinced that Masterson's Borderline Personality is a
    syndrome of neurotic shame. It is described as follows:



    1)Self-Image disturbance
    2)Difficulty identifying and expressing one's own individuated
    thoughts, wishes and feelings and autonomously regulating
    self-esteem
    3)Difficulty with self-assertion
    Borderline Adolescent to Functioning Adult: The Test of Time


    SHAME AS HOPELESSNESS --THE SQUIRREL CAGE

    "Toxic shame has the quality of being irremedial. If I am
    flawed, defective and a mistake, then there is nothing that
    can be done about me. Such a belief leads to impotence. How
    can I change who I am? Toxic shame also has the quality of
    circularity. Shame begets shame."

    FUNCTIONAL AUTONOMY

    "Once internalized, toxic shame is functionally autonomous,
    which means that it can be triggered internally without any
    attending stimulus. One can imagine a situation and feel
    deep shame. One can be alone and trigger a shaming spiral
    through internal self- talk. The more one experiences
    shame, the more one is ashamed and the beat goes on.

    It is this dead-end quality of shame that makes it so
    hopeless. The possibility for repair seems foreclosed if
    one is essentially flawed as a human being. Add to that the
    self-generating quality of shame, and one can see the
    devastating, soul-murdering power of neurotic shame.

    The reader can begin to see how dramatic it was for me to
    discover the dynamics of shame. By being aware of the
    dynamics of shame, by naming it, we gain some power over
    it."

    "The excruciating loneliness fostered by toxic shame is
    dehumanizing. As a person isolates more and more, he loses
    the benefit of human feedback. He loses the mirroring eyes
    of others. Erik Erikson has demonstrated clearly that
    identity formation is always a social process. He defines
    identity as 'an inner sense of sameness and continuity
    which is matched by the mirroring eyes of at least one
    significant other'. Remember, it was the contaminated
    mirroring by our significant relationships that fostered
    our toxic shame.

    In order to be healed we must come out of isolation and
    hiding. This means finding a group of significant others
    that we are willing to trust. This is tough for shame-based
    people.

    Shame becomes toxic shame because of premature exposure. We
    are exposed either unexpectedly or before we are ready to
    be exposed. We feel helpless and powerless. No wonder then
    that we fear the scrutinizing eyes of others. However the
    only way out of toxic shame is to embrace the shame...we
    must come out of hiding."


    A Parable:
    The Prisoner In The Dark Cave
    There once was a man who was sentenced to die. He was
    blindfolded and put in a pitch dark cave. The cave was 100
    yards by 100 yards. He was told that there was a way out of
    the cave, and if he could find it, he was a free man.

    After a rock was secured at the entrance of the cave, the
    prisoner was allowed to take his blindfold off and roam
    freely in the darkness. He was to be fed only bread and
    water for the first 30 days and nothing thereafter. The
    bread and water were lowered from a small hole in the roof
    at the south end of the cave. The ceiling was about 18 feet
    high. The opening was about one foot in diameter. The
    prisoner could see a faint light up above, but no light
    came into the cave.

    As the prisoner roamed and crawled around the cave, he
    bumped into rocks. Some were rather large. He thought that
    if he could build a mound of rocks and dirt that was high
    enough, he could reach the opening and enlarge it enough to
    crawl through and escape. Since he was 5'9", and his reach
    was two feet, the mound had to be at least 10 feet high.

    So the prisoner spent his waking hours picking up rocks and
    digging up dirt. At the end of two weeks, he had built a
    mound of about six feet. He thought that if he could
    duplicate that in the next two weeks, he could make it
    before his food ran out. But as he had already used most of
    the rocks in the cave, he had to dig harder and harder. He
    had to do the digging with his bare hands. After a month
    had passed, the mound was nine and half feet high and he
    could almost reach the opening if he jumped. He was almost
    exhausted and extremely weak.

    One day just as he thought he could touch the opening, he
    fell. He was simply too weak to get up, and in two days he
    died. His captors came to get his body. They rolled away
    the huge rock that covered the entrance. As the light
    flooded into the cave, it illuminated an opening in the
    wall of the cave about three feet in circumference.

    The opening was the opening to a tunnel which led to the
    other side of the mountain. This was the passage to freedom
    the prisoner had been told about. It was in the south wall
    directly under the opening in the ceiling. All the prisoner
    would have had to do was crawl about 200 feet and he would
    have found freedom. He had so completely focused on the
    opening of light that it never occurred to him to look for
    freedom in the darkness. Liberation was there all the time
    right next to the mound he was building, but it was in the
    darkness.

    From the book: Healing the Shame That Binds You



    ==========
    This article is for informational purposes only.
    Please contact a licensed professional in your area
    if you are in crisis or require mental health services
    If you live in Western Maryland dial 211

    John Bradshaw- Right Brain Healing- the Jesus Nature

    "I do not believe the call is to "Do What Jesus Did, the call is to Do What YOU Do. To be fully self actualized, like he (Jesus) was."

    "This shocks pious minds"


    "I started teaching this (when I got back to Houston from the seminary) and lo and behold I almost got run out of town"

    ".. No. I do believe in providence, it's just that too often I see people going to providence without realizing that we are created in the image of God. And to be creative is how we are most like Jesus"

    Bradshaw repeats a quote about codependent self deprecation:

    "For worms to harbor such thoughts, not for beings made in the image of God!"

    Bradshaw on the topic of N.L.P and prayer:

    "What I tell people in counseling is that if they have religious background, I tell them to use this... Frequently I ask people to 'go to a resource that they have within themselves', and they say they don't have one (that they trust), I tell em to get God the Father and include that in a reframing, include that in a collapse anchor. This is a resource that they can go to. And this is very powerful stuff."

    Jesus said:

    "Greater things that I did you'll do"

    From Right Brain Healing- the Jesus Nature, an audio presentation by John Bradshaw



    John Bradshaw

    "A symbol participates in that which is reveals"

    John Bradshaw from 'Right Brain Healing- the Jesus Nature"


    Excerpts from some of Bradshaw's taped lectures and workshops:

    Bradshaw on the topic of Shame- from "Healing the Shame that Binds You"

    Bradshaw on the topic of Boundaries- from "Bradshaw on the Family"


    John Bradshaw on the Topic of N.L.P from "Right Brain Healing- the Jesus Nature"
    "... all theologies have a language system, all religions have a language system."

    "... have you ever been to a Jungian center? Jung centers are like cults. You'd better have the language down if you want to get in on the Illuminati!"

    "...so words are hypnotic...Language is a jailer, language is hypnotic. That's what we learned from the NLP stuff"

    "...when you think a thought, it's in your body with the speed of light...any thought you think, it's going in your body. So every word is hypnotic, and the words we use are hypnotic"

    "Remember John Grinder's story about Moshe Feldenkrais, (he) was working with a Schizophrenic and the woman (in the crowd) raised her hand and asked "(are you talking about) Schizophrenia organic?" and Feldenkrais said "What's it to ya?"

    ...and in essence what he meant by that is "if I tell you it's organic, then you'll stop working on her".

    "That is if we decide it's organic, then we'll quit working on this patient and I'm having great results with her".



    So you see the very fact of calling it organic is a stopper. And where ever we have language that is stopping us from our freedom and our creativity, we want to get rid of the language."



    ==========
    This article is for informational purposes only.
    Please contact a licensed professional in your area
    if you are in crisis or require mental health services

    Sunday, August 10, 2008

    Train yourself to accept self respect

    As a codependent and/or an active addict (and even a "dry drunk" or inactive addict, one that stopped using but still does addictive behaviors)you probably have to:

    Practice the art of self respect.

    TRAIN yourself to allow you to (internally)have self respect.


    I said on another of my recovery blogs that I'm doing a whole series of posts on the topic of self respect and/ or the lack of it. From the point of view of an addict and a codependent (which I believe all addicts are originally, you can't be one without also being the other)

    In my post: "Respect doesn't come naturally for an addict"

    http://repairmanual4selfdestructivebehavior.blogspot.com/2008/08/respect-doesnt-come-naturally-for.html

    I wrote that respect is something you have to work at, what I left out is this:

    "You can't give to others something you don't have"

    If you do not respect yourself, you cannot respect others.

    Codependents are said to, "when having a near death experience, someone else's life flashes before them", the idea being that codependents are so 'other centric' that the paradigm they live in starts with the premise that "OTHERS" are important and by implication, 'They' are not important.

    When you (internally) do not have self respect, and you seemingly give others a type of respect, what you're really doing is patronizing them. You aren't genuinely offering another respect... you're paying them homage, as if you were the serf and they were the lord (if you wanna use medieval ideas to represent what I'm saying)


    What's a person to do if they have little background in self respect?

    What can you do if you're family of origin didn't teach you self respect?

    Build it artifically, make one up.. that's right 'fake it till you make it'

    If you think logically about this, you'll see that ALL ideas held internally aren't really 'real'.

    What's that mean?

    All sensory input is 'configured' mentally, you don't really "SEE" an apple, you see from your brain's visual cortex a "representation" of an apple... you also 'smell' the apple, you 'feel' the apple... but the concept of an apple, the one in your mind's eye isn't the apple... it's a constructed digitalized apple.

    You actually "conjured up" an apple to mimic the 'real' apple, the apple that's external to you.

    Therefore, you can, simply 'conjure up' self respect, as if a doctor treats a broken leg with a cast, to 'assist' it in healing...

    you can treat your broken self respect with a cast... just practice 'faking' self respect, so you can get yourself used to the idea.

    A 'dry run' if you will


    ==========
    This article is for informational purposes only.
    Please contact a licensed professional in your area
    if you are in crisis or require mental health services

    Tuesday, August 05, 2008

    Blame, it's what Victims Do

    Blame, point your finger at the world and exclaim it's all Thier Fault.

    That's what victims do... the opposite of take responsibility.

    Broken, missing, dysfunctional boundaries are what makes a codepedent a codepedent.


    ==========
    This article is for informational purposes only.
    Please contact a licensed professional in your area
    if you are in crisis or require mental health services

    Monday, August 04, 2008

    I do NOT have cancer!

    My Dad died of prostate cancer in 2005

    I had symptoms of cancer, and digestive problems.

    I just went to the local Frederick Maryland traveling health care clinic:
    Mission of Mercy and I do NOT HAVE Cancer!

    I don't know how a person can live 50 years and all of a sudden I can't digest milk?

    I thought I was a gonner, leakin from both ends, I really thought I wasn't going to
    live to see my Grandaughter grow up...

    I'm lactose intollerant?
    really?

    I've got a minor prostate infection?

    I'll take that over cancer any time...

    Every day since then has been a good day.

    I'm gonna croak, but not this year!
    ==========
    This article is for informational purposes only.
    Please contact a licensed professional in your area
    if you are in crisis or require mental health services

    Respect or the lack of it

    Respect, more importantly for a codependent, the lack of internal self respect.

    This is the central issue for all addictive behaviors (and codependency is an addictive behavior).

    Internal Self Respect is missing from an addict, it's insidious in that an addict is not really aware of what's missing.

    How would you know if you were missing something if you never experienced it?

    A codependent could accidentally do functional behavior and never know it?

    You might have hit it by mistake and couldn't recognize it.

    This lack of self respect is going to be the dominant theme of all my recovery blogs for the next few months.

    How does a less than functional person work towards being functional?

    baby steps- if all you do is one thing that works towards self respect every day... it compounds like bank interest, after 30 days you do not have 1 item 30 times... what you have is a critical mass reached wherein you couldn't go back to that old addictive behavior pattern if you wanted to.

    Last year I posted this article to Repair Manual 4 Self Destructive Behavior:

    http://repairmanual4selfdestructivebehavior.blogspot.com/2008/06/being-punitive-is-counter-productive.html

    As addicts ( http://crackaddictionrecovery.blogspot.com ) we're already beating ourselves up... we're world class self depracators.

    For example, when I was still using, I'd spent most of my cash... http://cocaineregrets.com, but I saved just enough to buy socks. the next week when I'd gotten paid, I repeated the above, but I bought myself underware...

    each little symbolic stand you take toward treating yourself with respect will accumulate, there will be a critical mass reached...

    more coming, I've got to answer this phone call


    ==========
    This article is for informational purposes only.
    Please contact a licensed professional in your area
    if you are in crisis or require mental health services

    Sunday, July 06, 2008

    Victims Characteristics-

    The following info is from Dr, James J. Messina's http://www.coping.org/relations/martyr.htm site
    Tools for Coping Series.

    Victims often:


    -Lack the knowledge that they are being taken advantage of by others.

    -Are so used to a certain way of being treated that they don't recognize it as unhealthy for them.

    -Lack healthy self-esteem or self-concepts.

    -Have little belief in themselves.

    -Come from high-stress families where their rights were never respected; therefore, they lack the competencies, skills, and abilities to stand up for their rights.

    -Lack information about assertive behavior and have no experience in using assertive behavior.

    -Lack of ``others'' in their lives who can point out alternative healthy solutions to their problems.

    -Are timid, scared, and suspicious of help being offered to them.

    -Are skeptical about someone really wanting to help them.


    Victims often hold to some of the following irrational beliefs in their lives:

    -You must be nice to everyone, even if they are not nice to you.

    -Life is supposed to be filled with unhappiness and uncertainty.

    -The small guy never wins.

    -This is the way things are supposed to be.

    -There are winners and losers in all transactions between people.

    -My role in life is to be a loser.

    -Most people are basically selfish, mean, self-centered and disrespectful.

    -You should never complain.

    -Take it like a ``man'' (woman)!
    Be silent with your feelings.


    Victims often do not stand up for their rights because they suffer from the irrational fear of:

    -disapproval

    -rejection

    -conflict

    -taking a risk

    -the unknown

    -change

    -confrontation

    -being overwhelmed emotionally and physically

    -loss of self-respect

    -making a mistake.




    The main presupposition of this site is that to get relief from pain associated with victim behavior requires, demands that you take a pro-active stance? You gotta want to fight this and be willing to DO something positive to change your situation. If you're in denial there isn't much you can do. Brutal honesty is hard to come by...
    If you KNOW you're doing victim behavior, see what it has cost you then you CAN change it...But it's going to feel funny.

    Cross your arms, now cross them the other way, feels funny doesn't it? New behavior CAN be 'installed'. You can condition your self to new behavior just as if you were conditioning your body with exercise.

    http://web.archive.org/web/20030328102832/http://www.victimbehavior.com/
    ==========
    This article is for informational purposes only.
    Please contact a licensed professional in your area
    if you are in crisis or require mental health services

    Sunday, June 29, 2008

    Why so many can't deal with the 12 steps.

    Why is it so many people are Agnostic or Atheist, or like George Carlin (who just died) are Antagonistic towards God?

    What is it about conventional organized religion that pisses so many people off?

    Religion, organized religion with it's centuries old dogma, or specifically the way current society interprets that dogma is...

    Power Struggle at it's worst.
    This is a travesty.

    From an Ebook I wrote titled: "Self Worth, not Self Esteem"

    Up until now you thought you were the voice in the back of your head...
    What you are actually is a "Space For Events To Occur In"

    Without Ego, without the brain's reticular activating system, you'd go nuts.

    From the study of Neuro Linguistic Programming or N.L.P (the main ingredient to Tony Robbins work) we know that all the human brain can hold with any accuracy is 7 plus or minus bits of information at one time.

    9 chunks of information.

    Ok, so how many other bits of info is your subconscious handling at any moment in time?

    Balance, temperature, gravity, blood pressure, pulse, what your ex wife did yesterday that continues to piss you off today, the fact that you miss your father who passed away 3 years ago, the memory of your granddaughter's smile a couple days ago... you get my drift.

    The problem with Ego or ego's point of view is that it confuses you into thinking that it's the ONLY point of reference worth having... not only that, ego wants you to think that IT'S Point of View is the ONLY point of view.


    The problem with that is Vantage Point
    Reference Point

    For spirituality to make any reasonable sense to you, you have to first have NO Reference point.

    You view the world in measurements.
    The interval of time and or space (space time really) between where you (think) you are now and elsewhere...

    Like the erroneous concept of:
    A is where you are &
    B is the target state, where you'd like to be
    (or end up)

    This methodology engenders a punitive approach.

    A punitive approach that is built in, it's built into the presupposition of each and every thought, attempt, event, anything you perceive...without you even thinking about it.

    Paradigm.

    The fish to the fish bowl.

    the fish is vaguely aware that there's stuff outside the fishbowl... but since he cant do anything about it, what's the point?

    Dogma, or post middle ages dogma, assumes:

    We suck
    We just aint no dang good without God
    We'd better obey or else???

    Where did they get the assumumption that we're automatically going to not obey?

    Dale Carneigie wrote "How to Win Friends and Influence People"the main tenet was this:

    Don't Criticize, Condem or Complain

    Do this or you'll go to hell???

    I prefer to look at spirituality this way:

    Ride the horse in the direction he's going...

    more later, it's time to make the doughnuts
    gotta pay the bills



    ==========
    This article is for informational purposes only.
    Please contact a licensed professional in your area
    if you are in crisis or require mental health services

    Wednesday, June 18, 2008

    Let the chips fall where they may- the 3rd step

    If you believe in a higher power... even if you kinda sorta believe (agnostic)

    Worry is counter productive

    What you're doing when you Worry is telling the universe that you concede that you're a piece of dung... you've lost confidence not only in yourself, but you've conceded to God, the universe, source energy...

    That there's no hope for you.

    Who in the hell do you think you are?

    ...You think your the best worst that ever lived?


    I could tell you all about how Worry diminishes your immune system, how it trashes your nervous system... but those are secondary to what's really going on.


    You just slapped God in the face!

    The third step- Turn it over

    If you cannot do this, if you don't wanna do this, if you brush this one off...

    think about it... it's a TRUST issue

    Remember the early Indiana Jones and the Lost Crusade Movie?
    The one where Indy's father (played by Sean Connery) get shot.
    And Indy has to trust the ancient hieroglyphics to save his father?

    The third test.. I think it's the 3rd one, Indy comes to a mountain opening...
    he's got to trust that if he steps out into the void... he'll get where he needs to go.

    He steps

    it looks like he'll fall to his death... but Indy has no choice if he's gonna save his Dad...

    Indy steps out...

    and there's a hidden walk way

    this is exactly what the 3rd step is all about

    either you trust God or you've given your Ego complete control

    If you worry, don't pray
    If you Pray, don't worry

    ==========
    This article is for informational purposes only.
    Please contact a licensed professional in your area
    if you are in crisis or require mental health services

    Friday, May 30, 2008

    Law of Attraction

    The Law of Attraction simply says that you attract into your life whatever you think about. Your dominant thoughts will find a way to manifest.

    But the Law of Attraction gives rise to some tough questions that don't seem to have good answers. I would say, however, that these problems aren't caused by the Law of Attraction itself but rather by the Law of Attraction as applied to objective reality.

    Excerpt from this blog:
    http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2006/08/the-law-of-attraction/


    Why in the world would I add an excerpt like this to a recovery blog???

    Because: the main problem with surrender with respect to a 12 step program is the same problem most Americans are agnostic... they kinda sorta believe in God, but it's so confusing that they just ignore it, bury it deep somewhere... cause it's kinda irrelevant to their every day life.

    and...
    the issue that most Protestant's have over what they always call: Obey God.


    let's face it, as codependents we've got power issues, we're control freaks, either we Control OR... we take issue with Being Controlled.

    I personally prefer the eastern, new age approach, rather than have issues over weather or not we're Obeying... look at it like this:

    Why would you WANT to swim upstream?
    Why would you WANT to ride the horse in the opposite direction that he's going?

    Doing what is best for everybody just seems natural, once you've gotten your head screwed on straight!

    more coming, I'll make sense of this soon- tie it in with the rest of the blog's ideas...

    ==========
    This article is for informational purposes only.
    Please contact a licensed professional in your area
    if you are in crisis or require mental health services

    Saturday, May 24, 2008

    Do you know any of these failures?

    Do you know any of these Failures?

    Famous failures

    As a young man, Abraham Lincoln went to war a captain and returned a private. Afterwards, he was a failure as a businessman. As a lawyer in Springfield, he was too impractical and temperamental to be a success. He turned to politics and was defeated in his first try for the legislature, again defeated in his first attempt to be nominated for congress, defeated in his application to be commissioner of the General Land Office, defeated in the senatorial election of 1854, defeated in his efforts for the vice-presidency in 1856, and defeated in the senatorial election of 1858. At about that time, he wrote in a letter to a friend, "I am now the most miserable man living. If what I feel were equally distributed to the whole human family, there would not be one cheerful face on the earth."

    Winston Churchill failed sixth grade. He was subsequently defeated in every election for public office until he became Prime Minister at the age of 62. He later wrote, "Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never - in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never, Never, Never, Never give up."

    Sigmund Freud was booed from the podium when he first presented his ideas to the scientific community of Europe. He returned to his office and kept on writing.

    Thomas Edison's teachers said he was "too stupid to learn anything." He was fired from his first two jobs for being "non-productive." As an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, "How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?" Edison replied, "I didn't fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps."


    Albert Einstein did not speak until he was 4-years-old and did not read until he was 7. His parents thought he was "sub-normal," and one of his teachers described him as "mentally slow, unsociable, and adrift forever in foolish dreams." He was expelled from school and was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School. He did eventually learn to speak and read. Even to do a little math.

    Henry Ford failed and went broke five times before he succeeded.

    Michael Jordan and Bob Cousy were each cut from their high school basketball teams. Jordan once observed, "I've failed over and over again in my life. That is why I succeed."

    Tom Landry, Chuck Noll, Bill Walsh, and Jimmy Johnson accounted for 11 of the 19 Super Bowl victories from 1974 to 1993. They also share the distinction of having the worst records of first-season head coaches in NFL history - they didn't win a single game.

    Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because "he lacked imagination and had no good ideas." He went bankrupt several times before he built Disneyland. In fact, the proposed park was rejected by the city of Anaheim on the grounds that it would only attract riffraff.

    In 1944, Emmeline Snively, director of the Blue Book Modeling Agency, told modeling hopeful Norma Jean Baker, "You'd better learn secretarial work or else get married." I'm sure you know that Norma Jean was Marilyn Monroe. Now . . . who was Emmeline Snively?

    "Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall."
    ~ Confucius
    - Self-Efficacy site Click here for more failures

    ==========
    This article is for informational purposes only.
    Please contact a licensed professional in your area
    if you are in crisis or require mental health services

    Tuesday, May 20, 2008

    Who has thier boundaries in reverse? The Victim

    The main reason most people have a hard time with addiction is boundaries.

    What are boundaries?

    If you dont have them, you probably haven't a clue what

    ==========
    This article is for informational purposes only.
    Please contact a licensed professional in your area
    if you are in crisis or require mental health services

    Monday, March 17, 2008

    Separating Codependence from Love Addiction

    Separating Codependence from Love Addiction

    Excerpted from Pia Mellody's book- Facing Love Addiction. You can get audio tapes of her workshops here. The operative word here is 'workshops'...Her work is definitely about repair, rebuilding and relief of painful symptoms! To the point and useful!

    Bookmark this page!

    CHAPTER 1 Separating Codependence from Love Addiction

    A Love Addict is someone who is dependent on, enmeshed with, and compulsively focused on taking care of another person. While this is often described as codependence, I feel that codependence is a much broader and more fundamental problem area. Although being a codependent can lead some people into love addiction, not all codependents are Love Addicts, as we shall see.


    THE DISEASE PROCESS OF CODEPENDENCE

    Codependence is a Disease of immaturity caused by childhood trauma. Codependents are immature or childish to such a degree that the condition hampers their life. A disease process, according to Diland's Medical Dictionary, is "a definite morbid process having a characteristic chain of symptoms. It may affect the whole body or any of the parts, and its etiology (or cause), pathology, and prognosis may be known or unknown." I call the chain of symptoms that characterizes codependence the core or primary symptoms, and they describe how codependents are unable to be in a healthy relationship with themselves. These are the primary, or core, symptoms of codependence:



    1. Difficulty experiencing appropriate levels of self-esteem, that is to say, difficulty loving the self.

    2. Difficulty setting functional boundaries with other people, that is to say, difficulty protecting oneself.

    3. Difficulty owning one's own reality appropriately, that is to say, difficulty identifying who one is and knowing how to share that appropriately with others.

    4. Difficulty addressing interdependently one's adult needs and wants, that is to say, difficulty with self-care.

    5. Difficulty experiencing and expressing one's reality in moderation, that is to say, difficulty being appropriate for one's age and various circumstances.*


    In addition to these, there are also five secondary symptoms that reflect how codependents think other people's behavior is the reason they are unable to be in healthy relationships. The inaccurate thinking represented by these secondary symptoms creates problems in a codependent's relationships with
    others, but these symptoms stem from the core problem, which is the bruised relationship with the self.

    These five symptoms are

    (1) negative control

    (2) resentment

    (3) impaired spirituality

    (4) addictions, or mental or physical illness

    (5) difficulty with intimacy.


    1. NEGATIVE CONTROL

    Codependents either (1) try to control others by telling them who they ought to be so the codependents can be comfortable; or (2) allow others to control the codependents by dictating who they should be to keep others comfortable.
    Either form of negative control sets up negative responses in the person being controlled, and these negative responses cause the codependents to blame others for their own inability to be internally comfortable with themselves.

    2. RESENTMENT

    Codependents use resentment as a futile way to try to protect themselves and regain self-esteem. When people are victimized, they experience two things rather intensely: a drop in self-esteem, preciousness, or value, and a profound need to find some way to stop the victimization.

    Anger gives people a sense of power and energy. In healthy amounts anger provides the strength to do what is needed to protect oneself. But when we recycle the anger and combine it with an obsession about punishing the offender or getting revenge, we enter into resentment. Whether or not we actually carry out any real punishment or revenge, resentment includes the desire for it. Resentment debilitates the codependent because of the process of replaying the victimization in our minds, which brings on painful emotions such as shame, unexpressed or poorly expressed anger, and depressive frustration. Resentment plays a key part in the way codependents' lives are hampered by blaming others for their own inability to protect themselves with healthy boundaries.


    3. IMPAIRED SPIRITUALITY

    Codependents either make someone else their Higher Power through hate, fear, or worship, or attempt to be another's Higher Power. Whether or not the codependent is aware that this is happening, this secondary symptom can be quite painful or damaging to the health and functional development of the codependent.


    4. ADDICTIONS, OR MENTAL OR PHYSICAL ILLNESS

    Our ability to face reality is directly related to our ability to have a healthy relationship with ourself, which means loving the self, protecting the self, identifying the self, caring for the self, and moderating the self.

    Living out of such a healthy, centered relationship with the self allows us to face the reality of who we are, who others are, who the Higher Power in our lives is, and the reality of our current situation. Developing these abilities and perceptions is the core of recovery from codependence.
    But when we do not acquire a functional internal relationship and sense of adequacy, the pain that results inside of us and in our relationships with others and with our Higher Power often leads us into an addictive process to alleviate the pain quickly.

    I suggest, therefore, that a person with an addiction is probably also a codependent; and conversely, a codependent most likely has one or more addictive or obsessive/compulsive processes. This secondary symptom, then, is the primary link between codependence and any other addiction -particularly love addiction. While experiencing the often unrecognized internal pain of the failure of the relationship with the self, and blaming others for this failure, the Love Addict turns to a certain kind of close relationship, believing the other person can and should soothe the Love Addict's internal pain through giving unconditional love and attention and taking care of the Love Addict.


    5. DIFFICULTY WITH INTIMACY

    Intimacy involves sharing our own reality and receiving the reality of others without either party judging that reality or trying to change it.
    Codependents with the core symptom of difficulty identifying who they are (their reality) and sharing appropriately cannot be intimate in a healthy way, since intimacy means sharing their reality. Without the sharing of healthy intimacy codependents cannot check out their immature perceptions and they continue to have painful problems in their relationships with others.



    WHICH COMES FIRST -RECOVERY FROM ADDICTIONS OR FROM CODEPENDENCE?

    Because so many people are codependent and have one or more addictions, the question of which should be dealt with first often arises. It seems to me that powerful addictions that medicate and camouflage reality make it difficult for people to deal with codependence, since codependence recovery involves learning to face reality with increasing maturity.

    There seems to be at least four such powerful reality-bluffing addictive processes that need to be dealt with (if they are operating in someone's life) before a person can effectively deal with codependence. These four addictions are:

    . alcohol and drug addiction

    . sex addiction

    . severe gambling disorder

    . severe eating disorders (severe anorexia, bulemia, or overeating) at a near-lethal level

    At some point in the recovery process of the core symptoms of codependence, a person's denial about any other addictions, if such addictions are operating, cracks. In some instances, people become aware that they have switched addictions. For example, Joe, a recovering alcoholic, may gain forty pounds and realize that instead of beer he is addicted to ice cream. He has developed a food addiction. In other cases, an addiction has been operating all along, but as recovery progresses people become increasingly able to tolerate facing reality (core symptom three) so that the addiction can now be identified. Gwen, for example, who was a recovering anorexic, eventually became aware that she had all too frequently been overdrawn at the bank, charged up to the limit on her credit cards, or in need of frequent loans from friends or parents to help her make ends meet. Gwen's recovery from codependence now allows her to tolerate acknowledging her spending addiction. For whatever reason, people often recognize other addictions that need treatment. Examples of such addictions include:

    love addiction

    eating disorders that aren't lethal at the moment (which I call "fat" serenity)

    work addiction

    debting, spending addiction

    religious addiction

    nicotine addiction

    caffeine addiction



    LOVE ADDICTS AND THE PARTNERS THEY CHOOSE

    Love addiction, therefore, is an addiction that often becomes visible to the codependent only after some work has been done on the core symptoms of codependence. Addressing love addiction can be emotionally very destabilizing because the resistance to facing the denial and delusion around this condition is particularly strong.

    The painful patterns of difficulty I have encountered in love addiction are exhibited in relationships made up of two people, each of whom has certain distinct characteristics. One party is focused on the partner and the relationship; and the other tries to avoid intimate connection within the relationship, usually through some addiction. I call the former a Love Addict and the latter an Avoidance Addict. * The relationship they form I call a co-addicted relationship.

    Co-addictions are often husband-wife relationships, but the problem can exist within almost any real or fantasized two-party relationship: parent-child, friend-friend, counselor-client, boss-employee, or a fantasized relationship between an individual and a public figure or popular idol such as Elvis Presley (whom the Love Addict may never have met personally).



    A co-addicted relationship is not based on healthy love, but on extreme positive and negative intensity. The Love Addict in particular may experience obsessive and compulsive feelings, thinking, and behavior with regard to the relationship, along with intense emotions including anger, fear, hate, and lust, and so-called love for the other person. In the next chapter we'll examine the characteristics of the Love Addict in more detail.


    PIA MELLODY


    Next Page=>

    Facing Love Addiction: Giving Yourself the Power to Change the Way You Love: The Love Connection to Codependence





    Copyright 2003 unless explicitly
    denoted as copyrighted by others. All rights reserved.
    Contact: David Bruce Jr.
    Frederick Maryland
    240 315-1515




    ==========
    This article is for informational purposes only.
    Please contact a licensed professional in your area
    if you are in crisis or require mental health services

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