Brooks Behavioral Health Services
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Nuggets of Love

Can I Please Have My Remote?

Have you ever been emotionally abused by someone?

Have you walked in a room and the presence of a person just makes you feel a certain way?

Do people make you change your emotions because they are in a mood?

Do you make unhealthy decisions because you are around particular people?

 

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If you answer yes to any of these questions, you may be codependent. Many people don’t like to admit it, but it can be true. Codependency is not a healthy state of mind. Codependency was first recognized in people that were taking care of terminally ill individuals. The research showed that the ill person normally became dependent on the care giver because they could not maintain their own life without support.  After looking at the relationship, the researchers noticed that the care giver became dependent on the ill person as well. If the two were separated due to death, the care giver was lost because their life revolved solely around the sick person.

Addiction quickly picked up this philosophy because addicts and their love ones showed the same codependent behaviors. Codependency is a real phenomenon and it is alive and well. The lack of boundaries is a perfect foundation for codependency. Most people that grow up in a codependent household will generally establish their own codependent relationship when disconnected from the family.

This blog is not solely about codependency, it is about the most extreme form of codependency, enmeshment. When trying to define enmeshment, you will need to imagine a shirt. A shirt looks like a single piece, but it isn’t one piece. It is many threads so tightly woven that it forms one entity. People that are enmeshed are usually so close that they can not separate their thoughts, emotions, or feelings. One is mad both become mad or one becomes heart broken they both are heart broken. These may sound like a loving and caring relationship, but it is not. Every person should have enough space between each other to feel and think for themselves.

When you have this powerful tug that makes you feel obligated, this should be a warning sign that you suffer from codependency or enmeshment. Having responsibilities is different than feeling obligated. If you are a person that struggles with saying NO or you always feel like people are taking advantage of you, it isn’t their fault, it’s yours. People that are codependent or enmeshed could easily put a sign on their forehead that says, I will allow you to hurt me, take advantage of me, and I will allow it.

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This may sound mean or harsh, but it is true. Codependent people gives emotional remotes to people that can cause them harm. Some or most don’t deserve the remotes but they still have them. They can push a button and make you move, react, think, or feel. You may want to react but you do any way, to the point where you dislike them because you can’t make them stop. They push play, you move, push rewind, you reverse, push pause, you freeze.

If you are tired of living this way start collecting all the remotes from people that don’t deserve them. Take the batteries out and throw them away. Taking the remotes back is creating boundaries in other words creating your own autonomy. You may think you have boundaries and you might but just could be ineffective. A boundary like toilet paper, people walk straight through them or boundaries like a painted line, people walk right over them. You may have to build a fence with a lock for a while until the unhealthy person sees that you are putting up a clear and precise boundary.

Some people build this fence so high and wide, they become detached from their feeling and emotions. This is the opposite unhealthy form of codependency.  You will have to find an equal balance, not so detached or not so enmeshed that you miss out on life, love, or special events. Hand out remotes that limit the number of buttons to be push. Some people get a remote with 5 buttons: volume up or down, channel buttons up or down, and power. When others get the picture in picture or a menu button so that they can get deeper into your life because they have proven their worth in your life.

Today go and get your remotes, stop letting people control you and if that doesn’t work, take your TV off the wall and put it in a different location. They just might see what they are missing. A high definition, 4K, LED screen. If they don’t appreciate it, let someone else enjoy you.

David Brooks