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|This is a column by Robert Burney
+ handouts for The Rules for Being Human and Risking.
by Robert Burney M.A.
"One of the core characteristics of this
disease of Codependence is intellectual polarization - black and white
thinking. Rigid extremes - good or bad, right or wrong, love it or
leave it, one or ten. Codependence does not allow any gray area -
only black and white extremes.
Life is not black and white. Life involves
the interplay of black and white. In other words, the gray area is
where life takes place. A big part of the healing process is learning
the numbers two through nine - recognizing that life is not black and white."
Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls
The "stinking thinking" of Codependency causes us to have a
dysfunctional relationship with ourselves and others. These are some
traits of that stinking thinking:
1. Black and White Thinking:
A longer version of these can be found on Codependent
Thinking Handout page - along with possible attribution.
The disease comes from an absolute black and white, right/wrong,
always and never perspective. "I will always be alone." "I
never get a break." Any negative thing that happens gets turned into
a sweeping generality.
2. Negative Focus:
The disease always wants to focus on the half of the glass
that is empty and lament, rather than be grateful for what we have.
Even if the glass is 7/8 ths full the disease can find some negative to
focus on. (On the other extreme are some people who focus only on the good
as a way of denying their feelings.)
3. Magical Thinking:
Mind reading, fortune telling, assuming - we think we
can read other peoples minds and feelings, or foretell the future, and
then act as if what we assume is the reality. We often create self-fulfilling
prophecies this way.
4. Starring in the Soap Opera:
Blowing things out of proportion, playing the "King or Queen
of tragedy." Some of us are addicted to "Trauma Dramas"and
want the excitement and intensity of dramatic scenes while others of us
are terrified of conflict. It is quite common in codependent relationships
to have one person who is over-indulgent and dramatic emotionally coupled
with someone who wants to avoid conflict and emotions at all costs.
Inability to receive, or to admit to our own positive qualities
or accomplishments. When someone gives us a compliment we minimize it ("Oh
it was nothing"), make a joke out of it, or just ignore the compliment
by changing the subject or turning the compliment back on the other person.
6. Emotional Reasoning:
Reasoning from feelings. "I feel like a failure therefore
I am a failure." Believing that what we feel is who we are without
separating the inner child's feelings about what happened a long time ago
from the adults feelings in the now.
"Shoulds," "must," "ought to," and "have to" come from a parent
or authority figure. "Should" means "I don't want to but they are
making me." Adults don't have shoulds - adults have choices.
Identifying with our shortcomings and mistakes, with our human
imperfection, and calling ourself names like "stupid," "loser," "jerk,"
or "fool" instead of accepting our humanity and learning from any mistakes
9. Personalizing and Blame:
Blaming yourself for something you weren't entirely
responsible for, or for how someone else feels. Conversely, you may
blame other people, external events, or fate, while overlooking how your
own attitudes and behavior may have contributed to a problem.
As children we learned to blame others to keep from feeling the shame of
being blamed. As adults we swing between blaming and self-blame -
neither is the Truth. The answers lie in the gray area, in 2 through
9, not in the extremes.
Adapted by Robert Burney from material whose original
source is unknown.
The Rules for Being Human
1. You will receive a body.
You may like or hate it, but it will be yours
for the entire period this time around.
2. You will learn lessons.
You are enrolled in a full time informal school
called life. Each day in this school you will have the opportunity
to learn lessons. You may like the lessons or think them irrelevant
3. There are no mistakes, only lessons.
Growth is a process of trial and error experimentation.
The "failed" experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiment
that ultimately "works."
4. A lesson is repeated until learned.
A lesson will be presented to you in various
forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can
go on to the next lesson.
5. Learning lessons does not end.
There is not part of life that does not contain
its lessons. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.
6. "There" is no better than "here".
When your "there" has become a "here", you will
simply obtain another "there" that will, again, look better than "here".
7. Others are merely mirrors for you.
You cannot love or hate something about another
person unless it reflects something you love or hate about yourself.
8. What you make of your life is up to you.
You have all the tools and resources you need,
what you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.
9. Your answers lie inside you.
The answers to life's questions lie inside you.
All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.
10. You will forget all this!
By Cherie Carter-Scott, Ph.D. A handout she created 25
years ago that circulated widely and anonymously until recently when she
published If Life is a Game These are the Rules
To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
The source of this - along with the editing I did
of the orginal handout page I got source unkown is on a page with the Rule
for Being Human.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach out for another is to risk involvement.
To expose your feelings is to risk exposing your true self.
To place your ideas, your dreams before a crowd is to risk.
To Love is to risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To hope it to risk despair.
To try it to risk failure.
But, risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk
nothing at all.
The person who risks nothing still does not avoid suffering and sorrow
because suffering and sorrow are an unavoidable part of life.
What they avoid by not taking risks it the opportunity to learn, feel,
change, grow, Love, live.
Chained by their certitudes, they are a slave. The have forfeited
Only a person who risks is free.
Original Source Unknown