Emotional Abuse

Merely refraining from abusive behaviors will do nothing to improve a relationship, though it may slow its rate of deterioration. To repair the harm done, there must be a corresponding increase in compassion on the part of the abuser. Abusers do not change by receiving compassion; they change by learning to give it. Emotional abuse does not result from storms of anger; it emerges during droughts of compassion.Steven Stosny writes:

Emotionally abusive behavior is anything that intentionally hurts the feelings of another person. Since almost everyone in intimate relationships does that at some time or other, emotionally abusive behavior must be distinguished from an emotionally abusive relationship, which is more than the sum of emotionally abusive behaviors. Continue reading

Claddaghring

A Credo for Your Relationships with Others

Dr. Thomas Gordon wrote this:

You and I are in a relationship which I value and want to keep. We are also two separate persons with our own individual values and needs. So that we will better know and understand what each of us values and needs, let us always be open and honest in our communication. When you are experiencing a problem in your life, I will try to listen with genuine acceptance and understanding in order to help you find your own solutions rather than imposing mine.  And I want you to be a listener for me when I need to find solutions to my problems. At those times when your behavior interferes with what I must do to get my own needs met, I will tell you openly and honestly how your behavior affects me, trusting that you respect my needs and feelings enough to try to change the behavior that is unacceptable to me.  Also, whenever some behavior of mine is unacceptable to you, I hope you will tell me openly and honestly so I can try to change my behavior. And when we experience conflicts in our relationship, let us agree to resolve each conflict without either of us resorting to the use of power to win at the expense of the other’s losing.  I respect your needs, but I also must respect my own.  So let us always strive to search for a solution that will be acceptable to both of us.  Your needs will be met, and so will mine–neither will lose, both will win. In this way, you can continue to develop as a person through satisfying your needs, and so can I. Thus, ours can be a healthy relationship in which both of us can strive to become what we are capable of being. And we can continue to relate to each other with mutual respect, love and peace.” via A Credo for Your Relationships with Others – Gordon Training International.

This is a work-worthy goal but I am sooooooooo far away from this…

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Accepting powerlessness

Back to back Melody Beattie! Here she writes:

Since I’ve been a child, I’ve been in an antagonistic relationship with an important emotional part of myself: my feelings. I have consistently tried to ignore, repress, or force my feelings away. I have tried to create unnatural feelings or force away feelings that were present.

I’ve denied I was angry, when in fact I was furious. I have told myself there must be something wrong with me for feeling angry, when anger was a reasonable and logical response to the situation.

I have told myself things didn’t hurt, when they hurt very much. I have told myself stories such as “That person didn’t mean to hurt me.” . . . “He or she doesn’t know any better.” . . . “I need to be more understanding.” The problem was that I had already been too understanding of the other person and not understanding and compassionate enough with myself.

It has not just been the large feelings I have been at war with; I have been battling the whole emotional aspect of myself. I have tried to use spiritual energy, mental energy, and even physical exertion to not feel what I need to feel to be healthy and alive.

I didn’t succeed at my attempts to control emotions. Emotional control has been a survival behavior for me. I can thank that behavior for helping me get through many years and situations where I didn’t have any better options. But I have learned a healthier behavior – accepting my feelings.

We are meant to feel. Part of our dysfunction is trying to deny or change that. Part of our recovery means learning to go with the flow of what we’re feeling and what our feelings are trying to tell us.

We are responsible for our behaviors, but we do not have to control our feelings. We can let them happen. We can learn to embrace, enjoy, and experience – feel – the emotional part of ourselves.

Today, I will stop trying to force and control my emotions. Instead, I will give power and freedom to the emotional part of myself.” via Just For Today Meditations » Blog.

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Letting Go

 

Melody Beattie writes:

Stop trying so hard to control things. It is not our job to control people, outcomes, circumstances, and life. Maybe in the past we couldn’t trust and let things happen. But we can now. The way life is unfolding is good. Let it unfold.

Stop trying so hard to do better, be better, and be more. Who we are and the way we do things is good enough for today.

Who we were and the way we did things yesterday was good enough for that day.

Ease up on ourselves. Let go. Stop trying so hard.

Today, I will let go. I will stop trying to control everything. I will stop trying to make myself be and do better, and I will let myself be.” via Just For Today Meditations » Blog.

 

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Insisting on the Best

Melody Beattie writes:

We deserve the best life and love has to offer, but we are each faced with the challenge of learning to identify what that means in our life. We must each come to grips with our own understanding of what we believe we deserve, what we want, and whether we are receiving it.

There is only one place to start, and that is right where we are, in our current circumstances. The place we begin is with us.

What hurts? What makes us angry? What are we whining and complaining about? Are we discounting how much a particular behavior is hurting us? Are we making excuses for the other person, telling ourselves we’re “too demanding”?

Are we reluctant, for a variety of reasons, especially fear, to tackle the issues in our relationships that may be hurting us? Do we know what’s hurting us and do we know that we have a right to stop our pain, if we want to do that?

We can begin the journey from deprived to deserving. We can start it today. We can also be patient and gentle with ourselves as we travel in important increments from believing we deserve second best, to knowing in our hearts that we deserve the best, and taking responsibility for that.

Today, I will pay attention to how I allow people to treat me, and how I feel about that. I will also watch how I treat others. I will not overreact by taking their issues too personally and too seriously; I will not under react by denying that certain behaviors are inappropriate and not acceptable to me.” Source: Language of Letting Go – July 16 – SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information

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One way to Stop Being Disappointed

English: Pigs in Mud A sow and piglet on the n...

Have you ever heard the expression ‘Doing _____ is like wrestling with a pig; you get dirty and the pig likes it’. Steve Pavlina writes:

If someone is late about 70% of the time, and you expect them to be on time, that’s a rather foolish prediction, isn’t it? They may be on time, but they probably won’t be.

What many people will do is get angry with the friend who’s frequently late. Does this usually change that person’s behavior? Perhaps sometimes, but it usually has little or no effect. The person will most likely continue being late at roughly the same frequency.

Wanting a person to change doesn’t change their behavior. It’s more likely to cement the behavior in place since people tend to resist others’ demands of them.

Instead of resisting your predictions, a more sensible approach is to accept them. Accept that your friend will probably continue to be late most of the time.

Note that this doesn’t mean predicting that your friend will always be late, so you can be pleasantly surprised when they’re on time. That would be inaccurate as well. It means accepting that you don’t really know when they’ll show up and that most likely they’ll be later than they say they will. Predict based on reality, not on overly positive or negative expectations. In many cases your prediction will be a spectrum of possible outcomes with some being more probable than others.

Now your friend may change their behavior over time, but when such changes are going to occur, you’ll typically see advance evidence of them. Is your friend committed to becoming more punctual? If so, is there any physical evidence other than empty promises? For instance, when you visit your friend’s home, do you see books like How to Be Punctual lying around? Does your friend share details of their efforts to change? In other words, do you have some solid evidence that this habit will in fact be corrected?

Let me put this another way. If someone said they’d bet you $100 that your friend would be late most of the time for all get-togethers for the next six months, would you take that bet (meaning that you’re betting that your friend will usually be on time)? If you wouldn’t take the bet, it’s fair to say you expect the old behavior to continue.

If there’s no evidence of change, then your best prediction of future behavior is past behavior. In this case, the past does equal the future.

If your current prediction is that the old behavior is likely to continue, then go ahead and project this expectation forward in time for at least a decade. In the absence of clear evidence to the contrary, it’s reasonable to expect that this pattern will continue year after year for at least the next 10 years.

Now do your best to accept this prediction without resistance. Don’t try to alter it for emotional reasons.

The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, so if you’re clear about the past behavior, you can reasonably expect that it will continue as-is for the most part, absent any serious commitment to alter course. Change is always possible, but entertain the possibility that it may not happen.

Now with this newfound acceptance in mind, how does that affect your relationship with your friend? Does it mandate that you kick this person out of your life? Not necessarily. What it means is that you can now account for the likelihood that this person will be late most of the time. This means your decisions will be more intelligent since they’ll be based on more accurate predictions, not on false hopes.” via How to Stop Being Disappointed.

My old friend RJ always says that when it comes to people what you got is what you’ll get; we can hope that people change but to expect otherwise is an invitation to disappointment. Stop wrestling with pigs!!!

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Surviving Slumps

Melody Beattie writes:

A slump can go on for days. We feel sluggish, unfocused, and sometimes overwhelmed with feelings we can’t sort out. We may not understand what is going on with us. Even our attempts to practice recovery behaviors may not appear to work. We still don’t feel emotionally, mentally, and spiritually as good as we would like.

In a slump, we may find ourselves reverting instinctively to old patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving, even when we know better. We may find ourselves obsessing, even when we know that what we’re doing is obsessing and that it doesn’t work.

We may find ourselves looking frantically for other people to make us feel better, the whole time knowing our happiness and well being does not lay with others.

We may begin taking things personally that are not our issues, and reacting in ways we’ve learned all to well do not work.

We’re in a slump. It won’t last forever. These periods are normal, even necessary. These are the days to get through. These are the days to focus on recovery behaviors, whether or not the rewards occur immediately. These are sometimes the days to let ourselves be and love ourselves as much as we can.

We don’t have to be ashamed, no matter how long we’ve been recovering. We don’t have to unreasonably expect “more” from ourselves. We don’t ever have to expect ourselves to live life perfectly.

Get through the slump. It will end. Sometimes, a slump can go on for days and then, in the course of an hour, we see ourselves pull out of it and feel better. Sometimes it can last a little longer.

Practice one recovery behavior in one small area, and begin to climb uphill. Soon, the slump will disappear. We can never judge where we will be tomorrow by where we are today.

Today, I will focus on practicing one recovery behavior on one of my issues, trusting that this practice will move me forward. I will remember that acceptance, gratitude, and detachment are a good place to begin.” via Just For Today Meditations » Daily Recovery Readings – June 26, 2012.

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Perfection

Melody Beattie writes:

Try harder. Do better. Be perfect. These messages are tricks that people have played on us. No matter how hard we try, we think we have to do better. Perfection always eludes us and keeps us unhappy with the good we’ve done.
Messages of perfectionism are tricks because we can never achieve their goal. We cannot feel good about ourselves or what we have done while these messages are driving us. We will never be good enough until we change the
messages and tell ourselves we are good enough now.
We can start approving of and accepting ourselves. Who we are is good
enough. Our best yesterday was good enough; our best today is plenty good
too.
We can be who we are, and do it the way we do it – today. That is the
essence of avoiding perfection.
Help me let go of the messages that drive me into the crazies. I will
give myself permission to be who I am and let that be good enough.” Source: Daily SNIPS Discussion: 062706 0507-1111 – DailyStrength

Boundaries

Fence

Good fences make good neighbors…

Melody Beattie writes:

“Having boundaries doesn’t complicate life; boundaries simplify life.” Beyond Codependency.

There is a positive aspect to boundary setting. We learn to listen to ourselves and identify what hurt us and what we don’t like. But we also learn to identify what feels good.

When we are willing to take some risks and begin actively doing so, we will enhance the quality of our life.

What do we like? What feels good? What brings us pleasure? Whose company do we enjoy? What helps us to feel good in the morning? What’s a real treat in our life? What are the small, daily activities that make us feel nurtured and cared for?

What appeals to our emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical self? What actually feels good to us?

We have deprived ourselves too long. There is no need to do that anymore, no need. If it feels good, and the consequences are self-loving and not self-defeating, do it!

Today, I will do for myself those little things that make life more pleasurable. I will not deny myself healthy treats.” via Thought for the Day.