Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘hurt’

Are You In a Dependent Relationship?

I have written about the four different types of love that were identified by the Greeks hundreds of years ago (see blog archive 8/16/15). Their point as reiterated by David Brooks in his book, The Social Animal,” was that for love to be everlasting all four types of love need to develop in relationships over time. That makes sense. Once the initial physical attraction is experienced, deep love like the flowering of a rose takes time to tend and nurture to full bloom as it celebrates the individual strengths of each other.

But what happens if the Philemon type of love – the platonic, friendship type of love you have with a best friend seems to be difficult to juggle as you spend more time with your new found love? Let’s first look at what causes two people to become best friends. Shared interests, respect, admiration and concern all rank high on the list of factors.

However, once in a while this type of love can devolve into a needy, unhealthy type of dependent relationship. When you share your excitement about this special person in your life with your best friend and you hear subtle demands that infiltrate into your relationship such as wanting to know when they will see you again it’s time to consider the possibility that this could be a type of co-dependency. Maybe – maybe not – but for sure sharing you is not something they want to do. The label itself is less important than the recognition of the signs involved.

Any dependency is usually rooted in childhood and these individuals often become ‘survivors’ that exhibit fear, anger, pain or shame which was ignored or denied early on in life. These feelings begin to color their world over time since dependency is a learned behavior. The more it is practiced the stronger it becomes. The friendships they develop are more need than mere want but they simply don’t see it since abandonment is a constant issue.

The good news is that by recognizing dependency and learning more about the signs and signals it can be overcome and replaced by confidence and trust in one’s own ability to thrive in future healthy, loving relationships regardless of what happened in childhood.

How do you know if a relationship of dependency exists? Let’s look at some other possible indicators. Is there a pressure to touch base frequently – fearing anger or hurt exhibited from the other person if you are not in constant contact? In reality, best friends can go days, weeks, or months without touching base but still know the other person cares for them and has their best interest at heart.

If you experience feelings of rejection when you spend time with someone other than the dependent friend and it results in pouting, temporary withdrawal or outright anger until they have your attention once again – you can be sure dependency exists.

Other indicators of co-dependent people are their difficulty talking with people in authority, making decisions, handling pressure regarding time frames for completion of tasks, difficulty or even rigidity in adjusting to change, feelings of inadequacy, and an inability to share their feelings – especially with family members. Basically, they have low self-esteem often due to their early upbringing.

If you are involved in this type of relationship at first you may feel a sense of importance by ‘being needed.’ Unfortunately, your attention and constant concern or attempt to do more than your share does not help since this behavior can become compulsive and self-defeating as the reliance increases. In essence, both parties start to develop a view of ‘us against the world’ and the dependency increases.

As stated, the good news is that when the dependency is recognized and steps are taken to readjust the invasive nature of this type of relationship personal growth is experienced by both parties and over time an even higher level of friendship develops. Sometimes it takes a best friend to get their attention and even professional to unearth the need for dependency.

When you really care about another you want the best for them. Moving from dependency to independence is the best gift you can gift yourself and the other person. The Philemon type of love is a critical element in best friends as well as deeper love relationships.

Have a great few days!

Positive Thinking is a Work in Progress

Everything in the Universe is energy. We are each an individual universe of energy. You know certain people who make you feel energized and others who seem to drain your energy. Well, emotions, experiences, even colors and words also have energy. When you are positive, upbeat, and happy you DRAW even more positive energy from people and events INTO your life. Sadly, the reverse is also true. When you are negative, whining or blaming others about your life circumstances, you will experience even more negative energy coming back to you. It’s like a boomerang – you get back what you throw out. Remember the phrase, ‘Like attracts like?” Well, it really does. Right now, you may be experiencing loss, grief, hurt, rejection, lack of funds or any one of a million other life challenges. You don’t have to like them but remember you signed up for this curriculum in this huge classroom called, ‘Life on Planet Earth.’ Have you ever stopped to ask yourself what lessons you are learning from the circumstance you are in? Once you learn the lessons – really learn them, the circumstances resolve themselves.

An important question to think about is, what are you saying to yourself and others about your situation? Remember, the more you repeat the thought or voice the negative emotion, the more negatives will be drawn into your environment. Recently, I heard someone say, negatives are like being unplugged from the Universal Energy source/God. Think of an electrical appliance in your home. If it is unplugged it simply won’t work. Well, when we allow ourselves to get unplugged through negative thinking we stop fully functioning and life looses its luster. Everything seems to be a greater chore than usual. The burdens keep adding up until you can’t see, much less think about, the possibilities of tomorrow.

The beauty of all this is that you can recharge – replug yourself into the energy source many different ways. A few examples are: meditation, prayer, listing all of the things for which you are grateful, exercise, doing something to help others (even a phone call or email) to brighten their day. Basically, any activity that gets you back into a positive energy flow will stop the negativity from magnifying itself and its’ effect on you.

The challenge to you is to recognize that YOU are responsible and in control of how you feel, act and respond. The second challenge is to realize that, as humans, we need to WORK at staying positive, it is a constant, perpetual ‘work in progress.’ No one can do it for you, but I promise you, it is worth the effort.

Let me know if this makes sense to you! I would love to hear your thoughts.

Synchronicity – God/Universal Energy is at Work!

Today is the 13th anniversary of my son, Ronnie’s death. So many friends and family remembered (including my grandboys) that caused me to feel both grateful and overwhelmed. If you have gotten the chance to read the book, Just Behind the Door, you won’t be surprised by the next few sentences. The publishing house emailed me and verified that my copies (40 softcover and 20 hardcovers) would be delivered soon for upcoming book talks. Synchronicity, as defined by Carl Jung means the simultaneous occurrence of events that are meaningfully related. In other words, things happening that seem rather coincidental but have a certain common theme or effect and time. Well, once again, the synchronicity in my life continues. The books were delivered to my door TODAY, on the anniversary of his death. Thank you to God/Universal Energy and Ronnie for reiterating to me the message that unconditional love is forever.

For those of you who remember the artist, Carly Simon, she produced a song in the ’70’s entitled, “Haven’t Got Time For the Pain.” Although we would all like to believe it to be true, the reality is that certain days trigger memories of unconditional love and unconditional loss. The pain, once again, comes flooding into our consciousness. It is important to honor and hold both the pain and love in our hearts during these times. Denial of the feelings involved in loss or grief forces the hurt to bury itself deeper into our psyche. It is both mentally and physically unhealthy to keep it buried. A loss, as painful as it is, can be an opportunity for us to connect to the real truth in our lives. Our loved ones are always around us and ready to help and offer encouragement from the other side. Just remember they have 20/20 hindsight and foresight. The lyrics of Carly’s song, “I haven’t got time… room.. or need for the pain” sounds rather cold. But if you listen further to the song, it is a confirmation of everything I write about in the book. “You showed me how.. to leave myself behind …and turn down the noise in my mind… Suffering was the only thing that made me feel I was alive…’Til you showed me how, to fill my heart with love and to open up and drink in all that white love pouring down from heaven.” When you hear songs that resonate with you, there is a reason.

I again say thank you to all of you who have been emailing and calling me after reading the book. Some of you have even written while you were still in the middle of reading it! I am humbled and thankful that it is helping so many people think about the loss of a loved in a larger context. One of the quotes from Ronnie in the book is so fitting, “Everyone needs to know that nothing dies. The spirit, the soul lives on. Love and communication continues, forever, if people will open themselves up to it.”

Let that last sentence roll around in your mind for awhile. The truth will present itself to you.

Until next time, have a loving and joyful week.

Are you Inclusive or Exclusive?

As fellow travelers in life, how often do we stop to think about connecting with others to help them? Loss, hurt, pain, denial and avoidance are themes that seem to continue to surface in all of us from time to time. When we listen, without judgment to others, we may be surprised to hear that they have walked on a similar path. It can be reassuring or disarming to realize that, as human beings, we are much more alike than originally imagined. Although we are each a unique individual, we share incredibly similar lessons.

When we experience a loss that rocks us to our very core, our behaviors, attitudes and viewpoints frequently change. I talk with so many people about loss and have come to realize that they seem to fall into one of two camps. They either choose to pick up the shattered pieces of their life and become more inclusive after the initial wound is healed or, sadly, they retreat into themselves and become more exclusive in an attempt to shield themselves from further hurt.

The difference is significant. The energy around us can either serve to heal us or debilitate us. Energy, in itself, is neutral. It is our thinking that causes it to become a positive, life giving force or a negative drain on our daily existence. Life is meant to be lived. Yes, even after experiencing the greatest loss of your life, you need to reengage and keep going. I have been there and talk from experience. You will never be able to protect yourself from unforeseen events but you can live today, this moment, for all it is worth. You can choose to close and lock the doors in your mind to others or open the doors and let your heart welcome in their healing energy. Think of the power and energy from the sun. Even with that intense power, it cannot get through a shuttered door. We need the energy from others to heal from loss. Set a goal tomorrow to open the doors of your mind and heart and welcome in fellow travelers. Take the time to reach out to someone. You will be glad that did!

Have a great rest of the week!