““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.”
“If we are reacting out of what our emotional truth was when we were five or nine or fourteen, then we are not capable of responding appropriately to what is happening in the moment; we are not being in the now.” – quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls
I heard someone at a CoDA meeting this week talk about a truly revolutionary concept that their codependence counselor introduced into a session with her and her husband one day. She and her husband were in a hot and heavy argument when the counselor interrupted to ask, “Do you want to be happy or do you want to be right.” She said that it was a question that they had to consider for a while because being right was awful important to them both.
It is normal for relationships in this society to deteriorate into power struggles over who is right and who is wrong. That is because we grew up in a dysfunctional society that taught that it was shameful to be wrong. We got the message that our self-worth depends on not making mistakes, on being perfect – that it caused our parents great emotional pain (or they caused us great emotional or physical pain) when we made a mistake, when we were wrong.
Codependence is an emotional defense system that is set up to protect the wounded inner child within us from the shame of being exposed as unlovable and unworthy, as stupid and weak, as a loser and failure, as whatever it was that we got the message was the worst thing to be. We were taught to evaluate whether we had worth in comparison to others. Smarter than, prettier than, faster than, richer than, more successful than, thinner than, stronger than, etc., etc. In a codependent society the only way to feel good about self is to look down on someone else. So we learned to judge (just like our role models did) others in order to feel good about ourselves. Being “right” was one of the most important ways to know that we had worth.
When a codependent feels attacked – which is any time it seems as if someone is judging us – it can be with a look or a tone of voice or just that someone doesn’t say something, let alone when someone actually says something to us that could be interpreted as meaning that we weren’t doing something right – the choices we are faced with are to blame them or blame ourselves. Either they are right – in which case it proves that we are the stupid loser that the critical parent voice in our head tells us we are – or they are wrong in which case it is time to attack them and prove to them the error of their ways.
In most relationships where the people have been together for a few years they have already established entrenched battle lines around painful emotional scars where they push each others buttons. All one person has to do is use a certain tone of voice or have a certain look on their face and the other person pulls out and loads the big guns. One person is readying their answer in their head to what they “know” the other is going to say before the other even has a chance to say it. The battle begins and neither one of them actually listens to what the other is saying. They start pulling out their lists of past hurts to prove their point of how the other is “doing” horrible things to them. The battle is on to see who is right and who is wrong.
And that is not even the right question.
The type of questions we need to be asking are: “What button just got pushed?” “Why am I reacting so strongly to this?” “How old do I feel right now?” “In what way does what is happening feel like something that happened in my childhood” “How does this remind me of the way my paents acted or treated me?”
We attract into our lives those people who will perfectly push our buttons for us. Who fit our particular issues exactly. When we are looking at life as a growth process then we can learn from these lessons. If both people in a relationship are willing to look at what is underneath the dynamics that are happening – then some magical, wonderful intimacy can result. As long as we are reacting unconsciously to the past, then we will blame and argue about who is right and who is wrong.
A relationship is a partnership, an alliance, not some game with winners and losers. When the interaction in a relationship becomes a power struggle about who is right and who is wrong then there are no winners.” – Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth Chapter 2 – Power Struggle
If you live in Southern California and want to learn how to do relationships in a healthier way it would be really helpful for you to come to my Intensive Training Day workshop. If you are alone this Valentine’s Day, this workshop can help you understand your patterns and fear of intimacy so that you can make better choices the next time you venture into the Romantic Arena. If you are in a relationship and find your self in power struggles over who is right and wrong – then it would be very helpful for you to come to my workshop together. I have posted a page with special offers for my February 15th workshop.
If you don’t live in this area, there is a MP3 recording of my workshop that you can download.
I have special offers for Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth on this page. (which includes offers for my other books also.)
When you purchase Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth Codependent Dysfunctional Relationship Dynamics & Healthy Relationship Behavior through Joy2MeU you get a personally autographed copy;-) but you can also purchase through Amazon.com and Amazon.UK.
The Greatest Arena is also available as two ebooks (each only$9.95) eBook 1: Codependent Dysfunctional Relationship Dynamics & Healthy Relationship Behavior (the first 20 chapters of The Greatest Arena) is available on Amazon and on Amazon UK.
Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth eBook 2: Deeper Within (emotionally) & Further Out (metaphysically) From Fear of Intimacy to Twin Souls (chapters 21 through 40 of The Greatest Arena) is available on Amazon and Amazon UK.
Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth eBook 1: Codependent Dysfunctional Relationship Dynamics & Healthy Relationship Behavior now available as an audio book.