The persecutor and the fugitive – relationship games

Our relationships are very important in a point of view of health, like mentally, emotionally and physically being healthy. The quality of our relationships influences us very strongly, like a very good relationship can be therapeutically effective, where we can trust and rely on somebody and can get an objective feedback, like a mirror. In a good relationship we are able to change. However often happens that the relationship what we have doesn’t provide too much happiness, joy or security.

The emotional availability and response is surpassingly important in a relationship. If our search for closeness is not satisfied properly, desperation, anger and negative behaviour spiral can appear which can cause endless arguments.

The established emotional bonding in early childhood affects how we react to emotional insecurity. The adult emotional bonding can become hyperactive when we look for contact exaggeratedly, becoming clingy, questioning our partner or becoming aggressive and over-controlling. The emotional bonding can become deactivated as well. In this case we run away, stepping out from those situations when our partner would recall our needs and we try to push away our own needs. Often this two occurrences is visible on two people who are together as a couple. One of them is persecuting and the other is running away.

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Unsolved conflicts (swept under the carpet) can freeze the relationship.

If we look behind this dynamic we can see how lonely these two people are and they experience the same insufficiencies but they cope with it on a different way. When a problem or insecurity appears in a relationship, fear and insecurity feeling are switched on which can freeze the relationship completely. These buttons can get activated by a real negative experience or by a real or fictive danger which is threatening our relationship. The persecutor can afraid of becoming abandoned and the fugitive can afraid of becoming refused. Behind the arguments and misunderstandings there are untold questions like – Can I trust you? Do you stand by me? Am I important to you? Do you accept and respect me?

In this persecutor-fugitive relationship the best what we can do (if we don’t ask professional help) is to call deeper emotional levels because just in this way we can see our partner on a more empathic way and can recognize our own and our partner’s emotional needs. Often not enough to improve our communication skills to dissolve these type of games (child-parent game; persecutor-fugitive; victim-savior etc.)

The first step is always recognition, like observing our relationship if it’s balanced or not. Are we on the same level or you act like a parent and I obey as a child? Am I too needy or are you unavailable always?

The key of a happy relationship is always about balance.

Picture: http://www.tjwalshtherapy.com

Words can hurt – Emotional-verbal abuse

Not just physical abuse can hurt in a relationship. Words and emotional manipulation can cause similar sufferings like physical abuse. Words have their own power, they can heal but also can hurt and destroy as well. What kind of signs does emotional abuse have? How can we protect ourselves from it?

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Verbal/emotional abuse is the most difficultly recognizable abusive form because it can be used indirectly by wrapped into a paper of trifling or by exaggerated manipulative behaviour. The outcome of being emotionally abused is the same, damaged self-esteem and questioning the sense of reality. A lot of people stuck in emotionally abusive relationship because they don’t want to believe it’s really happening with them. Easier to quiet ourselves with thinking that “I’m sure she/he didn’t mean it!” or “Actually he/she means it for my good!”. Abuse can appear not just in relationships, also in friendships, family or working place. Through segregation and suppressing the abuser gets the control and even if the victim feels that the relationship is becoming damaged, often feels scared to break up the poisoning relation.

Invisible wounds

Researches have proved that both physical and emotional pain activate the very same parts of the brain. Doesn’t matter if there are no visible bruises on our body, emotional abuse doesn’t disappear without damage. If the verbal/emotional abuse is serious and continuous the victim’s self-esteem and self-evaluation can get degraded without physical bruises. The suffering person believes she/he is less valued, his/her self-confidence decreasing and in the meantime starting to doubt own capacities and capabilities. After a while critics and negative remarks become part of the victim’s self-esteem and not able to see herself/himself real. Become part of the self-image and the victim become one with the point of view of the abuser. Verbal and emotional abuse ensnare the victim whom can feel that she/he wouldn’t be possibly enough good for anyone else as well and stays in the relationship. The abuse influences negatively the whole social network of the victim because she/he is starting to question everything, like if the others really like him/her or not. This doubting easily segregate the victim from other people. Long-term abuse can cause depression and anxiety, eating disorders and sleeping problems. Often victims don’t talk about their situation because they feel shame and also they still doubt their own situation….what if the other is right?

The most important condition of treating abusive relationship is REALIZATION. Admission is essential after experiencing any aspect of abuse to move on. The victim must honestly have to face with facts and happenings to get back the lead of own life. There are few strategies which can help to move on or at least minimize the damage of an abusive relationship.

  1. Have our mental and physical health the first priority and stop blaming ourselves!

In an abusive relationship we must make ourselves aware of our own needs and their priorities. We must let the compliance go towards the abuser which had been developing in the past. We can look for activities which support the positive mindset and strengthen who we are. It can be a self-knowledge course or hobby which is all about just us. Step by step we can experience that we are able to take care of ourselves and strengthen our self-esteem. In an emotionally abusive relationship we susceptible to believe that the problem is us, we are the bad ones. Why? Because we think there must be a provided reason (our behaviour or simply just the way we are) for our partner who is acting with us on the way he/she does – we give the reason to him/her. (Why would he/she act like this but loves me?) We must stop blaming ourselves because we don’t have control on that part of the relationship. Abusers are masters of making us believe that we provided or provoked their abusive reactions or behaviour. This is not truth! We must be aware of it.

  1. Set up borders and don’t afraid of give abuser the cold shoulder!

Probably the most difficult step to make clear to the abusive partner what she/he can do or what can’t. We must undertake that he/she is not allowed to shout or call us names, not allowed to use insulting labels about us. Can help to ask his/her attention to the possible consequences. We must set up those borders what we can maintain. So if the abuser’s communication doesn’t change, well we must stand up and interrupt the communication. We must acknowledge that not everybody or everything can be “rescued”. In a long-term abusive relationship most probably the attitude of the abuser is not going to change just because we try to fill up his/her expectations, pleasing him/her or bagging or crying. We must remember that we are responsible just for our own actions and not for the abuser’s.

  1. Build safety net and always have escaping route!

After we have recognized the problem, we must start to talk about it with someone even if it hurts. We can feel shame and humiliation but if we don’t speak about it our situation is going to be just worse. Very important to find somebody who we can share our situation with. It can be a friend, a family member or an expert. We should spend as much time as possible with those people who love and support us. Our social network can reduce our isolated and lonely feeling. Really very hard to leave someone who we love even if that relationship is poisonous. We must see that clearly most of the times abusive people don’t look for help or clearly see that what they do is destructive, so they don’t ask help to change. Face the facts that if she/he is not able or willing to change we must break up and leave. Emotional abuse can cause the same damage as physical ones. Every situations are different but there are cases where the only solution is to leave.

Very important to know one thing, there is always a solution to get out from a destructive relationship, always even if we haven’t found it yet!

 

Picture: twitter.com

7 principals to have a stable and well-balanced relationship

John M. Gottman American clinical psychologist and relationship researcher has been studying this area since decades. He defined 7 principles to build up and maintain stable and well-balanced relationship. His main focus is to study dynamics of marriages and the transformation of them. According to his research results he is able to predict if the relationship is going to be stable or the partners are going to be separated. His principles also can help to prevent our relationship from breaking up.

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  1. Deep friendship

The ideal relationship is based on a deep, accepting and loving friendship. This feeling can be a kind of a stable base for the future development. If the attraction, sexuality and intimacy were based on this friendship the relationship would face and deal with difficult times easier. There are also critical communication characteristics and if they are used in conflicts, they can be a bad sign for the future development of the relationship. These communication characteristics are, critic, contempt, defense and building up walls. If we can see these communication characteristics are appearing, becoming used, that can show the frailness of the relationship, which also can show that the mutual strong respect – the friendship might have suffered a damage. The problem with using critics is it doesn’t tend towards the conflict, it’s aimed at our partner. Contempt is very destructive because its aim is to humiliate the partner, its message is that we don’t consider our husband/wife/girlfriend/boyfriend as our partner and equal anymore. With using defense the problem is that it’s a kind of covert counter-attack and usually just rouses the conflict. When we build up walls around us, when we don’t even consider to react on to our partner’s arguments that can make him/her to feel or think like we don’t have more energy or motivation to care of the relationship. According to experts these four communication elements are able to shake the relationship and worth to keep eye on it and to avoid or resolve them.

  1. Love map

Love map means a deep and detailed knowledge of our partner. The secret of the good relationship is to be able to “read” our partner’s small fleeting emotions. We must be curious without judgement to know our partner, discovering his/her vulnerabilities, negative and positive characteristics, desires and fears and goals. Very useful often just staying in silence and listen to our partner, just observing.

  1. Not just observing, also listening!

We must give time to attune to each other, like sharing our day with each other after a difficult day, being an active listener. When we listen and react curiously it has a kind of a reward emotional effect in our partner. Common experiences and rituals are able to strengthen our connection and deepen our relationship.

  1. Let it go!

Before we get into an argument, consider that is it really worth to get into a conflict or argument about it? Often we slip into disproportionate fights because of small things and also into those where there is no objective truth. For instance, our partner forgot to replace the empty toilet paper roll. Is it really the end of the world? To let things go is not a sign of being weak, it’s respecting the other’s rights and accepting the other on the way she/he is.

  1. Do if you can!

   Professor Gottman divided upcoming problems in the relationship for two groups. The first group includes all of the resolvable problems and conflicts. If we worked on those together that would strengthen the relation and increasing the satisfaction of a stable relationship. For instance if a conflict is becoming too harsh they are able to break off the argument when they are feeling that they are losing their temper. In this case can help if they share their feelings with each other, if they are able to apologize and showing their love. Here I must mention that, very important also to keep in mind that “we actually love each other” in difficult times or during an argument.

  1. Don’t want to change the partner!

There can be factors in a relationship which on there is no control of the other. This is the second group which includes the unsolvable problems. If a fundamental difference appears between a couple, where is impossible to find the common consensus, to maintain the relationship they must accept this difference and being able to see it from the partner’s point of view. Happy couples are able to build in each other’s goals into their common plans and supporting each other to reach them even if it requires sacrifices.

  1. Find common goals!

In a balanced stable relationship there is always a common principal, a central conception or value which connects the couple even deeper. To establish it, we can create own habits or traditions. If there is something which is important for two people in the relationship that has an incredible cementing force. Shared experiences and traditions can remind us of this force even if we are going through a difficult time period.

According to Professor Gottman a couple’s happiness mainly depends on if they are matched well or not. Not enough to learn and use effective communication or conflict management techniques. The essence of a long-lasting and satisfied relationship is based on if those two people are match well and depends on if they are able to care of their relationship well and accepting each other’s unsolvable differences.

 

Picture: http://www.aestheticsofjoy.com

Emotional blackmail III. – The victim

To have emotional blackmailing situation it requires two people, the autocrat and the victim. The victim is actively involved in these situations, taking a back-seat and allows this kind of behaviour of the autocrat. Why do some people become easily a victim of emotional blackmail and others don’t? There are some personality traits which make easy to become a victim of emotional blackmail. Exaggerated claim to acceptance, strong fear of anger, making every effort to peace, exaggerated taking responsibility for others and strong self-doubt.

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The recognition seeker

We all seek for recognition, completely acceptable feeling and one of our basic needs but when we feel we must get others’ recognition and our self-image/self-esteem depends on if we get it or not; that makes us addictive and dependent and this trait becomes an easy target to an emotional blackmailer. Recognition seekers continuously need confirmation like a daily dose and if they don’t get it they feel they failed. They believe something is wrong with them till someone confirms the opposite. Their feeling of security completely depends on external confirmations. They believe “If no one praise me I did something wrong.” or “If I don’t get praised I’m bad.”

Anger avoidance-peace maker

Their mottos are “Don’t be angry!” and “Don’t bring down others’ wrath!” These people’s main wish is always everybody being peaceful and rational. In difficult situation this is able to become a rigid hindrance, like there is nothing worse than an argument. They are whom jump first and make serious efforts to achieve reconciliation, to avoid argument which is the Armageddon for them (this is how they see and feel it). They do everything to avoid any divergence, if they have, they immediately surrender because they are so afraid of the relationship breaks in two. They believe if they surrender this is just a temporary concession to reach a higher good.

The responsibility taker

There are people who take so much responsibility but not just for their own feeling also for others’. They believe they must solve alone every problems and push their sometimes basic needs behind. They have problems with personal boundaries. They pay attention too much other people’s emotional well-being and that makes them completely blind on their own.

The self-doubter

It’s healthy to know that we are not perfect, we all have our weaknesses and make mistakes. Even tough healthy self-esteem can swing into its opposite. Blackmailers often use this weakness. If someone didn’t have a stable self-esteem or at least stable self-image easily can become a self-doubter. These people gives too much importance to other’s opinions, they believe others are wiser and more intelligent.

The victim trains the autocrat to become better and stronger!

When the victim faces with the pressure of autocrat, act/react like excuse, reason, argue, cry and/or beg. If someone does one or two of these actions, she/he is the coach of the autocrat!

Victims believe they are not able to act like, standing up, oppose, run boundaries or simply telling to the autocrat that went too far.

Picture: http://www.dreamstime.com

Emotional manipulation-emotional blackmail I.

We often might experience manipulation or worst cases emotional blackmail. What is the difference? Why do some people use it?

Manipulation is to avoid open and clearly stated asks or wishes because it doesn’t seems that aggressive. The manipulative person doesn’t need to be afraid of refusal or anger because actually didn’t state or phrase what exactly wants.

Why don’t they say clearly what they want? Largely people who use manipulation have not learnt that they can state their needs or wishes clearly or they are not able to accept a fact (or deal with it) which is their needs or wishes might be refused.

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Manipulation becomes emotional blackmail if it’s used repeatedly to get the victim to do what the autocrat wants and the victim pays its price like giving up own needs and well-being.

Emotional blackmail has 6 typical signs which helps to identify it, it’s kind of a circle or procedure.

  1. Demand – the autocrat wants something from the victim
  2. Resistance – the victim is resisting
  3. Putting pressure – the autocrat is putting pressure on the victim
  4. Threats – the autocrat states the consequences of the victim’s resistance
  5. Surrender – the victim surrenders to the autocrat
  6. Repeating – together they established the base of demand-pressure-surrender circle

Often these steps are not so obvious and the victims don’t know that they are victims of emotional blackmail.

There are four types of blackmail, blackmailer, using different tools to get what they want.

1. The punisher

They can be easily recognized, identified. What they do and how they do it is very visible and obvious. Every even small resistance can make them upset immediately. Some of them express this anger aggressively with using clear threats they are the active punishers, the passive punishers don’t express their anger so openly but the victim knows that the autocrat is upset for a fact. In an emotionally tense interaction the punisher is becoming blind by the intensity of own needs. They are sure what they want is right and don’t care about the other’s feeling.

– Active punishers: they use serious statements and threats, they are very effective and openly expresses what is going to happen if the victim doesn’t do what is demanded. Their threats can be very serious so they keep the victims continuously in fear (what if the autocrat carries out the threat). Also the victims of active punishers are between the devil and the deep sea, if they try to stand up to protect their interest, they risk the punisher carries out the threat or if they surrender (maybe trying to win time) they experience anger toward themselves not being enough strong to resist but also towards the autocrat for the oppression.

– Passive punishers: they don’t express their anger verbally or using threats. They sulk and don’t say anything, showing their disapproval, often for a long time staying in silence. This silence is cold and harsh, very difficult to take it without emotional reaction. They hide behind impassable wall and refusing any responsibility how they make the victim feel.

2. The self-destructive: they threat their victims with holding out the prospect of committing suicide or self-destructive action. Their aim is intimidation and the victim feels there is no other choice than surrender. These type of autocrats mask themselves weak.

3. The martyr: they expect that their needs should be satisfied by others what they don’t express openly and clearly. They expect people around being a mind-reader and know what they need. If those needs are not satisfied the victim must suffer and it’s the victim’s fault-accusation. They are continuously busy with how bad they feel and identify the lack of mind-reading capacity with a lack of care. In the mirror they see themselves as martyrs-victims, hardly ever undertake to make situations clear or asking something. Their outward can be weak but in real they are silent dictators. They are always the victims of circumstances. The reason of their unhappiness is that the victim didn’t give them something very important which is missing to be happy. Usually they take aim at the saviour-solicitude instincts of the victim. They really seem like need so much care.

4. The torturer: the most sophisticated autocrats. They promise a lot of “awards” if they get what they want but actually their promises never become real because the victim never can be enough good for that. They take aim at the acceptance-family intimacy instincts of the victim.

Every types of emotional black mail undermine the victims’ self-esteem. In my next post I write more about this topic.

Picture: http://www.disinherted.com

Co-dependency

What else does a relationship need besides connecting love? Essential is a mutual respect, common view of life, harmonic sexual life, same attitude to financial management and a stable empirical emotional intelligence. These are the basic pillars, without them the relationship is going to collapse, since they are pillars. Most of the people think the relationship collapses when a pair gets separated. However get separated is just the closing. The relationship already has started to collapse when our partner hasn’t been feeling good since a while, desires other things. Desires other partner, different or separated programs, other topics of talk, other rules or other atmosphere.

Why is it so difficult to find a right partner?

To choose the right partner is one of the most difficult life task because our needs change within years and our personality continuously changes as well. Our childhood examples, patterns, traumas and experiences are crucial in a partner choosing process because they determine considerable our behaviour in a relationships. For instance if we “learnt” – saw – in our family as child that “I must take everything” or “I must stay in silence” obviously we are going to follow (not always but most of the times) the same pattern in our relationship as well, like choosing subconsciously an abusive partner following the “learnt” subjugation.

The reason of emotional collapsing in a relationship is mainly that the partners don’t even know themselves and don’t improve their own personality. Therefore they don’t know each other as well and don’t know how to get the partner’s respect, appreciation and love.

What is co-dependency?

We do a lot of things to make a relationship or a marriage work but wise to know that there are boundaries. Someone with healthy personality never let anyone to pass those boundaries. There are things what we can forgive or condone but there are thing what we can’t or don’t want. Those people who always forgive for everything and over-indulge all the time just to keep their partner next to, they are co-dependent.

To be co-dependent can’t exist alone, always requires another person and this is pa(i)rlour game which makes both sides become disordered.

Co-dependency is a process, starting from its development and its upholding both part’s personality declines and can end in different personality disorders. Co-dependency is part of the group of anxieties. Its traits are need of solicitude, sticking to the partner and the fear of loneliness. The co-dependent person is always in a constant mental unsatisfied condition, when his/her own needs are just but doesn’t use or doesn’t even know those methods what with would be able to easy the fear of loneliness and gain some courage to withdraw a bit from the partner onto a healthy level. Both of them would be able to breath and the suffocating ambiance of the relationship would be stopped. This person never makes any decision alone, he/she always needs a kind of a parent who does.

The most common example: Julie has a just expectation that Joe doesn’t cheat on her. If he did, Julie would lost trust in Joe and her feeling of being safe. But to cope with (facing with what this relationship is missing) moves to the direction of forgiveness without reparation. Why? Because Julie is so terrified of something (terrified of being alone, losing status, other people’s opinion or being a single mother) and that’s why she keeps Joe next to her doesn’t matter what it costs. Cognitive dissonancy appears in her, but to release the internal tension of dissonancy Julie uses self-justification to explain to herself what she did and why.

Like:

1. I love so much Joe, I can forgive everything to him.

2. I must keep the family together because this is the best for our children.

3. What’s going to happen with our properties, summer vacations or social status?

So Julie forgives to Joe, that’s how she calls it. Actually she compromises without reparation, exchanging her self-esteem for status or properties and this happens usually without even saying a word. The marital infidelity remains a secret most of the time. They don’t face with the existing serious problems in their relationship and they don’t work on to repair it.

Development of co-dependency

The co-dependent person is mostly from a dysfunctional family. If the parent dominated over the child (misinterpretation – bringing up strictly) most likely the child wouldn’t have been able to develop an independent personality (self) and in adulthood also will need the state of subordination. Will depend on his/her partner or if there is no partner will depend on other people because to solve everything alone is so difficult.

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Often becomes co-dependent a child whose parents set up strict, inflexible and austere codes of morals and forced the child to keep them even with using abuse. The basic pattern of co-dependency after all is the child-mother relationship. Those mothers’ children become co-dependent whose attitude is all about to please other people. Those who are self-sacrificing, serving others without expectations and whom deny their own needs and must serve other people’s well-being. Kind of a mental obligation to sacrifice own needs for the family members and serve them physically and mentally as well.

A child who grows up with a self-sacrificing mother is going to develop a low frustration tolerance, incapacity of waiting and unstable self-esteem. Usually this child estimates himself/herself very low, has the incapacity of recognizing and expressing own needs and doesn’t go for his/her own ideas or needs. Becoming a passive, receptive adult who waits for care and help. That help usually comes but mainly from a partner who is abusive. This is the pattern which repeats itself subconsciously, the need of being subjugated.

A child who grows up in this kind of malfunctioning mother-child relationship is going to choose a partner whom takes care of him/her, whom with doesn’t need to take so much responsibility, asks more and more and becoming demanding and then becoming frustrated and angry till the partner is becoming more and more active and taking more and more responsibility. Co-dependent person plays games in his/her relationship or marriage. He/she is the one who is too accommodating, who needs help, mainly a defenceless person who tries to set up his/her life on the way not taking too much responsibility. Often uses his/her children to get more help or support because in this way it’s guaranteed to get it. In these kind of relationships don’t exist real intimacy and equality which are essential.

Traits of co-dependency:

  1. The co-dependent person is persuaded of being responsible for the partner’s and children’s emotions, thoughts, actions, choice, decisions, well-being and destiny. Feels tense, regret or sense of guilt if the other has a problem. Believes that relationship is an interfusion where she/he must take over other’s burden of choices and obsessively believes he/she must help to solve problems and give advices.
  2. Low self-esteem: often blames and scourges him/herself but becoming indignant at getting criticized or judged. Refuses compliments and appreciations (but this is just a mask because he/she really yearns for them) becoming depressed and feeling bad and useless if doesn’t get positive feedbacks. Feels guilty when he/she spends money for himself/herself. So much afraid of making mistakes, wants to do everything perfectly. His/her communication and mindset is mainly about “should” and “must” schemas.
  3. Repression (suppression, retorsion): co-dependent person is so much afraid of knowing who he/she really is. The reason of this fear is mainly in his/her childhood was blamed very often (also in adulthood can happen) and established a fear of a self like “I’m bad” or “I’m stupid” The often felt “I’m bad” – sense of guilt elbows out of the positive emotions of the self-image from the mind. Repressing positive emotions because he/she is afraid of retorsion which can come from anywhere.
  4. Compulsive: feels strong worry about other’s problem. Small things can keep him/her disturbed. Continuously controls/verifies others and feels emotional satisfaction when able to catch someone making a mistake. Compulsively (he/she calls: very diligently) works, strictly penny-pinching or spend lavishly not finding the happy medium.
  5. Control: doesn’t let things happen or go on the natural way. Believes he/she knows better than others that how to behave or act. Using several different kind of tools to get control, like make others feeling guilty, forcing, threat, advising, dominancy, manipulation or gaining pity. Cen tell exactly how others should behave (husband, wife, children, grandparents) but incapable to tolerate other kind of behaviors because his/her tolerance threshold is so low. While controlling everybody she/he feels that being controlled by others and circumstances.
  6. Denial: doesn’t recognize problems or pretends that those problems don’t exist. Typical that she/he would like to make it look everything is great and fine rather than showing or communicating the reality. Without any real plan he/she comforts herself/himself like; “It’s not that bad as it seems like”, “There are other worse marriages!” so everything is fine. Closes the eyes to not see, or not perceive others’ need because he/she feels being incapable to satisfy them. Main belief is, if things are not told that means they don’t exist.
  7. Dependency: terrified of refusal, abandonment and being alone that’s why takes also very serious abuses (verbal, physical) as well from those he/she is attached to. Not able to feel self-love, self-acceptance and feels nobody loves her/him being on the way he/she is in real. Doesn’t believe that he/she would be able to stay or live alone, so bears even embarrassing situations till he/she is left or abandoned. Holds on to that person whom he/she depends, doesn’t matter the cost.
  8. Communication disorders: doesn’t say what he/she thinks and doesn’t think what he/she says. Often lies but they are white-lies so this behaviour is not condemnable according to her. Has difficulties to get to the point in talks and often gets confused what exactly he/she wanted to say. Not able to say no and just after others’ stated opinions he/she is able to tell his/hers.
  9. Weak boundaries: often claims that not being able to tolerate the partner’s or child’s expressions anymore but let others offend him/her, takes every insults and in the end at one point explodes and becoming completely intolerant. Can calm down after but it’s a circle, so starts all over again.
  10. Lack of trust: Doesn’t trust himself/herself, own decisions, own emotions, friends or other people if they make him/her to face with some things which are not desirable. Wants to trust those whom are unworthy of trust.
  11. Anger: often feels anger, fright and offense but afraid of own anger because he/she believe if he/she shows it, going to be left or abandoned. Repressed anger.
  12. Sexual problems: having the ward role in bed. Tries to ease own anger and offense in sexuality. Afraid of losing control and tries to keep distance emotionally. Has difficulties to express own needs in sex, often forces himself/herself to have it.
  13. Loyalty problems: coming from a dysfunctional family makes an ambivalent relation to his/her own family. He/she would like to maintain a good relationship with the parents, getting separated from them, accepting what they give but in the same time feels anger about they try to interfere with his/her own life.
  14. Progression: after a while becoming depressed and experiencing isolation in the family. The repressed anger turns into self-aggression. Like over-eating, using drugs or alcohol, looking for new addiction.

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Co-dependency is a personality disorder, mainly develops in women because they are more susceptible to falling into the background by their social education, often their independency also influenced by external circumstances. Co-dependency becomes a personality trait, a role and even an identity in the frame of socialization of the family. Its development starts in the origin family and continues with choosing a partner. Our society is success and achievement orientated. Our dual-earner model requires a minimum capacity which is an autonomously working and living man and women, doesn’t support co-dependent relationships. The co-dependent person after not a long time becoming a burden to the partner, whom after in something else or in someone else will look for joyful and energetic recover possibilities.

One of the family members’ strongly controlling behaviour is a stress source for the whole family which “forces” the others to escape or counter-attack (coping styles). That’s why there are so much tense in a family which has a co-dependent member. Another family member revolt but they can’t break out from the “I am here for you!” trap. “How can you leave me? I’m sacrificing everything for you?”

After these typical co-dependent sentences the members struggle and get stick in the relationship. They learn how to adapt the controller and his/her behaviour. “Family is the most non-dangerous place to release repressed anger by controlling others for adults.”

Therapy: self-knowledge and personal development is essential technique for changing a co-dependent relationship. The learnt helplessness which is from the childhood can be changed just if the co-dependent person can believe that being able to change to be true and willing to learn new coping mechanisms.

Picture: centroapi.com.mx

Self-esteem and relationship

Often we hear an approach whereas we should set up a strong, stable and permanent self-esteem because (if we can!), and from that moment it doesn’t matter what people say or how they act with us, it won’t affect our personality negatively. The other approach is the opposite, that is when someone completely surrenders him-or herself to his/her surroundings and his/her mood wavers according to other’s opinion or appreciation (or lack of appreciation). This behaviour is called co-dependency which makes an equality based relationship impossible. Sometimes these kind of people use their partner as a self-definition which is very adverse if their partner doesn’t have a stable and healthy personality. Noticeable that people with damaged self-esteem or being co-dependent usually don’t have a partner with healthy self-esteem or healthy personality. They have a partner with the same problem or the opposite.

We can find the truth somewhere between those two extremes behaviour. The happy medium as always!

I think that person who states that; we can have a stable self-esteem in a relationship where she/he (or his/her opinion, emotions, decisions) is neglected, abused or reviled, or kept in suspense where she/he must be anxious about if the other wants or doesn’t want him/her; is wrong.

Namely to respect my own feelings, my values, my time and my body is also part of building and keeping a healthy self-esteem. If our partner cancel a program in the last moment using petty excuses and expect us to conform to him/her all the time; or after months still doesn’t undertake our relationship in public; or perhaps threatens us to leave when we express our needs which are out of his/her comfort zone and after all how can we state that all these things don’t influence our self-esteem? Usually we are reacting like “this is our problem” after undertaking our negative feelings relating to the relationship which is a kind of denial. More painful to see the reality than to wop it under carpet using self-justifications.

Clients with seriously damaged self-esteem often ask themselves that “What if I give the reason for him/her to behave with me like that?” or “What if I provoke him/her?”  “What if I’m really a difficult person to live with?” “What if I should feel grateful because she/he is with me?” – when they experience unacceptable behaviour from their partner.

(If seriously self-esteem damaged people have a self-centered partner (very often, more than we think), usually the answer is – “Yes, you are, I’m treating you like this because you give me reason to do it.”- self-centered people always find a reason to do it.)

They continuously think about how could they understand their partner’s behaviour (which is necessary to handle it) at the same time the most important question is missing (maybe because already existing trauma from childhood): Do I let him/her to treat me like this?

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Typical symptom of damaged self-esteem in relationship that clients very often experience helplessness. “I would like to have more or better – but do I deserve another?” “I would like to express my needs but are they just?” These people struggle on this duality, sometimes for a long time, like years.

There are two choices; one is to admit that I’m not treated well, it hurts so I must do something for myself (change); or claiming that I’m bad and it’s understandable I’m treated like that (doesn’t require change). You can guess which one what people choose statistically more often.

First step of healing damaged self-esteem is to resolve our denials and other own lies what with we protect our relationship and excuse our partner from treating us badly. Which means “Yes, what is happening with me is destructive!”

After that we have several options, but this first one can’t be skipped. The whole status quo remains as long as we use several different kind of self-justifications, excuses and lies. We can lie but the fact is not changed; we are in a destructive relationship and it’s undermining our self-esteem.

To recognize having a destructive relationship is very difficult for people who are co-dependent for instance. They just can’t imagine that they can exist without their partner even if they are treated badly now. They rather crucify their own well being than change.

To recognize damaged self-esteem and its roots is not so easy, usually requires professional help. Sometimes those roots are buried so deep and very difficult to identify and change them.

Good news is self-esteem is improvable after finding the destructive effects’ origin. If you feel that your self-esteem is vanished, please don’t hesitate to ask an appointment and start your mental training with me.

“That’s what real love amounts to – letting a person be what he really is. Most people love you for who you pretend to be. To keep their love, you keep pretending – performing. You get to love your pretence. It’s true, we’re locked in an image, an act – and the sad thing is, people get so used to their image, they grow attached to their masks. They love their chains. They forget all about who they really are. And if you try to remind them, they hate you for it, they feel like you’re trying to steal their most precious possession.”

― Jim Morrison

Picture: Kate Swaffer