SITE: “Co-dependence Behavior”
1. Re. OUR Anger (cont.)
a. MISSING EMOTIONS (cont.)
ii. Disconnected : Emotional numbness comes at the very bottom of the Feeling Continuum (but before death 😦 ), because the pain is so-o-o great that we’ve had to cut everything off, so it represents the most painful level of feeling. Co-Ds who are still in denial will often say they had a happy or OK childhood.
The way we can tell it was NOT is by listening how we talk about ourselves – blaming ourselves for not getting what we wanted & needed growing up. ‘Emotional Body’ chart
WHEN denial starts wearing off, we’re shocked – first by the pain, & then realizing that all this time our thinking has been way off!
That’s liberating but also very scary, seeing how we’ve built much of our world on sand. We have to revamp our whole world view, which can leave us with a lot of anger, realizing how great the abuse really was.
For a long time we may hate our parents, the rage coming in waves. We still want them to be what they can’t & never could be. Eventually we can accept that we no longer need them to take care of us – we are our own parent NOW, so we can learn to deal with them realistically – whatever that means for each of us.
BOOK: “Coping w/ Codependency” ~ Kay Marie Porterfield
b. INAPPROPRIATE anger/rage
Self-Hate: As co-dependents (Co-Ds) we are brutally critical of our own imperfections, even when they are absolutely normal for being human – whether making a mistake, not knowing something or making an error in judgment.
We also rage at ourselves any time we don’t get a need met or feel hurt – taking on the responsibility for other people’s limitations & unhealthy behavior. At the same time – we sabotage opportunities for getting those very needs met – to stay loyal to our early training. (“People should treat me better, but….“)
🔹Repressed: In Claudia Black’s book “Deceived”, she places Co-D anger on a continuum: Avoidance — Sideways anger — Anger — Rage
The far left version is sometimes described as feeling dazed & defeated, often part of low-grade chronic depression. For many people (most often women), avoidance is a learned response to stress, over time, acquired in childhood, along with long-term painful/abusive adult relationships.
🔹Boiled frog syndrome: If placed into a pot of boiling water, a frog will immediately jump to safety rather than burn to death. However, if the frog is placed in a pot filled with room-temperature water, & then very slowly brought to a boil, it will happily do the backstroke until it’s cooked from the inside out.
Co-D anger can be like that as well. In a volatile situation we may fight back or just leave. But if we let our emotions accumulate in the POT, we end up stewing in our own juices until it feels like we’re choking. Then the anger (& all the pain underneath) bursts outward in harmful ways, or inward with silence, uncontrollable crying, anxiety, constant fidgeting…..
🔹On the other hand, sudden flashes of unexpected anger at others can be a sure sign of co-dependency at its tipping point – in reaction TO:
• someone not reading our mind – about what we need or want (so we don’t have to ask)
• being constantly disappointed, but still depending on someone to come thru for us – against all evidence
• not being able to get thru to someone, no matter how often we try
• always considering what someone else needs & they never reciprocate
• trying very hard to please someone who will never be pleased, but we keep trying
• trying to force someone to be or do something they either don’t want to do, or simply are not able
• hearing a correction or suggestion as criticism. triggering S-H
• wanting someone to take care of us, but won’t (CHART)
NEXT: Anger & Co-D – #3