Displacement means responding to the wrong person or object. If it is too dangerous or uncomfortable to respond directly to the source of feeling, the response can be aimed at someone or something else. Getting rid of anger in an unrelated context, at an innocent recipient, is so common that the husband, angry with his boss, who comes home and kicks the dog is a cliché. Most abused wives and children are the victims of a husband or father’s displaced anger. Researchers have found that an abuser is likely to have been the victim of the displaced anger of his father. He learned hot to deal with anger by watching his father vent his feelings on the weak and innocent members of the family. From “The Enabler: When Helping Harms The Ones You Love” by Angelyn Miller
Anger is an acid
that can do more harm
to the vessel in which it is stored
than to anything on which it is poured.
Believing that another person has the feelings we wish to avoid (while at the same time denying those very feelings in ourselves) is called projection. Have you ever known someone who claimed that a certain person disliked him, when it was apparent that it was your acquaintance who was doing the disliking? We often attribute our own feelings to others, accusing them of negative or destructive emotions we feel. A woman wants to leave her marriage, but is not able to admit these feelings to herself, may project them onto her husband. She may see infidelity written all over his face when he comes home late from the office, because this is what she would be doing if we were in his place. She may not love her husband anymore and responds by projecting her feelings of disloyalty onto him. He, on the other hand, is devastated by her accusations because he trusts and loves her. He projects his trust and love onto her in the same way that she projects her discontent and disloyalty onto him. From “The Enabler: When Helping Harms The Ones You Love” by Angelyn Miller
A victim is someone
who blames it all
on someone else.
Why give all the power
to someone else
and leave yourself powerless?
Denial is similar to suppression, in that the person knows what he or she is feeling. In this case, the choice is to insist that the issue and resulting feelings do not exist. This is a very willful response: “I refuse to admit that this is real.” For example there are many people who can’t admit they ever have feelings of resentment toward their parents. Very likely, they have convinced themselves of this. But we all have resented our parents at some time, for real or imagined wrongs. Simple denial can produce very serious problems. Yet it is possible to admit and overcome such resentments. We can discover the source of the emotion, analyze it, learn to forgive our parents, and go on without lives. This simple “denial of reality” can produce serious emotional problems. From “The Enabler: When Helping Harms The Ones You Love” by Angelyn Miller
A man who denies his past
is a man who truly
denies himself a future,
for he refuses to know himself,
and to deny knowledge of oneself
is to stumble through life
as handicapped as the blind mute.
There was a time when I thought I had my first wife fooled and she did not suspect I wasn’t being faithful. Only years later after our divorce did I learn she knew all the time. She suppressed her thoughts and feelings and never expressed them to me. Suppressing an emotion is one of the most common responses to a difficult situation. One is aware of the unwanted emotion, but chooses to avoid or ignore how one is feeling. For instance, a wife who knows her husband is having an affair may feel hurt, but choose not to say anything about it because she feels she must maintain a stable home for her children. When the hurt overtakes her, she many ignore it by taking on activities to keep herself from thinking about it. Suppression, however, is only a temporary fix, until you deal with them, the feelings won’t go away. From “The Enabler: When Helping Harms The Ones You Love” by Angelyn Miller
Man is not what he thinks he is,
he is what he hides.
Often times the dysfunctional man is repeating some of the behaviors of his parents. The behaviors of the codependent started off as defense mechanisms in order to protect him in the environment he was raised in. Unfortunately, when a person escapes from the destructive environment, he is left with a lot of unresolved issues. These issues tend to carry over into his later relationships if he does not resolve them. The symptoms of codependency in men are of a wide variety. They range from having the appearance of being a servant to having the appearance of selfishness and abusiveness. Often times, codependent men have poor communication skills. They are also insecure. They usually have low self-worth. Other codependency symptoms are a little less common among cases. One of the more common symptoms of codependency is controlling behaviors. Codependent people often try to control everything in their lives. http://about-addiction.com/addiction/dual-diagnosis/codependency/codependency-men/
When you are out of control,
someone is ready to take over.
What exactly does trusting the process mean? There are many definitions and examples: Non-attachment. Turning it over. That it is about the journey and not the destination. That we are not alone. That we are supported every step of the way. That there are no wrong choices. That every step of the way is sacred. Many may intellectually believe this, yet on an emotional, soul level may have doubts. Many carry deep wounding and trauma around whether “God” (or whatever name is used for a Higher Power) is even trustworthy. This may be a hidden, subconscious fear, yet it still affects our ability to trust that the proverbial other shoe is not always about to drop. Is it any surprise why someone with this fear would look for solace, comfort and joy in such “false gods” of addictions? It all starts with saying thank you, even when we don’t feel grateful. All that is required is a willingness to be open to the possibility of hope. Trusting the process is a daily spiritual practice of gratitude. It is similar to exercising. We may not feel like doing it in the beginning, or that we will ever be in better health, but we do it anyway and soon we start to feel better. The more we say thank you, the more we begin to feel it. And the more we begin to feel it, the more we begin to call into our lives what we want, rather than what we don’t. From http://www.sanctuary.net/healing-center/category/codependency/
Never be afraid to trust
an unknown future
to a known God.
Corrie Ten Boom
In a war, soldiers are forced to deny their emotions in order to survive. This emotional denial works to help the soldier survive the war, but later can have devastating delayed consequences. The medical profession has now recognized the trauma and damage that this emotional denial can cause, and have coined a term to describe the effects of this type of denial. That term is “Delayed Stress Syndrome.” Codependence is a form of Delayed Stress Syndrome. Instead of blood and death (although some do experience blood and death literally), what happened to us as children was spiritual death and emotional maiming, mental torture and physical violation. We were forced to grow up denying the reality of what was happening in our homes. We were forced to deny our feelings about what we were experiencing and seeing and sensing. We were forced to deny our selves. We were born into the middle of a war where our sense of self was battered and fractured and broken into pieces. We grew up in the middle of battlefields where our beings were discounted, our perceptions invalidated, and our feelings ignored and nullified. The war we were born into, the battlefield each of us grew up in, was not in some foreign country against some identified “enemy” – it was in the “homes” which were supposed to be our safe haven with our parents whom we Loved and trusted to take care of us. From the book “Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls” by Therapist Robert Burney
Child abuse casts a shadow
the length of a lifetime.
Sex is not love, but where love is true and real, sexual intimacy can be a deeply moving expression of what is in one’s heart. American culture tries to push men into stereotypical roles that tend to gratify being sexually promiscuous. Sex or the hint of it is frequently shown to be the cure for just about anything that might trouble an American male, at least according to Madison Avenue advertising agencies. A “real man” is often advertised to be one who can attract and bed women easily. What bulls#it! I swallowed the “Playboy” lifestyle as being cool when I was young and my relationships suffered dearly because of it. Choosing to keep sex out of my life for a long time was one of the best things I could have done. The awkward lack of recent practice will add innocence and a newness last felt in my twenties.
So that’s what I thought love was:
Savage as a bull prodded with a spike;
Brutal, smelly, sweaty.
Like a brawl in which man and woman
Wrestled pleasure from each other,
Fighting, incapable of thought,
Half stunned, wheezing,
Less than human.
A Love Addict and a Love Avoidant form a relationship marked by cycles of positive and negative intensity (which they call love, passion, or romance), until they can’t stand it with that partner – and then they leave that person and repeat the cycles with somebody else. Each partner is both attracted and repelled by the other. This paradox is often expressed as, “I can’t live with him (or her), but I can’t live without him (or her). The addictive priority for the Love Addict is the partner and the fantasy the Love Addict has developed about that partner. Love Addicts are obsessed with the partner and seek to create intensity inside the relationship – actually to relate too closely to the point of enmeshment rather than establishing healthy intimacy. The addictive priority in the Love Avoidant’s life is an addiction outside the relationship; alcohol, drugs, sex, work, religion, gambling, spending, being busy. Love Avoidants are interested in creating intensity outside the relationship rather than establishing healthy intimacy within the relationship. Any other addiction will do the job of causing a Love Avoidant to evade intimacy within the relationship by focusing on the outside addiction. “From “Facing Love Addiction” by Pia Mellody
I hate you, then I love you.
It’s like I want to throw you off a cliff,
then rush to the bottom and catch you.
A Love Avoidant and another Love Avoidant form a very low-intensity relationship. They agree to keep intensity low because each of them finds this comfortable; however, they each create intensity, obsession, and compulsion outside the relationship, which quite often does not include the other partner. For example it could be that one is a work addict in business and the other is intensely involved in church work or another form of volunteer activity. Or perhaps one is an alcoholic and the other a compulsive spender, or compulsive gardener, or compulsively redecorates and remodels their home. Or perhaps one of them avoids the spouse by being a Love Addict when relating to one of the children. Another possibility is that these two participate in some form of intensity outside their relationship, thinking they are having a relationship because they are together so much of the time. Actually they use the intensity outside to avoid intimacy within the relationship. For example, a couple can become involved together in compulsive gambling, tournament bridge, square dancing, sailboat racing, and so on. I’m not trying to say that gambling, bridge, dancing or boat racing are undesirable activities for a couple to share. But such activities may become an obstacle to their relationship when the partners create intensity with those activities to avoid intimacy. “From “Facing Love Addiction” by Pia Mellody – tomorrow Part III: “A Love Addict and a Love Avoidant”
sex sometimes results in intimacy;
intimacy sometimes results in sex.
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