Day “Four”: Helplessness

Day “Four”: Helplessness

As my “ten day” challenge to myself progresses, it’s apparent that my definition of a day is not the 24-hour term, but more like a day in regards to a long period of time… which is great. So, here we go:

Helplessness! Here’s a great one: “Overwhelming others with your needs and wants.”

This one is for all the love addicts out there. Helplessness is not as obvious as it sounds (to the helpless one). If someone had told me I was acting out of helplessness, I would have denied it. Consciously, I’ve always defined myself as independent. I believed that if I had a need, I would take it straight to God and trust that He would take care of it.

Subconsciously, I was a big, melting blob of helplessness. When no one was looking and I could shed all the walls and defenses of the day, I would collapse into woe-is-me mode. I would beg God to fix my life, fix me, get me out of situations; help me. When I felt that He wasn’t doing a good or fast enough job,  I would dump all of that on the guy I was dating. Not upfront, but in nonverbal, in between the lines expectations.

Any time life got uncomfortable, I would expect my boyfriend to set things right. I needed his calm assurance, advise, prayer; time. If he didn’t text me properly, give me the right affection, or read my mind and show up at my house when needed, I took that as him not caring about me. If he did, somehow, come through for me, I was on top of the world. Life was perfect and hope-filled.

I know this sounds dramatic, and it was, but not outright. I could hold my crazy in pretty well. However, the roller coaster of the dating game was miserable. The continuous expectation that some guy could read my mind and fix all my problems was absurd… yet plausible at the time.

Pia Mellody writes that helplessness sabotages your life because others, “…may experience inadequacy and guilt at not being able to meet your needs,” “…may need to back off and escape such a huge responsibility,” and “…may experience pain when you react with resentment because they are not meeting all your needs.” What a heavy burden to carry for your significant other, friend, or family member! How can someone experience intimacy with a person that is always in heavy dependency?

The answer is: they can’t.

If people can’t help you in your helplessness, who can? What if I told you that there is someone who not only knows your dependent, but unconditionally loves you for it?

Dr. Glenn Kreider wrote in his book, God With Us, that God knew you would always be dependent on Him from the beginning, but He created you anyway. God is the only one you can be completely dependent on and also intimate with. He can handle your resentments, calm your crazy, and fill you with a companionship unlike any other. When you are filled with love and intimacy with God, you can have healthy relationships where you pour into instead of constantly drain.

I’ve been working through this character defect for a while and it has cleared away the miserable chaos from my life. Take your needs to God, ask Him to remove the gross feelings and replace them with His good character traits, and ask Him for forgiveness for not trusting Him. God is good and He wants you to be dependent on Him. So do it. 🙂

“Tomorrow”: Financial Problems… Ew.

 

Day Three: Your Reality

Day Three: Your Reality

So, I thought I struggled with “Striving for Power” as a character defect, but after studying it more… I don’t think I do. Striving for Power is a different kind of control than people-pleasing or perfection. It’s more combative. My personality is more chill and passive.

The next defect I can relate to is “Blaming Others for Your Reality and Taking Responsibility for the Reality of Others.” The problem with this is that in your reality, you’re either blaming people for your pain or believing that you caused their behavior or feelings. This defect also distorts truth because a person struggling with this has a hard time believing people.

This is a problem that I have, thankfully, largely been freed from. Praise. The. Lord. Last year, I was plagued by this issue of reality. Without any hard evidence, I assumed I knew what people were thinking about me. I also would not take responsibility for my own misery. It was always someone else’s fault. I lived in a fantasy world of misinformation.

My counselor gave me a powerful statement that I now refer to when I catch myself going into fantasy: You don’t know that. I’ll explain to my counselor why someone doesn’t like me. She’ll ask, How do you know that. When I give her some reasons, she gives it to me straight: You don’t know that. When I assume a guy likes or doesn’t like me because his text sounded like this or that, she’ll say, You don’t know that.

Bottom line: Unless a person tells you how they feel, it’s impossible for you to truly know. Assumptions can only go so far.

In my life, I have allowed my reality to be distorted by skewed ideas of what guys were thinking or feeling about me. It was torturous and I liked guys for waaayyyyy longer than they deserved. I also blew instances at work out of proportion and got sick over what new situations would get me fired. I would blame the illness on my poor work environment (and not own up to the fact that I was living in an alternate, painful universe created by wonderful imagination).

Exiting my fantasy life was liberating. It was my red pill to get out of the miserable fiction world I was living in. Surrendering my made up world to God was awesome and ’bout time. I’m not completely cured of this character defect, but I testify to a new life of freedom and excitement. Clear joy!

Remember all:

“You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.” -Morpheus 
(Take the red pill.)
Next time: Helplessness (Overwhelming others with your needs and wants)

Day Two: Perfectionism

Day Two: Perfectionism

“Perfectionism is that compulsive drive to do things perfectly, leaving no detail imperfect.” – Pia Mellody, Breaking Free

If I were in a meeting where we were ‘fessing up to being perfectionists, I’m not sure I could 100% raise my hand. I can see my parents throwing their heads back in laughter at the idea of me being a perfectionist… my roommates in college would probably have a good laugh, as well.

I believe my tendency towards perfectionism came when I got into a demanding job and felt out of control. In the chaos, it became crucial that my bed was made, room clean, and living areas neat. After working at that job, I developed a sensitivity to making mistakes. If I mess up, I try and fix it on my own before anyone finds out. If someone confronts me on a mistake, I have extreme emotions to their discovery.

This is harmful because it keeps me from allowing myself to be truly known by others. I have found that with my people-pleasing and perfectionism combined, I feel the need to hide certain parts of myself from people. This affects others because they cannot fully connect with me.

I would really love to let go of my perfectionist tendencies and allow God to show me what a freer life looks like.

Up next: Striving for Power. Man, am I a control freak or what?

What is Codependency?

 

What is codependency?

If I’m going to be writing a blog on codependency, it’s probably a good idea to define it for you. This is actually a difficult concept to define because it is so broad. Codependency, in one sense, is old school idolatry. It’s looking to anything or anyone besides God to provide you with everything you need to feel valued and safe.

The other side of codependency, is since other people and things cannot provide 100% of our needs, in fact, people often damage us rather than protect, we develop coping mechanisms to get us through our fears, insecurities, and life difficulties. This can play out through how we do relationships, how we eat/take care of ourselves, and how we view reality.

In Pia Mellody’s book, Facing Codependency, signs of a codependent are having difficulty in:

  1. Experiencing appropriate levels of self-esteem
  2. Setting functional boundaries
  3. Owning and expressing their own reality
  4. Taking care of their adult needs and wants
  5. Experiencing and expressing their reality moderately (Mellody, pg. 4)

I have personally experienced each of these symptoms and began the process last year of overcoming these life obstacles. It’s been one of the best ventures I’ve taken in life. It’s hard to face the unpleasant (and sometimes tragic) parts of our life, but I guarantee you it’s worth it. Face your fears and your pain. Be honest with yourself and grow because of it. You’ll begin to see the broken ways you are handling life.

It can be painful, but! It is not until we discover these coping mechanisms and surrender our damaged selves to the Lord, that we can truly experience freedom from the pain of our past and how that translates into our present situations.

So, welcome to my blog. Where I will share with you my own journey to functioning healthily and in full surrender to God. Happy processing!

1. Mellody, Pia, Andrea Wells. Miller, and Keith Miller. Facing Codependence: What It Is, Where It Comes From, How It Sabotages Our Lives. San Francisco: Perennial Library, 1989. Print.