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#125555 - 11/13/03 12:27 PM "too serious" was my codependency (add-on to Normal People)
fhorns Offline

Registered: 08/10/02
Posts: 706
I just realized something big yesterday in regards to this "too serious" thing. I don't even know what it really means since I can't control it, but I am severely codependent! I'm going to burn out in my job if some day I can't put boundaries up for myself. I'm the one who gets lost and ignored in the busyness of life.

I am too overcommited in my activities. I'm attempting to do 90 meetings in 90 days with AA (ain't really happening), I have a new wife, and I have a full load of college classes. For my own health, my biggest priority is making sure I take care of my wife. She feeds me emotionally, though she's healthier (I think :p ). And my emotional recovery is important too.

But I too often joing other people's moods instead of asking them to enter mine and work through it with me, or next to me. One or two are there from my program, but I feel resentment when one of them needs emotional support.

I have no boundaries. I get resentful because of that, and I burned out yesterday due to that. With a mind full of ideas for a class project, a big grade resting on it, and no parameters to work with, I got fried since I "commited" in my mind to working out a few of the million ideas I had. Codependency had kicked my ass.

Read a little out of Melody Beattie's "Codependent No More", realized the problem, and I'm going to return to an Al-Anon meeting tonight. That's one of the only places that remind me to take care of myself since I am POWERLESS over people, places, and things.

I even think I am responsible for people here. I think "my words will move someone, affect them, even make them trust me so they will give love to me" :rolleyes: It's a weird, troublesome cycle. Thanks for letting me air.


#125556 - 11/13/03 08:54 PM Re: "too serious" was my codependency (add-on to Normal People)
zoltin Offline

Registered: 10/13/03
Posts: 37
Loc: Southern Illinois

What is it that you really need? Are you familiar with Maslow's hierarchy of needs? Check out Maslow\'s herarchy of needs What do you need? Take care of your needs.


#125557 - 11/14/03 02:48 AM Re: "too serious" was my codependency (add-on to Normal People)
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5781
Loc: Lyons, CO USA
Maslow might be hard to find. Here is Singer's list of needs:

Ken Singer rev. 10/97

We can look at needs as physical and emotional. The physical needs we have are food, shelter (including clothing), air, water, sleep, and elimination (going to the bathroom). If we don't have our physical needs met, we will die in minutes (air), days (elimination, water, sleep), or weeks (food and shelter if it is cold enough to kill a person who is unprotected).
All behaviors are coming from needs we have. When you eat, you may be motivated by a physical need for food, or it might be just because it is time to eat and you have to be at the table even if you are not hungry. It might be also that you are eating for reasons other than physical, such as a need to be with other people (companionship) or because you are bored and eating is just something to do.
When we look at the emotional needs we all have, we can see that many of our behaviors have emotional needs underneath them. For example, if you decide to play cards when you are feeling BORED, you are doing a behavior to get a need filled for excitement or companionship.
These emotional needs are not a matter of life or death, like the physical needs are. While you will not die if your emotional needs are not met, you will probably be less happy if your emotional needs don't get met. If you try to get them met in negative behaviors, you will likely hurt others or yourself.
Here is a list of emotional needs we all have at times:

SAFETY/TRUST- The need to feel safe or to trust someone. This is a basic human need. If you are in danger or are in a situation where you feel scared, you need safety or to get away from whatever is threatening your safety.

BELONGING/ACCEPTANCE- Wanting to be part of a group or family, being around people who accept you for who you are (or who you want them to think you are).

COMPANIONSHIP- Having friends or just being with other people.

ACCOMPLISHMENT- Feeling good about something you have done or accomplished. Getting credit or acknowlegement from others.

LOVE- Knowing you are loved or loving other people.

ATTENTION- Getting attention, either positive or negative.

TOUCH- Physical contact with another person, usually for positive touch.

RESPECT- Wanting others to respect who you are as a person, or what you do. You cannot force someone to respect you, you have to earn it.

HOPE- Believing that there is hope, that things will be better in the future.

CONFIDENCE- Believing in yourself.

NURTURANCE- Having someone take care of you, or taking care of someone. Babies and children need to be nurtured. If they don't get nurtured, they will do things to get it when they are older. Childish or immature behaviors are sometimes a way a person tries to get nurtured by others.

VALIDATION- Being acknowledged or given credit for something you have done. This is stronger than just being accepted.

EXCITEMENT/FUN- The opposite of being bored. The need to do something exciting or fun.

SUPPORT- Having others agree with your opinion or action. It can also be knowing that other people will be there for you even if you have done something wrong.

INTIMACY- The need to share personal feelings with another person. Sometimes people think of intimacy as sexual. In a sexual relationship where two people are caring, honest and open with each other, there is intimacy. It does not have to be sexual, however. When you can be open and honest with another person and he or she is the same with you, you are having an intimate relationship. Trust is a big part of intimacy.

CARING- Having someone care about you. It does not need to be a person who you love or loves you.

SPIRITUALITY- A belief in something stronger or more powerful than you. It might be a belief in God, a Higher Power, or Nature.

GUIDANCE/DIRECTION- Having someone to show you the way, help you figure out what is going on, or what you should do. Especially useful when you are confused or just don't know what to do.

CONTRIBUTION- Wanting to give something to others, helping out because it makes you feel good. Giving instead of taking.

CONTROL- A need to have things go your way. Not necessarily bad. Everybody wants to know what is going to be happening, even if you are not in a position to control it. For example, knowing that there will be hot water coming out of the hot water faucet instead of cold or no water. Being in control of yourself or your surroundings.

POWER- A need to control other people through strength, force, manipulation or knowledge. Power and control are sometimes thought to be the same. While control can be either positively or negatively used, power is almost always negative because it has negative consequences for the person it is being used on.

Blissfully retired after 35 years treating sexual abuse

#125558 - 11/14/03 06:22 PM Re: "too serious" was my codependency (add-on to Normal People)
zoltin Offline

Registered: 10/13/03
Posts: 37
Loc: Southern Illinois
Thanks, Ken. I like your take on needs. I don't agree with all of them, but I am going to think on them a while. Do you agree, though, that Alfred might want first to care for his own needs? I have worked to understand my own needs and am currently going through a phase of needing all my strength for myself. This serves to remind me I am not in control. And, Ken, would you care to look at my post on the unmoderated forum and give me your take? As a Malesurvivor, have you any experience that might help me?


Alfred, hang in there, buddy.

#125559 - 11/15/03 04:37 AM Re: "too serious" was my codependency (add-on to Normal People)
Thomas Offline

Registered: 07/31/03
Posts: 109
Loc: boise
Yeah, I hear you big time, Alfred. I spent all of my childhood and most of my adult life believing I was responsible for not only correcting the world, but since I caused the problems in the first place, I had to correct them. How's that for crazy? Not surprisingly, burnout has been a lifelong problem for me. It was only after starting to attend Al-Anon two years ago August that I began to relinquish this idea of omnipotence. The returning memories of the last few months have suggested to me where that idea came from.

You wrote
...realized the problem, and I'm going to return to an Al-Anon meeting tonight. That's one of the only places that remind me to take care of myself since I am POWERLESS over people, places, and things
One night at my Al-Anon meeting, a member shared her growing realization of how the alcoholism of her parents had shaped her belief that she was responsible for everything and that she was learning to let go of the mistaken idea that she was responsible for controlling the universe. Another member piped up and said, "I'm glad, ___, that you realize you don't control the universe. That's my job."

Peace, bro,

To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive. - Robert Louis Stevenson


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