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Post Info TOPIC: Book Study: Codependent No More - Chapter 8


Guru

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Book Study: Codependent No More - Chapter 8
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We're so careful to see that no one gets hurt.  No one, tht is, but ourselves. - Al-Anon member

Chapter 8: Remove the Victim

The author begins by telling about when she was a year in recovery she kept repeating and suffering from Codependent behaviors.  Then she discovered the Karpman Triangle.  "And it felt like I discovered fire".  It is the triangle of rescuer, persecutor, victim.  It is what she had been repeating over and over in her relationships.

What's a Rescue?

Rescuing and care-taking are taking care of other people's responsibilities then getting mad at them for it.  They are very closely related to enabling, which is helping the addict continue their addictive behavior and preventing them from suffering the consequences.  Here are a few examples the author gives, please read the chapter for the full list.

Doing something we really don't want to.
Meeting people's needs without being asked and before we've agreed to do so.
Doing more than our fair share of the work after our help is requested.
Fixing people's feelings
Suffering people's consequences for them
Not asking for what we want, need, or desire

At the time we are rescuing we may feel bad feelings, such as guilt, fear, urgency to do something, pity, saintliness and more.  The author is not referring to acts of true love and kindness.  "Caretaking looks like a much friendlier act that it is.  It requires incompetency on the part of the person being taken care of.  We rescue 'victims' - people who we believe are not capable of being responsible for themselves."

The next phase is to become angry for helping this person when we didn't want to help and are upset they are not grateful.  Then as our resentments start to fly, the person we have been helping turns on us and they become the persecutor.  "Usually it is a response to our taking responsibility for that person, which directly or indirectly tells him or her how incapable we believe he or she is."

Then we migrate to the victim role.  We wonder why this always happens to us, we are feeling used ... again.  Many of us were true victims at some time in our lives.  We were unable to protect ourselves and suffered terribly.  The really sad part is that history continues to repeat itself.  "As caretakers we allow people to victimize us, and we participate in our victimization by perpetually rescuing people.  Rescuing or caretaking is not an act of love.  The Drama Triangle is a hate triangle.  It fosters and maintains self-hate, and hinders our feelings for other people."

When we rescue we are not helping.  We stop taking care of ourselves or even put our lives on hold.  We are over-committed and often look extremely responsible, when in fact we are not responsible for what is most important - ourselves.  We consistently give more than receive and wonder why no one sees our needs.  We feel most comfortable when we are care-taking and have a very difficult time receiving help from others.  Many of us, feeling the perpetual victims, exhibit self destructive behaviors such as addiction to alcohol, food or sex. 

Why do we do this?  We may not know any better and think we are actually helping.  We may not even be aware we are doing it.  We may think it is awful of us to let people suffer their own consequences and be responsible for themselves.  Much of this is driven by our own low self-esteem.  Though it may be brief, it makes us feel self-worth and power.  "We don't feel lovable, so we settle for needed.  We don't feel good about ourselves, so we feel compelled to do a particular thing to PROVE how good we are."

This also shows that we do not feel good about the people we are trying to rescue.  We do not feel they are capable of taking care of or being responsible for themselves.  Unless they are a child or suffering from some physical or mental impairment, they can be responsible for themselves.

Perhaps we learned this behavior as a child, caring for alcoholic parents.  Perhaps it was learned later in life, caring for an irresponsible partner and doing more than our fair share.  Perhaps we were just taught that to be this way is the right way, to always put others before yourself, it is our duty as a wife, husband, or parent.  It may even be our religious beliefs where we are supposed to help others.  Things become out of balance when we help others and it hurts us or them and our lives aren't working.

"Caring about people and giving are good, desirable qualities - something we need to do - but many codependents have misinterpreted the suggestions to 'give until it hurts.'  We continue giving long after it hurts, usually until we are doubled over in pain.  It's good to give some away, but we don't have to give it all away.  It's okay to keep some for ourselves."

It is important for us to learn when we are care-taking.  Refuse to rescue.  We need to learn to take responsibility for ourselves and let others do the same.



__________________

Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you.   ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. ~St. Francis of Assisi



Guru

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When I was younger and messing up here and there ... and really not trying ... I would ask for help from family and they would say no.  Then when I was doing better they were more than happy to help.  That always confused me.  Why when I really need the help they don't and when I don't really need the help they are ready to step up.

It took me being in the position to help as I grew older.  I have an absolute allergy to helping people who are not willing to help themselves.  Really, the feeling I get is so strong, the brakes get put on hard.  I don't expect people to succeed, I just expect them to try.  When most people try ... things improve.  Funny how that works.  It isn't 100%, but it does happen frequently.  I have no problem with "I am afraid", I will gladly say "let me hold your hand, but you still need to do the work".

Now that said, I am still a push over as a parent and I am working on that.  I don't flat out enable, but I am not as forceful as I should be.  It has not gotten to the point of problematic ... but it does need some improvement and isn't doing anyone any favors.

For me, even though I am not a rescuer, I still fall into the persecutor and victim roles easily ... through my expectations of others.  It hurts me.  It comes out as a complete withdraw and disconnect, which hurts them, but the internal feelings around it are pretty severe for me and hurt me pretty badly.  This is my focus out of this exercise ... expectations of others.  It is up to me to start stating my needs and if they are not met enforcing my boundaries.  They may simply be acceptance all the way to walking away from the situation.  If I enforce my boundaries I will protect myself and if I apply acceptance to them I drop the resentment and expectations.  We'll see how it goes!  BTW .. the Karpman triangle can be found here:  http://www.karpmandramatriangle.com/



-- Edited by willing on Saturday 24th of September 2011 10:50:23 AM

__________________

Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you.   ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. ~St. Francis of Assisi

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