Do you have a pattern of dysfunctional and toxic relationships? Don’t despair. If you’re codependent and not personality disordered (e.g., narcissistic, borderline, histrionic, sociopathic or psychopathic) you can break this pattern. It probably won’t be as easy or fast as you’d like, but it can be done. Change, even when it’s desired, is often painful and difficult. That’s why it’s called growing pains.
Basic Relationship Boundaries, Part 1 discusses the importance of reciprocal relationships, personal boundaries and not enabling other people’s abusive behavior. Before you can have a healthy relationship, it’s helpful to understand how and why you’ve gotten yourself into trouble in past and present relationships.
Most people who have unhealthy relationship patterns can trace it back to their childhoods. If your parents didn’t teach you to take care of yourself and have healthy boundaries, which is true of many codependents, then you need to begin with the basics. Again, don’t beat up on yourself. How are you supposed to know how to do something if no one ever taught you? Or, worse yet, taught you to ignore your own needs and well-being in order to take care of them instead? How are you supposed to know what a functional relationship is when your parents modeled toxic and dysfunctional relationships?
If you were expected to take care of your mother’s and father’s emotional and physical needs as a child it was a role reversal. It’s called parentification and is a form of child abuse. Adults are supposed to take care of their kids, not the other way round. If you’re codependent, you basically have to learn how to care for and love yourself as an adult in the ways your parents did not and could not when you were a child. READ MORE.
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Counseling, Consulting and Coaching with Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD
Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD provides services to help individuals work through their relationship issues via telephone or Skype, particularly men and women who trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. She combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for professional inquiries.
In another scenario, a father prepares to go on a business trip. Just before hopping a cab to the airport, he looks at his 7 year old boy and says, “You’re the man of the house while I am away. Take care of your mother.”
In still another home, 15 year old boy’s mother spends a lot of time telling him she is unhappy with his father; that she is always lonely and left to care for everything on her own. She is so thankful for her son, her “secret confidant.” He feels important does what he can to make her feel better. He also learns to hate his father.
“Parentification” and emotional incest is a common theme in many dysfunctional homes. It often begins when a mother, who is supposed to be the caretaker of her child, reverses the roles and makes the child responsible for her emotional needs. It is a subtle and often overlooked form of child abuse.
Tonight, at 8:00 pm Central Time, please join Dr. Tara Palmatier and co-host Paul Elam for a special episode of Man, Woman, Truth Radio where they will address this subject in a general discussion that uses real life reports of emotional incest.
Shrink4Men Coaching and Consulting Services:
Dr Tara J. Palmatier provides confidential, fee-for-service, consultation/coaching services to help both men and women work through their relationship issues via telephone and/or Skype chat. Her practice combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Shrink4Men Services page for professional inquiries.
The call in number is 310-388-9709.