Category Archives: Codependency

Traits of Toxic People

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TRAITS OF TOXIC PEOPLE – Dr Sandy Nelson

What is this mysterious crowd of individuals called toxic people? And why are they toxic? The personalities of toxic people are prone to traits found in codependency—they seek to control people for their own gain. Their thought process tends to be subjective and egotistical. Their behavior is chronically taxing and frustrating.

The agenda for most toxic people is to take advantage of others. They’re masterstoxic people2 of control—not the psychologically healthy self-control, but the psychologically unhealthy dominating control of others. They use people for their own specific needs.

Toxic people can appear to care about you, but typically the goodwill is not genuine, it’s a front, a scam. They resist supporting your goals for personal development because they want your time and attention to be spent on their needs and agenda. By degrading and criticizing you, they are able to lead you away from your pursuits and manipulate your devotion to theirs.

toxic people1Dr. Travis Bradberry states: Toxic people defy logic. Some are blissfully unaware of the negative impact that they have on those around them, and others seem to derive satisfaction from creating chaos and pushing other people’s buttons. (read Dr. Bradberry’s article here)

You probably know some toxic people—they might be co-workers, they might even be friends, odds are you have a toxic person in your family, or you might live with someone toxic. Toxic people are sly. They edge their way into your life, and before you know it, they’re creating chaos and drafting you into their woes and problems. Toxic individuals are completely exhausting to be around and they can have a negative impact on your career and personal goals in life.

The distractions and stress that toxic people bring into your life are usually toxic peoplecostly. Most mental health clinicians would recommend ending relationships with a toxic people for your own well being. You deserve to have genuine friends and loved ones who value you without selfish motives.

Alexendra Palmer states: Detoxing makes you feel lighter, happier and healthier. Doing a food detox is easy, but what about getting rid of toxic people? (You can read Alexendra Palmer’s 5 Ways Your Life Will Improve After You Purge It Of Toxic People here.)

The sooner you remove toxic people from your life, the better.

FullSizeRender (8)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

Fear of Disapproval Remedy – Dr. Sandy Nelson

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In the Introduction to A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles, Marianne Williamson writes Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learn.1513222_879994992058784_1395873912393926812_n

I agree. This is a fear we are all acquainted with.

Fear is what we learned when well-meaning adults physically punished us for our childhood mistakes.

Fear is what we learned when our honesty was disapproved of by the showing of rejection.

Fear is what we learned when our trust was violated thanks to the betrayal of others.

Fear is what we learned when we made our well-being dependent on anyone but ourselves.

IMG_2957The more we need someone’s agreement in our lives, the more consumed by fear we become when we sense their disapproval or rejection. There’s enough scary aspects of life today that we have little control over. But we don’t have to be scared of someone’s opinion of us or fear someone’s disapproval.

The more anchored we are in the vast amount of love we’re born with, the less we care about what others think. The fear of someone’s disapproval doesn’t have to rock our boat when we are focused on our own self-respect and significance.

Try it. When you have a different opinion than someone else today, express it calmly and kindly. Then ask the other person why they hold the opinion they do. Seek to understand and allow the differences between you.

Respect and honor YOUR views and your self-respect will increase. Seek to understand and respect the opinions of other people and they will admire you. Soon your fear of disapproval will fade and you’ll be less dependent on the approval of other people.

Think about it.

 

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

The Most Respected Quality – Dr. Sandy Nelson

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Looking for love before developing a strong sense of self is like trying to find the mate of a shoe you’ve never seen. —Martha Beck

IMG_2973I sometimes long for childhood scenes where taking a stand for ice cream over cupcakes seemed easier than taking a stand for myself with other people as a grown-up. Let’s face it, when you express to someone your true thoughts and opinions, it’s a risk. What if you offend someone? What if they change their opinion of you? What if they get mad? What if you blow it? That’s a gamble. But to speak or act in contradiction to who you are is worse than the experience of disapproval from someone, isn’t it?

For some people, what determines their sense of self is having the approval of images (21)someone else. What determines their self-worth and happiness is how other people feel about them. Many individuals change their personality and opinions, at any given moment, to be accepted. It’s not a surprise that relationships are often rocky and shallow when people hide their true identity. So, make it a priority to know yourself so that you have a self others can honestly know.

In The Plateauing Trap, Judith M. Bardwick writes: Real confidence comes from knowing and accepting yourself—your strengths and your limitations—in contrast to depending on affirmation from others. 

Remember, every single person has strengths and weakness, attributes and handicaps, not just you and me, everyone. The more you embrace yourself—the good parts and the not so good parts—the more you radiate confidence because you know who you are and who you are not, and that is the most attractive trait anyone can possess. When you are genuine in who you are and not acting like a fraud of someone else, that’s appealing to others. People respect that quality, a lot.

Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014 Dr. Sandy Nelson E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

Control Freaks Disassemble

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I am a recovering control freak.

images (25)I realized that my effort to control individuals in my life was the opposite of love and respect because my love was conditional on their compliance—agreement with me. That was wrong. I placed these individuals in the position of having no freedom to disagree with me or state different thoughts, opinions, needs, or preferences. I was wrong. People do have the right to see things differently, to prefer something else, and to do things the way I wouldn’t. That’s what I’ve practiced the past decade.

How have you handled individuals who have verbalized their right to say no to you, or to disagree with you? With anger or with respect?

It’s important to accept and respect the opinions, thoughts, feelings, choices, and decisions of every individual rather than see it as a responsibility to convince the person they’re wrong, misinformed, or whatever. When we accept and respect others, we demonstrate healthy, adult behavior and self responsibility—we allow them to be who they are and we focus on who we are.

If we’re upset, mad, resentful, or hurt, when someone disagrees with us, then we’re not accepting and respecting the other person. Were saying that our acceptance of them is conditional on their compliance with our opinions. As you accept others as they are, you become less needy and dependent on them for happiness and well-being. You become more independent and self-responsible.

Wayne Dyer states: Love is the ability and willingness to allow those that you care for to be what they choose for themselves without any insistence that they satisfy you.

We need to grant others the freedom to be themselves and be unlike us. People who accept and respect others don’t withhold their love or approval, don’t use guilt trips, and don’t try to manipulate the situation if someone sees things differently.

belief15Your motive for saying or doing something needs to be one without conditions, strings, or expectations from the other person. This is exactly why knowing your motives and reasons for what you say and do is vital to healthy relationships! Ask yourself: What is my motive for saying or doing this? If it’s to get your way, change the person’s mind, prove that you’re right, gain approval, or criticize, it’s an unhealthy motive.

If you grew up fearing a loss of love if you disagreed with others or didn’t comply with their wishes, then today treating other people the same way is just the reenactment of your childhood atmosphere. You’re doing exactly what the adults in your childhood did, and remember how that impacted you! Take responsibility to correct any thinking that prompts you to control other people.

Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014 Dr. Sandy Nelson E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

How could loving someone be wrong?

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He loves me. He loves me not. He loves me. He loves me not. According to folklore, small daisy petals plucked one-by-one hold the mystical fate of the female heart.

IMG_2277For the female heart that loves too much, the desire to be loved causes a defective analysis of the relationship, even for the intelligent and mature woman. Love conquers all, the saying goes, so a woman who longs for a man’s love tries harder and gives more in the relationship, and discounts his emotional distance, compulsive behaviors or broken promises. In an attempt to be “the one” who really understands him, the woman who loves too much sympathizes with a man’s current inability to love her back because of his past hardships or current struggles, and sees in him the man he could be with her love.

The woman who loves too much convinces herself that this man just needs someone to help him, to show him what love really is. He just needs to be understood and supported, and then he’ll be able to give the deep expressions of caring and commitment she longs for. She simply has to show him that her love will make the difference.

How could too much love be unhealthy? One would think that loving another person too much would be an attribute in a relationship. Sadly, that’s not the case. When women love too much they ensure painful relationships overflowing with great hurt, uncertainty, and disappointment.

Are you a woman who loves too much? A woman loves too much when her partner consistently mistreats her and yet because of a faulty analysis she can’t leave the relationship or change it.

In the New York Times Best Seller book Women Who Love Too Much, Robin Norwood writes: When being in love means being in pain, we’re loving too much. When most of our conversations with friends are about him–his problems, his feelings and nearly all IMG_0972our sentences begin with “he…,” we’re loving too much. When we excuse or tolerate his bad temper, moodiness, indifference, or put-downs as problems due to an unhappy childhood and we try to become his therapist, we’re loving too much. When we read a self-help book and underline all the passages we think would help him, we’re loving too much. When we don’t like many of his basic characteristics, values, and behaviors, but we put up with them thinking that if we’re only loving enough he’ll want to change for us, we’re loving too much. When our relationship jeopardizes our emotional well being and perhaps our physical health and safety, we’re definitely loving too much.

In spite of all its heartache and regret, loving too much is very common for women, and men, too. For many of us, it’s been a recurrent pattern that isn’t understood. In Love Smart, Dr. Phil McGraw writes: To get the relationship you want, you have to be willing to take an honest, even brutal, look at what’s going on and what’s going wrong.  love smart dr phil mcgraw

IMG_0968We need to look at the faulty analysis that causes so many women and men looking for love, to find unhealthy, critical partners instead, and why the qualities that initially attract us to a partner aren’t necessarily those that make the person a good partner. When we know a relationship isn’t good for us, why do we have trouble leaving it? Loving becomes loving too much when our partner is emotionally clueless, has an addiction, is critical, or controlling and yet, we cling to the partner he or she could be.

It’s an old cliche in the field of psychology that people are attracted to someone just like the mother or father with whom they struggled while growing up. This concept isn’t quite accurate. It’s not so much that the mate we choose is just like Mom or Dad, but that with this partner we’re able to feel the same feelings and face the same challenges we encountered growing up–we’re able to replicate the atmosphere of childhood already so well known to us, and use the same maneuvers in which we already so practiced and are comfortable with.

This is what, for most of us, constitutes love. We feel “at home” and comfortableIMG_1608 with the person with whom we can make all our familiar moves and feel all our familiar feelings. Even if the moves have never worked and the feelings are at times painful, they’re what we know best. We feel that special sense of belonging with the person, who allows us, as his/her partner, to dance the steps we already know. It’s with him/her that we decide to try to make a relationship work.

It follows that there really are no coincidences in relationships, no accidents in marriage. There’s no more compelling chemistry than this feeling of mysterious familiarity when a woman and a man come together.

Think about it. In caring, Sandy

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net

What would you do in this situation?

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I could hear the distress seeping from her soft-spoken voice on the phone. Her husband, she intently explained, had been drinking for three days. She was watching him currently try to crawl to the bathroom to relieve himself. He was unable to stand and unsuccessful in his prior attempts to make it there before his kidneys insisted on ridding itself of toxic alcohol.

IMG_0128What could she do, she asked. She briefly shared the history of her attention on his alcoholism. She begged him, nagged him, helped him, and still her wishes were as empty as his bottle of whiskey. Call 911 immediately I said. He’ll then be taken to the ER where medical attention can be given, and on-call psych can do an assessment.

But if I call 911 he’ll be upset, she replied. It didn’t matter really what I recommended. or how much I explained he could be close to death, or how much I stressed the need to help herself and her two children. She still thought there was a sentence she could use that would make all of this better and turn his life around. She still believed that if she just tried harder and loved him more, he’d stop drinking.

If you believe that feeling bad or worrying long enough will change a fact, then you are residing on another planet with a different reality system.¹ We don’t IMG_0904 - Copy - Copyhave an addiction problem in our culture we have a denial problem. Once we stop denying reality and admit our dependence on a substance, or a person, then we can change and heal.

Do you feel unable to stop yourself today from taking part in an unhealthy relationship with a person or substance or both? If so, please reach out your hand so someone can grab it–someone trained in the profession of treating addictions and the family dynamics it creates. You can get referrals by calling your PCP or local hospital. Make the call, please.

You have to save yourself first. -In caring, Dr. Sandy

¹From Your Erroneous Zones by Wayne W. Dyer