Tag Archives: codependency

3 Ways to Start Taking Care of Yourself When You’re Codependent

In my early 20s, it was easy for me to become a stressed out mess.

I was always being easily affected by other people’s “stuff”.  Feeling guilty for doing certain things — or not doing certain things.   Putting pressure on myself to try to do anything and everything that was asked of me.

I was often trying to be putting other people’s needs first before mine, because that’s the idea I was taught growing up.  The idea that “taking care of yourself is selfish” was so embedded in my mind and overall psyche that I had no idea how to live my life in another way.

I was a total caretaker — and a total codependent.  I focused so much on other people and their own needs and feelings, that I rarely had any awareness of what was going on with me.  As a result, I had little sense of what proper boundaries were and how to set them effectively.  I constantly found others crossing into my space and myself crossing into other’s space.

It was difficult, it was heartbreaking and boy was it messy.  My relationships were far from what my heart truly desired them to be like and I had no idea what to do.  That is, until I began to do my own inner work.

For those of us who have tendencies toward codependency, learning to stop focusing so much on other people and start to focus more on yourself can be very difficult and damaging.  Here are 3 ways to start taking care of yourself when you’re codependent:

#1 – Break away from other people’s problems.

So you may have a friend, family member or partner who seems to always come to you for help.  Or maybe it’s that they haven’t asked for your help but you think that they need help or a “push” with X, Y, and Z with their life.

Break away from this and allow the other person (or people) to have their own space.  Say no to their request and then over time just watch and see what happens.  Many times if we are having a problem with breaking away from other people’s “stuff” it’s because, deep down, we don’t think that they will be able to survive without our help.  This is completely untrue, with the exception of some more extreme circumstances (such as having a child, partner, or relative with severe special needs or a disability).  It is merely a false belief that our fear-based mind has created to separate ourselves from being able to have more loving and harmonic relationships.

So make the effort to step away and give the other person their own space.  This can be very challenging at first, but be strong and diligent in this.  Often we can find ourselves surprised in doing this because we find that others start doing the things completely on their own that we didn’t think they could do.

#2 – Identify activities that you want to do for you.

If you’re the kind of person who focuses a lot on other people and rarely on yourself, this can be challenging at first.  Ask yourself: What would I really like to do that I haven’t been doing?  What have I told myself that I would try but I haven’t been doing it for myself?  What might be cool to try?  What things may make me feel better, be more relaxed or feel replenished?

Write all of these thoughts down on a sheet of paper or in a journal.  Allow yourself to just brainstorm.  This doesn’t mean that you have to do everything that you write down, but to try something!  Even something as small as meditating 1-2 times a day for 5 minutes or taking a walk every morning.

Once you’re done brainstorming, narrow your list down to about 5 things.  Write these 5 down in big letters on a sheet of paper and post it somewhere where you can see it every single day.  Having a visual like this can be extremely helpful at achieving our goals and intentions.

#3 – Make the conscious effort to start doing these things for you today!

The problem that many of us run into is that once we make a list of things we want to do for ourselves, we end up tossing that thought in the back of our minds and tell ourselves “oh I’ll do that someday”.

When we do this, change never ends up happening.  Codependency is like any other addiction, which means that we have to focus on taking it one step at a time every single day.  Every day is a new day.  We have the power to completely turn our lives and relationships around — we just have to be willing to make a conscious effort every single day.

WeHaveThePower

Click to Tweet: We have the power to turn our lives and relationships around; we have to be willing to make the effort every single day. via @jenilyn8705

So ask yourself: What can I start doing today to start taking better care of myself?

In the comments below, share with me one thing that you are going to do today to start taking better care of yourself.

Transform Love Addiction into Pure Love

Ah, love.  It’s such a blissful feeling when you’ve found it.  The sound of birds singing sounds so much more peaceful.  Every day feel so much more brighter and happier.

You feel like you’ve been floating on cloud 9 and you don’t want anything to ever take you off of this wonderful high.

If you’ve ever experienced this early on in a relationship, then you know how great it is — and you probably wish you could just stay in that state all day every day for the rest of time.

And, really, I don’t blame you.  It’s a great feeling — believe me, I know — but there are also some problems that can come from it.

You see, when we experience these kind of highs early on in a relationship with someone and find ourselves in this blissful state of falling in love, many of us also find ourselves a bit addicted.

This love addiction comes from experiencing all these great highs and then wanting that feeling to stay there forever.  So we try to hang around with our love interest as much as possible so we can maintain that high.

We drop our own hobbies and interests, we stop hanging out with our friends, and we basically spend less time doing things for ourselves in order to spend more time with this person who we get such elated feelings from being around.  Pretty soon we find our love interest out doing things by themselves while we’re sitting at home waiting by the phone and going through their facebook profile photos for the 10th time that day.

It is at this point where it is safe to say that we have crossed over into codependent territory.  We are completely relying on our love interest to provide us with happiness.  We have lost our sense of self.

What we don’t realize, however, is that this is, in fact, a vital time.  It is a time where we can actually turn our love addiction into something remarkable: By expressing the love that we have found through our connection with another out into the world, we help make it better.

You see, when we have found love through a connection with another, it energizes us.  It gives us that extra “spark” of love and joy.  It is then that we must shift our perspective.  Our habitual response is to focus even more on our partner and rely on them to supply us with more of those feelings.  When what we should really be doing is shifting our mindset to: Look at all these wonderful and loving feelings that I’m experiencing, how can I express that love out into the world?  How can I help make other people feel and experience more love through my own inner love and joy?

Though there is no direct “this is what you must do” answer on how to express it, here are some suggestions:

Give something unexpected.

You see that homeless person on the street?  Give them a few dollars.  See someone at the coffee shop who looks like they could use a “pick me up”?  Give them a warm smile and ask them how they are doing.  Send out cards to loved ones.  Call or e-mail an old friend.  Give whatever your heart feels drawn to give.

Create!

Allow yourself to create something that you love.  Start writing.  Paint a picture.  Take pictures.  Grow plants.  Do some crafts.  Do something that you love to do that nourishes your soul.

Do something that you’ve always wanted to do, but have never done.

Have you always wanted to volunteer but you never have?  Have you always wanted to donate to a certain cause but you haven’t before?  Have you always wanted to travel somewhere but you never allowed yourself to?  Have you always wanted to do a speech but never let yourself do it?

This may not necessarily seem like your expressing your love into the world by doing things you’ve never done but have wanted to do.  However, the reality is that when we use the fuel of this love that we’ve gained through out connection with another and use it to fuel our own inner desires, we then help ourselves, our relationship, and all those around us.  We help all that is around us when we say yes to the calling that is within us.

LoveAddiction

Click to Tweet: We help all that is around us when we say yes to the calling that is within us. @jenilyn8705

That is how we shift into a place of pure and true unconditional love… and that is how we can really change the world and create lives filled with love.

Take action now!

Whether you are in a relationship now or not, think of at least one thing that you can do today that can help bring more love into the world and your own life.  What can you create?  What can you give to another?  What can you do that your heart calls you to do but you haven’t let yourself do it?  Share that one thing that you have identified in the comments below!

3 Ways to Reclaim Power Over Our Own Health

For years I was dealing with constant digestive issues and allergies. Regardless of diet or the healthcare practitioner I worked with, I found no relief. This past spring I was fortunate to cross paths with an RN who follows alternative medicine was was able to give me relief – and fast!

Even though her method has practically done miracles for me, for the last three weeks I felt like I mess. My allergies were coming back pretty badly, I had pain in my chest again, my acne was going crazy, and my energy was dwindling. To top all that off, I was stressed, frustrated, and angry over the fact that I even felt like this and I had absolutely NO way of contacting my RN for help.

In the midst of my frustration over this, I went to therapy. I didn’t want to go cause I felt terrible, but I figured maybe I can gain some relief. I vented my frustrations to my therapist and we decided to do a meditation where I basically scanned my body to feel where organs and things were calling for my attention. Luckily, by working with my RN, I was able to have a little bit of a “road map”, but its still difficult to really trust one’s intuition was the ROOT cause is, nonetheless.

Gradually, I felt the root cause was in one particular area and that by focusing on it and sending it some healing energy in the meditation it gave it at least some relief.

So I went home and took some supplements in accordance to that area. Needless to say, within a DAY the pain in my chest was gone. Without consulting ANY health “expert” the pain went away.

This week I had an appointment with my RN and I told her what I did. I told her about the pain I was in and the supplements I took. I felt hesitant and anticipated some lecture. Something along the lines of “You shouldn’t take anything without contacting me first” or “That isn’t what you needed. Now you just messed yourself up even more”. But she didn’t say that at all. In fact, she said something that surprised me, “Yes you were exactly right! You DO need more of that supplement”. She then proceeded to explain to me how each of the supplements I’m taking work so I can better make these types of decisions for myself without consulting her.

Wow, isn’t that empowering? For the first time ever, I had a healthcare practitioner say basically say, “You do know more about your body than me and here’s some guidance to help you retake full control over your own health”.

What an interesting yet slightly bizarre concept: In my head I was hardwired to believe that I can’t make accurate decisions about my own health. And, realistically, how many of us in this world have that SAME exact belief?

I mean, realistically, as recovering people pleasers and codependents it is only natural. If we have the tendency to focus so much on other people and their happiness, then we are also inclined to rely heavily on OTHER people to provide us with all the “answers” to our lives. We struggle to reclaim our own power fully and believe we are capable of knowing what we need.

reclaim power

Here are three essential guidelines I’ve found are necessary to fully reclaiming our inner power:

Accept how you are feeling in your body right now.

The biggest mistake we make is that we reject what is happening. We feel bad and we react with “Agh I don’t want to feel like this”. Its like our ego turns it into this belief of “Maybe if I reject it and push was is away enough it will just go away”, but that never works. It only makes us frustrated, stressed, and ultimately feeling worse. If we accept what is we can then act out of love.

Be loving and patient with you and your body.

We’re not going to make perfect decisions 100%. We’re going to slip up and eat something we probably weren’t supposed to at some point or another. Our body is also going to act up once in a while even though we feel we have done everything right. Just be patient and loving. If you send healing energy of love to yourself each time you don’t feel so well instead of having thoughts of “I hate it that I feel this way” then we can heal much faster.

Trust the bodily sensations and ideas that come to you – even if it doesn’t quite make sense.

This can be difficult to do when you’re trying to overcome things like sugar, caffeine, or cravings of fatty things, but there’s never a bad time to start. If you suddenly get a craving for a healthy food like bananas, then get some bananas. Pay close attention to how you feel as you are eating. If you feel like something isn’t settling as “good” as it should then it’s OKAY to stop eating. Also, if you feel one particular part of your body is very extra “warm”, “tight” or “stuck” in some way then send it some extra healing love energy either by visualizing it as a color or putting it your hand over it and imagining the energy coming out through your hand.

 

Reclaim Power Over Your Health Today!

Are you finding yourself frustrated over your current health situation? What are you most struggling with? What do you think you most need to focus on in order to reclaim power over your health?

What To Do When Someone Gives You Unsolicited Advice

Unsolicited Advice: We’ve all received it at some point in our lives and we’ve all given it as well. In some few cases, if we didn’t know enough about the circumstance to ask for advice then we are appreciative if someone tells us – but those moments are few and far between.

The majority of the time we feel that the other person is trying to take our own power away. We feel as if they belief that we are not capable of taking care of ourselves and knowing what we need. The advice gives us a feel that we have some of our own freedom and autonomy taken away. As a result, we get angry, we get frustrated, we think thoughts like “What gives this person the right to tell me what to do? They don’t even know what’s REALLY going on!”

Though these thoughts and emotions are very much so real and should be acknowledged, its not like we want explode all of those raw feelings out to the other person. The trick is in making our feelings known through a boundary, while also doing it in a respectful manner so the other person doesn’t immediately feel attacked.

The way we respond can vary greatly depending on the context: who the person is, what they are giving advice on, the nature of your relationship with them, and so on. However, there are some statements that can work pretty universally. Here are some examples

– I appreciate your concern, but I don’t need your advice.

– Sorry, but I don’t need advice with this right now.

– I know that you care, but all I need right now is a listening ear – not advice.

– I know you are concerned about me in this situation, but I do not feel that your advice is helpful right now. I’d really appreciate it if you would just listen

– I know you’re trying to help, but I don’t feel that I need advice right now. I’d appreciate it if you’d just accept it and let me learn on my own. I will ask you for advice when and if I feel that I need it.

Though you can use these exact statements, you can also create your own based on the guidelines of the statements I’ve listed above. Here are some guidelines to follow:

Acknowledge the other person’s feelings.

By acknowledging the other person’s point of view, it helps to “cushion” things a bit so that they are more willing and open to hear what you have to say. If we don’t do this, the other person is much more likely to get defensive and not hear you.

State your feelings.

Please make a special note with this that I said your feelings rather than thoughts. I feel that this is key. If we say things like “I don’t like your advice” then that’s a thought that we have. If we shift it around and say “I feel that I don’t need advice right now” it becomes much less attacking. In some rare cases of more intimate relationships, we may be able to go so far as to say something like “Your advice makes me feel like I’m not competent in taking care of myself”. This is MUCH more vulnerable (both for you and the relationship in general), so I wouldn’t encourage to jump into that right away. However, I do feel that it is something worth striving for relationships – especially the ones that are more intimate by nature, like with a partner or family member.

Say what you want instead.

This can be optional, but in doing so it helps to lighten the load quite a bit. If a person is giving you advice, then obviously its because on some level they really care and want you to be okay and do well. If you tell them what you would like for them to do INSTEAD, it gives them the opportunity to still be helpful. It also helps to clear out any confusion that they might have.  Stating what you want instead also HELPS YOU because it encourages you to stand in your own personal empowerment. Doing so encourages you to really fully take charge by knowing and saying exactly what you want.

Overall, when it comes to figuring out how to set a boundary and make you feelings known with someone who has given you unsolicited advice, ask yourself: “How would I feel if someone said this to me?”

This method isn’t “bullet proof” because we are all very different in our preferences. We can also be skewed in our honest opinion of how we would react if someone told that to us because we are more focus on our own aggravated feelings right now. Yet, sometimes doing the whole “put yourself in someone else’s shoes” can help us figure out the best way to word things because it encourages us to step out of ourselves and look at it from an outside perspective.

Finally, pick your battles. If you feel that some unsolicited advice has really aggravated you, then say something. ESPECIALLY if the relationships is very important to you. The reason I say this is because if we don’t say it it becomes repressed and those angry feelings may come out in some other way in the relationship down the road. By sharing what you genuinely feel and want, it helps to “clear the slate”.

Unsolicited Advice

Click to Tweet: It’s better to let your thoughts and feelings be out in the open rather than to hold on to them and have a “blow up” later. @jenilyn8705.

If the relationship is not necessarily a close one, then really check in on how you feel. It may actually be EASIER or a good way to “practice” if it is someone you don’t know very well. Yet, if you know the person may have some toxic behavior patterns and doing so may cause you too much stress, then you may want to hold off. Ultimately, it’s up to you and how you feel. Just remember to be mindful.

Set your boundaries today!

Think of a time when someone has given you unsolicited advice.  Imagine the situation replaying in your head.   FULLY imagine it — make it as real as possible.  Now imagine what you could have done differently that would’ve worked.  What could you have said or how could you have responded to make this person understand how you feel and what you’d like from this person instead without hurting them.  It may take a few tries to fully get an idea.

What did you come up with?  What could you have said differently?  Share below!

How to Deal with Critical People

We’ve all dealt with one at some point or another. That person that seems to always see the bad in everything. The person that is CONSTANTLY complaining. The person who attempts to emotionally manipulate you to get what they want. The person who you feel like “nothing is ever good enough” for them.

Depending on who it is and where you are in your own development, it can be very easy to get sucked in to their negativity. You may start to feel overwhelmed and feel as if they are dragging you down.

Well, the good news is that there ARE very effective way to deal with these types of people that will take you from feeling like a doormat to a strong and empowered individual!

First things first, the most important thing to do is to realize and understand where this person is coming from. Meaning, why are they acting the way they are? I always like to think of it as when a person is being very negative its their unfulfilled inner child coming out and screaming for attention. This shift in perception is not only very real (after all, in psychology nearly EVERYTHING ties back to what we didn’t receive as children) but it also helps those of us trying to deal with them.

So when you are trying to come up with ways to deal with this person, as yourself “If this person were a little kid, how would I act? What would I want them to learn and know?” put yourself in the shoes of a parent, guardian, or, simply, just an adult. (Please note: I’m not saying this to sound or influence you to look at them in a condescending way but rather to recognize the reality that their inner child is wounded… just as we all are).

One of the main things that you need to do is learn and know how to set boundaries. We teach people how to treat us. If you are a parent, guardian, or teacher then you should know that this is crucial to creating proper discipline and having a healthy parent-child, guardian-child, or teacher-student relationship.

So how can you set a boundary in these situations? You can do this by simply making the person aware what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. You can do this either through your words, your actions or a mixture of both.

For instance, if someone is being rather negative and directing it at you in some way with a non-constructive critical comment or simply just some pessimistic attitude you can say something like “I don’t appreciate your comment”, “Can you please not talk to me like that, it makes me feel _____?”, or “I don’t feel like your comment is helpful to me right now, can you please stop?”

You can word it in whatever way you feel is appropriate at the time, but the main point is to make it known that you don’t really accept someone talking to you in this way. You may need or want to pair this with an action. Like distancing yourself from the person or not acknowledging them when they do talk. As you normally would with a child, you may want to say “Please don’t talk to me like that, if you continue then…” and state what you will do and follow through with it if they break that boundary that you set.

If you naturally feel guilty for doing this, then know that THIS IS ONLY NATURAL if you grew up in an environment where there was a lot of shame and guilt-tripping from a negative person in your family. Be easy on yourself and remind yourself that you are setting these boundaries in order to take care of YOU. Remind yourself that you do not deserve to be treated this way and set the standards for how you know you deserve to be treated. Make the person aware of that.

Yes, it can feel selfish and feel like you’re really giving some “tough love” but it is necessary to break the trend and make them clearly aware as to how little control they have over you. If you give, then you teach the person that it works and they should keep acting that way because then they know they can feel a sense of power over you.

Learning to do this with very difficult people who don’t have any sense of boundaries can feel very draining. Especially if they are very used to getting their way with you (the longer your relationship has been with this person, the tougher it is… unfortunately).  You may also feel like they just don’t “get it” and will never “get it”. This is NORMAL and perfectly okay. Know that it is NOT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to teach them. They have to learn this for themselves.  All you can do is set the example and hope they will eventually catch on.

Over time, they WILL gradually recognize that they do not have any power over you and they will attempt to manipulate you and be critical of you less and less. It is likely that it may never be gone 100%, – they will probably still be very negative about life in general but to know that you’ve stopped them from attempting to manipulate you is a fantastic accomplishment!

If this is a person who is extremely negative to the point that it is easily overwhelming, then I encourage you to create a distance as much as you can. Doing this will probably be difficult, because you may feel guilty for not associating with this person very much. However, remember that you need to do what is BEST FOR YOU! You cannot create the life of your dreams if you don’t focus on doing things for yourself first! By creating distance from the negative people in your life and surrounding yourself with more positive and like-minded people then you allow yourself to grow and receive the love and support that you truly need. If you continue to hold on to this negative and non-serving relationships then you will continue to hold yourself back.

DoWhatIsBestForYOU

To do this, it may involve taking some serious risks – like taking a new job, moving away, even when you have no money or reaching out to new people you don’t know. It is risky and can feel very scary but I can assure you that if you feel and know deep down in your heart that it is what you need then you will never regret it.

Above all, focus on doing things for YOU and your needs. It is the only first step that we can take to truly feel reconnected to ourselves and create the life of our dreams.

Take control of your life when dealing with critical people today!

How as someone been very critical or negative towards you?  What did they say?  How and why was it difficult for  you to handle?

Now, imagine yourself reliving this situation.  What could you have said differently?  What could you have said or done to set a boundary with this person?  How could you have better taken care of yourself?

Share your stories or ideas below!

How to Survive a Guilt Trip

guilt trip
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So you tell your boss, but there’s a little problem.  Rather than accept your decision, he responds with “Are you sure you want to do that?  The economy is pretty bad and you’ll probably be let go.”

You’re bothered, annoyed, second guessing yourself and feeling a bit guilty, but your still pretty set on your decision.  You decide to go tell more people because you figure “maybe if I just tell more people then it’ll make the decision more real and I can feel more confident in it.”  So you go home and call you mom, but her response isn’t at all what you hoped for.  “What?!  You’re really going to leave me all alone aren’t you?” she says, “It’s hard enough for me living by myself.  If you really loved me then you wouldn’t take a job so far away from me.”

Congratulations.  You have just reached the territory of guilt trip mania.  At this point, you’re probably stressed, second guessing yourself, wanting to scream, rip your hair out or have one too many drinks.

Well, before you do that stop and hear me out. I’m here to tell you there is a way to survive a guilt trip.  It may not be easy at first, but with some hard work and awareness of what’s going on, you can get through this just fine.  Here are some things to keep in mind to overcome a guilt trip.

Know why this person is doing this.

Why would someone guilt trip you?  Why would your boss have a problem with you taking another job?  Though if you asked your boss why, he may give you several reasons.  However, ultimately there is only one reason and one reason only why someone would guilt trip you: They are insecure.  For your boss, it may be that he is worried about finding someone to replace you.  For your mom, it may be that she simply fears being apart from you.  She may be depending on you for her own happiness rather than taking responsibility in her life.

Realize that nothing they said is actually true.

 Is it true that you don’t love your mom because you are taking a job farther away?  No, because your decisions don’t determine whether you love her or not.  Only you can really know if you love her or not.  Is it true that you’ll be laid-off from your new job?  Nobody can know what will happen, especially your current boss… unless he’s psychic and even if he was psychic I’d say go look for another opinion.  Life is full of risks — it’s unavoidable.  Better to jump by following your heart than to never know what could’ve been.

Take care of yourself.

Breathe.  Do yoga.  Meditate.  Exercise.  Get a massage.  Talk to a supportive friend.  Set up an appointment with a therapist, coach, or mentor.  Do whatever you need to do in order to give yourself the care you need and deserve so your not overwhelmed from the guilt trip.  Maybe it involves doing a little getaway hike or camping in nature.  The goal is to really focus on YOU and nobody else.  People who guilt trip want you to shift your energy completely over to them and for you stop taking care of you. They’re hungry for someone else to give them the satisfaction they haven’t been giving themselves, so don’t give them what they want because it will only teach them to keep acting that way.  Break away and focus on you.

Focus on what YOU want.

What is it that you want to do for yourself?  What is the decision that excites you the most when you think about doing it?  What inspires you and makes you feel most free?  Put your focus completely on that dream.  Know that you deserve to have it become a reality.  And know that to do things to make that dream come true is everything BUT selfish — it’s genuine, it’s true, it’s love.

 

Overcome a Guilt Trip!

Ask yourself:

Why did this person guilt trip me?

How are their statements not true?

How can I best take care of myself during this time?

Why am I doing this?  What is my goal or dream in this decision?

Toxic Behavior Warning Signs

If you’ve ever lived, then at some point or another you’ve run into a person who is exhibiting toxic behavior. Toxic relationships can often be the cause for our lack of fulfillment in our relationships, so it is VERY important to be able to recognize toxic behavior in ourselves and others.

toxic behavior
Though this can seem to be a “hot topic” in the realm of self-help, co-dependency, and relationships, I also feel that it is a very touchy subject. The topic itself can lead to a rise of many negative emotions — and, coincidentally, influence we ourselves to habitually express toxic behavior. For this reason, I really don’t enjoy bringing up because by bringing up the subject, rather than to actually stop the toxic behavior, people habitually start the blaming game, which influences even more individual toxic behavior… that is, if we are not mindful in the process of discussing it.

So why am I bringing up the topic? Because it is EXTREMELY important to be aware of if you want to have fulfilling relationships. If you can’t clearly recognize a person’s toxic behavior then you don’t know when to set boundaries in the relationship or to simply leave or keep your distance.

Please also note, that I am using the term “toxic behavior” rather than toxic people or toxic relationships, which are more popular terms. My reason for this is because I feel that by saying “toxic people” or “toxic relationship” it implies that the people themselves are toxic and therefore cannot grow or change, which is very far from the truth. I see it as more so as traits that we express when at various stages in our development, depending on a variety of factors.

We have all crossed paths with someone who exhibited toxic behavior at some point or another. However, we also have to keep in mind that the chances are equally as good that we ourselves have also expressed toxic behavior at some point. So as you read through this list, I encourage you to focus on behavior patterns that YOU have or had and THEN look at the people in your life.

 

Here are various of toxic behavior patterns

– Mostly negative about other people and things.

– Always needs to be right – can’t ever be wrong. Has trouble apologizing and admitting wrongs.

– Everything has to be their way. There is no room for other people to influence the decision. No compromising

– Idealizes you and/or others (a sign of possible Narcissistic Personality Disorder)

– Sporadic outbursts of blame.  Family members, friends or co-workers may never quite know what’s coming next.  Unpredictable.

 – Chaotic emotional life. Emotional outbursts. Temper-tantrums.

– Manipulative and exploitative. Needs to feel in control of other people.

– Expects more from other people than they themselves are willing to give.

– Passive-aggressive. Has trouble expressing anger, so it is internalized and they express it passively.

– Judgmental of others in order to make themselves feel better.

– Has trouble accepting and respecting other people’s decisions and may use guilt to try to influence others to change their decision.

– Never satisfied with what other people give. Satisfaction from what was given may only last for a very short while or what was given may be immediately dismissed.

– Disrespectful of the boundaries you set. Example: Mary says, “Can you please not talk about my brother that way? It hurts my feelings.” Jack responds, “Whatever. I can say what I want to say.”

– Very self-involved. Focused on own emotions, moods, needs, and insecurities and expecting others to regulate how they feel for them. See themselves as the victim.  They make others responsible for their feelings rather than to take responsibility for their own feelings.

– Constantly needs attention, reassurance, and validation.

 

If you are first discovering toxic behavior patterns in yourself and others then be patient with yourself. If you are in a relationship where these behaviors are present, then it can be a very messy process to decipher what traits are yours and which is the other persons. Start by focusing on YOUR feelings.

To survive someone with this type of behavior it can involve a combination of boundaries and possibly creating distance from this person. Check out these other articles of mine that explain how to cope with toxic behaviors:

6 Steps to Setting Boundaries in Relationships 

How to Be Happy When Other People are Draining You

How to Heal from a Toxic Relationship 

But, before we part ways, lets focus on some self-reflection…

 

Eliminate Toxic Behavior Patterns from Your Life!

Get out a piece of paper or your own journal and answer each of the following questions:

What toxic behaviors have you seen in yourself (either in distant past or current life)?

Keeping in mind the list above, in these situations how could you have handled it better?  What could you have done instead?

What do you think you can do to help yourself break these behavior patterns? (there is no right or wrong answer – write whatever comes to your mind… be creative!)

Now, what toxic behaviors have you seen in others (either distant past or current)?

What do you think you can do to help feel yourself of this person’s toxic behaviors or avoid any toxic situations to happen again in the future?

 

 

You Might Be a People Pleaser If…

Have you been debating if you’re a people pleaser? Are you confused which of your traits are people pleaser traits and which are not? Do you want to know what defines a people pleaser?

people pleaser

Nearly everyone has been a people pleaser are some point or another. We have all done something at some point with the hope keep someone else happy and avoid our own true nature. Learning to completely stop being a people pleaser is a long journey, but it is possible!  The biggest obstacle starting out is to understand what a people pleaser is well enough to catch ourselves in the act so that we stop doing it.

So what is the basis of every people pleaser trait?  Simply…

Any moment where you rely on another person to determine your own self-worth and happiness.

With this in mind, I have created this list of people pleaser characteristics. This is list is very long and provides a wide variety of possibilities.  You may only identify a few characteristics or you may find several. You may read some and think “Oh I did that back when I was…”, while others we may not identify with at all. You may feel shaken up or confused by some.  This is PERFECTLY OKAY, because whether you relate or understand all of them, it doesn’t matter. What matters is to be able to identify our people pleaser traits when they arises for us. After all, awareness the first step to become a recovering people pleaser!

Before you begin going through the list I want you to be GENTLE and EASY on yourself.  EVERYONE has experienced at least some of these at some point or another.  We’re all in this together!

You might be a people pleaser if…

  • You enters relationships with the thought of “Will they accept me?” rather than “Does this relationship give me what I truly deserve?”

  • You say “yes” when you truly mean to say “no”.

  • You greatly fear being alone and easily feel lonely when alone.

  • You are more focused on what you “should do” rather than what you truly want to do.

  • You worry about hurting other people’s feelings.

  • You feel unfulfilled in relationships.

  • You are very focused on trying to be “perfect”, according to what you believe is “perfect”.

  • You fear exposing your own faults and mistakes to others.

  • You naturally follow along with stereotypes or social and cultural expectations in order to feel accepted and avoid rejection.

  • You have trouble expressing your own feelings that differ from others.

  • You have trouble expressing your own views and opinions that differ from others.

  • You feel responsible for the happiness and well-being of others.

  • You focus more on other’s needs than their own.

  • You feel drained and worn out from trying to take care of everyone else.

  • You ignore your own feelings in hopes to avoid conflict or make someone else happy.

  • You feel like other people never consider your own feelings and needs.

  • You struggle to make decisions because you are so focused on how other people will react.

  • You feel guilty if you do something for yourself.

  • You hold back from true self-expression because you fear being criticized.

  • You have difficulty listening to and acting on your own intuition.

  • You often feel like you are always “giving” but hardly “receiving”.

  • You are scared of “stepping out of the box” in your career, fashion sense, or lifestyle because you fear judgement.

  • You have a mean inner critic (and, because of it, you may be critical of others as well).

  • You have difficulty accepting compliments.

  • You struggle to establish real intimacy due to a great fear of rejection and shame.

  • You are very unaware of your own emotions, but may be very in-tune with the emotions of others.

  • You have difficulty knowing where “someone ends and you begin” or, in other words, you struggle with boundaries.

  • You feel like you easily get “lost” in other people.

  • You may feel the need to provide and control everything in a relationship.

  • You secretly wish you could do other things, but you don’t because you either feel that others need you to survive or fear being rejected and abandoned.

  • You often feel suffocated or trapped.

  • You secretly wish you had deeper, more fulfilling, connections with people.

  • You are terrified of being called selfish and will do anything to avoid hearing it.

  • You rarely ask others for help or accept help from others.

  • You apologize too much or when apologies are truly not necessary.

  • You constantly seek validation and approval from others.

  • You try to avoid conflict at all costs.

  • You struggle to truly believe in your own abilities.

  • You feel you have to “save”, “rescue” or “be the foundation” for other people.

  • You continue to be a “giver” because you believe that one day someone is going to magically come into your life and make everything all better.
  • You struggle with self-care.

  • You struggle to decide what your own dreams, goals and purpose are in life.

  • You tend to either agree when you truly don’t or you have difficulty accepting it if someone has a different view or opinion.

  • You easily take on other people’s pain, fear, or negativity.

  • You spend more time thinking about other people and relationships than yourself.

  • You deeply question your own feelings and views because you are not sure whether they are “acceptable” or not.

  • You feel the need to convince other people of your belief or feeling in hopes to gain validation.

  • You act out of a mindset that others are “competition” and limited resources rather than a mindset of limitless abundance.

  • You struggle to take full control and responsibility of your life.
  • You believe and feel that there isn’t enough for you in the world to do what you truly want to do.

  • You have difficulty believing that you deserve what you truly deserve.

  • You fail to realize that you already have all that you need to experience happiness and love.

 

Begin your journey to fulfilling relationships and personal empowerment today!

What are your people pleasing traits?  How are these traits preventing you from having fulfilling relationships?  How are these traits preventing you from feeling empowered?