Cedric Centre for Counselling Inc.

Blog

Posts Tagged 'co-dependence'

The Importance of Honesty in Overcoming Overeating

overcoming overeatingOne of the hardest things for people to do to overcome overeating, especially people who have received any co-dependent training, is to hold themselves to the core value of honesty.  The reason for this is twofold:

  1. We often (usually) don’t even know what we truly feel and want and need. We might know something doesn’t feel right or good or okay but we have our inner critic   immediately judging our feelings and so we mistrust our emotions just as we mistrust our hunger and fullness cues.
  2. We are scared crapless to piss people off! Let’s just admit it! We don’t want to upset anyone. The way we’ve been trained to see the world makes it so if someone is upset (sad, angry, scared) by something we did or said it means we’ve done something wrong; we’ve been mean; we are B.A.D.! And we sure as heck don’t want to be the bad guy because the bad guy gets ostracised, rejected and judged and that’s not good! We don’t want anyone thinking, feeling or saying anything about us that isn’t nice and warm and fuzzy. And so we compromise ourselves and so the pattern continues.

(more…)

Posted in: 2012, Relationship with Self, Uncategorized

Leave a Comment (2) →

Relationships 101 Week 4

Flags in a RelationshipThis article is part of a series: Relationships 101: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4.

This week in our Relationships 101 series, I want to chat a bit about flags in a relationship.

If I do say so myself, I wrote a pretty smokin’ section on this in my book so if you’ve got access to “Food is not the Problem: Deal With What Is! I encourage you to check out Chapter 23. It’s got lots of good education and tools on communication in relationships.

I’m going to present an abridged and updated version of the section on flags here so you can get a good feel for the concept and begin to experiment with it yourself.

The Flag System

I am about to share with you a concept that is not in and of itself a communication tool. However, it is a fundamental tool for assessing the information you are receiving verbally and non-verbally from people in your life. Once you have assessed this information, you will be in a stronger and clearer place to determine for yourself how you want and need to proceed. By that, I mean whether or not you need to speak to the other person, and if so, what you need to say.  (We’ll address the what to say and how to say it in the next 2 weeks of this series of articles).

(more…)

Posted in: CEDRIC Centre, newsletter, Relationship with Food, Relationship with Others, Relationship with Self, Relationships 101

Leave a Comment (6) →

Relationships 101 Week 3

Flags in a RelationshipThis article is part of a series: Relationships 101Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4.

Okay folks, we’re at Week 3 of what could (but won’t) be a 52-week series! We’re going to tackle the key bits of any relationship and how to make yours hum in 6 weeks (or so). This week we’re specifically going to explore flags in a relationship.

If you’re not into this series as it’s just not where you’re at or what you’re needing at this time, I highly recommend you spend the next few weeks reviewing the “Complete Recovery Series.” This is a series I wrote that lays out the key tools you need to begin to experience healing in your relationship with food. You’ll find a listing of all the articles on the left hand side of the blog.

If you’re following along with this series however, you’ll have experimented a bit last week with providing for others and for yourself that which you have been expecting or looking for from them. I’ll bet you learned a great deal and that already you have greater empathy for yourself and for others.

(more…)

Posted in: CEDRIC Centre, newsletter, Relationship with Food, Relationship with Others, Relationship with Self, Relationships 101

Leave a Comment (1) →

Relationships 101 Week 2

This article is part of a series: Relationships 101Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4.

When you are learning how to improve your relationship it’s important to know how to assess quickly, safely, and respectfully, who is a fit for you and who can’t be. While you’re working on this you need to also think about who you and the other person are at this time and then list the boundaries and unhealthy behaviours in a relationship.

Relationships 101 Week 2: How to Improve Your Relationship

Okee dokee then! How’d last week go? We had some interesting discussion on our web program forum, as the assignment really hit home for a few members. I love hearing how people are working with these tools and beginning to understand more about why things are the way they are and, most importantly, what to do to make things different.

Last week, I ran you through a basic process of identifying what you’re really looking for and what criteria (definition) you would use to identify if those traits were present in someone you were considering for a friend, partner or a peer, etc.

Then I asked you to consider yourself in relation to that list and identify as best you could, which of those traits you already embody and which need a little tweak in you in order to bring you up to the level of that person you seek as a friend or partner.

The key point being, and this is key: You cannot reasonably expect anything from someone else that you are not first prepared to offer yourself.

(more…)

Posted in: CEDRIC Centre, newsletter, Relationship with Food, Relationship with Others, Relationship with Self, Relationships 101

Leave a Comment (0) →

Relationships 101 Week 1

This article is part of a series: Relationships 101Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4.how to have a great relationship

Well, it is February after all, so, I thought I’d make this next series of articles dedicated to the top of how to have a great relationship.

I am guessing that you have at least one relationship in your life? And I’m guessing that you might like to know how to feel more confident, secure, trusting, open and intimate in that relationship?? And maybe you want to be able to know the difference between what is your “stuff,” i.e. what you have responsibility for and what you have control over, and what has nothing to do with you at all?

What about learning how to discuss sensitive issues with the greatest ease and to the highest possible resolution? That would be a good thing, no?

What about learning how to know when you’ve truly done your best and how to let go of relationships that can never meet your needs without feeling guilty, bad, like a failure, responsible, ashamed or at all uncertain that you’re doing the right thing?

Yes, it’s possible. In fact, when you follow these basic steps that we’re going to explore over the next few weeks, you’ll see how there is a method to being successful in relationships. It’s not a secret. You didn’t miss the class where everyone else got shown how to do relationships. We all need to be shown this one way or another.  And there’s no time like the present, right? Right!

We’ll tackle each of the above core relationship issues as we go through the next month or so, and by the end of it all, you’ll know exactly how to create and maintain the relationships you seek in all areas of your life.  It may take a little practice but you’ll at least have a lay of the land, know what you’re shooting for, and what to do to reach your goals.

And in case you haven’t put this together for yourself yet, let me reassure you that when you begin to work with these tools you will also naturally be building your self-esteem and sense of equality with others as well as naturally loosening the stranglehold that food and harmful all-or-nothing thinking has on you.

For this week we’re going all the way back to the beginning of any relationship, back before there were two, to just you.

Now, I realize that you’ve already likely got a couple of connections in your life if not many, and I’m not suggesting that you abandon them and start from scratch. I’m suggesting that until you step back from your connections for a moment and get very clear with yourself about what it is that you are looking for from others and what it is that you bring to the table, you can’t even truly begin to assess the quality of the connections you’ve got now, let alone begin to do your part to make them as strong and healthy as they can possibly be and hold others accountable in the same way.

So, for this week, to make the best use out of this series and start creating the relationships you desire, there is a little time and energy required of you. It will pay you off in spades, I guarantee you.

  1. Allow yourself to imagine the key people you’ve had in your life, however briefly or far removed, that you really felt safe with and really felt respect for and respected by. If no one comes to mind, as can be the case, use characters from Hollywood movies, cable TV shows or books that you liked (I confess that when I began to explore this concept for myself in my search for healthy female friendships and healthy romantic partnerships, I was so starved for healthy female role models that I clung to the integrity, confidence, self-respect and courage that Angela Lansbury’s character, Jessica Fletcher, portrayed in the “Murder She Wrote” TV series (she’s got serious values and chutzpah, that gal!). In other words, feel free to use anyone that comes to mind as your foil for a respectful, healthy, grounded person.
  2. Make a list of the characteristics and traits that those people embody in your experience of them.
  3. If you’re stuck, ask yourself the reverse question: What has been/is present in your relationships in which you have felt unsafe, insecure, and /or disrespected? Now turn that around and that’s what you want, i.e. a past partner of mine would threaten to leave every time – literally – I held him accountable to his commitments (that relationship didn’t last long!). If I were to turn that very unsafe pattern around into what I want, I’d say I need friends/partners who have integrity; who are committed to honouring their word and who are respectful and accepting of the consequences of not doing so; someone who can apologize openly, learn from their mistakes and express their anger or fear in ways that aren’t shaming or blaming but rather bring us closer together and deepen my respect for them. To me, these pieces are fundamental to any healthy relationship.
  4. Now, add to that list, any additional traits, characteristics, values, and principles that are important to you in order for you to feel safe and respected and trusting of another person. **Notice how your inner critic (the Drill Sgt.) may chime in about what you can and can’t ask for; what you are deserving of; what you are entitled to; what the unlikely chances are of you actually getting this and simply use your Drill Sgt. dialogue tool: What is your intention in saying that? And what is important about that? And what is important about that? And what is important about that? And what is important about that? And what is important about that? And when you get to the end, just thank your Drill Sgt. for his intention, tell him how he could achieve that outcome with greater respect and enhance your self-esteem instead of trashing it. Remember your inner critic loves you, he just is very confused about what love is and how best to show it…remind you of anyone from your past??
  5. This is your list of traits and values and principles that you need someone to have in order to feel safe, trusting, and respected in your relationship with that person. Regardless of whether you think it’s possible for you or whether you worry that that person doesn’t even exist, this is what you need! No other connection is going to feel safe to you, so don’t settle. We ALWAYS get what we are willing to settle for. Don’t be willing to settle for anyone who doesn’t create a sense of respect, safety and trust with you. (And don’t be willing to settle for anything less in your relationship with yourself either!)
  6. You may want to add a few additional traits for that special someone….but otherwise, you are looking for people who fit these characteristics and you’re not going to waste your time and energy trying to build a relationship with someone who isn’t capable of these core traits and behaviours, not unless you want to continue to feel insecure and use food to cope that is.

So, a few things to deepen your awareness once you’ve made your Healthy Traits (HT) list:

First, now it’s your turn. Take a look at your HT list for what makes a person feel safe, trustworthy, respectful and just plain downright cool! And…..take a nice deep breath…..and ask yourself honestly which of these traits you can say that you embody towards the people in your life, including the grocery store clerk, the bus driver, the server at the restaurant, your parents, partner, siblings, friends, co-workers, etc.

Yes, you! It’s never appropriate for an adult to expect things from others that they aren’t first willing and able to do for themselves. In fact, I have discovered over the past few years that when I am feeling a wee bit resentful or annoyed with someone, if I just ask myself what I’m needing from them/expecting from them, and if I’ve offered them that, I find the answer is usually, “Ummmm, well, no, actually.”

The act of getting clear on that in myself and then committing to offering first what I’d like from others usually takes care of my need entirely because in holding myself accountable to be the person I expect others to be, a funny thing happens. First, I feel instantly less resentful, more open-hearted and strong. And guess what? The other person responds in kind and naturally starts to open their heart more, and very often, to meet the need that I am now meeting for them. It’s quite remarkable actually and flies directly in the face of the co-dependent training to just get bitter and resentful and make snide comments or freak out (or binge!) when people don’t read our mind and meet our needs without us having to ask!

It is important to acknowledge the characteristics and traits from your HT list above that you already bring to bear to all of your connections and give yourself a hug of appreciation for this. Then make a list of the traits on your HT list that you are asking for / wanting from others that you don’t embody fully yourself.

In what ways and with whom can you begin to challenge yourself to be for others the person you would like them to be for you?

And, the last piece I want you to do this week is to make a list of the key connections in your life (partner, friends, family, co-workers, etc.) and identify any of the traits from your HT list of things you need in order to feel safe, peaceful, trusting and respected, that are currently missing in this connection (or seem to be) from that person towards you.

Okee dokee? So now, you have a list of the Healthy Traits in a relationship; the things that allow you to feel (or you imagine will allow you to feel) safe, trusting, respected, and peaceful in your relationships. You have a sense of where you’re at in your own safety, trust, respect and peace meter and where you need a little support or focus in order to hold yourself accountable to the standards you’re setting for others. And you have a sense of the connections in your life that need a little work (or a lot) and what specifically needs to change in order for you to feel happy in them.

That’s a great piece of work!

Tune in next week for the next instalment. And don’t worry about it if you don’t get it all done this week. Do what you can / feel ready for and just keep on reading. You’ll do it when you’re ready. In the meantime, gather the data, and help yourself to see more clearly what’s working and what’s not. I’m here (and so will this series of articles be) when you’re ready to dive in.

Have a fabulous week.

Love

The CEDRIC Centre - Michelle Morand

Posted in: CEDRIC Centre, newsletter, Relationship with Food, Relationship with Others, Relationship with Self, Relationships 101

Leave a Comment (4) →

Steve-o

CEDRIC Centre - Grieving for Steve-oLast Monday, the 17th of January, 2011, my step-father Stephen Patton died suddenly. All last week I was actively engaged in supporting my mom, family members (my son was so very close to Steve or Steve-o as I called him) and myself through the process of funeral arrangements, services, wills and other related bits and pieces. And don’t let me forget – grieving.

I think you might like to know that I didn’t feel the slightest bit compelled to use food to cope or alcohol etc., etc., rather I felt grounded, centred, grief-stricken, grateful to have known Steve-o and to have had the many wonderful moments with him that I did.

(more…)

Posted in: CEDRIC Centre, newsletter, Relationship with Food, Relationship with Others, Relationship with Self

Leave a Comment (1) →

Saying I Love You Part Deux

Saying I Love YouWell! You guys/gals are totally awesome!!!!

I have received such incredible sharing this week in regards to your efforts in the challenge I gave you in last week’s article about: Saying I love you, Thank you, and I’m Sorry.

First off, I am so excited and touched and thrilled and happy for you that you accepted this challenge as you did. It takes a great deal of courage to be willing to look within at old patterns and to then take action to change what needs a tweak (or a major overhaul)! It takes great courage but it’s so incredibly worth it.

The wonderful thing is that those of you who took the plunge and challenged yourself to say “Thank you” and “I’m Sorry” and “I love you” all learned such amazing things about yourself and gave yourself the gift of deeper connections with others. Woohoooo!!!

(more…)

Posted in: CEDRIC Centre, newsletter, Relationship with Others, Relationship with Self

Leave a Comment (0) →

How Do I Feel Peaceful When I Know Someone is Angry or Upset with Me?

This question comes up often in my work with clients, and rightly so. There is much confusion about the distinction between co-dependency and the insecurity it fosters and healthy interdependence and the natural and appropriate concern and consideration of others that it contains.

Many spiritual teachers would say that no one can be truly upset with you. They would say that at best people can be upset by the stories they are telling themselves about you that are triggered by their assumptions and projections of who you are and who you should be and by their story that you are responsible for their needs in some way. Thus, when someone is “upset with you” they are merely upset that you are not living up to the projection and stories they have in their heads about what you should or shouldn’t do/say or be.

I will say that I find incredible peace and enjoyment in my relationships with others when, if I notice I’m starting to get angry, hurt or anxious, in relation to someone, I separate my “story” of what someone should or shouldn’t have done from the truth of what they actually did and seek to understand their motivation (ie. the needs they were seeking to meet); discuss with the situation with them from a place of seeking to understand and to be understood (rather than seeking to be ‘right’ and the other ‘wrong’); and (in most cases) come to a solution that truly meets both parties needs. In other words, the less I take other people’s behaviour personally and simply see it as their best attempt to meet their own needs in that moment, the happier I am in my relationships and resentments just don’t accumulate.

And, if we find that we have too many differences in values or beliefs in our relationship with someone, we can detach from that person from a place of loving and respecting them for who they are while simultaneously recognizing that we are not a match for partnership/friendship/peer relationship, etc. We don’t have to “reject” or “ostracize” the other person simply because we are not a fit. It is not either or; all-or-nothing.

In my experience, that philosophy only works when you have a few key pieces beneath your belt.

  1. You know what your values and principles are and you know that you are honoring them in your relationships with others (regardless of their perception or judgement of you).
  2. You are conscious of your intention in your interaction with others and you know that it is/was in alignment with your values and principles. (This provides you with the powerful gift of integrity which provides a sense of solidity, strength and peace that is unparalleled in the human experience).
  3. You have the courage and the skills to speak respectfully, clearly, and concisely about what you are feeling and about what you are witnessing in the other person, without taking it on (ie. are you mad at me?), and thus you trust yourself to seek to understand them first, and then to be understood by them (if necessary – I find that often when I truly understand someone else’s intent/thought process that is sufficient for me to let the situation rest).

Because you know what your values and principles are and because you know you acted from your best intention in your interactions with whomever you are relating to, you are not going to feel “bad” or “wrong” or immediately shameful when someone is upset or angry with you. Instead, you will feel a healthy concern for them and for the relationship between you two. You will communicate directly and clearly about what you’re witnessing, you’ll ask questions about what’s going on for the other person, and if you should discover that, unbeknownst to you, you did do something that did not honor your values and principles and did not meet needs for the other person, you’ll offer a full apology:

“I am sorry that I….. I understand how that impacted you (here you clearly state your understanding of the impact of your actions so the other person can hear that you really “get it” or so they can clarify if your understanding isn’t full)….I offer you my reassurance that I won’t do that again (if you can make that commitment – if not, be honest about what you can commit to and why)…Is there anything more that you need from me in order to completely step past this?”

We offer this apology only when we truly feel that we have compromised our own values and principles and acted from a place that is not our best self. We don’t offer this apology when we acted with integrity and it didn’t meet needs for the other person. In that case we offer a statement like this:

“I understand that what I did did not meet needs for X (trust, safety, reliability, friendship, etc.) for you and that you would like some reassurance that I will not do that again. I cannot commit to that. I would like to explain the reason that I did/said what I did/said and see if there is some way that we can both get what we need in ways that feel honoring to us both. Would you be willing to hear my perspective?”

What are we going to feel if the other person doesn’t say yes? Well, if we’re solid in our values and principles and the integrity of our actions, we’re going to feel acceptance, “Oh, well, let me know if you’d like to talk about this another time.”  We may feel some degree of sadness that the other is choosing to misunderstand us and that that means our relationship, at least for now, is compromised to some extent. This is not codependence. This is interdependence. If I were to panic, get hooked on having the other person’s approval and understanding, lose sight of my own values and principles and my own sense of the intention of my actions, in favor of this person’s judgement of me, that is co-dependence.

To be concerned about the quality of your bond with someone; to want to be understood; to desire to be given the benefit of the doubt; to want others to think fondly of you, is healthy, normal human behaviour. We are pack animals after all. We need each other for our survival, physically and emotionally (less and less intimately, as our society develops, but we need each other nonetheless).

Where it turns from healthy concern and interdependence to obsession and co-dependency is when you are willing to compromise your own values and principles and integrity to get someone to like you or to be “happy with you.” Here we have a problem, a big one. This is the place where we will feel anxious most of the time, where we will use food or alcohol or shopping or isolation or procrastination to cope with our feelings of insecurity/anxiety that are triggered by our unmet needs for acceptance and for self-esteem. You see, as long as I am even willing to consider compromising my values and principles (including my self-care) for someone else, I am diminishing my self-esteem, I am deepening my insecurity, and I am actually doing harm to any relationship in which I choose to do that. I am inviting abusive, dysfunctional people into my world.

We only feel uneasy or downright anxious/panicked within when we feel that we have needs that aren’t being met. So if we’re anxious about what’s happening in a relationship or what we think someone is thinking/feeling towards us, it is simply an indicator that we have needs in that situation that aren’t being met (they might be in our head or they might be real). We have to ask ourselves what we are telling ourselves about the needs we have that we believe must get met through this person. This is us putting our happiness and our power in someone else’s hands. We must remind ourselves immediately and frequently that there is never just one person who can meet certain needs for us. There is always an option for you to get needs met from more than one person.

Our responsibility in relationships with others is to honor our values and principles, and to communicate clearly and respectfully. If it seems someone is upset with us, our responsibility is to check in with ourselves as to whether we can identify something we did/said that compromised our values and principles in this relationship and if we can’t, identify any such action within 10 seconds of introspection, we must trust that our intention was good and that any action on our part that “hurt” someone else was either nothing to do with us at all or an unconscious oversight on our part, ie. an accident, a mistake, and we must forgive ourselves and are entitled to forgiveness from others. We let go any self-judgement and just ask the other person what’s up. (This is easy to do when we are clear in the integrity of our actions, less so when we know we have done something that compromised our values – in this latter situation we go to apology #1).

When you know that you honored, to the best of your ability, your values and principles in your actions; when you know that your intention was good and coming from your highest self, you have integrity, you have peace; you have strength within. From this place, you can hear that you inadvertently offended, hurt, angered, frightened someone and you can take full responsibility for that without feeling like you are a bad person, wrong or diminished in any way. Even if it turns out that, unconsciously, you did compromise your values in a certain action, you can take full responsibility and apologize for that without feeling at all diminished or bad. It was a mistake, you did not mean to do it or do it at all consciously. You acknowledge it, you learn from it, and you grow and move on.

A healthy interdependent person will offer empathy and compassion, trusting themselves to set clear boundaries about what they need and thus be able to communicate clearly and respectfully about what isn’t feeling okay to them without shame, blame, or rejection.  When you are clear on your values and principles and the intention behind your actions and you seek to understand the intention of others, you will find that any old co-dependent connections either quickly become interdependent ones or fall away and you are left with connections where people are more interested in taking responsibility for themselves and in having a warm and intimate connection with you than they are in controlling you and in being “right.”

Values, principles and best intention = Integrity = Peace

Have a great week!

Love

The CEDRIC Centre - Michelle Morand

Whether you prefer one-on-one counselling (in-person, by phone, or email), our intensive and transformative workshops, the self-help approach with the book, or our Food is Not the Problem Online Membership Program, take action today to have a stress-free relationship with food. Sign up for our free newsletter today (see the left top side of your screen). Newsletter subscribers receive exclusive product discounts and are first in line to get on all the latest new at CEDRIC.

© Michelle Morand, 2010

Posted in: 2010, CEDRIC Centre, Relationship with Self

Leave a Comment (1) →

From Co-dependence to Confidence

From Co-dependence to ConfidenceFebruary is relationship month here at CEDRIC and our newsletters this month will centre around the issue of relating to others. One of the key aspects that influences all our interactions with others, whether they are lovers, friends, family, co-workers or the check-out girl at the grocery story, is the degree of unconscious co-dependent behaviour that exists in us.

Ask yourself this question: Is there anything in my life right now that I feel anxious about that is not related to me feeling responsible in some way for someone else’s feelings and/or needs? No?

Or try it this way: If I could miraculously let go of feeling responsible for what other people feel and need or expect of me, how would I feel? Like I had just lost a hundred pounds? Free? Like I could finally live my life?

And what about this one: Is there any anxiety in me that isn’t about me wanting control of someone’s perception of me because I believe that if they approve of me I’ll finally be able to relax and won’t feel as anxious all the time? (more…)

Posted in: CEDRIC Centre, Relationship with Others, Relationship with Self

Leave a Comment (1) →