Hidden Relationships Toxic Patterns

Hidden Relationships Toxic Patterns

Hidden Relationships and Toxic Patterns

You may be familiar with the regular old run of the mill relationship toxins. These include: cheating, lying, manipulating, gaslighting, etc.

But underneath of the obvious toxins are the less known toxins. And while they may be unfamiliar, they are just as deadly to relationships.

The first toxin that I want to discuss is toxic compassion.

Now, why is this an issue? Well, compassion by itself is not a problem, right? We can agree we are good people. You may be an empath. You have the ability to see into people’s problems and see what they need. And that’s what I love about you and probably what you love about yourself too until it turns on you and you feel totally taken advantage of like you’re being used.

And, even when you give and give and give and they end up rejecting you and you think, “Wait a minute. I put up with all your stuff and you’re going to break up with me?” You know how these things go. Toxic compassion is when you are so good at making sense of other people’s bad behavior that you continue to tolerate it. You have a black belt in making sense of nonsense.  And because you’re able to see why they’re acting the way they’re acting, you tolerate it and you stay longer than you should.

Toxic compassion makes you a ride or die, even though in the car, it’s not safe in there. It’s not a joy ride, but you’re in that car and you’re in it to win it. Toxic compassion will keep you stuck in a dysfunctional relationship and keep you unhappy.

Now, compassion obviously is a wonderful thing. You’re such a good person, but again, it gets blurry. You make excuses for their bad behavior because of their past traumas. What you’re doing is you’re using their history to justify and support their continued bad behavior.

Lots of people have trauma. And lots of people heal from trauma, making a vow not to bleed on those who didn’t cut them in the first place.

Lots of people have traumatic childhoods. Lots of people have bad stuff that has happened to them.  Lots of people heal and recover and take responsibility and lots of people remain the victim.

If you find yourself having toxic compassion and you keep giving second chances over and over again, you believe the lies that they’re going to change.  You keep on hanging on when you’re hanging on for dear life and you’re afraid to let go because you don’t know if there’s a safety net below you.

That’s the kind of toxic compassion that I’m talking about. Its believing, “well, what if I just hang in there long enough…..” Honey, if they haven’t done it by now. Odds are they aren’t going to do it. I hate to break that news, but that’s the reality of it. People don’t change for other people, right? People change for themselves. So again, toxic compassion is being so astute and making sense of other people’s bad behavior. Rationalizing it, justifying it and articulating and understanding it that you continue to accept it, tolerate it and settle for it.

The next hidden toxin in relationships is toxic gratitude.

And I see this most in people who have grown up in abusive scenarios or situations.  People that still have self-esteem issues where they’ve been taught and told, “You should be grateful. You have it better than I did.” Never mind that their better isn’t close to good enough.

How does Toxic Gratitude sound?

“Well, I’m just grateful they only drank three beers tonight instead of a whole twelve-pack.”

“I’m just grateful that they don’t yell and scream at me when they’re under the influence or hit me and all they do is ignore me.”

“I’m just grateful I have somebody. Lots of people are all alone.”

When you have toxic gratitude, you’re grateful for things that are basic human rights. Instead of reaching for more and knowing what you truly deserve, you’re settling.

Now that’s not your fault. Likely you grew up in a dynamic where you had to settle like that. It was as good as it was going to get and you got told that.

Let’s be real. For many of us, what we had wasn’t good.

But we got gaslit out of believing that by the very people hurting us. Parents said, “You have it better than I did.”

And comparison sets in and you’re like, “yeah, well it could be worse”.

Yeah, and it could be better too. It could be so much worse.  It could be so much better. We forget about the other side of that. Toxic gratitude will keep you stuck and settling in a situation when you don’t know your true value.  You don’t know what you’re really worth and you certainly are forgetting what’s possible for you.

Settling happens like boiling a frog.  The frog doesn’t realize its dying because the water just keeps getting turned up little by little, by little. And it stays in the pot until it dies.

That’s us. We kill ourselves slowly by staying too long where we never belonged.

Let’s move to another hidden toxin in relationships: Toxic responsibility.

Now responsibility in and of itself is not a bad thing. You’re a super responsible person. There are also super irresponsible people. Maybe you tend to vacillate between the two, super responsible and super irresponsible. That’s one way toxic responsibility can show up.
You vacillate between doing it all and doing none of it.
Maybe in your family dynamic, you grew up and you were nine going on forty and you had to take care of everybody in your family.  Now you find that in your relationships, you bear that same imbalance where you’re the one doing everything.  You’re overly responsible. That is toxic responsibility.

You feel like you’re responsible for everybody’s success and everybody’s failure. You feel like you’re responsible for everybody’s feelings and work overtime to mitigate those feelings.

The truth is, people feel how they feel and that’s on them. But somebody with toxic responsibility is always walking around thinking it’s my fault.

As you can see, any one of these toxins can be enough to poison any relationship. Which ones did you resonate with the most?

How do these patterns of toxicity hold you back from having the love, happiness, and mutually beneficial relationships you deserve?

The cure for all these codependent behaviors is codependency recovery. When we work together in a program, retreat or strategic coaching session, we figure out where the toxins are. We do a proper diagnosis, removing those toxins so that you will be the healthiest version of you. We restore you to health so that you can be the complete, happy, authentic version of yourself.

And these patterns I just want to reiterate are not your fault, it’s your programming. I’m not talking about pathology here. You’re not sick. It’s a pattern that you’re running that we can undo.

The last toxin is toxic positivity.

The personal development culture has created the idea that   everybody has the same psychological, emotional, and physical potential. It teaches, everybody can “step up”. The problem with this is that it’s just not reality.

The Truth is not everybody is made the same way. People have limitations and that is real.  They are not able to step up and the kindest thing you can do for that person, instead of holding them hostage to some unrealistic expectation is to hold the door open and let them go.

At the end of the day, holding someone to an unrealistic standard is unfair for everybody. It’s like looking at a man in a wheelchair with no legs and expecting him to walk. Now, a lot of people are going to argue with me and say, “well, he could walk if he…..”

Now, if you are doing that in your own mind and you’re thinking to yourself, “well, Heidi, a guy could walk if he got prosthetics and if he trained.” You probably have this trait. If you’re sitting there right now being positive about how this man could walk, instead of just letting him be who he is and accept him as he is, you may have this trait.

Why is this an issue? Because a person with toxic positivity believes it’s their job and responsibility to make the whole world step up. When in reality, some people want to sit down.

And that’s okay! There are enough of us to step up while other people sit down. That’s what makes balance in the universe.

If you can identify with one or more of these toxins, and you’re ready to break free, reach out to schedule a consultation with the handy dandy button on this page.

With love,
Heidi Rain

 

Fixers and Victims

Fixers and Victims

Fixers and Victims.

What type of relationship is this? How does it happen and what does the relationship look like?  

The fixer is the hero.

Likely they grew up in a dysfunctional family dynamic where they had to grow up extremely fast:  think nine year old going on 40 years old. They are the ones that gave the family all of their self-worth because they excelled and succeeded in spite of all the dysfunction going on in the household. 

They’re the one that would come to the rescue, make sure all the other siblings were okay, and take care of business. Often, this person was the mediator or the peacekeeper in their family. Not one to run from conflict or be afraid to break eggs, they would call out the issues and offer solutions to the family to “FIX” the problems. 

This behavior may have worked as a child, but as an adult, it becomes increasingly apparent that the Fixer has no control. 

Fixers can feel isolated and lonely. They have unbalanced relationships where they are the one’ who is there for everyone else, but often feel as though no one is there for them. This can also be because a fixer rarely asks for help. 

By the time the fixer personality comes to me, honestly, they’ve tried just about everything and they really are at their wits end.

You take on a lot of responsibility as a fixer. Fixers feel overly responsible for others and rarely have time to look at their own lives because they’re so busy pouring all of their energy and expertise into everybody else. 

And when it comes to self awareness, they really have a blind spot. They are able to see what everybody else’s problem is, but they’re usually unable to see their own part in it. And that’s why it takes me coming alongside of a fixer to point it out so they can get the best results.

Now let’s look at the victim.

They blame everybody else or every other circumstance for their problems. 

The issue of the victim is they know that they have a problem and they still refuse to use the tools that are available to them to get help. They’re stuck in their pain. 

Now, a victim often will fantasize about being rescued. They long for that right person to come along and fix them. And so you can see the setup here. It’s a match made in hell, where a victim longs to be rescued and the fixer says, “Oh, I’m the one that can do it”. So often we see this in addicted or alcoholic relationships.  

A fixer will lay eyes on somebody and see their fullest potential. That’s A fixer’s  super power. They can see the full potential in everybody and so the victim feels hopeful. 

Often a victim feels misunderstood. They feel like nobody really gets them. Although they fantasize about the right person really being able to help them, they’re also pessimistic about it. 

So remember they are not really hopeful to see it through. They just fantasize that one day things will be different without actually taking the action. 

When these two Attachment personality Patterns attract each other, they are a very good match, seemingly.  The fixer feels fulfilled and the victim feels hopeful.

Fixers need to be needed in order to feel loved and there is nobody needier than somebody in peril, somebody who is alcoholic and dysfunctional. 

When the Fixer runs to the rescue, they get a self-esteem boost. 

They get a lot of value and the victim feels seen and understood and there is hope in the beginning of the relationship. 

But eventually, a Fixer needs results. Fixers grow weary of Victims not taking their advice. 

Eventually a fixer will get resentful and a Victim will feel controlled. 

Then, the Fixer may try even harder and on and on the cycle of dysfunction goes.

So, what’s the solution?

In codependency Recovery, you learn what you can control and what to let go of. You discern if the relationship you’re in is the right relationship for you and you learn how to cultivate boundaries and healthy relationship habits. 

If you’re interested in taking the next step, please schedule a complimentary consultation with our handy dandy scheduling button.

To your relationship success!

Heidi

Codependent Relationships

Codependent Relationships

Codependent Relationship Clinger and Withholder

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “I’m mot codependency, but my partner is.”

Codependent is “co”, and we are usually two sides of the same coin, on opposite ends of the spectrum and that is how we attract each other.  Because like does attract like, but it’s seemingly opposite. Let me explain what I mean.

Two codependency types that hook up all the time and are a match made in hell, is a Withholder and a Clinger. I’m going to get into these two patterns today and talk about how it shows up and why they hook up and how it happens and how the insanity looks, so that you can have awareness, because insight is the very first step. What we want to do is put that awareness in motion and help you make some massive changes in your life so that you can have the love and relationships that you really, truly deserve. Drama free relationships, right? Where you can be yourself and be loved for exactly who you are and you don’t want to change anything or change anybody else.

Consistency, you’re not confused all the time or full of resentment or overwhelm or pain or anything else that’s stemming from these codependent patterns. As I said, I’m going to talk about the Withholder and the Clinger today. Now I’ve come up with eight different Attachment Personality Patterns. I’ve invented this name: Attachment Personality Patterns and I’ve done it as a result of the almost decade worth of research I did working inside of a dual diagnosis treatment center where people were healing from all types of addiction and codependence. And so I kept seeing these patterns emerge and kind of ran with it. 

You can download a copy of my free book, “Attachment Personality Patterns”, Learn More About Codependency Here!

 

So, let’s get into these two patterns. Withholders are people that are very misunderstood.  Because Withholders are very sensitive people, but they learned a long time ago that vulnerability is weakness. So, a Withholder keeps their emotions to themselves. They have a very tough time expressing how they’re feeling, or sometimes they’re so good at not knowing or suppressing their emotions that they don’t know how they feel. When you ask a Withholder how they feel, they’ll say, “I think I feel”.  It’s very hard to get them to crack their heart open. They long for intimacy, yet a deeply afraid of it at the same time.

A Withholder longs for intimacy. It’s just that they’re afraid at the core that they’re going to be rejected. They bring people in, but then they kind of keep them at an arms distance. It’s like, come here, but not too close. And so, if you’re in a relationship with a Withholder and you start to get close to them, they will do what I call Distancing Techniques, which is they will invite an argument with you to restore the distance. Their worst fear is getting too close to you, allowing themselves to love you too much, and then being rejected by you.

Withholders want others to love them more than they love others. So, they restrict their emotions, restrict their feelings. They can be very sexually active and intimate that way, but they’ll settle for sex when what they really want is deep intimacy and love. But again, they’re not vulnerable enough to share what they’re thinking or feeling and so that real true intimacy very rarely gets created.

Now, a Clinger Attachment Personality Pattern on the other hand is on the same spectrum with the Withholder. The Clinger is an over-sharer. They go into a relationship and divulge absolutely everything. They fantasize and romanticize and put the person that they’re interested in up on a pedestal.

They are super trusting, where a Withholder trusts no one. The only person a Withholder believes they can trust is themselves. A clinger trusts before trust is deserved.

Another trait of the clinger is they don’t recognize the emotional unavailability of the people they’re attracted to. They don’t recognize that because they project a fantasy onto that person. They really blow up all their good traits and minimize the red flags or deny the red flags because they want love and relationship more than they want to see the reality of that person.

The core fear is abandonment. A Withholder fears rejection, a Clinger fears abandonment.

And so, when they first get together, it is awesome for these two people. It’s a match made in Heaven at first, because a withholder feels relief! “Oh my God, I don’t have to talk. I don’t have to do anything! I don’t have to show my emotions and feelings because this person is doing all the heavy lifting! I mean they are sharing everything all the time. They’re telling me how they feel. They’re sharing their whole life story. So, this is really great.”

And a Clinger is like, “Well, this is really great, because I can just be myself in this relationship and I feel really connected now! They’re letting me do all the talking and they’re so curious about me and my life story! They listen to me and let me go on and on! I feel so heard and loved.”

But the Clinger doesn’t feel connected because the Withholder is really connected to them, they feel connected because they’re doing all the connecting, so they don’t see the red flags.

Now initially, a Withholder won’t go in rejecting this other person, pushing them away right away, because again, a Withholder longs to be close. They get drunk on all the neurotransmitters or wellbeing flooding the brain. That’s why love is blind because we’re all love drunk as hell.

But when the neurotransmitters start to wear off, what happens?

A withholder will start to feel smothered. They’ll feel like the Clinger is too much. They’ll feel as though they can’t breathe, and they need space. can’t breathe. And they’ll start to do things to push that person away, engaging the Distancing Techniques.

But this will trigger the Clinger into more desire for closeness. They’ll try to corner the Withholder, demanding answers. “Tell me how you feel about me. Why are you confused? What are we doing here? Don’t you want me?”

Relationship confusion for a clinger makes them so anxious that they just want to resolve it, so they go harder. Clingers need constant reassurance and approval. And a Withholder will withhold approval, praise, and affection to create distance.

At this point, a Withholder might do something drastic to sabotage the relationship. They may go MIA, ghosting the Clinger. They may even begin another relationship, keeping their options open.

Here’s where things go even worse.

Eventually, a healthier Clinger will let the abandonment settle in and pull back themselves to avoid more hurt. But suddenly, once the Withholder sees this, they will become the Clinger. And then the two Patterns have switched roles.

And the Withholder becomes the Clinger, and the Clinger now becomes the Withholder.

These two Patterns can do this dance of “I hate you, don’t leave. Come here, go away” for decades.

Now maybe at this point, you are thinking, “Oh my God.  This woman has literally described my relationship.” Yes. I’ve dedicated my whole life to co-dependence and understanding these patterns and how I can help you can break free.

Awareness is the first step, but what’s the second step?

It’s putting that Awareness In Motion.  We AIM for relationship success.

When we work together, you find out if your relationship can work. You will finally answer the questions, “Can this be fixed or saved? Should I stay or should I go?” Once and for all and get off the fence.

Clingers finally stop feeling abandoned when you put your heart and soul into another, and they leave you.

And Withholders stop feeling so misunderstood and learn how to receive and let intimacy in.

And that’s what I want for you, codependency recovery.

The very next step is to schedule a complimentary consultation to learn more about Codependency and Toxic Relationships with our handy dandy button at the top of this page.

I’m looking forward to meeting!
And as always, if you found this helpful, will you share it and pass it along to someone else you know can benefit?

Thank you! I appreciate you!
Heidi Rain

Can an Addict Change?

Can an Addict Change?

Can an addict change?

It’s important for you to answer this question because likely, you need this person to change for you to feel like you can go on in this relationship. Part of you even wonders, “should you stay? Should you go? What the hell am I doing here? Why am I putting up with this? Why am I tolerating this? I keep trying everything, nothing is working.” and on, and on and on.

So now you’re here and wondering, “is it even possible? Can they change?” I’m going to answer that question.  This is designed for you to get insight into your situation.   I’m giving you my perspective and opinion based upon decades worth of experience, education, and direct involvement with addiction treatment.

I worked inside a drug and alcohol treatment center for eight years.

I ran and created the family program there. I facilitated the co-dependency programming. I have worked with thousands of addicts and hundreds of family members and so what I share with you is not just an opinion that I have. It’s based on what I have seen, what I have experienced, and what I have learned. So that’s the perspective that I’m coming from today. Now again, I also don’t know your loved one. So, if you really want that discernment and you want to know for absolute sure, then go over to LoveCoachHeidi.com and you can schedule a complimentary consultation. Where we can talk about working together so that I can really get into your dynamic personally.
When we work together, you can give me all the facts. I can dissect and discern and tell you with absolute clarity exactly what I think about your situation.

Having said all that, let’s go ahead and dive in and answer the question. Can an addict change? What do you want to change? Change what? That’s the first question that you must come to terms with because it’s such a broad question. What are you trying to change? I’m going to break down the different things you might be trying to change and answer, “Can they change or not? ”

The first thing you might want to change is their Using.

Can they stop? Can they quit? Can they stop using and change their addiction and put that all behind them? The answer to that question is hallelujah, yes, they absolutely can. And the ticket to that is recovery.

If somebody is working on a solid recovery plan, absolutely they can stop using. They can get sober. They can put that behind them. Put it in the past. Move on from the compulsion and the obsession. Really heal and decide not to use drugs or alcohol ever again. We have lots of videos on the readiness for that and what recovery should look like. I have an entire program dedicated to answering every single question there is about recovery relapse, your part, their part. When you come into our program called LYFE School, which is Love Yourself First Empowerment School, you get access to that and everything else.

You might be thinking, “well, that’s common sense. I know they can change if they get into recovery. I want to know, can they change?” I think what you’re asking is can they change their personality. Can they change their behavior? Can they change the lying, the manipulating, and the gaslighting? Or whatever it is, the laziness, the self-obsession, the meanness, the numbness, can they change that? The flat effect. Is this ringing a bell? Am I singing your song? Likely, that’s the kind of thing that you’re wondering. Here’s the sad truth about that. Maybe, they can change that. What you’re asking yourself is, “Is this a question of nature or nurture?”

People are how they are. They’re born into the world how they are, and they have life experiences that compound or shift the trajectory of their lives based upon the experiences that they’ve had.
A lot of the behavior of an addict or an alcoholic looks like a narcissist. There’s an element of self-obsession. There’s an element of lack of empathy. They are inflicting pain. There’s gaslighting. There are all these things, personality-wise that you are left wondering when they get sober, is that shit going to go away?

Maybe. That’s the hard truth. Because I don’t know if this person before they started using substances had that personality that was, blaming, victim mentality, argumentative, condescending, mean, selfish, rude. I don’t know how their demeanor was before they started using, because alcohol or drugs just kind of exacerbates the underlying personality, depending upon what drugs they use. Now certainly, some other drugs can create a whole other personality and whole other psychological challenges on top of that and even take somebody more likely down a road to excavate or un-earth their mental illness.
There are lots of factors there, but here’s what my experience is. People are who they are. If they were a good person before they started using drugs or alcohol, they’re going to get back to that good person. If they always had an attitude issue, if they always were condescending, if they always had undesirable qualities, you take away the drugs or alcohol they’re there. In fact, when you take away the drugs or alcohol, sometimes those personalities that are mean or selfish or dictating or controlling will exacerbate. They will become more obvious and more evident because they were trying to medicate that anger that was underneath of that or whatever. The second question is, are they working on themselves?

You can’t just get sober. Recovery is not about, well I’m just going to stop using, and magically I’m going to become this amazing human being and trustworthy person.  Just a straight shooter and just this warm, loving human. That’s not how this thing works. You get sober so that you can fix the things that led you to drink and use in the first place.

Nine times out of 10, after that pink cloud fades away and everybody’s so happy because we’re in recovery and thank God that’s over.

Recovery just begins. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you need to know what you’re in for in recovery. So many families would come into my family program when I did it at the treatment center where their loves ones were clients and they would say, “Heidi, thank you for fixing my loved one. I am just so grateful.”

And I would say, “We’re not fixing your loved one.  We’re giving your loved one, an opportunity to get sober so they can see and recognize their issues which led them to use in the first place.”

And that’s one of the myths is we think, if they get sober it’s going to fix everything. Nine times out of 10, it doesn’t. I had a father in the family program that said, “thank God my son’s going to stop smoking the weed because now he’s going to be responsible. He’s going to get to work. He has so much potential.”

The truth was that kid was just lazy. He got sober and still wanted daddy to pay for halfway. Didn’t want to get a job and all those things. So, the father he had to learn how to hold boundaries and set the bottom line, to inspire his grown-ass child to take some responsibility and start to work on his life.

Sobriety isn’t not using; sobriety is creating a life you want to be awake for.

People start using drugs and alcohol to medicate a life that’s not worth living to them, there’s something missing. So, when you take away the drugs or alcohol, there’s still a hole. You could take away drugs and alcohol. That’s easy, right? Somebody comes into detox, it’s simple. Getting off drugs and alcohol is the easy part. The hard part is detoxing from the behaviors. That can take up to one year of somebody in recovery to stop manipulating, stop lying and that’s if they’re actively working on a program of recovery.
Just because they’re not using anymore, those behaviors are not going to change overnight. It’s going to take consistent time, consistent effort. Getting ministered to or therapized by somebody outside of your family that can sponsor or come alongside that person and help them see the personality traits that they want to work on, and they want to fix in their relationship challenges. That’s the answer to the second question.

But the third question is the most important question about what you’re trying to change.

This is the reason that I get to do the work that I do and really help people Many times what we’re really asking is, can I change the past? I know that we know intellectually, we cannot change the past, but we expect somebody to get sober and then undo all the damages that they have done.

Like they are magically going to be this great person and make up for all the hurt they caused. All the pain they inflicted, all the anxiety, confusion, and rage that has built up in you. We think sobriety will fix all that and change it.

Here’s what I’ve seen in all the years I’ve been doing this. Alcoholic, addicted husband goes into treatment. Feels brand new, feels great. Comes out of treatment. Tail wagging, feeling proud of himself. Feeling good and believing all the hurt in the past is undone because now he’s sober. And you’re thinking, “It’s not all better. I don’t know what planet you’re on, but you did a lot of damage here.”
You’re thinking, “Do you see the tornado that has come through this house emotionally and ripped our souls from our bodies? Do you see the damage that this has caused?”

And he’s thinking, “but I’m sober now and I really don’t want to talk about that. When you talk about the past”, the addict or alcoholic will say, “when you talk about that past, it really makes me want to use and so that was in the past.  You got to be in the present moment. I’m sober now. Everything is better.”

And you’re going, but wait, there’s more. There’s more pain still there, there’s more hurt still there, there’s still more resentment and all those feelings. Now you want them to fix it and they’re the wrong person because you can’t go to the source of the pain to fix the pain.

Hear that?  You cannot go to the source of your pain to fix your pain.

That’s why you need outside support. So, if they go to treatment and start to get on the recovery train and they start to work on their behaviors in recovery, you’re still left with that world of hurt, the resentment, rebuilding trust again.  How do you know if somebody’s relapsing? You’re always on guard. Always waiting for the other shoe to drop or maybe you’re feeling hopeful that the whole thing’s going to change radically. And you’re reading this and you’re thinking, oh shit, that’s not the way this thing works. Well, that’s exactly why I’ve created the programs that I have. The support, the coaching that I have.

The program is there so that I can come alongside you and help you heal. So, if you want that support and are tired of struggling in anonymity and silence because you can’t tell your friends what’s going on. Or the friends you do tell would just give you the advice to go, and that’s not what you want to do. If you want the support and you want to be able to voice what’s really going on. If you want to resolve the relationship issues addiction has created and you want to make a permanent change in your own life of what you settle for, what you accept, or what you tolerate.  Then, schedule a time to connect with me and let’s get going.

It’s time to stop walking on eggshells, constantly worrying about everybody else while you’re last on the list. You just want a true partner. Somebody you can rely on and count on. I want you to consider letting me come alongside you. Go over to LoveCoachHeidi.com to schedule your consultation.

 

Understanding Codependency

Understanding Codependency

What are the Core Issues of codependency? 

I get asked that question so much and it’s because codependency is still one of the most misunderstood things in the world of relationships. And so, my goal is to help you make sense.  To teach things in such an easy way that you can understand your unique codependency patterns, your partner’s patterns, or other relationships that you have. Why? So that you can have the relationships that you deserve.  Relationships that aren’t full of drama, resentment, confusion, where you are scratching your head wondering how to strategize or get this thing to work. That’s all codependency. 

I know that codependency and the issues that you are having are really leaving you full of resentment, confusion, anxiety, pain. And ultimately our work is about breaking you free. Psychological freedom so that you have control over your own thoughts, and your mind isn’t hijacked. Constantly obsessing or worrying. Emotional freedom, where you don’t feel like you are on a love roller coaster. Constantly up and down and all over the place. 

Let’s dive in. These are the six basic core issues that we have when we are codependent.

The first issue is the overarching issue that encompasses all of codependency and that’s the issue of “Identity.” 

Codependency is I don’t know who I am because who I am is not good enough. 

It’s not working for me to be me. So, I need to figure out who I need to be to function in this dysfunctional relationship. 

What we do is we take on a way of behaving. A way of being.  A personality if you will, so that we can connect, cope, survive, or thrive in this dynamic. 

We take on a personality and eventually we literally don’t know who the hell we are.  We scratch our heads, and we are like, I don’t know who I am. I’m a chameleon. And that’s true of codependence. You are a chameleon. You can fit in anywhere. And in fact, a lot of my students and clients, what we end up doing is when we get into a situation, a relationship, we survey the land.  We look around and we do a lot of observing about who people are and we get the lock on everybody. We understand and then we say, how can I fit in to this dynamic? Who do I need to be to be okay, be liked, be respected, be whatever in this dynamic? 

With codependency there’s an awful lot of strategizing that goes on. It’s like you can’t give yourself permission to just walk into the room and be who the hell you are. Because you don’t know how that’s going to be received.  And again, when you grow up in a dysfunctional dynamic, and codependency is a lifestyle from an early age. It’s a pattern you took on a long time ago. It really was a survival skill. That you needed to survey the land to figure out who you needed to be so that you didn’t get hurt. Or you could cope or survive or whatever it was you were trying to do. So, these patterns, it’s not a bad thing all the way.  Because at first, these patterns really kept you safe. They helped you. It’s a problem now because you want to be your true self. You want to figure out who the hell you really are. 

A lot of us are at a certain point of our life where we are freaking tired of being who we need to be for everybody else.  

We really do just want to have full permission to let ourselves be unleashed and be all of who we are. 

An identity crisis is the first thing we suffer from in a codependent relationship. Who am I? Now for you to figure out who you are, you need to figure out first, who you’ve been and who you are not. 

That’s by the process of elimination, right? Because you are not lost. You don’t need to find this version of you. You need to excavate her or him. You need to uncover by removing the masks. The masks that you’ve put on, are what I have named Attachment Personality Patterns. 

Of course, my signature group coaching program called LYFE School is all about unraveling that patterning so that you can really be your authentic true self. Because here is the deal, you can’t have true love if you are not your true self. 

You can’t feel fully seen, respected, loved, or adored if you are not yourself. Because they are not really loving you. And you feel that disconnect, don’t you? You know that you are not being loved for who you really are because you are not really being your authentic self. 

You are being who you need to be. So “Identity” is the first issue.  

The second issue, core codependency issue that we have and how it shows up is “Control Issues.” 

Now, codependency tends to be all or nothing, black or white. And we can vacillate on opposite ends of the spectrum. However, it’s the same issue. 

I’ve heard a lot of people say, “well I’m not codependent but my husband is.” “I’m not codependent but she definitely is codependent.” Well, what is “co?” What’s codependent? Are two people, right? Two people. So, we might not think we are codependent.  They are codependent not us, but the way the reality is, it takes two.

Control issues manifest one or two ways. You are in charge. It’s your way or the highway.  You want to tell people how to think, how to feel, how to behave. Now, here’s the thing, controllers aren’t malicious unless they’re pathological and then they turn into narcissistic personality disorder.  

But I don’t deal in disorders or pathology.  I deal in patterns. As a coach, that’s a very different perspective. 

I’m not telling you that you are broken, or you are sick, or you have a diagnosis. I’m telling you this a pattern. So, I’m going to take the approach that this type of controller isn’t pathological. They are doing it because it’s more benevolent. 

You are controlling because you think bad things are going to happen if you don’t. Now this can be problematic, obviously. When people can feel like you are always trying to control them and tell them what to do and how to think and how to behave and you are anxious a lot.  Walking around like hypervigilant, making sure everything’s okay. This with a controller, feelings of complete and total overwhelm is probably the biggest issue that controllers feel in addition to resentment when people don’t take the advice that we are giving them or follow through.  

But a controller will also manipulate, they’ll strategize.  They figure out here’s how I need people to behave. How do I get them to behave the way I want them to behave? Controllers play a lot of games in relationships. 

Now on the other side of that spectrum of control, is people who allow others to control them. And they end up in a People Pleaser Pattern versus a Controller Pattern, though they both have control issues.

They let other people tell them what they think and how to feel and they look to other people. 

A people pleasing codependent feels as though they have no control. They go with the flow. They are complicit, compliant, doing whatever needs to be done, unwilling to rock the boat or break any eggs.  

As far as control issues go, like attracts like but on the opposite end of the spectrum. A Controller Pattern and a Pleaser Patterns hook up. 

And this is a match made in hell because these two are feeding off each other in this dynamic and they are both tired of it. Controllers often will say, “I just want you to tell me what you want, and I just want you to step up. I don’t want to be in control all the time. I don’t want to have to be the one all the time.”  And a pleaser says, “Just tell me what you want me to do. And I’ll do it.” They are afraid to be in control and make a mistake.

One is afraid of being in control and the other is afraid of being out of control. 

What does healthy control look like? The middle Way.

The middle way is a very Daoist, it’s a very Buddhist philosophy. It’s not all or nothing. And codependents need to learn that it’s not black and white. There is a middle way. So, what would the middle way look like between a controller and a pleaser? It would look like we meet in the middle.   I control what I can and I back down when I need to, and I let other people do their thing.   I encourage other people to have their own thoughts and own opinions and I take no shit, but I’m still kind. 

In LYFE School we work on these core issues. 

The next issue is, “Self-Esteem Issues.”

At the root of all co-dependency issues is this core issue of self-esteem regulation. And for many people, the Attachment Personality Patterns are a way to regulate our self-esteem. Every single pattern is about regulating self-esteem. And I’ll talk about two patterns and how we regulate that self-esteem first. One is perfectionism. Many of us learned early on that to have love or approval, we need to be perfect. 

We are not allowed to make mistakes and so we put an extreme amount of pressure on ourselves and other people to live up to this crazy standard that we’ve set for ourselves and everybody else. We fall short, they fall short, but I’ll tell you a perfectionist pattern has a real hard time owning their own shit.

They are very adept at looking at other people much like the fixer pattern. The perfectionist, also like the fixer has a problem seeing themselves, because it’s all projected onto other people. But a perfectionist does judge themselves very harshly. 

That’s the difference, right? Where a fixer feels like they have it all together, most of the time a perfectionist behind closed doors really does feel terrible. But to regulate that self-esteem, they just aim higher. They just keep on setting that goal and that standard and they never quite reach it, of course. A lot of perfectionists procrastinate. 

They never really get the thing done that they want to do because they can’t do it the right way. Nobody else is doing things the right way. 

When I have a perfectionist in my program, and they’ll say things like “Did I do the right thing?” They want to do thing right because if they do it right then they are going to be good and that’s the goal underneath. Perfectionists don’t feel good unless they are perfect. And you can imagine when they do make a mistake, their whole world crumbles and falls apart.

There’s very little room for other people to have their own opinions or thoughts about how to do things because the perfectionist is like, “I know exactly what you need to do or how we should do this.”

Another self-esteem regulator shows up, is in the Pretender Pattern. Sometimes I call the Performer. Which is, I put on a show.  I suck it up. Now this is a person who is very concerned about appearances, not necessarily integrity. They will lie just to look good. They will do whatever they need to do to make sure that they are perceived a certain way. They want to curate their image. 

Through a Pretender may be struggling significantly, they feel “The show must go on”.

The next core issue we are going to talk about is “Trust Issues.” 

Back to our personality patterns to take a deeper look at this issue. Two patterns, same issue, opposite sides of the spectrum

A Withholding Personality learned very early on that vulnerability is for the weak. It’s kind of like a pretender and a performer, except Withholders are extremely sensitive people. They feel things very deeply, but their biggest fear is that you are going to hurt them. Because they don’t want you to use their vulnerability or weakness as they see it, against them, they withhold their feelings. They withhold their thoughts.

They withhold their feelings from you because they don’t want you to have access to them. A withholder wants intimacy so deeply, but they are so afraid of being rejected at the end of the day, that they kind of keep people at an arms distance. 

Now on the other side of that spectrum of trust issues is the Clinger. They over trust. 

The Withholder under trusts and the Clinger over trusts. 

A clinger is a ride or die. They are loyal to a fault. And these two patterns hook up. 

Withholders love a clinger because at first, they don’t have to share anything because a clinger overshares. They are oversharing and dominating.

A withholder really likes that at first, right? Because it feels good. Because again, remember their biggest fear is being rejected. So, clingers make them feel good. 

But after a while, a withholder will start to feel very smothered by a clinger and they will start to pull back and a clinger’s biggest fear is abandonment. That’s why they ride or die. They will stay with anybody because that’s better than being with nobody. 

Clingers also don’t recognize the emotional unavailability of the people they are attracted to. Withholders are not emotionally available, but a clinger doesn’t see that, they just fantasize.  They project “this is the one. I’ve never felt this way before.”

A clinger is so wrapped up in the ideology and the fantasy of the relationship that they fail to see the reality of the person that they’re with. 

And so now, when the withholder starts to pull away, they trigger up the clinger’s abandonment issues. And the clinger clings harder and then the Withholder feels totally smothered.  They pull away even more. 

Then eventually a clinger says, “okay, you know what? I’ve had enough of this. I’m out of here.” And the clinger pulls away and the Withholder goes, “where are you going? Don’t leave me”.  Because now their rejection is triggered up. They chase after the Clinger and they can do this dance for decades, clingers and withholders. 

I’m sure at this point you can see how rich this content is. There are three levels when you are working with me. The first is beginner, where you identify what pattern, you are and you see how you are operating and that’s level one.

And that is crucial. You can’t miss this. You’ve got to have insight into yourself and your partner. You’ve got to nail your pattern. 

And by that in LYFE School we take that pattern and do a whole process to understand how that pattern shows up for you. What behaviors you exhibit. What are your trigger feelings? Where did it come from? And it’s a lot of work. 

Level two is apprentice.  And this is where you start to practice Detaching rom the Patterns in your daily life. You start to see so much more. You can point out other people’s patterns quicker. You can bypass the patterns. You see the flags come in. You know who to be with, who not to be with. You take that knowledge that you get in beginner and you put it into motion and action in your everyday life and you become an apprentice. 

And then level three of understanding is mastery and this is for many people who want to go the whole way and become a coach with me. They have a mastery of this information. They’re living it and they master it so that they can teach other people and help other people. 

The next core issue with co-dependency is “Emotions”. 

Now, how you can identify if you’re co-dependent isn’t just through the behaviors or identifying your patterning, which is crucial. That’s the first step. But your emotions are another barometer that you are codependent. 

What emotions are you experiencing on a regular basis? Resentment, confusion, pain, anxiety, abandonment, rejection?

When you’re trapped in your pattern, you feel these feelings on a regular basis. 

Emotion as a core issue for codependency manifests one of two ways: Repression or Dysregulated Expression.

A Withholder suppresses emotions and has trouble identifying feelings. 

A pleaser has repressed their feeling for so long that they don’t have access to what they need or want anymore. 

A controller attempts to tell others how to feel.

A perfectionist condemns and judges feelings.

A clinger’s emotions are a whirlwind that sucks others in.

A victim lives in unresolved, unprocessed, unrecognized pain.

A pretender sucks up other feelings

A fixer worries about and feels responsible for everyone else’s feelings.

And the ne thing they all have in common is that eventually, emotions take us over and we reach a breaking point,

Our Codependency recovery program is geared toward learning how to identify your emotions, be in your emotions, feel your emotions and learn how to effectively express and communicate them

So many of us are so focused on other people that we do not know how we feel. We are so used to turning off our feelings, or we’ve been gas lit. Many of us who grew up in dysfunctional, toxic, abusive households, addicted households, got the message early on that your feelings don’t matter. It doesn’t matter how you feel. Or it wasn’t safe for you to feel. So, you learned how to disassociate or shut off your feelings.  

Codependency recovery is a walk back home to your own sensitivity. It’s learning how to feel those feelings again and express those emotions properly and appropriately for you. And learn how to communicate those emotions to people 

The last core issue is Responsibility. 

As I have stated earlier, codependency is black and white. You are over responsible or under responsible. And here are the two patterns we enact. If you’re overly responsible, you’re a Fixer Personality. You think their problem is your problem. You have caseloads instead of friends. You take on more. Put on your cape and run to the rescue.

On another side, you’re totally irresponsible and you are a Victim Personality. 

The Victim takes no responsibility at all whatsoever. 

What do they do? They blame everything and everybody else for their problems. They have an excuse for everything. They minimize their problems. They justify their problems.  Excuse, rationalize, project their issues on other people. 

A victim takes no responsibility, and a hero takes all the responsibility.

Fixers and victims are peas in a pod, partners. They attract one another.  

So how do you resolve these core issues?

That’s the purpose of LYFE School. Love Yourself First Empowerment. We work together to resolve these core issues. 

You resolve the issues of control. Meet in the middle.  Learn what’s yours and what’s other people’s. 

Same with responsibility. Trust, learn how to develop that divine intuition. Trust yourself, your judgment.  Open up, receive from other people. Stop being the giver and other people the taker.  You learn how to receive for once. 

Self-esteem issues. You feel good about yourself at your core. 

You know who you are. You are not confused about your identity anymore. How awesome is that? That’s recovery and that’s what we are working towards. And for the committed people who say, “This is my time. I want to take my life and own it. I want to plug up the power leaks that I have in my life with the people sucking my power. The places I don’t want to be sucking my power. The things in my life that are sucking my power.” 

Imagine what you would do if you plugged up that leak and took all that power back.  You would be able to manifest your life on your terms, exactly the way you want it, and you know, what’s so true? You deserve that! You’re a good person. Now’s your time. So, let’s get to work. What core issues are you working on? What are the core issues that resonated with you the most? What core issues do you want to tackle first? 

Go to

Learn to Identify and Eradicate Toxic Codependency Patterns, Visit LoveCoachHeidi.com and request a complimentary consultation.

What is a Functioning Addict or Alcoholic?

What is a Functioning Addict or Alcoholic?

We’re going to talk about functioning addicts or alcoholics. What is it? What is the impact and what are you going to do about it now? If you’re new here, I want to take a minute and say welcome home. I’m really glad you’re here. We’re dedicated to co-dependence. Understanding it. Making sense of it. It’s just a way to function in dysfunction. We talk about all things, toxic relationship recovery and dysfunction. Welcome. I’m so glad that you found me. This is a tough topic. This is such a difficult thing to understand, this functioning addiction. What the heck is that and is there even such a thing as a functioning addict?

 

My first experience with a functioning addict was my own relationship with my father, who was an alcoholic.  To me, what functioning meant was he went to work every day. He got up at the same time. He was a coal miner and then he worked his way up in the coal mine. You saw him progressing through work. He got up every morning at the crack of dawn, five o’clock in the morning and he worked his butt off. Hardworking man. He’d come home, soon as he got home, he’d have dinner. He cracked a beer and drink, drink, drink, and just not stop drinking until he went to bed and he drank a lot. He’d be at that point where he’s getting drunk.

 

You can see the writing on the wall, but he wasn’t belligerent and he wasn’t mean.  He wasn’t horrible or any of those things.  He just drank himself until he was ready to go to bed. He’d go to bed and he’d wake up the next morning at five o’clock in the morning. Seems pretty functioning and go back to work and start all over again. On the weekends, he would drink more. So that looked pretty functioning and for a while, it stayed that way. In fact, as I got older, he would still go to work every day. He was still functioning, but the drinking got worse. To the point where it was causing issues when friends would come over. It would be embarrassing or I would be mortified and not want him to be around when my friends are over, out of left field.  Not knowing what the heck he was going to say or what he was going to do.

 

He would fall down and hurt himself more often. He would be belligerent sometimes. He would be inappropriate other times or make inappropriate jokes and things like that. But he still got up at five o’clock in the morning and he still went to work every day. Then we’d have Christmas, he would fall into the Christmas tree or find a way to ruin Thanksgiving or embarrass me at the Mexican restaurant or embarrass the family in other ways. But he still got up at five o’clock in the morning and went to work every day.  For his whole entire life, we called him a functioning addict, a functioning alcoholic.

 

My second interaction with a functioning alcoholic was me.  I was the type of drinker where I was a binge drinker. I would march into the corporate office and make millions of dollars for that company. I would go home at the end of the night and whatever city I’d flown into and drink or take some Adovin to relax and drink so much that I would just checkout and forget everything. But I woke up on time and put my heels on and my suit and marched into that company and made millions of dollars and did that over and over and over again. Now mind you, it was impacting other areas of my life. I was lonely, I didn’t have any relationships, but when we think about functioning addicts or alcoholics, the last place we look for pain is in money.

 

We judge functioning by money. As long as somebody is working and providing for themselves or their family. We think they’re a functioning addict or alcoholic. It’s not like they’re the guy on the corner, homeless, drinking all day from sun up to sun down with nothing to his name. This is a person who’s successful. They’re functioning. That is probably the biggest crack of shit ever known to man because while it’s not showing up in our pocketbooks and that keeps us functioning.  The dysfunction shows up in areas of relationships. I know from my dad as a young kid, I would look at my father and I would think, it’s harder for a kid to make sense of a functioning addicted parent than it is for a totally checked out drunk parent that has nothing.

 

The degenerate parent, a total absent parent. It’s harder for a kid to make sense of a functioning alcoholic or functioning addict because they look and they say, how can my dad get it together for work but he can’t get it together for me? How can my dad make work function and put on the face around his boss and act like he’s fine, but he’s falling down and embarrassing me in front of my friends? Does he just value work more than me? Does he just save his drinking for me? That’s what you start to wonder. If you’re in a family with a functioning addict and dad’s going to work every day and he’s paying your bills and he’s taking care of your family, I’m going to tell you, your kids are still up in their room, crying, wondering why dad saves his drinking for them. That’s what they’re wondering.

 

Kids are affected and impacted whether the bills are paid or not. The marriage is impacted whether the rings come and the hair can get done or not. Money, shouldn’t be the last place we look to check around and see, is this an issue? Lots of addicts and alcoholics have lots and lots of money. It’s such a lie that we tell ourselves that if you’re an addict or an alcoholic, you have to be homeless and not have any teeth and you have to be able not to provide for yourself. Do you know how many addicts and alcoholics, are rich, loaded, highly successful? There’s those quotes again, highly successful. Why is it that in our country and in everywhere else and a lot of places too, we measure success on our financial ability to provide and not on the relationships and the wake of damage and destruction that we’re causing to our children, our spouses and generations to come?

 

In my own relationship, I was making a lot of money. Traveling around the country and being a business consultant and acting like I had it all together and behind closed doors, I was falling apart. I was drinking. I was doing things full of shame.  Not even remembering what I was doing.  In the meantime, I was creating havoc in my relationships. Making the people that loved me, worried about me, concerned about me.  My argument was, well, I’m fine. Look, I just bought a house. I just bought a car. I’m fine. Relationships that I was in, intimate relationships. Boyfriends that I was with, making them Google search is my girlfriend an alcoholic. She just binge drinks, like what’s that?

 

We make binge drinking okay. We think, well, as long as you don’t drink every day, you’re a functioning addict. If you can go days in between, you’re fine. I was an overachieving binge drinker. I would drink to the point of not knowing where the heck I was and I’d wake up the next day and drink a green smoothie, go to the gym and feel like I’m good now. Then a couple of days would go in between I’d binge drink, fall down, forget my own name, wake up, drink a green smoothie and go to the gym. I’m not an alcoholic, see. Can we just get rid of addict, alcoholic, functioning, not functioning, substance use disorder. Get rid of all the titles and ask yourself. Hey, can we look around and ask ourselves, what’s the fallout? Who am I impacting? Whether I want to put a label on myself or not a label. I’m not for that anyway, because I think at the end of the day, that’s what gets us in trouble.

 

I could argue I’m not an alcoholic because I don’t need it. I can go without it. I can take it or leave it. Meanwhile, my relationships are falling apart. That should be your barometer for whether you’re functioning or not. That’s the discussion I want to have today. What makes you a functioning person? Are you surrounded by dysfunction? If there is dysfunction in your relationships with people in any way, shape or form. Dysfunction, you are not a functioning addict or an alcoholic and I don’t care how much money you make. That’s a good barometer from now on. As a relationship person and knowing the impact of addiction on our own lives, the own self abuse we inflect, but just the abuse we inflict on other people too, with our drinking. That’s the barometer to whether you’re functioning or not.

 

My dad brought home a paycheck, but I’m going tell you what.  The lasting impact that he left with his drinking, from growing up in that environment, whether he brought home that money or not has taken a lifetime to undo. You got to become aware of the impact. It doesn’t matter how often or how much your relationships are impacted. People are wondering why you’re picking alcohol over them? Why you can stop, but you start again? Why you binge and black out, but then you’re going to the gym? It’s very confusing for the people that love you to understand and you’re still arguing with them, you’re not an alcoholic. Why are they fucking unhappy? Are you hurting people? I know that’s harsh.

 

I know my language can be really to the point, but I want you to understand, we’ve got to stop this delusion that we’re fucking functioning. Where there is dysfunction, there is no functioning. Let that be the barometer and ask yourself.  If it’s you and you say, okay, I see, all right, yep. If we’re talking relationships, then no, I am not functioning. Some people are still delusional thinking I don’t drink that much and so they’re not really that impacted that much. You don’t need to fall down fifteen times. You can fall down one and have somebody to be scared shitless once and have it be enough. You can make a jerk out of yourself at a party one time and not ten times and have that one time, leave a mark.

 

We don’t need to be repeatedly hurting people. Hurting people once is enough. If your drinking is causing an impact or the drinking of somebody else is causing an impact, we all need to get well. We all need to take a look around and say, okay, what can we do? So this is a plea to you to help you understand that functioning alcoholism isn’t real. Functioning addiction isn’t real. The proof is in the dysfunctional family. The proof is in the dysfunctional relationship. Show this to somebody you love. I’ll take the heat, throw me under the bus, or if it’s you and I’m making you hot, then good. That’s a good first step. Awareness is the first step. I just want to encourage you to keep taking the next step.

 

Over at lovecoachheidi.com we have a ton of resources for you. If you want help in your family and you need answers specifically, and you want one-on-one type of support, or you want a group setting type of support, go over to lovecoachheidi.com and check out some of our courses and programs that we have to offer. If you’re new here, welcome, this is the start of something wonderful between us. I’m really glad you’re here. If you’ve been here for a while, let’s deepen our relationship. Why don’t you all think about allowing me to come alongside of you and hear what you have to say and work with you in a deeper way? All right. I love you. Take excellent care of yourself.