By Michael David Lawrience B. A., B. Com
I am a white male born in Canada and now living in the United States for half of my life. I only recognized my codependent behaviour 2/3’s of the way through life. Codependency had been running and ruining my life for all that time without me knowing. It took another 20 years for full recovery from codependency.
Although I have visited India twice for spiritual development, I have little understanding of how codependent behaviour affects Indian men or women. I apologize for this; however, the areas of codependency remain the same regardless of our culture. Therefore take what I say and apply it to your situation where you can.
I am led, however, to understand that some Indian men have behaviour described as the “Mama’s Boy”. I will talk about that later. I now give you a brief summary of my personal challenge with codependency.
It has taken me many years of learning how to develop my inner masculine strength to stand in the truth of who I am while in a relationship with women. My pattern, until my relationship with my present wife, Lyn, has been a fear of judgment and being hurt for revealing my thoughts and feelings. My fear kept me prisoner to codependency.
When my partner felt good, I felt good. When she expressed unhappiness, I fell into a pit of misery. Sometimes the woman became the persecutor berating me for lack of communication and I went into feeling victimized.
My mate, however, became just as victimized by the persecution of my icy unloving silence. It has taken seeing my emotional patterns and a great deal of inner work to release these subconscious archetypes of past emotional pain.
It has taken listening to my intuition; letting go of control and trust. It has taken courage to go beyond my childhood experiences of feeling unloved and the trauma of an alcoholic father.
Codependency creates much suffering in relationships. I believe from teaching about codependency to groups for a number of years that over 90 % of American families have some degree of codependency, from mild to severe.
It could be different in India; however, I am unfamiliar with any studies. The questions still are: Are you or have you been codependent? Can you recognize the behaviours of codependency in your boyfriend or husband?
As Pia Melody, author of Facing Codependency says, The heart and soul of codependence lie in the difficulty codependents have knowing what their feelings are and how to share them. In her book, she talks about different types of boundaries – energy fields around us to keep people from coming into our personal space.
People who have been abused may use walls instead of healthy boundaries, walls of fear, anger, silence, or words for a feeling of safety and they can switch from one type of wall to another to remain invulnerable. They (walls) do not allow for intimacy . . . . A wall can be appropriate, however, when a person needs protection from someone who is abusing them, says Pia.
Codependence counsellor, Robert Burney says, Codependency . . . to be emotionally anorexic. Not having our emotional needs met in childhood sets us up for the behaviour patterns that cause our adult emotional needs to go unmet . . . reflections of our Spiritual wound . . . that deep empty longing can only be filled spiritually, by reconnecting with our Source.
The above quotes describe the essence of codependency related to feelings, needs, and boundaries. I will then list the five main areas of codependent behaviour.
1. Inability to recognize our needs.
2. Lack of taking care of ourselves, fulfilling our own needs.
3. Inability to know how we feel.
4. Lack of skill or fear of expressing our feelings.
5. Poor personal boundaries. Fear of standing up and saying “No.”
I will soon talk about the behavior of some Indian men known as “Mama’s Boy. I address this in reference to Indian women and how they might better handle it to achieve better emotional health for themselves.
First I will clarify my relationship with my own mother. My father staggered through life drunk much of the time, angry and shouting at my mother. I retreated inwardly and kept my mouth to protect myself.
Since my father chose to be absent a lot of the time, both physically and emotionally, I unconsciously as a child took on the role of my father to protect and look after my mother.
You can see the roots of my codependent behaviour. Rather than taking care of my own needs I felt I needed to care take of the women in my life. I numbed my feelings and had no skill in expressing them. Last of all seeing the behaviour of my parents I had no idea of good personal boundaries.
Codependence And The “Mama’s Boy”
Let’s come back to the “Mama’s Boy” concept. This is an adult man still unhealthily connected to his mother. His mother is over-involved in her adult son’s life, emotionally needy, and demanding her son’s attention.
The mother makes financial, career, and relationship decisions for her son. She provides the emotional support that a girlfriend or wife naturally would fulfil. The son continues remaining a boy emotionally. Why would such a man need any other woman?
In the above codependent relationship the son looks after the mother’s needs and feelings to the detriment of his own. He probably fears to express his own feelings and of course, we can see the unhealthy boundary issue.
This son places his mother’s happiness above that of any other woman. As a woman would you want your boyfriend or husband to treat you like a piece of furniture rather respecting and loving you? Would you like to feel invisible or be treated like a doormat?
Would you like to constantly compete for your partner’s attention and have your needs ignored while his mother controls and dominants him and receives all his love? Will you let your codependency or that of your partner run or ruin your life?
Here is a simple test to recognize your own degree of codependency. When you find yourself attracted to or involved with a man who has a codependent relationship with his mother will you stay and struggle as a third-class citizen, or will you say I deserve respect and love and leave that relationship?
Michael David Lawrience is the author of Emotional Health: The Secret for Freedom from Drama, Trauma, & Pain coming to Amazon as a softcover in mid-June 2011. Michael is a certified Residential Coach III with over 13 years’ experience teaching teen’s self-awareness, self-esteem, and self-reliance. He has over 35 years’ experience as a holistic health practitioner with a B.A in Sacred Healing and has been a certified Bowenwork Practitioner since 2005. His niche is emotional health with extensive personal experience related to codependency recovery, strengthening self-esteem, healing the inner child, stress management, and meditation which he has practiced for over 40 years.
I hope you enjoyed this article with Michael and that you’ll check out his softcover book when it is ready at Amazon mid-June. You can 0rder other versions here now at www.emotionalhealthtips.com Read FREE 1st 50-pages the book The Secret for Freedom from Drama, Trauma, & Pain.
Photo source shho