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Published by Jack Bass

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Published by: Jack Bass on Mar 17, 2011
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DidYouMarryYourMotherorYourFather?byJackA.BassB.A..LL.B.Oneofthegreatpuzzlesofself-therapyisthequestionofwhychildrenofalcoholicsmarryalcoholicsorothertypesofabusers?Commonsensetellsthosechildrentoavoidtheproblemsoftheirchildhoodandtheyoftensweartheywillneverrepeatthemistakesthatdamagedtheirownchildhoodorthemarriagesoftheirparents..However,infartoomanycasesthechildrenofalcoholicsbecomealcoholicsorrecreatetheirownfamilysysteminvolvingformsofabuseanddysfunction.Why?Childrenhavenoabilitytodistinguishtheirhomecircumstancesfromwhatsocietywoulddescribeas“normal“.Whatisimprintedandacceptedmaybethemodelthechildwitnessedinhishomeoforigin.Thatmodelmaybeseverelydysfunctionaloritmaybeamodelofaparentwhowasemotionallyabsent–notdirectlyabusiveinthesenseofphysicalbeatingbutabusiveinthesamewayandwiththesameresult.Thedysfunctionmaynotevenrecognizedbysociety-asinthefatherormotherthatisaworkaholic.Hardworkisadmiredandtheeffectofbeingemotionallyabsentnotalwaysrecognizedastheabuseitisandtheresultsitgenerates.Themodelbecomestheexamplethechildseeksinamate.Thiswillbeunconsciousandevenwhenthequestionisasked“Didyoumarryyourmotherrfather?”theanswerisdenial–althoughobvioustoanyoneoutsidethefamilycircle.Codependencyidentifiestheseekingofthisformerstate–alcoholism,rage,abuse–asanaddiction.Thisunconsciouseffortisanattempttocreatethecircumstancesofthefamilyinwhichwewereraised-flawsandall.Wemayallbefamiliarwiththephrase“youcan’tgohomeagain“.Thisisthetitleofabookfromthe1930’sbyThomasWolfe.Wolfe’sbooktracesthesuccessfulauthorreturningtohishometownofhischildhood–heanditcannotbeplacedbackintothatfamily,townandtime.Themeaningis-youcannotrecreatethefeelings,resultsorcircumstancesofyourfamilyoforigin.Changeisnotreversible–butwestillseekthosecircumstancesaswecreateourownadulthood.Wheredamagewasdonetoourabilitytolove,dealwithoursiblingsorparents,wewillseektocorrecttheproblemsbyrecreatingthattime.Thisistermed“MagicalThinking“.MagicalThinkingisourunconsciousconclusionthattheproblemsofourchildhoodcanbecorrectedbyrecreatingthecircumstancesofourchildhoodandthenalteringtheresults.Wetellourselvesthattheproblemswereourfault.Thechildofthefamilyhasconcludedthatthefather’sdrinking,themother’sinabilitytobeaffectionate,therageofoneparent–weconcludeareduetothechild(our)failinginsomeway.ThechildconcludesthatifIrecreatethecircumstancesIcansomehow“fix”theproblem.Simplelogictellsyouthiscannotbedone–butyourunconsciousworkstorecreateandfixtheproblem.Logicisovercomebytheemotionalhungerseekingadifferentoutcome.Codependencyisdefinedasanaddictiontopeople,behaviorsorthings.Ifyouwanttoexamineyourownbehavioraskyourselfwhatthingsdominateyourtime-arethethingsyouareseekingcompulsions?Acodependenthasalowlevelofself-esteem,heorsheiscertainthattheirhappinessdependsnotontheirowneffortsbutontheeffortsand/oropinionsofothers.Ourconceptsofwhatafamilyisandhowwearetofunctionissetintheunderstandingandrecollectionswehaveofthefamilyinwhichwewereraised.Werepeatwhatweremember.Werepeatthemodelweacceptedas“normal“–eventhoughlogicallywerecognizethefalsityandthedamagethatpictureofnormalcarriesintotoday.Marriagesenteredintobytwocodependentsisdoomedbecausetheattractionisanunannouncedbeliefthat“Myhappinesscannowbegin–youhavetomakemehappy“.Sowehaveacoupleeachexpectingthattheirpartnerisresponsibletomakethemhappyandtherebyassurethesuccessoftheirmarriageandnewlife.Alternatelyacodependentmayfeelinordinatelyresponsiblefortheotherperson.Itistheextremethatmakestheunderstandingdysfunctional–alongwiththedenialreferredtoabove.

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