I recently came across the following article on my computer. I must have saved it several years ago. It resonates very deeply with me right now as I am going through some changes in my current relationship. Although we aren't married (THANK GOD) it still applies.
The Role of the Man in the Family
According to Dr. Phil, if men want to be successful in their marriage and family life, they have to change and broaden their definition of what it means to be successful as a man. Being a good provider, protector, leader and teacher is a privilege that comes with responsibilities that many men aren't aware of.
Most men believe that being a good provider means supporting a family financially. It means much more than that. A man should also contribute to the emotional, spiritual, physical and mental well-being of his family. In order to do this, he must recognize that there are other currencies, in addition to money, that need to be provided.
This means more than beating up the guy next door if he insults your wife. It means protecting her self-esteem and self-worth as well as your children's. It can also mean protecting your way of life and guarding against any threats to the things that you and your family value.
Instead of waiting for your wife to take the initiative when you are having problems, take the lead. Get in the game and create what you want in your family instead of whining about your family situation. Marriage is not a 50/50 partnership. It's a 100/100 partnership. That means you give 100 percent. And remember, you get what you give.
What are you teaching those around you — especially your children — with your behavior? It's important to provide a good example for your children, loved ones and community with both words and deeds. Set high standards and teach by doing.
Let's point by point analyze my current relationship, shall we?
1. A Provider ~ well............not so much. He actually doesn't contribute to the household monetarily. Our deal was for him to take care of the house and lawn, be around for the kids (who are 12 & 16) and cook, clean, etc since I work full time.
In the beginning, he did some cooking and cleaning. Recently, its sporatic. And he doesn't interact with the kids in a positive way at all unless forced.
2. A Protector ~ he succeeds at this in the sense that I know we're safe with him at the house. But only in that particular area.
3. A Leader ~ he wants to be the leader. He also wants everyone to respect him. However, rather than earning it, he demands it.
4. A Teacher ~ he wants to also be a teacher but I'm not entirely certain I want my kids to learn what he has to share.
So here I am, at 40-something, ready to start over again. Sigh. But after a year and 1/2 with nothing really changing, what choice do I have?
Tell me, what would you do?
I first pondered the notion that I might have codependent tendencies when my oldest daughter was in the midst of her, shall we say, "rebellion". It was not a good time in our lives, I was a complete wreck, I thought she had lost her mind and it was scaring the crap out of me. I kept attempting to "make" things better and "fix" her. Not a good strategy at all.
Somehow, in my mind, if I continued to "help" her, the situation wasn't REALLY as bad as it was (and it was BAD). I thought if I was able to help I was still somehow in control. Turns out, I was never in control.
And thus began the dance..............for several years - yes YEARS (I tend to be a slow learner). I wasn't making the situation any better. I was prolonging it (hindsight is a wonderful yet frustrating thing).
She knew that I would jump into action when she called with whatever sob story she had concocted that particular day. I would give her money, buy her food, take her places, help her move, get her a new phone - the list goes on and on and on and........well, I'm assuming you get the picture.
In the process, my other children felt like they were forgotten. And a lot of the time, their needs became secondary to hers.
My primary focus WAS on her. My life started to fall apart. It was hell.
In retrospect, I thought I was keeping her alive (which was my greatest concern - my biggest fear was that I would get the call to identify her body). Thankfully, that never happened.
But what did happen was, after a very, very long time (because I'm a slow learner), I got sick of it. I got sick of being in a constant state of chaos; sick of handing over money (always with a promise to THIS time pay me back - also never happened); sick of the excuses; sick of being completely consumed by her issues and so, so, SO sick of the lies.
I started to do a lot of reading and research. I needed answers. Why had this happened to our family and for the love of Pete, how? Most importantly, could I make it stop?
Turns out, you don't make IT stop; YOU stop. That too was a very long process.
So, how do you know if you're codependent? There are a few tell tale signs.
This is a BIG one. When I was trying to "fix" and "help" her that was about control. I was attempting to manage her and her situation. I was trying to manage and control how things "looked" to other people - i.e.: my daughter hadn't really gone wild - I had it under control. My intentions were good. I believed I was doing what I was supposed to do as a parent. I believed I was still teaching her.
And I was. I was teaching her how to manipulate me and laid right down and let her do it. Not a lot of control there was there?
#2. Poor Boundaries
Do you overshare with people? I am an over sharer. I sometimes can't stop myself. Even with strangers. Somewhere in my head I'll hear a voice saying "STOP TALKING" but I just can't.
I think this stems from very poor boundaries that were set by my mother and sisters when I was little. They each told everyone else EVERYTHING about themselves, their kids, their husbands and worst of all, each other. I remember doing it also when I became an adult. It was normal to me. Trust me, its not normal and its not healthy.
Along with the poor boundaries in my family, there was also a lot of dependency. If I didn't check in with my mother at a minimum of once a day (as a 35 year old woman), she would call my sisters to see if they had heard from me. They would then call me to let me know that she was upset that I hadn't called her. Never mind that I had children, a husband and a house to take care of (while working full time). I learned from a very young age to always tell them all where I was going and with whom. A vacation out of the area was extremely stressful because "God only knows what could happen". Sigh.
Decisions about simple things were discussed with my parents and sisters in addition to my husband. We were all very dependent on one another.
#4. Low Self-Esteem
I don't remember really liking who I was until just a few years ago. I never felt like I was my own person. I felt as though I was an extension of all these other people and who they wanted me to be. I do remember being completely consumed with worry about what other people thought about me. It was the catalyst in most of my decision making and probably why I didn't trust myself to make a decision alone.
#5. Pleasing Others and Giving Up Yourself
It's not unusual for women to put others first. It's just what we do. But when it's ALL you do, it's problematic.
Do you do things for yourself? Do you spend time doing things that only make YOU happy? Do you ask others to help you or do things for you? Or is your time consumed completely with work, cleaning, kids, schedules, your parents and your husband? If you can't think of a time in the last week that you spent doing something you love for at least 20 minutes, you need to step back and take a good look at whats going on.
There are many good books on codependency. My favorite is Codependent No More by Melody Beattie.
And it never hurts to find someone to talk to about it.
The good news is that you CAN stop being codependent. It isn't an easy thing to do, it takes work and sometimes that work is difficult. But you can do it.
I have made significant progress and am happy to report that my daughter is no longer "wild". It honestly took me removing myself (some call it tough love - I have a hard time with that) and making her figure out her problems on her own. She did have to hit rock bottom but guess what? She's a smart girl - she's just fine. She didn't need her mommy constantly hovering over her and her bad decisions trying to fix them. Once she realized I wasn't doing that anymore, she started making better decisions. Go figure!!!
Hang in there! Be tough. You can do it too. And don't hesitate to ask for help if you need it.
The following is one of my all-time favorite questions.
WHAT are you here to do?
I've always said I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I think I said it again last week.......
How is it that some people simply know their calling and others struggle with it? As long as I can remember, the one thing I wanted to be was a mother. Well, with two kids out of the house and another two on their way out within the next few years, what do I want to do with the rest of my life?
Oh, I know you never really stop mothering - it just changes - you aren't needed with the same intensity. And you eventually get to grandparent (which, by the way, IS WONDERFUL).
I guess I always thought there would be some sort of sign; a defining "AHA" moment in which it would all come to me. There hasn't been. So I look at the 5 things that I do each week that make me happy.....as suggested by Joe Vitale in "The Ultimate Law of Attraction" (available on www.audible.com or www.amazon.com). Joe states that one or all of those things could be your calling.
My five things are: yoga, reading, writing, cooking and mothering. Which of these are my calling? And how do I transform it into a career or what I'm meant to do? Hmmmm.....I'll have to get back to you on that one. I'm still working on it!! But I WILL figure it out!
So tell me, what are YOU, my soul sisters, here to do?
Peace & Love! Have a wonderful week.
What Are You Here To Do
By Jim Warda
What are you here to do?
O.K., so that question might have caught you off guard but off guard can be a great place to start.
So, again, I'm curious. What are you here to do?
The thing that, when you think about being it, you almost catch fire.
Because I've been noticing your wild eyes lately. In fact, I had meant to tell you earlier. But, somehow life got its hands on me.
But, the truth is that I've seen your restlessness, the way you just can't seem to get comfortable, like sitting in a leather chair with shorts on.
And I've heard your fingers tapping against the railing as you make your way down the stairs. And you're humming a song from a high school play you never tried out for.
And I know that look. The one that means you're getting clear on who and what and why you want to do what you're going to do with your life. And even more definite about the fact that you're intended for a quest, a quixotic blaze of goodness and glory.
So, please let me know, what is it? What gifts are you going to gift us with? What tales will you tell with your lips and your song?
What chills your skin with the thought of just doing it? What widens your eyes simply by saying it? I'm so excited that I just can't contain myself.
And, you know how impatient I can be, so I'll just ask again.
What are you here to do?
Oh, and I almost forgot.
Are you doing it?