Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Seeds of Co-Dependency PART II

Above all, humans are social creatures.  Our interactions with the people in our lives create who we are, be it good or bad.   While it may seem like the need for interactions with a vast group of people decreases with age, this is not the case.   Loneliness can affect anyone at any age.  Loneliness does not require one to be physically alone more often than not. Loneliness occurs when our relationships are lacking in some way shape or form.  People who have experienced trauma in relationships (be it physical or emotional) tend to feel more lonely than others.  This is usually because they have the mentality that someone (despite the poor qualities of this person) is better than no one.  Those who live with hostility in the home, either through the process of a parent's divorce or abuse within the family are also more prone to being lonely.   Children whose parents did not get along tend to view others as rejecting and unreliable and so as adults they shelter their social interactions, preemptively shielding themselves.  Having a controlling mother and a father with anger issues only decreases one’s faith in humanity and strengthens the need for stability and control.  Therefore, when shaped by such turmoil the easiest way to satiate the need for interaction is to be around someone dependable, usually another family member (someone bound by blood and not marriage).  However, this is toxic for both people, especially when living together, because while having someone close by may satisfy emotional needs - it does not satisfy social needs.  No single relationship can satisfy all of the social needs that the average person has.  This will leave both co-habitants still feeling lonely despite each other's presence.  Society also stigmatizes those who live with their family after a certain age, unless they are acting as a caregiver. Needing to live with one’s family is believed to show an inability to take care of one's self and be independent.  Regardless of the truth, this is how society will view someone, who in their eyes, can't seem to make it on their own.  Society’s view then reflects on the person, making them think that they are of little worth because they do not choose to live alone. This pressure from the public which is felt externally as well as internally makes them feel a need to cover-up their lifestyle in order to shield themselves from the public eye. We often internalize things that we have experienced or been told so frequently, that despite their truth they become true to us.  If the public tells us we are incapable of being independent, after hearing it so many times we tend to believe it is true.  If we have parents who prohibit us from reaching our potentials then we tend to internalize that which leaves one with a diminished sense of self worth.  This lack of self-worth then makes it harder to access the strength needed to move from outside of one’s comfort zone.  
Living with a sibling can provide great social support, however, it will stunt future relationships if you or your sibling is uncomfortable with sharing intimate details of your or their life (i.e. if you don't want your sibling to know you are casually seeing someone, how can you stay out at night or have someone over for the night without the sibling realizing?).  
This will often sacrifice the possibility of creating new social connections.  Despite being siblings, there is still a level of privacy that most people need to maintain for their own comfort.  A sibling can provide the same amount of social support outside of the home as they can inside of the home.  What a sibling cannot do is satisfy all of the emotional and interpersonal facets that one person possesses.  That is why it is important to move outside of the nest.  The outside world is only as scary as you make it and sheltering yourself only further propagates the fear.

© 2011 by David Gharat Personal Life Coach. All rights reserved

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