Gestalt means whole, and so are you. It’s my tag line, and I say it all the time. Maybe because I do spew it so often, I forget to provide the foundation that gives it so much strength as a theory of human development. As such, I’m writing today about co-dependency, a term that some will say is over-used, and one that seems hard to get away from in a blogging sense, especially when talking about wholeness and empowerment.
Recently, a blogger whom I adore, posted a blog spot (I am seriously paraphrasing) about co-dependency being about interactions between humans such as in grocery lines, etc. In this blogger’s definition, co-operation would have been more succinct. It is true that we all cooperate and interact with others on a daily basis. We even depend somewhat on the goodness, or at least on the harmlessness, of strangers as they check us out at the supermarket and serve us at the deli. And, as this blogger pointed out, if we look up “co” in the dictionary there is not a definition of negativity. The point is not with the “co” in co-dependency. It is with the dependency as opposed to independence when one gives away a huge chunk of who they are, leaving a hole in the whole; leaving themselves vulnerable to those who might fill or enlarge that hole.
When one feels complete, he/she is less vulnerable to those who would otherwise enjoy nothing more than taking some of that balanced sense of self. The more whole and complete one feels, the more whole and complete the relationships they’ll attract; this is true per the most powerful law of the universe: the law of attraction. And the law of attraction is no less authentic and powerful than is the law of gravity. We may balk, and squeal at the idea that we have some how attracted (especially nefarious) events into our realm, but we are all creating our reality with every thought and action, whether consciously affirmed or not. And while it is true, you might argue, that “opposites attract,” and at first glance this seems to defy the law of attraction, it does not, and here’s why:
When an individual feels lacking in any area, it leaves a psychic hole in the whole organic human being. Let’s say that a child is born perfect and whole (gestalt), and the child is loved and begins to feel secure. This internalized feeling of security and love translates into self-love and secure self-esteem. As this child grows, so grows the seeds of wholeness. As life offers both opportunity and challenges (which too are opportunities) this individual is apt to have the internal fortitude to deal with whatever comes along. This person will (again, as the law of attraction dictates) attract like-minded/like energy friends, lovers, and colleagues that will add to the support foundation. This strong foundation results in the ability to take on more challenges and risks, and to progress rapidly in life, to creatively turn sour lemons into sweet drinks, to build-big on the sturdy foundation, and create a pretty great life. Generally, we call this luck.
Conversely, a child, born perfect and whole, is loved and begins to feel secure but then something happens; as an example, let’s say a parent dies and the remaining parent is left with feelings of grief, abandonment, and a slew of over-whelming emotions to sort thru. Depending on the foundation of this remaining caregiver, the child will now receive varying degrees of care and nurturing. Perhaps the child still gets physical needs met, but is left with budding emotions of emotional neglect. As this child grows, there is a large chunk of the psyche missing, but it begins to feel familiar, if not comfortable, and so as the child grows he/she (again as per the law of attraction) attracts relationships and events to reinforce, psychologically fill, and somehow fit into the missing hole. If the individual is experiencing him/her self as being wounded, that person will attract either another wounded individual, or events and relationships to continue to wound him/her further (as that’s the familiar emotion being reinforced). Sometimes the fit works out okay, and just as often, the imbalance exacerbates the issues until those issues are finally looked at and adjustments are made. This is the danger of not experiencing one’s self as whole and complete. This is the dangerous area of co-dependency. This is where folks lose their lives in extreme cases, and which provides billable hours for counselors of neurotics in less extreme cases.
- Co-dependency is the twin-sibling of passive-aggressive behavior and both are ineffective.
- Co-dependency is an issue when one is suppressed and will not own their own voice to speak up about inequality in a relationship.
- Co-dependency is an issue when one stuffs emotions deep inside and the result is a festering of emotion that leads to dis-ease, obesity, and even death.
- Co-dependency is an issue when one is victim to abuse.
- Co-dependency is an issue when one is abusive, seeking to fill in the gnawing hole of insecurity at the cost of another.
- Co-dependency is an issue when one is waiting to be filled up by someone else, rather than filling one’s self and taking care of one’s own needs and desires.
- Co-dependency is an issue when one is dependent on external validation, the approval of others, instead of knowing that security is an inside-out job.
- Co-dependency is not an issue when two people are whole and complete and come together in equilibrium.
- Co-dependent/co-dependency is only language, words that have no meaning until we humans attach an emotion and/or judgment.
This is not a black and white, right and/or wrong issue to contemplate. Gestalt is not about judging, rather it is about awareness. When one is aware of the motivations of both the self, and of others, one is freed up to make conscious choices as opposed to reacting with or to some internalized agenda. It’s always about choice.
I like to think of relationships much in the way that I think about dessert. I am responsible for meeting my nutritional requirements, and for feeling satisfied and fulfilled, and when there is desert, well, that’s just frosting on the cake….
~As always, with extreme light and gratitude and heavy doses of love.
- Self-Esteem Starts With Self-Awareness (jandeelstra.com)
- Gestalt as You Are (jandeelstra.com)
- What Is Spiritual Gestalt? (spiritualgestalt.wordpress.com)
- Finding the Blessings in the Mire of Life (jandeelstra.com)
- A Personal Story – Law of Attraction – Part 1 (spilledcookies.com)
Purchase Escaping the Chrysalis, Blessings in the Mire, or Shadows Attached:
Thank you, often.