Thursday, December 13, 2007

Low nurturance...

¨Emotional dependency means getting one’s good feelings from outside oneself. It means needing to get filled from outside rather than from within. Who or what do you believe is responsible for your emotional wellbeing? Primarily, ... (recovery) means recognizing that our feelings come from our own thoughts, beliefs and behavior, rather than from others or from circumstances. Once you understand and accept that you create your own feelings, rather than your feelings coming from outside yourself, then you can begin to take emotional responsibility.¨-- Margaret Paul
I've been digging lately, seeking to understand the effects of low nurturance that dominated my childhood producing a submissive kind of emotional dependency as an adult. Many well-intentioned friends say I should forget about my past and move on. For me the idea of leaving the past in the past is a half truth. I believe the way toward healing is to face my family background because I can only be freed from what I acknowledge. What I fail to acknowledge about myself will be projected onto others in the form of neediness rather than love. As I’ve been making this personal inventory, I’ve come to find I’m healthy and nurturing in some ways, but still enmeshed in other ways. I have this compulsive tendency to rescue others for example ... to be a Mr. Fix It! I never even questioned this role assuming I was just fulfilling my Christian service for God.
My goal is to learn to nurture while releasing others, by developing a stronger sense of self turning to God to define my sense of worth. I do my best as a friend when ¨I hold onto myself¨ redefining myself through faith — that is... to look to God as the source of my identity while being in community with others without being enmeshed in those relationships. That has not been easy because part of being enmeshed in relationships has required me to reevaluate my faulty view of God so that I need to differentiate my earthly father, from the all-perfect and loving heavenly One! Well, I leave you with just one quote that concludes this post.

¨Mature love is not about emotional fusion or enmeshment, but rather love is communion while maintaining separateness. A term used to describe this process is differentiation. Similar to individuation, differentiation is one’s ability to maintain a sense of self while remaining emotionally and/or physically close to others. It is the ability to stand up alone, stay close to one’s partner and soothe oneself when not getting what one wants. It involves balancing two basic life forces: the drive for individuality and the drive for togetherness.¨-- Elsie De Vita

The key phrase for me here is ¨soothe oneself when not getting what one wants¨. This statement is so loaded with meaning. I know I depend upon others to soothe me and get disappointed when they don't follow through as I expect. I guess this is part of what we refer to as ¨growing pains¨, but at least I'm learning.
-- TR

1 comment:

Bethany Pledge said...

I came across the concept of "differentiation" reading David Schnarch's Passionate Marriage, which I LOVED. Good stuff, there. Any other books you would recommend with similar perspectives?