Successful relationships are the realm of people who have resolved their dependency issues. Each unbalanced dependency we fall prey to increases the risk of failing to form or maintain healthy relationships. Dependency issues are listed here.
1. We assume responsibility for others’ feelings/behaviours
2. We feel overly responsible for others’ feelings/behaviours
3. We have difficulty in identifying feelings – am I… mad… sad… glad… scared?
4. We have difficulty in expressing feelings – am I…. mad… sad… glad… scared?
5. We tend to worry and/or fear how others may respond to our feelings
6. We have difficulty in feeling and/or maintaining relationships
7. We are afraid of being hurt or rejected by others
8. We are perfectionist and place too many expectations on ourselves and others
9. We have difficulty making decisions
10. We tend to minimize, alter or even deny the truth about how we feel.
11. Other people’s actions and attitudes tend to determine how we respond and react.
12. Our fear of others’ feelings (mostly anger) determines what we say and do
13. We question or ignore our own values to connect with significant others.
14. We value others’ opinions more than our own.
15. Our self esteem is bolstered by outer/other influences.
16. We have major difficulty acknowledging good things about ourselves (Thank you, nice to hear)
17. Our serenity and mental attention is determined by how others are feeling and behaving.
18. We tend to judge everything we do, think, or say – harshly – by someone else’s standards.
19. Nothing is done, said, or thought that is “good enough“.
20. We do not know or believe that being vulnerable and asking for help is both okay and normal.
21. We don’t know that its okay to discuss problems outside the family, that they are not “secrets”.
22. We don’t know that feelings just are – it is better to share them than to minimise/deny/justify them.
23. We tend to put other people’s wants and needs before our own.
24. We are steadfastly loyal – even when the loyalty is unjustified – and personally harmful.
25. We have to be “needed” in order to have a relationship with others (control struggle).
When we were children, our boundaries were imposed on us, rather than be a matter of choice. Parental examples and impositions create a model which we take with us into .adult life. We may find these boundaries comfortable or uncomfortable, they may vary according to where we were brought up, whether or not we had siblings etc. but we can change them.
First, we should examine the five categories of boundary.
Time. How much of your time is yours? Who owns other areas of your time? Do you resent the time they demand? Do you manipulate that time? How? What is the cost of that manipulation to you? Do you resent others manipulating your time? What does that cost you? What were your parents’ rules about time? Did they kill it, waste it, use it etc?
Space. How was space used when you were a child? Did you have your own room or share? How close to you can people be before you feel uncomfortable? Does your space regularly get invaded?
Person. How were you trained in areas of health & Safety? Dignity? Agreements? What were your parents’ rules in these areas? Was your person respected or taken for granted?
Property. Did you have your own stuff, or was everything shared? Is your money your own? What did you learn from your parents about property?
Papers. Was your wallet and room your own? Could you have a private diary? Could you write down secrets and know that that was respected? What were your parents’ rules about homework and paperwork? We cannot change or control our past, but we can make changes today. If we don’t understand childhood boundaries, then we walk into or create circumstances we cannot control or understand. By understanding the conditions we grew up by, we can adapt and make life safer and more suitable for our lives from this point on.
You define your reality by all that you know, all that you believe, and what you do about it.