Forgetting Me

 

Forgetting Me

 

 

 

One of the most majestic of all creatures is the tiger. For many years these big beautiful creatures have puzzled researchers. It seems that when tigers hunt they have a remarkable capacity for causing their prey to paralyze with fear, a capacity greater than any of the other big cats. As the tiger charges toward its hapless prey it lets out a spine-chilling roar. Now you’d think this would be enough to cause the prey to turn and run for its life, but instead it often freezes and soon becomes tiger food.

 

 

At the turn of this century scientists at the Fauna Communication Research Institute in North Carolina discovered why you’re likely to freeze to the spot rather than run when the tiger charges. When the tiger roars it lets out sound waves that are audible – the ones that sound terrifying – and its also lets out sound at a frequency so low you can’t hear it, but you can feel it. And so, as the tiger emerges from the undergrowth the flashing of its colors, the sound of its roar and the impact of the unheard but felt sound waves combine to provide an all out assault on your senses. The effect is that you are momentarily paralyzed, so even though there may be time to avoid the tiger, you are tricked into standing still long enough for the tiger to leap on you.

 

 

Our fears often operate in the same way. They paralyze us into inactivity, even when the real threat is not immediately upon us. Part of overcoming the challenges before us is to recognize the ability for our fear of what might happen to stop us from dealing well with the challenge (Higgins).

 

 

I’ve been watching people. Listening intently and if online, reading behind the words and pictures posted. People are broken. Like so broken. When I look a tad deeper into a person’s heart I can see it there. Maybe I can’t pinpoint what I see, but I know broken when I see it.

 

 

Generational sin wreaks its havoc upon the next generation—and then those people my age and younger having children who are then privy to the family’s sin. There’s a lot of alcohol. Everywhere. Have you noticed this notion that moms must drink wine is the norm?  What about the people who have silent issues, those that aren’t obvious? The ones who are battling the demons inside telling them lies from being too fat, too skinny, not good enough, you’re a pitiful excuse for a human being, look what you’ve done; no one could ever forgive you or like you if they knew…. People being treated so poorly and abused in all forms or fashions and that’s the only way they know how to behave in their current life, continuing the abusive behaviors to their loved ones.

 

 

Those types of things are what I see when I look at people now.  The people who are so deep in paralysis and don’t even know they are fearful of changing the trajectory of their life. You see, we’re told there is an enemy who “is prowling around like a lion looking for someone to devour,” (1 Peter 5:8). I don’t find it ironic that a tiger, another powerful cat species, actually has this specific tactic—to paralyze its prey with fear.

 

 

 

I’m pretty sure much of what we do and don’t do is driven by fear. Unhealthy fear stems from the enemy and paralyzes us. It is a tactic used by him over and over since the beginning of recorded time. He doesn’t create new methods of getting to you. I promise, the method he’s currently using to instill fear has been used before.

 

 

Unhealthy fear causes us to live in unhealthy cycles of shame. We don’t want people to know what we’re struggling with so we say “I’ll never to that again.” Then we get stressed or worried. The enemy comes in and says, “See I told you, you’re not worthy. You’re a terrible person and no one loves you.” In response we start to believe the lies the enemy tells us and so begins the cycle of shame again—we engage in a negative behavior and then feel shame.

 

 

We know healthy fear is important. Like, we should be fearful of fire—it can hurt us. We know we should fear God because he is above all. God is not a person who will hurt us. We’re told he will not leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5, Deuteronomy 31:6). He is not broken. He is perfect in every way. We are the broken. Jesus came to bring the message of salvation and he warned us often to fear God, not man. Jesus spoke very clearly that we must address our sin and repent.

 

 

What we forget too often though is addressing our sin. We continue to do what is familiar and never take the time to pause and reflect. Over and over again in the Bible we see God saying the word “remember.” Remember to God is an active remembering. To remember it must come across our lips (or our pens). We must express the remembrance somehow otherwise we forget. How on earth are we to remember in this way if we don’t pause and reflect? I/You do not have to accept what is and just go with it. I/You deserve better. Jesus brought a different way for us and we must take heed of his teaching—address your sin and repent (turn a 180 degrees and go in a different direction).

 

 

And that’s where I found myself—paralyzed by fear people would know the real me, yet that was the very thing I longed for most.

 

 

“Hello. I am Danielle and I struggle with co-dependency.” Then I heard the voices in the room, “Hi Danielle.”

 

 

Where the hell am I? How’d I end up here? Who am I that I would end up in a place with people who have hit the lowest of low points? Points I cannot even imagine in my wildest dreams. Yet I am here saying, “Me too.”

 

 

This right here is my story to tell. The story where I realize I am not necessarily addicted to any substance, but sure am addicted to feeling power and control. Interesting isn’t it? Interesting for a woman who doesn’t like to feel feelings, is addicted to feeling something.

 

 

What are feelings? What did I want to feel? I didn’t even know. Oh yeah, feel things like I am worthy to the ones I love. I wanted to know without a doubt I was enough for them. Though when times got hard in my relationships I did not know how to face things head on. I wasn’t taught that. I was taught the rug method. Sweep things under the rug and don’t worry about the feelings. So, power and control was the method I used to feel worthy and enough. And what’s worse? I was praised when I behaved as such.

 

 

Enter co-dependency.

 

What’s co-dependency? It is when a person is willing to compromise her own values, choices, and behavior at the expense of her personal well being, she is a co-dependent. When a person’s need for approval or validation from another person allows her to be controlled or manipulated, she is co-dependent (Celebrate Recovery).

 

 

A co-dependent does not necessarily come from an addiction family structure. No, co-dependents more often come from a different type of household. One in which a

 

 

“common denominator seemed to be the unwritten, silent rules that usually develop in the immediate family and set the pace for relationships. These rules prohibit discussion about problems; open expression of feelings; direct, honest communication; realistic expectations, such as being human, vulnerable, or imperfect; selfishness; trust in other people and one’s self; playing and having fun; and rocking the delicately balanced family canoe through growth or change—however healthy or beneficial that movement might be” (Beattie, 33).

 

 

Co-dependents are drawn to rescue people because of their own low self-worth. By rescuing it’s like a drug hit. Good feelings follow along with self-worth, and power. There’s this compulsion to prove how good they are (Beattie, 91).

 

 

There’s this place where co-dependents are taught lies like “don’t be selfish, always be kind and help people, never hurt other people’s feelings because we ‘make them feel,’ never say say no, and don’t mention personal wants because it’s not polite” (Beattie, 91).

 

 

In my situation, I realized instead of standing up for myself in situations I cow towed and became who the people wanted me to be—the person in control, steady, and never faltering. And I believed this lie for a very long time, this lie that I had to uphold the image of perfection.

 

 

Last year I could check off every single characteristic of a person struggling with co-dependency. Today, though, I’m down to two things:

  1. Feeling guilty about others’ feelings and behaviors and
  2. Feeling bound in relationships by performance (what I do) rather than my core value and worth (who I am).

 

 

There’s a funny meme I saw on social media recently. It said, “Nutrition fact: If you drink a gallon of water a day, you won’t have time for other people’s drama because you’ll be too busy peeing. Stay hydrated my friends.” I laughed hard the first time I read it, but then I realized the truth behind this, too.

 

 

If I took care of myself, then I’d not have time to worry about controlling any type of image. In my recovery process with co-dependency my focus has been on learning to live a balanced life where self-care and taking responsibility for my own health and well being take priority over the addictive behavior and control of others.

 

 

The last few posts (An Attempt at Authenticity & I am Never Enough) all align to essentially give a brief overview of my journey to freedom. Freedom isn’t free. It isn’t easy. As Americans (most of my readers) we understand this and it is ingrained in our culture. Everything that made and keeps the United States free is due to brave men and women who sacrifice their lives to this country’s mission.  This makes sense to us. The cost of freedom from our eternal damnation wasn’t free: Jesus died for you and for me. I’d challenge you think about how our freedom from bondage and slavery to things of this world isn’t free either. It costs.

Pride

Image

Relationships

Patterns of behavior

Time

Money

Dedication

Determination

Death

 

 

Everything we do to better ourselves will never be free. Jesus. The American soldier. And our battles here. We all have to sacrifice something in order to experience freedom.

 

 

 

What about you, how are you, really?

 

 

 


Resources

Beattie, Melody. Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself. Hazelden Publishing, 2016.

CelebrateRecovery.com

Higgins, Scott. “Fear.” Stories for Preaching, storiesforpreaching.com/category/sermonillustrations/fear/.

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hey, i’m Danielle

I love Jesus. I love my family. And I get joy from having a front row view of people growing toward their goals because of what I’ve taught.

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