Written by Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC
Self-Love Recovery Institute – President/CEO
Psychotherapist, Educator, Author, Expert Witness
“And the day came
when the risk to remain tight in a bud
was more painful
than the risk it took to blossom.”
~ Anaïs Nin
Recovery from Self-Love Deficit Disorder/codependency cannot be rushed. Many of us have lived in or currently live in a metaphorically dilapidated and dangerous home that fools us into believing it protects us from the risk of harm and danger. As much as we may want to blame another person for “building the home”, making us stay inside it, or inoculating us with fear for wanting to move out of it, we must face the fact that we are also responsible. Since we are not chained inside of the house, the captor needs the captured to believe they belong in such a house. Believe it or not, the locks on the outside doors were installed by both partners. The challenge is to realize that you always carry the keys for the deadbolt locks and the password for the security alarms.
This “safe house” of ours has always constricted our growth potential by not allowing us to believe it’s safe to go “outside”; when in fact, we can—whether being soaked by spring’s torrential rainfalls, buried by winter’s knee-deep snow, or burnt by summer’s scalding heat. We have been gaslit into believing the locked doors and security systems of our dysfunctional dwelling protect us from all these things. The fortified steel bolt locks that we agreed to, or were talked into installing, never actually protected us. On the contrary, they trapped us in a home imbued with the absence of self-love, where every wall, floor, and ceiling is stained with fear, negativity, and pessimism.
It is time to ask ourselves about the truth and validity of the frightening and dangerous nature of the world that lies one step beyond the entrance of our home. Have we been force-fed a version of reality that was meant to keep us frightened and cocooned in our home? Or did we concoct our own scary story of the outside world to protect our wounded, sensitive and vulnerable hearts? The truth be told: the walls we believe protected us also entrapped us…stopped us from healing the wounds responsible for our beliefs of being permanently homebound and an emotional invalid.
Do we mistakenly believe the risk to venture out into the seemingly unsafe community of unknowns and potential perpetrators is far less risky than staying put in our slowly shrinking and suffocating home? Similarly, have we lulled ourselves into believing the dangers of being vulnerable and hurt on the outside are worse than the inescapable ongoing trauma of being imprisoned within the seemingly protective confines of our own home? If so, we may have been tricked into believing the value of supposed protection and safety, over the potential for personal, relational, and emotional freedom and self-love.
It is time to take an honest inventory of what is missing in your life, what you are longing for and have spent a lifetime dreaming of. Honestly and courageously calculate the real differences between what would be both lost and gained by living in your home or venturing outside of it. You will be surprised at how you were manipulated into believing your small and increasingly dangerous home was never safe.
Now is the time to imagine a home that is big enough for you to move freely and without restriction; one that speaks to your bright future, not the lurid and frightening memories of your past. You can have that dream house, the one you always wanted but mistakenly believed you never deserved. But before you start thinking about a new home, it is crucial that you realize the home you need to build and then move into is already inside of you.
Wrap your arms around the idea of knowing you deserve such a home. Sit with this newfound knowledge and marinate in the idea that your future dream home can actually be acquired. Also, if possible, come to terms with the restricting and freezing nature of your fears and doubts, which have been instilled inside of you since you were a child. Life will open up so many possibilities once you understand and accept your insecure and fear-based beliefs about the past, present, and future that were purposely forced upon you in order for you to believe in your dependency, weakness, and lack of personal power and control over your own life.
Deciding to move and then actually making plans might be exciting at first, but you will get scared and doubt yourself. Be prepared to feel scared and insecure. Take your time, don’t panic, and stay present. And whatever you do, DO NOT waver in your commitment to building your inner foundation of self-love, self-respect, and self-caring. Moving into a home before your own personal foundation is solid is a dangerous proposition! If there are cracks, then your “house” will be reduced to “rubble” if bad weather should come your way. Building your home (self-love) inside of yourself before rushing (escaping) into another dwelling, will ensure a long-term and safe home, fit to carry you brightly and self-lovingly into the future.
When you get to the point where you know deep in your heart that you are ready to move, don’t rush to pack up and hire movers! In addition, before throwing away or donating any of your old and dingy material possessions, work first on fortifying your new foundation of courage and resiliency, while establishing mutually loving, respectful, and caring relationships outside of your current, soon-to-be-former home. Then, you will be ready to start looking for your dream house!
When you do find your new home, make sure its foundation matches your own. A home that has both a solid infrastructure and a rock-solid foundation will bring you joy and happiness that you once could not have imagined and, once experienced, will protect you with every bit of the self-love you so courageously have built up over time. Despite the rainstorms, blizzards, and heatwaves, you will be safe from harm and live in an environment of peace, happiness, and potential.
Now is the time to imagine, build, move into, maintain, and cherish your future home, in which the foundation and every brick are made from self-love!
Ross Rosenberg M.Ed., CADC, is Self-Love Recovery Institute’s CEO and primary contributor. His internationally recognized expertise includes pathological narcissism, narcissistic abuse, and attachment trauma. Ross’s “Codependency Cure™ Treatment Program provides innovative and results-oriented treatment.
Ross’s expert educational and inspirational seminars have earned him international acclaim, including his 22 million YouTube video views and 234K subscribers. In addition to being featured on national TV and radio, his “Human Magnet Syndrome” books sold over 150K copies and are published in 12 languages. Ross provides expert testimony/witness services.
More about Ross and his educational and inspirational work can be found at www.SelfLoveRecovery.com.
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