Confessions of a Counselor Part 2

Confessions of a Counselor Part 2

I guess I am going to turn this into a mini-series (check back to last week’s blog post). Except, I am not going to a Catholic Priest to confess and then do my penance. I have done that twice in my life though. I was a child and had no idea what I was doing. Had I been going to confession during my late adolescence and 20’s, the congregation may have had to toss me in the holy water fountain and hope for the best. We all have our histories right? Right guys?! Okay, onto the topic at hand. 

Confession #2: There are parts of your dysfunctional behaviors you will keep and that’s a good thing. Wait…what!? Read on…

In therapy you may ask yourself, “Do my dysfunctional coping mechanisms have any redeeming qualities or am I just highlighting it all, hitting the delete button, and starting over?” Good question. And every counselor says, “It depends.” Confession: That’s our go to response. I will say this post is most relevant to those of you who have ventured through the first 2 phases of therapy (awareness and grief), have gotten to the other side (no small feat!), and have begun the process of developing your new story. If you are not at this point in therapy, it’s okay, because if you stay the course this will become relevant to you down the road. 

I started this blog by mentioning dysfunctional coping mechanisms and whether they have to be eliminated completely or not. To simplify this blog, let’s focus this down a bit and highlight codependency as a dysfunctional coping mechanism. 

Codependency is a common struggle for many people. Confession: I am one of these people. Codependency is really centered around a thought and behavior process where you have learned to anticipate other people’s needs, meet them, and forget all about yourself. That is until you are frustrated and become resentful of the person you are rescuing. If you want more on this – come to therapy. 

As you begin to walk out your new story you may think to yourself, ‘Wow, I have to get rid of all this codependent behavior with my new story.’ Well, not so fast. There are gold nuggets and good that can come from even the most traumatic backgrounds. Where codependency falls flat on its face is when you forget about yourself and others’ needs become more important than yours. Well, a focus in therapy would be to learn how to voice yourself and let your needs be known. This is a great and amazing goal because YOU MATTER! The gift you attained with being codependent is that you know how to read people and situations and see what is needed or missing. 

Maybe you recognize a facial expression in somebody ahead of you in line at the grocery store. When they are at the register to pay and you already know the face they are making means they are short money. Maybe you have been there before and maybe now you have the means to pay the difference and be a blessing to that stranger. Your prior codependent skill of anticipating needs will help you in situations like this. How about that person in the office that people tend to take for granted? You notice that, that person has been sad and it looks like they need a pick-me-up. So, you intentionally bring flowers and a card to their desk reminding them they matter. Again, you see the need and the hurt, so you are able to take action when appropriate. 

You see, therapy isn’t a firesale of all things you, but rather a remolding of yourself. The authentic you was/is always there, it just got covered up by life’s unhealthy happenings. Hang in there. Stay the course. Keep writing that new story.

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One thought on “Confessions of a Counselor Part 2”

  1. I don’t appreciate you calling me out like that, Justin! 😝 Good stuff. Definitely found something I need to work on.

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