I am currently reading this book suggested to me by a dear friend and I can tell you it hits home with me in more than one way, here is something that really stuck out to me:
I am a reactionary.
That thought burned deeply into my consciousness one day while I was sitting in my office. I had heard people discuss reacting, but until that moment I didn't understand how much I reacted.
I reacted to other peoples feelings, behaviors, problems, and thoughts. I reacted to what they might be feeling, thinking, or doing.
My strong point seemed to be reacting to crises - I thought almost everything was a crisis. I overreacted. Hidden panic (which bordered on hysteria) brewed in me much of the time. I sometimes underreacted. If the problem I faced was significant, I often used the tool of denial. I reacted to almost everthing that I came into my awareness and environment. My entire life had been a reaction to other people's lives, desires, problems, faults, successes, and personalities. Even my low self-worth, which I dragged around like a bad of stinking garbage, had been a reaction. I was like a puppet with string hanging out, inviting and allowing anyone or anything to yank them.
Most codependants are reactionaries. We react with anger, guilt, shame, self-hate, worry, hurt, controlling gestures, care taking acts, depression, desperation, and fury. We react with fear and anxiety. Some of us react so much it is painful to be around people, and torturous to be in large groups of people. It is normal to react and respond to our environment. Reacting is part of life. It's part of interacting, and its part of being alive and human. But we allow ourselves to get so upset, and so distracted. Little things, big things,-anything- have the power to throw us off the track. And the way we respond after we react is frequently not in the best interests.
We may have started reacting and responding urgently and compulsively in patterns that hurt us. We keep ourselves in a crisis state and compulsive is enough to hurt us. We keep ourselves in a crisis state- adrenaline flowing and muscles tensed, ready to react to emergencies that usually aren't emergencies. Someone does something so we must do something back. Something says something, so we must say something back. Someone feels a certain way, so we must feel a certain way. WE JUMP INTO THE FIRST FEELING THAT COMES OUR WAY AND THEN WALLOW IN IT. We think the first thought that comes into our heads and then elaborate on it. We say the first words on our tongue and soemtimes regret them. We do the first thing that comes to mind, usually without thinking about it. That is the problem: we are reacting without thinking- without honest thought about what we need to do, and how we want to handle the situation. Our emotions and behaviors are being controlled- triggered- by everyone and everything in our environment. We are indirectly allowing others to tell us what to do. That means we have lost control. We are being controlled.
When we react we forfeit our personal, God-given power to think, feel and behind in our best interests. W allow others to determine when we will be happy; when we will be peaceful; when we will be upset; and what we will say, do, think, and feel. We forfeit our right to feel peaceful at the whim of our environments. We are like a wisp of paper in a thunderstorm, blow about by every wind.