Today I want to tell you an absurd but life-changing story about a man, cocoon and a butterfly. One day, a man found the cocoon of a butterfly. Then several days later, a small opening appeared in the cocoon. The man sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to squeeze its body through the tiny hole.
Then it stopped as if it couldn’t go any further. The man decided he would try to help the butterfly so it wouldn’t struggle anymore. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bits of the cocoon. The butterfly started to emerge more easily when it had been helped by the man. But it had a swollen body and shrivelled wings. The man continued to watch it, expecting that any minute the wings would enlarge and expand enough to support the body. Neither happened….
In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around on the ground and never being able to fly. Here’s what the man in all his kindness and haste couldn’t understand. The butterfly can only fly because it must struggle to come out of the cocoon.
The pushing forces enzymes from the body to the tips of the wings, which helps to strengthen the wings’ muscles. This reduces the body weight, which allows the butterfly to fly. This process starts with struggle and ends with the butterfly flying the moment it comes out of the cocoon.
The motto of the story is this: Life’s a struggle and to grow, we must battle it, just like the caterpillar that beat its wings and struggled to get out of the black cocoon. You may be battling an addiction yourself. Comparatively, it may hurt to watch a loved one battle with dependencies, as it causes suffering.
It all boils down to one thing: If you do not take charge of your life, no one can manage it for you. Like when the person tried to help the butterfly get out of the cocoon, the butterfly was permanently damaged. Isn’t that absurd but it is life-changing. The reason why is that is exactly what many of us do in life. In our attempt to help a loved one and take on their responsibilities, they, in turn, become incompetent to face life. We can’t be responsible for the struggles of others. We are only accountable for ourselves. All involved tumble, if we try to take on the responsibilities of others.
This is Called Co-Dependency.
Co-dependency affects about 90% of the world. Research shows that co-dependency could be imprinted in your DNA, adopted from a dysfunctional upbringing or learned from relationships that degrade you. It obstructs the development of healthy relationships, making you more susceptible to addictions.
Those who are co-dependent look for approval outside themselves to feel they matter. They find difficulty in developing authentic relationships.
In the first example below, there is the “dependent/ adult child.” The second example is the “controller.” These are the two parties that make up a co-dependent relationship.
The Dependent/Adult Child:
The dependent sufferers have psychological wounds from childhood. These wounds generate extreme emotions like being needy. The partners they attract have characteristically a disorder and could be anything from an addict or a narcissist. The co-dependent adult child is preconditioned to sacrifice themselves for their partner’s well-being.
The dependent cares for the controller, offering loyalty and love. They have an overwhelming passion to take on responsibility and accommodate the selfishness of controllers. They are conditioned to involve themselves in the controller’s crisis. It gives them a sense of purpose or if not involved, they feel bored and empty because the dependent may not have developed or have matured too early.
The controller role:
The controller facilitates the adult child to care for them. They also feel entitled to run the life of the adult child. This is done by using guilt, over complimenting, dictating, becoming cold, detached or irritated when their needs are not met. They try to keep domination and don’t own up to their responsibilities, which can cause a lot of grief to the adult child.
Not to mention, other methods like the controller’s criticisms, power games and trying their best to corner the adult child by separating them from loved ones. Their authority is facilitated by hiding behind the adult child. So, others see them as perfect, but behind closed doors, they dominate the adult child so they will not ask any questions.
They can also control by flirting to show how admired they are. If the adult child gets upset, they don’t care as they twist or misinterpret information. They only care about being seen positively. They do not want to be wrong and desire to be “the nice person.”
Can you relate to some of these traits on the two lists? You could even be a mixture of the two. If you can identify with the traits, then you may be suffering from some degree of codependency or relationship issues and are more subjected to developing addiction abuse later in life.
A child is prone to get the characteristics from their authority figures because they are trusting. They accept dysfunctional adults who they imitate and accommodate.
Due to the modern-day pressurised lifestyles, addictions and co-dependency are common. Thus, it is natural for many children to grow up with insecurity. Insecurity is charged like a battery from the family network, as this is how the ancestries lived.
The children build a false sense of dysfunctional sanctuary because life at home is chaos. Growing, they seek relationships that recreate the same vulnerable feelings and experiences they recorded at childhood. If you like this post you might like this one
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