“CHOCOLATE!” If you are a woman (or a sweet-toothed man) this may have just gotten your attention. For many people, chocolate is a craving, a desire. Something so small and simple can bring great momentary pleasure. But sometimes if we look beyond our baser needs, we struggle to satiate a deep, soul-inspired desire.
A tenant of Reality Therapy is the WDEP concept (Want, Doing, Evaluation, & Plan). Many times someone entering counseling for the first time will hear the therapist ask, “What do you want?” Sadly, oftentimes the answer is “I don’t know.” This is the challenge of counseling. Therapists are meant to help clients reach their goals, but if a client cannot name what they want, the therapist and client must take an inside look at why the client does not know what they want. More often than not, we learn that the person that does not know what they want is struggling with one or two things: low self-worth and/or codependency.
More often than not, we learn that the person that does not know what they want is struggling with one or two things: low self-worth and/or codependency.
If a child falls down and scrapes his knee, and his mother says to him “That’s nothing! Stop your crying!” what does the child learn about his feelings from this interaction? Over time, scraped knees and humiliations accumulate to raise a child up on concealing his feelings, creating shame. This child grows to be a man who becomes someone so out of touch with his feelings that he cannot recognize them and deal with them as they arise in relationship situations. His self-worth, or how he views himself, has been damaged, and because of this he has difficulty knowing what he wants out of life.
A little girl grows up in a home where she endures the rage of her father. She knows which issues to tip-toe around and how not to rock the boat. Try as she may, she cannot be perfect. Her grades in school are excellent, and she becomes a successful attorney.
But aside from the accolades and cushy home, she cannot have a healthy relationship. The man in her life leaves her confused and unsure if she will ever be happy. He has problems of his own, and she wants to be responsible for fixing “him.” So concerned about his well-being, she overlooks taking care of herself. This behavior is called codependency. Some may be shocked to know that codependency does not necessarily have to involve drugs or alcohol. A child does not have to grow up in an alcoholic home to be a codependent. Anyone living in a home where there are secrets, unhealthy relationships, or abuse may become codependent. Naturally someone who ignores their own desires to prevent the wrath of an abuser will develop the tendency to get out of touch with their own feelings.