Desperately Wanting Better
Whenever you give it away, do too much, take on too much for another, or enable dysfunctional behavior, you unwittingly set into motion that wave that builds momentum and cannot be stopped until you still the waters — or watch the wave crash like a tsunami.
Put a mechanical device under enormous pressure and it produces an undesirable, unintended misfire that can result in reversed energy and serious damage — something like a rubber band on an overstretched slingshot snapping and hurting the person who uses it.
That’s exactly what happens with a Give It Away Girl backlash, except that it manifests in a wave of resentment and anger for another person, directed back at the self. Over time, this resentment produces so much pressure that it needs a release and the Give Away Girl either explodes — “Crazy woman!” … “What’s her problem?” … “She’s so overemotional!” Or, she implodes, collapsing into a black hole I call a CDR, or Codependent Depressive Rage.
If You Are Feeling Upset, Could You Be In the Middle Of A Codependent Depressive Rage?
I think back to my 20s, when I saw my girlfriends become heartbroken and sick after a relationship dissolved.
One incident comes to mind. It happened right after my boyfriend’s roommate dumped his girlfriend, Lori. To say she didn’t take it well is putting it mildly. I’ll always remember it as the “Condiment Confrontation.”
Lori was positively distraught that Dave had dumped her. She was so distraught that she lipsticked the front window with DAVE PARKER LIKES BLONDES, BRUNETTES, REDHEADS and ANY OLD BARFLY, then hid out in the bushes with gallons of ketchup that she later poured on the sidewalk. Why ketchup? I don’t know. But ewww.
I always wondered why this successful professional had been reduced to sneaking in the bushes and chucking ketchup like an adolescent in a food fight.
This was a case of CDR, which came with non-stop crying and obsessing, weeks sometimes months of depression, and climaxing with rage and hyper-focus on the relationship.
Certainly, losing a relationship feels terrible. But for those who experience CDR, their extreme reaction is partly because of their self-neglect and sacrifice.
CDR happens in other situations too. Like, with one’s work. I knew one friend who gave of herself to her job endlessly. She stayed late, she bent over backwards to help and support the company. She stayed even when things got abusive and very, very bad. She thought she was just being loyal and committed. Those are excellent qualities, right? Well, the dictator/new director sacked her in an ugly way. She went into a terrible tailspin and couldn’t sleep from the obsessive anger and hurt. This was as a result of codependent depressive rage.
Sometimes, you can give up too much. CDR is a good wake-up call. The good news is there is learning and growth that a does of CDR provides. If you are putting others needs in front of yours, I suggest that you imagine a worst case scenario, and then decide if your efforts are worth it. If not, scale back a little.
Cherilynn Veland is a therapist living in Chicago. She also blogs about home, work, life and love at www.stopgivingitaway.com. Could you take the time to kindly follow me/Cherilynn on Twitter? Connect on Facebook too? I would really appreciate the support! And don’t forget Google Plus.