At the end of every year, I like to take stock of which articles resonated with you – my readers. Below you’ll find the 10 most popular articles from my blog, Happily Imperfect, written in 2019. They include articles about boundaries, dysfunctional families, healing from trauma and feelings of unworthiness, codependent relationships, and perfectionism.
If you missed reading any of these articles earlier in the year, now is a great opportunity to see if there are some helpful takeaways for you.
Many people are afraid to set boundaries because they don’t want to be mean or seen as mean, difficult or selfish. But setting boundaries isn’t inherently mean. We can learn how to set boundaries in a kind and respectful way.
Enmeshment describes family relationships that lack boundaries such that roles and expectations are confused, parents are overly and inappropriately reliant on their children for support, and children are not allowed to become emotionally independent or separate from their parents. Family members are emotionally fused together in an unhealthy way.
As a therapist, I see people make remarkable recoveries, becoming healthy, happy, and more fully themselves – often in ways they never imagined. But, not everyone returns to emotional health. Some people continue to experience deep emotional pain, repeat unhealthy behaviors and relationships, and struggle with negative, thoughts. In my 20+ years as a psychotherapist and social worker, I’ve noticed some commonalities among people who heal more fully from their emotional wounds and pain and share them in the article.
Experiencing emotional abandonment in childhood can make us feel anxious, distrustful, ashamed, and inadequate – and these feelings often follow us into adulthood, making it difficult to form healthy, trusting relationships. Learn how to start healing from these painful experiences.
Do you repeatedly get into relationships with people who are troubled or who aren’t emotionally available? Do you tend to do more than your share of giving and compromising in your relationships? These can be signs of codependency and they usually lead to unfulfilling relationships that leave you hurt and angry.
A toxic or codependent relationship can make you feel trapped, small, and deficient. It can feel like an anchor weighing you down, suffocating you. As you heal from emotional abuse, you’ll experience what I call emotional freedom — the freedom to be yourself and the ability to manage your own feelings rather than letting your feelings control you.
Weak or confused boundaries leads to blaming and enabling. Learn more about these dysfunctional patterns.
Trying to do things perfectly often seems like a good idea, perhaps even essential to your success, but expecting perfection isn’t realistic. So, when you hold yourself to this impossibly high standard, you’re probably creating more problems than you’re solving.
We’re not conscious of most of our self-talk, but occasionally, you probably hear yourself saying things like I’m such an idiot or I can’t believe I did that. We all tend to have a default setting when it comes to our self-talk, but negative self-talk can be changed. As you become more aware of your codependent self-talk, you can try replacing it with a more positive statement from this article.
If you didn’t grow up with clear and consistent boundaries or expectations (this often happens in enmeshed, alcoholic, or otherwise dysfunctional families), they probably don’t come naturally to you. You may feel guilty or unjustified in asking for what you want or need. But you can untwist your negative beliefs about boundaries and learn to set them without feeling guilty. These five tips can help you get started.
©2019 Sharon Martin, LCSW.
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