Understanding the Concept of Codependency

A while back someone asked me if I had checked out the movie Twilight. I did, and I had read the books too, mostly because I was trying to bond with my little sister. They asked me what I thought of it, I didn’t really have an opinion so I said it was ok. It was a very typical “you complete me” “I would die without your love” fantasy that sells. I didn’t think too much more about it after that. The other night I was asked about the movie again in which I responded, “it was a guilty pleasure”; it caught my attention because in a traditional line of thinking, the story stirs up an old desire to be protected and taken care of, rescued (mostly from self), and completely secure in the fact that someone only has eyes for you. Oh, what a dream. Mainly, I liked to make fun of it. I said, if there was a popular book about the ultimate form of codependency that was it. The line that slammed my point home the most was, “You’re my personal brand of heroine”. There you have it; that is codependency with a special blend of love addiction at your service.

I’m not trying to pick on Twilight, trust me, there are plenty of examples to draw from, I thought I would just use this particular story. Wait now, so, what is codependency? Love addiction? Well, Wikipedia breaks it down for you if you’re unfamiliar with the term.  I have also read that one is a codependent if any person, place, or thing that person is dependent on creates unmanageability or insanity in their life. I realized that whenever I bring up the term codependency, I usually get a blank stare, or I get a reaction that goes somewhere along the lines of “Well if that’s the case, everyone is codependent then, so what!” To a certain extent I agree, many people probably have codependent tendencies (we’re only human after all). One of my most recent comments when I said I felt no need to chase someone down in hopes of love, “lonely forever then”. In response to that I say, being single and loneliness are not synonymous with each other. Yet, somehow we have gotten things so twisted.

After observing behavioral patterns of various people from different backgrounds, growing through my own struggles, and trying to wrap my brain around what it truly means to be healthy in every sense of the word; I wondered, is society so full of unhappy, unhealthy people, that people in recovery, or who attempt to be more than their circumstances, or let’s even go with women who have the nerve to be perfectly fine with being single get demonized, maybe even ostracized?  


What Do We Want? Nonprofits! When Do We Want Them? Now!

Do we really need more nonprofits? Simple answer…YES!

 When I read this post by one of my new favorite nonprofit bloggers, I was a little taken back that she even encountered “Do Gooders” who were discouraging fellow idealists. I quickly recovered when I remembered the anxieties experienced by former coworkers who worried if our program was going to be the next budget cut. I’m not so naïve to think that the competition for funding isn’t great. However, as a person who has utilized and worked in social services I cannot sit back and watch the increased need for resources and hope someone else will step up to the plate to get things done. Looking back, being so worried about the next paycheck should have prompted us to take action to help secure funding and cultivate relations with donors and potential donors so that we would be less dependent on state funding.

One of the small lessons I can take from my experiences and share with those of you who are working in direct care for a program; be proactive in informing your Development and Communications department about the good work you and your coworkers are doing to improve the quality of life for your clients being served. One way to keep funding and help get more funding is to highlight real life testimonies and experiences.  Don’t be afraid to talk about how the lack of staff and lack of training on best work practices hinders your program from feeding a family in need or I don’t know, saving a life. Perhaps, as we share the needs of our programs we can encourage others to fulfill those needs because let’s face it; there are way too many problems in this world and not enough solutions addressing the needs of the people. Case in point, I live in a state where the housing department stopped taking applications altogether because the waiting list was too backed up. Why would anyone discourage someone who wants to open another homeless shelter or soup kitchen?

Nonprofits are needed but I wouldn’t be realistic if I didn’t say, we also need people who are willing to aid the causes of nonprofits too. In response to Mazarine’s post, I posed a question; How do we, (We being anyone who wants to do their part in fostering social change), find and encourage more philanthropic minded people so that established nonprofits don’t squabble and feel intimated by new change makers onto the scene? I would love to hear your suggestions.

Healthcare for the Uninsured

You have just lost your job, started a new business, or don’t get sick often and so you never enroll in your company medical coverage plan. Your former employer offers you Cobra insurance because during your employment you contributed to the group medical plan and therefore, you’re eligible for it. Some time after your job loss you receive a notice of unemployment benefits and wonder how in the world do people survive off of this kind of income? Afterwards, you cringe at the thought of your non-existent or insufficient emergency savings account, take your chances and decide against Cobra. Guess who catches the flu after never getting sick, ever? There go those chances.

 We’ve all heard the complaints about the rising healthcare costs in America. I’ve also complained about the outrageous co-pays and deductibles. Even with insurance you can get slammed with disastrous medical bills after a surgery or unforeseen medical crisis.  Not trying to take away from the legitimacy behind the need for healthcare reform; I must admit those $10, $25, or even $50 emergency room co-pays are answered prayers to the uninsured.

 One emergency room visit landed me a $400 bill from the hospital and a $400 dollar bill from the physician! Oh and that blessed charity care, well apparently it’s up to the physician if he/she will accept it. After the over an hour wait followed by a 10 minute consultation with prescription writing, $800 is absolutely ridiculous. So I had to do some research and trust me this is only the beginning. In New Jersey if you have kids they recommend that you apply for NJ Family Care. As for me, the childless, you have to dig a little deeper. Eventually, I found some resources (I’ve listed them at the bottom of this post), which led me to a healthcare facility that required no insurance and co-pay was based on my income. Needless to say, I will have to write an entire post about my experience as well as a few others experiences dealing with low-costs to free healthcare facilities. Based on my findings alone, I don’t believe I’m alone in saying more help is needed. I want to challenge those who are interested in helping low-income families in the health care sector to: open more facilities, offer better resources, and truly seek out competent and passionate individuals for employment.




5 Ways to Be Productive While Unemployed

Whether unemployed or underemployed it is not too hard to get discouraged and frustrated from time to time while job hunting. When I went through my own stages of a job search, I learned more and more that traditional job hunting techniques are becoming a thing of the past. It is essential to inherit some new millennial techniques to survive this economy. So I’ve gathered a list of a few ways to stay productive and not go crazy when you’ve become unemployed.

1.)Get reacquainted with yourself-I cannot begin to tell you how many people I’ve come across who define who they are by what they do, (I used to be one of them). I would like to think that we are more than just our occupation. Take some a self-inventory; journal, take some personality assessments, (re)discover what your spiritual gifts and natural talents are, find a life coach or get some counseling if starting over again scares you half to death. By getting to know the real you, a new drive and ambition forms and you become motivated, striving to live and work with purpose. A mentally and spiritually happy you produces a much more productive you.

2.)Go back to school-If you find that you lack some of the skills required by hiring companies maybe it’s time to take some refresher courses at a local community college or online. They even offer free online courses if you look hard enough for them. Perhaps now is the time to finally go for that college degree or advanced degree you kept putting off due to working your full-time job.

3.)Volunteer- There are many ways to volunteer your time and talent including helping out your local community, church, or even virtual volunteer work to help organizations with office tasks or marketing from home. Volunteering is a great way to network and build on skills while working towards the greater good.

4.)Become involved in social media- Like I’ve mentioned, traditional job hunting is becoming a thing of the past. There are so many online communities and resources out there that are created to help people find jobs, mentors, volunteer work, conferences and other network events. I didn’t start getting interviews until I started blogging, using twitter and facebook as methods for job hunting. I’m learning that personal branding with these social media outlets is going to be key for greater career success.

5.)Become your own boss- We’ve all heard stories of great business starting during a bad economy. Well why not start your own business too? If you’ve been working in an industry for many years and built a great reputation for yourself you’re already on your way. If you’re not ready to take such a big risk and make such large investment, contract or freelance work may be the road to travel. As for me, I knew that I had not quite gained enough industry experience to branch off on my own so I decided to try out a work from home business opportunity to teach myself entrepreneurship skills so it won’t be entirely new to me when I pursue other business opportunities.

Feel free to add to this list and tell me what you think.

Don’t Remain a Victim

Whenever I take the time to watch television, I often find myself indulging in one of my favorite shows, Law and Order SVU. I love watching Benson and Stabler catch the perpetrators who have preyed on innocent children, defenseless women, and unsuspecting neighbors. Even though this show tries to depict realistic situations, I know from experience that many victims do not get rescued by their police heroes, let alone report the violation of their basic human rights. It is very likely that they will go on existing with a deep hurt, guilt and/or shame about what they have experienced.

Just the other day I had to sit down during a phone conversation, while shaking my head in both anger and empathy, after I heard that a toddler had to inform another adult in the household that “daddy punched and choked mommy”. Anger became me as I could not believe that not only was mommy going to hide this from everyone, but she thought family and true friends would be upset with her if she took action against her abuser. The empathy came after the anger, because so many young women like her have no idea that what has happened to them is unacceptable.

In my previous experiences working in substance abuse and as a residential counselor for a girls group home, I cannot begin to explain how so many of my clients remained frozen in time, victims to their circumstances. Their only freedom from pain came through self medicating with illegal substances and alcohol dependence and abuse, as well as self-mutilation. It wasn’t until they risked losing their children to child protection services did they receive services for mental health. Of course by that time there were so many layers of pain to remove just to get to the source of their deep rooted problem.

Enough is enough! Temporary solutions do not fix deep rooted problems. You DO NOT have to remain a victim to your circumstances. One way to prove to the perpetrators that what they have done to you, will no longer hold you captive, is by declaring your healing, and taking the first step to reclaim your life back.

It is never too late to take back the joy that the enemy thinks he/she has stolen from you. For you were made to live life and live it most abundantly.

Imagine putting to rest those self-inflicted guilt trips of “if I had just done this or did that this would have never happened”. Finally being able to accept all of yourself conquering fears, being able to love and receive love, and not being so paranoid that you become extremely overprotective, possessive and downright codependent of; your children, or whoever shows any sign of interest your way. By taking action to take back your life, you gain support from many passionate individuals who are driven by a desire to empower those who have lost hope. By taking action to take back your life, you will no longer remain a victim, you will become a survivor.

 If you or someone you know have been victimized by sexual or domestic violence there is help and support from people who will not judge you. Take that first step and remain a victim no more! Any reader who knows of more resources for New Jersey please feel free to leave your information in the comment section!

New Jersey Resources:

Services Empowering Rights of Victims-1-866-295-SERV(7378)


 New Jersey Coalition For Battered Women-1-800-572-SAFE (7233)


National Resources:

National Sexual Violence Resource Center


National Coalition Against Domestic Violence