Psychological Self-Help

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Other parents, according to Halpern, are unloving and narcissistic
(self-centered). Others are over-loving and seductive (Oedipus and
Electra Complexes). All have their own internal needs that drive them.
If you are unloved, the major task is to learn to love yourself,
recognizing your parent has a defect in his/her ability to love but it is
not your fault. Seductive involvement with the opposite sexed parent
causes trouble: guilt, anger, and jealousy; it alienates the same sexed
parent and may interfere with establishing more mature and satisfying
love relationships. For every problem, Halpern's solution is to learn to
recognize the dynamic interaction between your needy, insecure inner
child and your parent's inner child. Then deal with your parent in an
independent adult manner. Reference to Transactional Analysis in
chapter 9 should be helpful in understanding these dynamics.
Sometimes a therapist is needed to gain this kind of insight. 
Each of us develops and/or were assigned a role within our
families. Often we grow up disliking several of the roles we adopted in
our family. These roles may even continue whenever we return home
years later. Some of these roles are: the clown that everyone makes
fun of, the cute doll, the family failure or sad sack or black sheep, the
one who always has a problem, the family genius or business success,
the rescuer or therapist, mother's or father's helper, etc. You may be
uncomfortable with the role the family continually assigns to you. But
even if you like it (e.g. the doll or the genius), often you are only
encouraged to interact in the one assigned way, as though that is all
you are. It may take considerable awareness of what's happening and
effort to interact differently in order to break out of your assigned
family role. Life is bigger than just one role or one relationship with
one parent. Breaking away from parents means being free to grow and
develop new roles and relationships, as well as establishing good, new,
and different relationships with both parents. Perhaps Halpern's book
should be called "helping parents grow up." 
Codependency: Over-Involvement in
Someone Else’s Problems
The term codependency, as first used in the alcohol treatment
field, meant any person whose life was seriously affected by an
alcoholic. Now the meaning has evolved and expanded. A codependent
person today has two problems: (1) a disastrous relationship with an
addict or compulsive person and (2) a disabling personal problem of
his/her own, namely, an obsession with controlling or curing the other
person which leads to frustration. 
People who are codependent care a lot; they devote their lives to
saving others who are in trouble. Sounds wonderful! But that isn't the
full story. Codependency is caring run amuck. Melody Beattie (1987)
describes codependents as angry, controlling, preachy, blaming, hard
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