Cultural Co-dependency | Barry and Janae Weinhold


From The Weinholds: “When people have a lot of unhealed developmental trauma, this early trauma that happens in the first three years of life, they feel unsafe. And when people feel unsafe, they go into a fear mode: their brains shut down, they can’t problem-solve, they lose their ability to strategize, and so they just go into overwhelm. And it makes everything around them feel like they’re in some kind of survival issue. So it brings them out of what we would consider to be higher consciousness or higher performance of thinking down into this real struggle, where everything becomes just like a struggle.

So it’s this need for safety then that makes people dependent on somebody else. Because they kind of go back in time, they feel like children, and they’re looking for somebody to guide them. They’re looking for somebody that will take care of all these things, some kind of authority figure. It might be, you know, the government, or it could be anybody that seems to know more than they do. So they look for these authority figures, and that makes them very susceptible to being manipulated . . . People may depend on these ‘experts’ who seem to know more than they do, who promise to protect them from things like terrorism or, you know, global climate change, but they’re not really able to think for themselves.

. . . The biggest problem that we’ve been able to identify is that our culture really doesn’t support people having feelings… and we can’t connect what we’re feeling to what it is that we need. And without this kind of cultural support, it’s very difficult to break free of codependency.

Yeah, in our culture it’s really not cool to ask directly for what you want and need. And unfortunately then when people don’t ask, they don’t get those needs met. And they get resentful and they feel resentful. So the culture really says, you know, play it cool, don’t let them see you sweat – the John Wayne persona – and the more modern versions of that that we see. But basically there is a kind of a cultural taboo against being direct about your needs and your feelings. And that really is a big barrier to breaking free of codependency.

It’s also been really clear to us that when people don’t feel safe to feel their feelings, when they’re not able to identify what their needs are, that it keeps people feeling disconnected and it makes them feel lonely. And between feeling lonely and feeling angry and resentful, people build up a lot of steam. They start to kind of, you know, wait for some event where they just blow it all off, because they’re feeling like they have to keep it all inside, and at some point that’s just not possible so there’s this kind of explosion. And you know we have terms for that in our culture, we talk about ‘going postal,’ you know, we have a whole set of terms that have come out of things that people actually do when they just can’t contain their feelings and their needs any longer.”


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    • Sound like you’ve had some enmeshment difficulties?

      There are worthwhile people out there offering therapy who are humble and humane and aware and honest about their personal limitations.

      Also it’s a general rule of thumb that wherever the vulnerable gather, the predators will always arrive at some point,

      Paying for therapy is paying for a skill-set that will help you. It can also be paying for someone out of their depth to really mess with your head.

      I’m lucky in that I’m so tuned in as a result of repeated traumas that I can very reliably identify a wrong ‘un quite rapidly, Not everyone is so tuned-in and so inevitably there are a lot of people with horror stories to tell.

      I also occasionally enjoy turning the tables on malignant narcissists and while this can be fun and deeply rewarding, it is fraught with real danger. However, it serves as a fairly good alternative to messing with my childhood abusers, who sadly aren’t available to me to torment.

      There are some very nasty pieces of work in the healing communities. We need more people like me to have the balls to expose them and bring them down.

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