I recently had someone comment that discussing codependency feels like “man bashing.” That some of the writing and talking I do about being independent and having power in a relationship feels like a feminist point of view. I did not take this comment lightly. I have been processing feverishly this week as to why someone would read my writing and feel this way. But then I realized that it did not feel right to be spending so much time wondering why this might be perceived as “man bashing” by someone. Because that is not the point. It is not the point at all.
The number one rule in my office is “there is no finger pointing in therapy.” The whole point of therapy is not to blame, accuse, finger point, resent, or “bash.” The value of therapy is to turn the finger around and point it right back at ourselves. To figure out why we would see an article as “man bashing,” or to see why we married someone that cheats, or is critical, or is emotionally disconnected. Therapy is about us and our unresolved issues that have been with us since long before we met our partners, got that job, or read the last blog.
My job as a therapist is simply to hold a mirror up to someone and say “this is who you are.” Sounds easy yes, but in all reality it is hard for most to look into that mirror and see what is looking back at us. It’s not pleasant most of the time. It is not what we thought at all. We thought we were strong, powerful, and independent; but the face staring back at us is weak, tired, and powerless. We thought we were connected with our spouses and children, but again the face staring back in the mirror tells a different story. It tells the story of someone who is an addict, selfish, and oblivious. That is the point of therapy to see what is in that mirror and decide to make the reflection look differently.
If something strikes you as “man bashing” or you feel as someone has wronged you try to figure out what is going on with you. Why would you perceive it as “man bashing?” Why would you allow someone into your life that would treat you poorly? Sharing with a codependent spouse how to be more independent is not to change their marriage (although to stay married it will) it is about making that person’s reflection what they want to see. It’s about you! Insight into yourself is the only path to true healthy change.