Recognizing Someone Close To You Might Be Neurodivergent

Recognizing that your partner may be neurodivergent is a journey marked by subtle observations, nuanced understanding, and open communication. Often, the realization dawns when certain behavioral patterns or communication styles deviate significantly from societal norms. It could be a partner who struggles with sensory sensitivities, exhibits repetitive behaviors, or faces challenges in social interactions. This might be a shock, but observing these unique traits can lead you to consider neurodivergence as a potential factor.

Delicate Conversations

The confirmation of neurodivergence often involves delicate conversations. It may begin with gentle inquiries about personal experiences, preferences, and challenges. Sharing educational resources on neurodivergence can foster understanding and encourage your the neurodivergent individual to explore the possibility further. Seeking professional guidance, such as consulting with psychologists or neurodiversity specialists, can provide clarity and a formal diagnosis if needed. This process should be approached with empathy, emphasizing support rather than pathologizing differences.

Handling the realization that your partner, child or someone close to you are neurodivergent requires patience, compassion, and open-mindedness. Understanding that neurodivergence is a natural and valid aspect of human diversity is crucial. Communication becomes paramount—discussing each other’s needs, preferences, and potential challenges can strengthen the relationship. Acknowledge and celebrate the strengths that often accompany neurodivergence, recognizing the unique perspectives and talents to the relationship.

Expect that navigating neurodivergence within a relationship may involve adapting communication styles, and being mindful of sensory sensitivities, and finding common ground in terms of shared activities, will help a lot.  A commitment to learning and growing together is fundamental. It’s important to recognize that everyone, neurodivergent or not, has their own set of strengths and challenges, and relationships thrive on mutual understanding and acceptance.

Best Recourse

Recourse to better the situation involves ongoing education, both individually and as a couple or family about neurodivergence. Attend workshops, read literature, and engage with neurodivergent communities to gain insights and tools for navigating your unique relationship. Seeking the assistance of relationship counselors or therapists experienced in neurodivergent dynamics can provide tailored strategies for enhancing communication and connection.

Ultimately, recognizing and embracing neurodivergence within a relationship is an opportunity for growth, understanding, and deeper connection. It involves a commitment to mutual support, continuous learning, and an appreciation of the richness that neurodiversity brings to the tapestry of your partnership. With love, patience, and a willingness to adapt, navigating a neurodivergent relationship can lead to a stronger, more resilient connection built on the foundation of acceptance and understanding.

The pursuit of illness for secondary gains

Secondary gains is defined as the advantage that occurs secondary to stated or real illness.

Secondary gains are the “benefits” people get from not overcoming a problem. For many people who are stuck, secondary gains are an important mechanism in why they stay stuck. Secondary gain is usually not something people are consciously aware of. Transition into the sick role may have some incidental secondary gains for person, using illness for personal advantage and consciously using symptoms for financial or other benefits.These symptoms may contribute to social breakdown and the patient’s choice to remain in the sick role.

THIS Person finds the pressure of their work and/or achieving overwhelming. If they get “unsick” they will need to return to work and fulfill their own or others’ high expectations. Staying sick is reinforced.

It is common for symptoms of chronic pain and illness to be connected to early childhood attachment trauma. In these cases, physical symptoms may be related to emotional material that is connected to a young part of self. Here, we must recognize that we all have parts of ourselves that can sometimes be at odds with each other. For example, an adult part might be working toward self-care and symptom reduction; however, a young part might be sabotaging these efforts or unwilling to let go of pain symptoms. To work with this process, we aim to bring in support for the young part of self in the form of allies and resources.

The point of understanding secondary gain is that all the people involved are trapped by it. 

Secondary gains can be defined as any positive advantages that accompanies physical or psychological symptoms. Often, the reasons for secondary gains are deep and psychologically complex (Dersh, et al., 2004; Fishbain, 1994). As a result, people may be unaware of the psychological causes of the chronic physical pain or illness.

Secondary gains may be so reinforcing to the patient that the original depression cannot be affected by treatment and reveal narcissistic gratification because of their disorder.  Despite having a seemingly strong personality, narcissists lack a core self. Their self-image and thinking and behavior are other-oriented in order to stabilize and validate their self-esteem and fragile, fragmented self. They may exploit the kindness and attentiveness of others, shirk responsibility, and avoid the demands of interpersonal interaction.

It’s hard not to judge. Some say their natural development was arrested, often due to faulty, early parenting. Some believe the cause lies in parental harshness or criticalness.

Psychoanalyst Heinz Kohut observed that his narcissistic clients suffered from profound alienation, emptiness, powerlessness, and lack of meaning. Beneath a narcissistic façade, they lacked the sufficient internal structures to maintain cohesiveness, stability, and a positive self-image to provide a stable identity.


Signs You’re In A Codependent Relationship

If there’s one area of our lives that we tend to care most about, relationships might be it. In Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love, she describes her friend, a psychologist, who is asked to offer counseling to Cambodian refugees. Daunted by the task of helping people who have suffered such harrowing journeys, she discovers all they wanted to talk about were their relationships.

Relationships bring us our greatest joys and our greatest challenges. From a spiritual perspective, relationships are assignments for the purpose of growth opportunities. It is in the context of a relationship with another individual where we see the places in which we need to heal, based on our triggers, blocks and patterns.

Codependency is arguably one of the biggest challenges most of us face in relationships — that feeling that we can’t exist without the other person, that their existence and validation is required for us to feel happy, even complete. Codependency blocks us from accessing our best selves, and also blocks the potential for further growth in the relationship.

Strangely, most of us don’t even know we’re enacting codependent patterns in our relationships. Why? Because we’ve been taught to believe certain myths about how relationships work, especially romantic relationships. Many of these myths foster codependency.

I was living in codependent relationships for two decades and didn’t even know it. When I hit a rock-bottom in a breakup a few years ago, it was all revealed to me; my fears came rushing in and my patterns rose to the surface for me to finally see them clearly. My fears of being alone, my deep longing for the love and attention outside of me, the fact that I had placed my power in another person making them the source of my love and happiness, all came into my awareness and there was no turning back.

I was finally ready to do things differently. Knowing there must be a better way, I stepped onto my spiritual path and experienced a radical transformation from the inside out, beginning with the relationship with myself. First step was awareness — recognizing the ways in which I had been living in codependent relationships and letting fear run the show, which was not love.

A lot of the time codependency looks like intense love, but “needing” another person often stems from fear, not love. Here are ten common ways to identify if you’re in a codependent relationship (and might not even know it):

1. You can’t live without the other person.

I know, this is supposed to be romantic, but it’s not, it’s attachment which is different from connection. It’s not sexy and it’s not fulfilling. Recognize your wholeness and completeness so that you can truly enjoy the other person in your life rather than being half of a person who is incomplete without someone else; you are the cake — everything else is the icing.

2. The other person must behave in a certain way.

In order for you to feel loved or for you to love them, the other person must be who we need them to be. This is conditional love (as opposed to unconditional love), which doesn’t allow the other person to be who they really are: in other words, your happiness is dependent on them being how you want them to be.

3. You blame others for how you feel.

We are actually responsible for how we feel and it’s not someone else’s responsibility to make us happy. We make ourselves happy first so that others can make us happy.

4. You play caregiver.

A healthy relationship is between two adults, not two children or one child and one parent. When we are mothering or taking care of someone who is not taking care of themselves, it’s disempowering for both people. When we spiritually grow up, we learn how to take care of ourselves so someone else doesn’t have to do it for us and we can live in our highest truth, not as a child or a victim or helpless. We are all capable.

5. You’re controlling outcomes and situations.

When we are controlling the other person or how things are unfolding, we are living in fear not in love. Surrender the relationship, surrender the other person’s process and what their choices are and trust that everything will unfold perfectly if you allow it to do so.

6. You give from a place of lack.

We might be putting ourselves last and focusing on the other person more than we do ourselves and we lose ourselves in the relationship. This pattern comes from a lack of self-love and when we try to give from an empty well, anger and resentment can build because we are not filling ourselves up first and giving from a place of abundance.

7. You think your happiness is predicated on the other person.

It’s not. Our happiness is within and when we stop searching for it in our partner, and instead connect with ourselves in a daily practice, we connect to our true source within and that happiness can overflow to the other person, rather than making them our only source.

8. You don’t feel free.

Love is freedom. Rules and constrictions are fear. We must do what we want to do, not what other people want us to do.

9. You’re waiting to be saved.

No, this isn’t a conscious choice and yes, it’s rampant in our collective psyche. Save yourself. Be your own knight in shining armor, the heroine of your own story and then he can be exactly who he needs to be, without having to rescue you.

10. You think you need to get the love you want.

Giving love is more important than getting love. You have an unlimited source within you. It will come back to you tenfold.

Christel Maritz Psychologist Somerset West Western CapeWe all at times feel that we cannot cope without specific people in our life’s.  If however this reach a stage where it impacts our day to day living in such a way that it is weighing you or the family down; you possible need professional support to finding your strength and core believes. I can be contacted at – life is so much better when you are emotionally secure; and helping you finding that balance is what I do best.

Co-Dependency Questionnaire?

Questionnaire To Identify Signs Of Co-dependency

This condition appears to run in different degrees, whereby the intensity of symptoms are on a spectrum of severity, as opposed to an all or nothing scale. Please note that only a qualified professional can make a diagnosis of co-dependency; not everyone experiencing these symptoms suffers from co-dependency.

1. Do you keep quiet to avoid arguments?

2. Are you always worried about others’ opinions of you?

3. Have you ever lived with someone with an alcohol or drug problem?

4. Have you ever lived with someone who hits or belittles you?

5. Are the opinions of others more important than your own?

6. Do you have difficulty adjusting to changes at work or home?

7. Do you feel rejected when significant others spend time with friends?

8. Do you doubt your ability to be who you want to be?

9. Are you uncomfortable expressing your true feelings to others?

10. Have you ever felt inadequate?

11. Do you feel like a “bad person” when you make a mistake?

12. Do you have difficulty taking compliments or gifts?

13. Do you feel humiliation when your child or spouse makes a mistake?

14. Do you think people in your life would go downhill without your constant efforts?

15. Do you frequently wish someone could help you get things done?

16. Do you have difficulty talking to people in authority, such as the police or your boss?

17. Are you confused about who you are or where you are going with your life?

18. Do you have trouble saying “no” when asked for help?

19. Do you have trouble asking for help?

20. Do you have so many things going at once that you can’t do justice to any of them?

If you identify with several of these symptoms; are dissatisfied with yourself or your relationships; you should consider seeking professional help. Arrange for a diagnostic evaluation with a licensed physician or psychologist experienced in treating co-dependency.

How is Co-dependency Treated?

Because co-dependency is usually rooted in a person’s childhood, treatment often involves exploration into early childhood issues and their relationship to current destructive behavior patterns. Treatment includes education, experiential groups, and individual and group therapy through which co-dependents rediscover themselves and identify self-defeating behavior patterns. Treatment also focuses on helping patients getting in touch with feelings that have been buried during childhood and on reconstructing family dynamics. The goal is to allow them to experience their full range of feelings again.

When Co-dependency Hits Home

The first step in changing unhealthy behavior is to understand it. It is important for co-dependents and their family members to educate themselves about the course and cycle of addiction and how it extends into their relationships. Libraries, drug and alcohol abuse treatment centers and mental health centers often offer educational materials and programs to the public.

A lot of change and growth is necessary for the co-dependent and his or her family. Any caretaking behavior that allows or enables abuse to continue in the family needs to be recognized and stopped. The co-dependent must identify and embrace his or her feelings and needs. This may include learning to say “no,” to be loving yet tough, and learning to be self-reliant. People find freedom, love, and serenity in their recovery.

Hope lies in learning more. The more you understand co-dependency the better you can cope with its effects. Reaching out for information and assistance can help you live a healthier, more fulfilling life. If you feel that this is an area of your life that needs professional support, please contact me and together we will work towards finding solutions.



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