When people with a compulsive disorder do whatever it is they are compelled to do, they are not saying they don’t love you – they are saying they don’t love themselves.
—Codependent No More
Gentle people, gentle souls, go in love.
Yes, at times we need to be firm, assertive: those times when we change, when we acquire a new behavior, when we need to convince others and ourselves we have rights.
Those times are not permanent. We may need to get angry to make a decision or set a boundary, but we can’t afford to stay resentful. It is difficult to have compassion for one who is victimizing us, but once we’ve removed ourselves as victims, we can find compassion.
Our path, our way, is a gentle one, walked in love – love for self, love for others. Set boundaries. Detach. Take care of ourselves. And as quickly as possible, do those things in love.
Today, and whenever possible. God let me be gentle with others and myself. Help me find the balance between assertive action taken in my own best interests, and love for others. Help me understand that at times those two ideas are one. Help me find the right path for me.
“It doesn’t matter if they’re hurting themselves. It doesn’t matter that we could help them if they’d only listen to, and cooperate with, us. IT DOESN’T MATTER, DOESN’T MATTER, DOESN’T MATTER, DOESN’T MATTER.” Codependent No More
I think I can change him. Nobody’s ever really loved him and appreciated him before. I’ll be the one to do that, and then he’ll change.. .. She’s never been with anybody trustworthy before. I’ll prove how trustworthy I am, and then she’ll be able to love. . . . Nobody’s been able to get to her, to conquer her, before. I’ll be the one to do that … Nobody’s ever really given him a chance. . . . Nobody’s ever really believed in him before….
These are warning signs. Red lights. Red flags. In fact, if we’re thinking these thoughts, they need to be stop signs.
If we have gotten hooked into believing that somehow we will be the one who will make the difference in someone’s life, if we are trying to prove how good we can be for someone, we may be in trouble.
This is a game. A deception. It won’t work. It’ll make us crazy. We can trust that. We’re not seeing things clearly. Something’s going on with us.
It will be self-defeating.
We may be “the one” all right — the one to wind up victimized.
The whole thought pattern reeks of codependency, of not being responsible for oneself, and of victimization. Each person needs to do his or her own work.
Nobody in the past has really understood him…. Nobody has seen what I see in her…. It’s a set-up. It sets us up to stop paying attention to ourselves while we focus too much on the other person. It takes us away from our path and often puts us in orbit.
Nobody has appreciated him enough…. Nobody has been good enough to her, or done for her what I can do…. It’s a rescue. It’s a game move, a game we don’t have to play. We don’t have to prove were the one. If we’re out to show people we’re the best thing that ever happened to them, it may be time to see if they’re the best thing that ever happened to us.
We have not been appointed as guardian angel, godmother, godfather, or “the one who will.”
The help, support, and encouragement that truly benefits others and ourselves emerges naturally. Let it.
God, help me let go of my need to meet dysfunctional challenges in my relationships.” via June 29: Into Orbit.
We don’t have to give others so much power and ourselves so little. We don’t have to give others so much credit and ourselves so little. In recovery from codependency, we learn there’s a big difference between humility and discounting ourselves.
When others act irresponsibly and attempt to blame their problems on us, we no longer feel guilty. We let them face their own consequences.
When others talk nonsense, we don’t question our own thinking.
When others try to manipulate or exploit us, we know it’s okay to feel anger and distrust and to say no to the plan.
When others tell us that we want something that we really don’t want, or someone tells us that we don’t want something that we really do want, we trust ourselves. When others tell us things we don’t believe, we know it’s okay to trust our instincts.
We can even change our mind later.
We don’t have to give up our personal power to anyone: strangers, friends, spouses, children, authority figures, or those over whom we’re in authority. People may have things to teach us. They may have more information than we have, and may appear more confident or forceful than we feel. But we are equals. Our magic is not in them. Our magic, our light, is in us. And it is as bright a light as theirs.
We are not second-class citizens. By owning our power, we don’t have to become aggressive or controlling. We don’t have to discount others. But we don’t discount ourselves either.
Today, I will own my power with people. I will let myself know what I know, feel what I feel, believe what 1 believe, and see what I see. I will be open to changing and learning from others and experience, but I will trust and validate myself too. I will stand in my own truth.” via June 24: Owning Our Power.
Let yourself feel the good feelings too.
Yes, sometimes, good feelings can be as distracting as the painful, more difficult ones. Yes, good feelings can be anxiety producing to those of us unaccustomed to them. But go ahead and feel the good feelings anyway.
Feel and accept the joy. The love. The warmth. The excitement. The pleasure. The satisfaction. The elation. The tenderness. The comfort.
Let yourself feel the victory, the delight.
Let yourself feel cared for.
Let yourself feel respected, important, and special.
These are only feelings, but they feel good. They are full of positive, upbeat energy – and we deserve to feel that when it comes our way.
We don’t have to repress. We don’t have to talk ourselves out of feeling good – not for a moment.
If we feel it, it’s ours for the moment. Own it. If it’s good, enjoy it.
Today, God, help me be open to the joy and good feelings available to me.
Life doesn’t have to be hard.
Yes, there are times we need to endure, struggle through, and rely on our survival skills. But we don’t have to make life, growth, recovery, change, or our day-to-day affairs that hard all the time.
Having life be that hard is a remnant of our martyrdom, a leftover from old ways of thinking, feeling, and believing. We are worthy, even when life isn’t that hard. Our value and worth are not determined by how hard we struggle.
If we’re making it that hard, we may be making it harder than it needs to be, said one woman. Learn to let things happen easily and naturally. Learn to let events, and our participation in them, fall into place. It can be easy now. Easier than it has been. We can go with the flow, take the world off our shoulders, and let our Higher Power ease us into where we need to be. Today, I will stop struggling so hard. I will let go of my belief that life and recovery have to be hard. I will replace it with a belief that I can walk this journey in ease and peace. And sometimes, it can actually be fun.
We have choices, more choices than we let ourselves see.
We may feel trapped in our relationships, our jobs, our life. We may feel locked into behaviors — such as caretaking or controlling.
Feeling trapped is a symptom of codependency. When we hear ourselves say, “I have to take care of this person… .”
“I have to say yes… ” “I have to try to control that person…
“I have to behave this way, think this way, feel this way….” we can know we are choosing not to see choices.
That sense of being trapped is an illusion. We are not controlled by circumstances, our past, the expectations of others, or our unhealthy expectations for ourselves. We can choose what feels right for us, without guilt. We have options.
Recovery is not about behaving perfectly or according to anyone else’s rules. More than anything else, recovery is about knowing we have choices and giving ourselves the freedom to choose.
Today, I will open my thinking and myself to the choices available to me. I will make choices that are good for me.” via June 18: Recognizing Choices.
Gemma Stone has some great thoughts on dealing with the drama that sometimes accompanies the holidays…
Gemma calls out a strategy and tactic that I have been using recently with some positive results, although I did not realize it was called ‘non-violent communication’.
“When something ‘dramatic’ come up” she says “use this four step communication process.
1. When I see/hear…
2. The story I tell myself about that is…
3. What I feel is…
4. What I need/want/like is…
Here’s what it might sound like,
“When I hear you raising your voice, the story I tell myself is that you don’t respect me and I feel hurt. What I really need is for us to speak to each other with kindness.”
Let’s say your attempt at influencing the family drama is an epic fail. Don’t lose hope (or storm out), you can always control your internal environment.”
Step 2 is new to me, but I have been working with “what I see, what I feel, what I would like to see” and that has been helping to de-escalate some of the drama in my life and I agree with Gemma that it is a valuable tool…
Go to the source of the article to read the rest of Gemma’s thoughts on the topic and I strongly urge you to follow her blog for more great thinking like this…
I have also found great comfort and help in Melody Beattie‘s works on Codependency; Codependent No More, The ‘Codependent No More’ Workbook, and The Language of Letting Go. Recently, I found this in The Language of Letting Go and it helps me to better understand the concept of using boundaries and healty detachment to remain sane during the holidays…
When we don’t ask for what we want and need, we discount ourselves. We deserve better. Maybe others taught us it wasn’t polite or appropriate to speak up for ourselves. The truth is, if we don’t, our unmet wants and needs may ultimately come back to haunt our relationships. We may end up feeling angry or resentful, or we may begin to punish someone else for not guessing what we need. We may end the relationship because it doesn’t meet our needs. Intimacy and closeness are only possible in a relationship when both people can say what they want and need. Sustained intimacy demands this. Sometimes, we may even have to demand what we want. That’s called setting a boundary. We do this not to control another person, but to gain control of our life. Our attitude toward our needs is important too. We must value them and take them seriously if we expect others to take us seriously. When we begin to place value and importance on our needs, we’ll see a remarkable change. Our wants and needs will begin to get met. Today, I will respect the wants and needs of myself and others. I will tell myself, others, and my Higher Power what I want and need. I will listen to what they want and need too.
On the topic of detaching in love, Melody recently wrote this…
Few things can make us feel crazier than expecting something from someone who has nothing to give. Few things can frustrate us more than trying to make a person someone he or she isn’t; we feel crazy when we try to pretend that person is someone he or she is not. We may have spent years negotiating with reality concerning particular people from our past and our present. We may have spent years trying to get someone to love us in a certain way, when that person cannot or will not. It is time to let it go. It is time to let him or her go. That doesn’t mean we can’t love that person anymore. It means that we will feel the immense relief that comes when we stop denying reality and begin accepting. We release that person to be who he or she actually is. We stop trying to make that person be someone he or she is not. We deal with our feelings and walk away from the destructive system. We learn to love and care differently in a way that takes reality into account. We enter into a relationship with that person on new terms—taking ourselves and our needs into account. If a person is addicted to alcohol, other drugs, misery, or other people, we let go of his or her addiction; we take our hands off it. We give his or her life back. And we, in the process, are given our life and freedom in return. We stop letting what we are not getting from that person control us. We take responsibility for our life. We go ahead with the process of loving and taking care of ourselves. We decide how we want to interact with that person, taking reality and our own best interests into account. We get angry, we feel hurt, but we land in a place of forgiveness. We set him or her free, and we become set free from bondage. This is the heart of detaching in love. Today, I will work at detaching in love from troublesome people in my life. I will strive to accept reality in my relationships. I will give myself permission to take care of myself in my relationships, with emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual freedom for both people as my goal.
Beattie, Melody (2009-12-15). The Language of Letting Go (Hazelden Meditation Series) (pp. 352-353). Hazelden. Kindle Edition.
Whatever you take from this, I hope it leaves you feeling better about the holidays and better equipped to deal with some of the drama that may pop up along the way…
You must be logged in to post a comment.