NOW I HAVE MANY MORE CHOICES
than when I was a child
PREVIOUS: Positive responses (Part 4)
REMINDER: Read thru the first 3 sections (Chart: E+E+P.T.)
4. APPROPRIATE ACTIONS Circle: BETTER ways to respond (cont)
d. Rebut / Disagree
It’s legitimate to correct someone’s misconception or outright lie about us, IF we can do it from a calm place, because we are secure in our self-evaluation. This is not arrogance or anxiety. It’s simply making a statement of fact. We don’t have to actually convince someone we’re right – but the IC will know we stood up for the truth.
e. Iron Out
If a job or a relationship is important enough to you, try working it out between you & your ‘adversary’. For it to have any value, each party has to be able to acknowledge their side of the problem, without blame.
✶ It does not guarantee a ‘happy ending’, only self-respect
Maxine & Denise have been friends for a while but not BFFs. One day they’re talking about their taste in clothes. Maxine knows Denise was once a fashion designer & is pushing for an opinion on her newest purchase. Denise makes the mistake of giving an honest evaluation, which hurts Maxine’s feelings, who then gets a little nasty.
• They go home upset but decide the following week to talk about it. They are both able to own what they did – what was behind Maxine’s question, why Denise was so blunt & what buttons got activated. They leave the dinner knowing they’ve cleaned up the small mess they made & feel good about that. However, they also realize that they still have some big unhealed wounds. So to prevent hurting each other again & again, they don’t continue their friendship.
Sometimes the only way to resolve a dispute is to get help from a 3rd party. This may be couples counseling, a minister, a lawyer or a respected colleague or friend. Don’t feel ashamed or afraid to ask for help!
g. Legal Action
When we’ve tried every other method of communication & the other party either doesn’t respond, or continues to be abusive, this option can be the only recourse to getting a situation corrected. It may be money that is owed, or rights being violated, or someone putting us in physical danger. We have a right to protect ourselves – even if it’s from a family member!
Another ACoA DILEMMA
• When ACoAs are told a relationship is over (any type), we can be flooded with terror, because we can’t bear the agony of feeling abandoned. We refuse to accept that the other person doesn’t want us – just like or family! We’ll do anything to hang on & try to convince them to change their mind – cry, beg, bully, demand, whine, kiss-butt, make unrealistic promises — but ultimately the other person says: ‘I’m outa here’, ‘you’re fired’, ‘don’t come back’ ….
▶ When told that we have to ‘let go’ of someone who does not care about us, or who does NOT want to be with us,
the response of our WIC is often : “NO! Why should ONLY they get what they want (leaving)? What about what I want ? (To stay with them). If I let go, they win!”
i. YOU don’t win IF the other person:
— stays UNwillingly from weakness, inertia, their own FoA …. or
— lets you stay (job, apartment….) from pity, guilt, kindness….
✶ Being manipulated or coerced by us does not indicate their acceptance, NOR generate genuine love towards us. Our kid does know that on some deep level. Ignoring this info keeps us feeling unsafe & having to endlessly ‘dance for our supper’ – without getting nourished!
ii. You hang on because you won’t acknowledge that the other person:
— is not actually capable of loving you & never did, or
— is not willing to co-dependently take care of you any more, or
— is in Recovery & has outgrown the symbiotic bond you 2 had, or
— has used you up & doesn’t need you anyone (their narcissism)
iii. Bottom line: you won’t let go because your self-hate tells you that no one else will ever want you & now you’ll be alone forever. (Sound familiar?). However —
✶ When we develop Mental & Emotional health we understand that:
— we have the right to be loved & accepted for who we really are, without ‘prostituting’ ourselves
— we can only get that from people who are already capable of healthy connections & who are genuinely compatible with us
NOTE: If we’re dealing with unrecovered people (especially if they’re active addicts) no matter how ‘clean’ our motives & actions are, it’s likely they will be angry at us for standing up for ourselves. If you believe you’ve done all you can, in a respectful way, DO NOT let your co-dependence tell you that you’ve done something wrong, just because the other person is unhappy with the stand you took!
RE-CAP: The goal in Recovery of dealing with a stressor is to:
1. Acknowledge our painful emotions
2. Identify which of our buttons got pushed
3. Pay attention to any Cognitive Distortions
4. Find an appropriate way to vent our fear and anger
5. Take the appropriate actions to take care of ourselves without being vengeful
NEXT: Cognitive Distortions #1