IT’S A BALANCING ACT
but it’s worth it to me
PREVIOUS: Outgrowing Co-dep, #2
RECOVERY from “Too Nice Syndrome” (TNS) cont.
Tool #3 ASSERTIVENESS (cont.)
As we practice self-care & accept things the way they really are, rather than how we would like them, we can be more direct in protecting ourselves. This makes P-P less & less necessary.
++ Don’t excuse your opinions (T), they are a part of you, even if only for the moment. However, to be sure of what we think & feel, we must first identify all those long-held ideas we had to swallow whole from our family, & separate them out from what we truly believe for ourselves. There are some things we can be sure of, unequivocally: “I know what I know”. But we can’t know everything – certainly not what others are thinking or feeling, unless they say – & we don’t have to know everything. If you believe in yourself, you’ll always want to keep learning AND won’t be ashamed to correct any ignorance or misconceptions
++ Identify your boundaries. We all have the need for personal space, a greater amount for some than for others. P-P generally deny this need, believing that not setting limit is the only way to keep people attached to us, (symbiosis). Trying to meld with each person we interact with means constantly taking on a new fake persona. At least when actors do that they get paid! And trying to be what others want or copying them – never gets us the pay-off we’re hungry for. Keeping this up year after year takes a lot of energy & creativity, but is ultimately exhausting AND ineffective! Remember “Zelig”?
++ Don’t shy away from conflict or confrontations. A basic philosophical tenet of martial art is to a) know how to defend yourself, if attacked, but b) never start the fight if you can avoid it. Following this 2-part principle psychologically is crucial to having a safer life. Books like “The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-defense” by S.H. Elgin, give us several excellent ‘weapons’.
When we start setting boundaries, some people will be confused & others will be angry – who may give you a hard time – since they’re used to you automatically giving in to whatever they want from you.
No matter how scary it is at first to deal with push-back, if you’re sure of your beliefs or needs, stick to your guns. Some of those reactors might even apologize later.
Eventually the right people will get used to the new you, even admire & respect the changes. The ones who can’t get with the new program will fall away. “Man’s rejection is God’s protection.”
Tool 4. RIGHTS
++ To outgrow P-P we need a replacement for the Toxic Rules that drive our co-dependence. We need to know our RIGHTS.
☁︎ BTW – How we use Language is as important in the quest for ‘sanity’ as other factors. The words & phrases we choose either help or hinder our progress. A questionable statement we hear often is:“You deserve it” / or / “I deserve to…..”
The problem is the word ‘deserve’. Sounds OK? Well, in terms of actual meaning, ‘deserve’ refers to whatever is given as a reward for acceptable, special or difficult behavior (as in: “Here is your A+ / medal / Oscar / gold watch…..you deserve it”). It is something you earned, which is OK, since it’s good to be recognized & honored for accomplishments.
BUT, using ‘deserve’ in the context of personal growth is misguided, because it implies that our worth is based on how much & how well we DO things. This reinforces our difficult childhood, when we were only acceptable (if at all) on condition of how well we conformed to dysfunctional rules, instead of being loved unconditionally for just being here.
So, connecting “I deserve …..” with self-worth is a subtle distortion, disguised as Recovery, which ignores our BE-ing. The implied message is: “Produce or lose!” It sneakily tells us that we have to keep on earning validation for things which in fact are universal Human needs (love, freedom, respect, identity, guidance, dependability….), & therefore should not have to be struggled for. This deep-rooted negative assumption is why we keep trying to be perfect & please everyone.
NEXT: Outgrowing P-P #4