Author: Ann Schiebert
Types of Reality Distortion Systems
Codependency, Part 2
Codependents have a mission: to save, rescue and fix, other people. They wear themselves out by explaining, cajoling, pleading, manipulating, and being martyrs. They set themselves to be the victims of the situations they want to change: “If only my partner would stop drinking, our lives would be so good.” This is the lie they tell themselves, because, in truth, codependents would be lost if they couldn’t focus on someone other than themselves.
Codependents wear a mask. The front of the mask looks happy, helpful, wise, kind, loving and caring. It hides their fear that they will never have the relationship they think they want, with the person they are trying to change, because that person, just won’t change. It hides their need to control.
What to work on: Emotionally detach from the person, place or situation you are trying to change. Let go of it. Resist giving advice and use this phrase often: “I don’t know. What do you think.” Then be quiet and wait for the response. Remember, you don’t have to comment on or agree with the response another person gives. Allow other people to solve their own problems. Even if you have the perfect solution, it is disrespectful to give it because the covert message given to the person asking is, “I don’t think you’re smart enough to figure this problem out, so you NEED me to, “help,” you. Replace the word, “help,” with the word enabling or controlling. “I am only trying to help (control.)” “They asked me to help (enable) them with their rent this month because they had a relapse and spent their funds on marijuana.” (You are enabling that person to be irresponsible, and you are funding their use of a drug if you rescue them from their bad decisions.)
How to implement new behavior: Join CODA or ALANON in the community. Get a sponsor. Attend meetings on a regular basis. Work your own 12 Step program. When people ask you for advice, use the, “I don’t know, what do you think” response. Let the people around you learn from the natural consequences of their decisions. Stay back from rescuing, fixing and saving.
More on Codependency next post.