PREVIOUS: Positive responses #5
4. APPROPRIATE ACTIONS Circle (cont)
🔸BETTER ways to respond (cont from Parts 4 & 5)
a. Say nothing / b. Review / c. Speak Up / d. Walk away / e. Rebut / f. Iron out
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, a respected colleague or friend. Don’t feel ashamed or afraid to ask for help!
i. Legal Action – the Final “Solution”
When we’ve tried every other method of communication & the other party either doesn’t respond, or continues to be abusive, this option may be the only recourse to getting a situation corrected. It may be money that’s owed, 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!
When ACoAs are told a relationship is over (any type), we can be flooded with physical pain, because of the agony of feeling abandoned. Even if some part of us is relieved, it’s very hard to accept that the other person doesn’t want us – just like or family!
We’ll want to hang on – it’s already been too long, & maybe try to convince them to change their mind – beg, bully, cry, 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 ? If I let go, they win!”
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, co-dependent kindness….
✶ Someone allowing themselves to be manipulated or coerced by us does not indicate their acceptance, nor magically generate genuine love for 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 ever getting nourished!
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 two had, or
• has used you up & doesn’t need you anyone (their narcissism)
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 learn that:
• we have the right to be loved & accepted for who we really are, without ‘prostituting’ ourselves (‘love buying’)
• we can only get that from people who are already capable of healthy connections & who are genuinely compatible with us
NOTE: If we’re having a conflict with an unrecovered person or group (especially if they’re narcissists &/or active addicts), no matter how ‘clean’ our own 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 sticking to your truth!
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
6. Look for possible realistic solution where both parties win.
NEXT: Cognitive Distortions