I wish I could promise that I am going to unveil some quick and easy formula for removing codependency from your life forever. That would be nice, but overcoming codependency is a long, hard process. Even though I believe that I have been in recovery from it for years, there are still times when I feel myself leaning toward those habits and patterns.
Sadly, that’s actually what this post is about — what I do when I feel like I am falling back into the habits and patterns that plagued me for most of my life. I certainly don’t want to go back there again!
I like to keep things simple, so I’ve managed to narrow the process down to these two sentences:
I am ONLY responsible for what I think and what I do. I AM NOT responsible for what anyone else thinks or what anyone else does.
Sounds easy enough, right? It can be, but there are days when it’s the hardest thing in the world to do.
- Recently, I was in a position where I felt it was necessary that I write and submit to human resources some pretty harsh accusations about my boss. It was definitely a struggle, because I not only feared what my boss might do in the event that she found out, but I feared what others at work would think of me. I felt dirty and tainted, even though I made very sure to only write what I believe to be the truth.
- I have seen many collected evidence that there is someone at church who is spreading nasty rumors about me behind my back, and that there are some people who have believed those rumors almost without question. (Talk about a test of faith — that’s a topic for my other blog.) Not only do I have to accept that it’s not my fault, but I have to accept that there really is nothing I can do unless the opportunity arises to address it directly, one-on-one. It hurts to know that there may be people who never gave me a chance at a place that is supposed to be filled with the love of Christ, but again, I am not responsible that they chose to believe gossip.
- My children have adopted some beliefs and made some lifestyle choices that are directly opposed to what I had hoped and what I am pretty sure that I taught in my home. Does it feel like their choices reflect badly on me? Sure — but it’s not true. I am responsible only for my negligence and willful ignorance as a parent and not for the influence of others on my children. It hurts, sure. I’d love to see them make choices that I feel will lead them to a more lasting happiness than some of the ones they are making now, but I happily cheer them on as they make their best efforts in life.
So, even understanding the extent of my personal responsibilities in life doesn’t stop me from feeling disappointment, from being misunderstood, or from having to make painful choices.
What it does do for me is give me guidance that helps to prevent me from making things worse because I am bent on forcing things to match my definition of better.
I am ONLY responsible for my thoughts and actions.