This is a continuation of Seeking Balance in Our Codependency. Follow these tips to conquer codependency.
Overcome your denial. Deal with the llama in the room – it is next to the elephant you have been ignoring. Overcome avoidance so that you deal directly with the problem, rather than pretend it doesn’t exist. It is o.k. that this will involve facing anxiety and even anguish, but it is a necessary step to finding your freedom. The truth will set you free. You have a problem yourself that needs attention so that your interaction with the addict can be healthier.
Embrace a healthy self-concept and self-esteem. Accept yourself. It is O.K. that you do not feel o.k. and feel unworthy of love – even as the addict feels unworthy. Accept that you have an inner critic, but you do not have to listen to that particular voice in your head. Instead, embrace the truth that you are loved – even by God as you understand Him to be, who is bigger than all of your problems. Build on the strengths and abilities you have, not on your mistakes.
Hold onto your personal sense of power. You have the power of choice. You do not have to follow compulsive, codependent tendencies. Become responsible in the use of this power, which includes how you interact with the addict in your life. The respect and dignity you show her will be a model for her, respecting that she has the power of choice as well.
Hold the person accountable for his own actions. You can speak the truth in a loving way, but assertively hold onto the truth. One way is by letting him know the negative consequences of his behavior. For example, “When you lie about where you are going and disappear for hours, I feel extremely anxious, and my mind races about all the possible tragic things that could be happening to you.” You do not have to bail him out of the natural consequences for his behavior, which has teaching value. This even includes jail.
Continue reading next week for three more tips on seeking balance in our codependency.
Written initially for the Hammonton Gazette, March 2018