This is the final week of Seeking Balance in Our Codependency. You can break the cycle of codependency by following these tips.
Establish rational boundaries as a consequence. For example, “While I want to give you the money you are asking for, I have no way of knowing how this may enable you to ruin your life through your addiction. Not giving you money is hard for me, but I believe it is best for you.” “When you say those horrible things to me and threaten me in that way, I have to take it seriously. You can no longer live here until you can control yourself more appropriately.” Discontinue support of unhealthy behavior of others. Read and learn about healthy boundaries. Those boundaries can be firm, yet still communicated in a loving, caring manner.
Resist falling into other codependent roles. A codependent may shift from one role to another, so it is helpful to see in yourself the role of Rescuer, Caretaker, or People Pleaser, and be watchful that you don’t slip into another role such as the Helpless Victim or even the Intimidator. Seek to understand that you may be responsible to another person, but you are not responsible for her or her choices in life – or the consequences of her choices. This can help you maintain your own emotional balance, even when the addict does not want you to leave the codependent role.
Hold onto truth. Our hurt, disappointment, fears, and anger can all lead to compromising on truth. It may be truth about our own codependency, including our imbalanced need for approval, attention, or control. Or it could be truth about the failure of our codependency to make us happy or even feel safe. Other truths include facing the hurt our codependency has caused others as well as ourselves. Finally, we need to hold onto the reality that we are imbalanced and not living according to our own values and knowledge about what is right. Truth can help us clarify our vision so that we can live more balanced through growing in our application of truth, which can help us experience more freedom each and every day.
Written initially for the Hammonton Gazette, March 2018