Although we - as codependents - will need to work all these steps simultaneously as we continue our recovering work, I believe it is almost next to impossible to start our healing unless we are ready and willing to shift our mindset and thinking. We must accept that we are not responsible for another person's well- being and that what we have been doing is not working. At the same time, because we are codependents, we will slip back into this thinking, time and time again, and we will need to continue working on this toxic mindset. So, expect movement in and out of all the steps, and work on what you need to in the moment. Now, let's move on to Step Four - Boundary Work.
The other day I had a nice long phone chat with a good friend of mine. I will call her Lorie. We've known each other for many years and we are both CC's - classic codependents! We have laughed with each other and cried with each other - over our rescuing and controlling catastrophes! Lorie has worked very hard on her Self Care, especially over the past several years. However, it wasn't until recently that she really started working on her Boundaries. Because Lorie always has been extremely codependent with her children (who are now adults), this has been hard for her. Even the other day as she shared how she implemented a very strong boundary, Lorie said, "I feel so selfish". I reminded her, as I have myself many times, of the following:
|A Safe Space To Heal.|
Boundaries are about creating a safe space for you to grow and heal.
Let's begin creating a space for you to grow and to heal! Get out a piece of paper or get on your computer and make two columns - healthy and unhealthy. Under each column, write down the names of the individuals with whom you have relationships and next to each one, write down the aspects of the relationship that are healthy or unhealthy. As you identify the unhealthy parts, focus in on behaviors where you have been over -investing - behaviors that have left you drained and depleted - behaviors that have not changed the unhealthy individual. Then, get ready for exercise two.
|Degree of Investment!|
Unrealistic expectations lead to hurt - from ourselves and from others. So, be mindful of how you are feeling. Set and adjust them as needed! Also, remember - the more consistent and constant you are in your newly implemented healthy behaviors, the more your Boundaries will be respected, laying the groundwork for realistic expectations to fall into place.
In closing, as I have said numerous time, recovering from codependency is incredibly hard! I know; I have spent a life-time working on it! For the purposes of this blog, I have given you wellness basics. The resources I am recommending are really helpful and I encourage you to partake in them. Along with this point, as I stated in Codependency: Day 1 - What Is It?, codependency is a part of our personality; it is who we are! Many codependents acquire their care-taking and rescuing personas as children; and many could really benefit from counseling to sort out their more specific origins and heal their inner wounds and voids. I share this with you because...
Believe and Be Well