Something happened last month that still surprises me when I think about it because I reacted to it differently than I ever had before. It was in that moment that I realized that I can recover from codependency behaviors and break this cycle that I have lived most of my life.
In the past, this person knew all the right buttons to push and knew exactly what to say to bring me to my knees and ‘win’ a disagreement. This person thrives on disagreements and tends to like to use big words to show me he is smarter than I am.
I have little contact with this person anymore but we do need to communicate at times.
We had a meeting scheduled and the night before the meeting, I was hammered with text messages about several things out of my control and frankly out of his control too. These messages included bringing up old situations which had long resolved themselves but not in the way he wanted. As well as why didn’t I notice this or why wasn’t I paying attention to that. And then THE ONE CARD that has always worked in the past was thrown at me.
And my reply….. You will not guilt and shame me into an argument with you.
And the messages stopped.
The meeting happened but before the meeting the same questions were asked and I said, this is not the time or place. If you’d like to meet for coffee, I’ll be happy to talk about it.
And after the meeting, it started again. And I said again….You will not guilt and shame me into an argument with you. I’m not trying to guilt or shame you he said….really I said and gave him examples of all the things he said or asked my those two days by text or in person. Those aren’t trying to guilt or shame me?
Tools I have learned because of recovery and not only learned but have put into practice are amazing.
The tit for tat and keeping score that worked for so long to get me to say or do what he wanted, no longer works. And taking a new approach from listening and love and support, works so much better for everyone involved.
One of my hangups is not being heard. Especially with this person. He has run me over time and time again because that is how we related to each other. But when I listened for what’s really going on and pointed it out. It has changed everything for me.
Arguing with someone not in recovery is hard because their version of the truth is clouded by their addiction. And it’s not just drugs or alcohol. It could be gambling or having to be right or perfect. It could even be Anger. Whatever it is, I don’t have to continue to react the way I always had. I can tell my truth and end the argument and pray that one day he will be get past his habits and hangups too.
I never learned a healthy way to disagree. Until I worked my 12 step program. I never knew how to be heard. Until I worked my 12 step program. I didn’t know a better way……until now.
12 step has changed my life for the good. And working a Christian based 12 step reminds me that all things work together for my greater good.
My journey to serenity continues….