Addictionland Blog with Cate Stevens

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BREAKING THE CO-DEPENDENT CYCLE

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There is nothing fun or enjoyable about breaking a pattern like codependency.  People become accustomed to a dance and when one person fails to participate in the sick dance any longer, other people become angry.  That is what happened when I let my father and mother know I was no longer willing to sit by while they speak bitterly to one another.

Thankfully, I had a talk with my therapist two days ago and was prepared for this backlash.  In fact, before I hung up the phone with him, he said "Just be prepared.  They may react in a poor fashion and take care of yourself."  My mom seemed to take my honest expression of my upset fine.  My dad, on the other hand, sent me an email that basically made it sound like I betrayed him in the worst fashion possible.

He wanted to make me responsible for my mother's actions.  He was irate and indignant that I left the house and said nothing to defend him after he spent three weeks at the hospital serving my mother with love and attention.  He told me he won't forgive me.  The anger and pain that rose up inside me as I read his words was palpable.

I thought to myself, "Really, Dad???  You won't forgive me for not getting in the middle of you guys shit any longer after I was put in the middle of it since I was a little kid and its cost me my own happiness.  You won't forgive me??? That's funny." I didn't say that to him but I wanted to.  I also wanted to tell him to go throw his pity party on another block. 

Yes, my mom can be ungrateful and bossy and cruel toward him.  And, no, I don't approve of her behavior either and I don't like it.  However, they shouldn't even put me in the middle of it as if I was their referree.  How sick is that?  On top of that, I showed my mother as much attention and love as he did while she was in the hospital and I don't expect a metal.  I did it because I love her and I want to support her.

I realize they have so much pain and anger toward eachother and a dynamic I don't get nor want to get.  I also realize it is only my ego that is bothering me right now (need to be right) and I am so glad I took my husband's suggestion to hold off and not respond to the email right away to process this.  I don't need to knee jerk react to the insanity.  Instead, I can slow down enough to feel the pain and find true relief.

My dad is free to not forgive me.  He is free to judge me and my mom and stay angry as long as he chooses.  He can pee in his wetsuit and linger in it as long as he likes.  That is his choice.  I, too, have a choice. 

Finally!  I have a choice!  I do not have to react to his tantrum.  I can write about, talk about, punch the pillows about my feelings and then I can turn it over to my Higher Power for a real solution.  I can love my father and not participate in his insanity.  I can wait 24 hours to see how I might like to respond and when.

It has taken a long time for me to reach the point where I have the strength and understanding and self love to say no to abusive behavior.  It is not okay for my parents to expect me to take away their pain or fix their issues or defend them.  They are adults.  They can fight their own fights and, if anything, I am the one who deserves an apology for being put in the middle of this for as long as I have been.

I won't hold my breath.  Instead, I will ask my HP to remove the anger and show me how I can be of help.  Love is always the pathway to peace.  I will look for the Love and trust Love to heal the wounds.

Best,

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Cate Stevens. Founder of Addictionland.com, has over fifteen years of recovery from food, drug, alcohol, cigarette and unhealthy relationship addiction. Cate’s approach to recovery is based on the 12 steps, as well the practice of spiritual principles, exercise, good nutrition, and meditation. Cate’s personal, ongoing recovery process has benefited tremendously from the free sponsorship of other women.

Cate has successfully coached hundreds of women to develop specific, daily action plans to support their personal and professional goals. Cate majored in journalism and communications and is the author of "Addictionland: Key Lessons from My Rollercoaster Ride to Freedom from Food, Drug, Alcohol, Cigarette and Unhealthy Relationship Addiction", a series of powerful vignettes.

As a motivational speaker, educator and coach, Cate is highly effective and inspirational. Cate leverages her experience from premier sales, management and leadership training programs to teach her clients how to be sober, productive and fulfilled.


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