Codependency: How to Say No for Protection (Part 2 of 4).
Greetings. One of the best ways to stop being a codependent is to learn what is yours and what you need to own so that you can protect it. What you don’t protect will give room for someone to come in and steal or take what is yours. An unprotected life communicates to someone that they can come in and take something from you. And when you are trying to please and give to someone, you will give them a message of permission that they can come in and take or sabotage that which is yours.
In my last post, I talked about your feelings as yours and your feelings needs to be protected. Let me discuss in this post your behaviors. As you know, behaviors have to do with all that you do. Every day, we all do something and we all need to take responsibility for what we are to do. For the sake of this blog, let us just look at a simple behavior: washing your clothes.
Washing clothes is a behavior that we all need to do. We all recognize the importance of wearing clean clothes. If you are a professional worker like a doctor, or lawyer or CEO of a company or a business person, we all know the importance of clean clothes. If you work in the field of construction and you are a plumber or electrician, maybe having clean clothes is not as important. But the bottom line is this: we all need clothes to wear and finding a way to clean them is something we all must do.
But let’s say your child does not wash his or her clothes or your spouse does not wash his or her clothes. Now you think he or she should wash their clothes and not allow the laundry bin to get full or flow over with clothes all over the floor. So you start to notice this pattern of them not cleaning or doing their laundry and you react. You then start to think of ways to control their behavior. You may start to nag, confront, yell, complain or be critical.
So whenever we start to fix or try to interfere with the natural consequences of someone’s behavior, we are crossing over and trying to rescue, fix or change the other person. If they are not doing their laundry, you need to help them experience the consequence of their dirty clothes and how this affects you. In their behavior of not doing their laundry or wearing dirty clothes, this should result in them reaping bad results for their life. But when we rescue someone by stepping over our boundary and trying to fix them, than we are neglecting to protect ourselves and we are focusing on trying to protect them from their consequences. All behavior has to have reward or consequences.
You see, some people grow up never having to do their laundry because a parent stepped in and helped them. When people feel in their life that they can do almost anything they please, i.e., not doing their laundry, they do expect someone will cover for them or bail them out. They then think this will happen in adult life and usually this does happen as a spouse or roommate takes on that role or being responsible for their behavior. (see the movie Failure to Launch).
So the challenge for all of us is to not fix or rescue someone by stepping in and preventing the consequence of someone wearing dirty clothes. We need to protect ourselves by letting that person wear dirty clothes or allow the dirty laundry bin to pile up for the sake of letting him or her experience some pain in their life for not having clean clothes.
Say no to yourself by not crossing over and trying to protect them from their consequences but instead protect yourself by saying no to them to do their laundry. You be responsible for your behavior by saying no to protect yourself and let the other person be responsible for their behavior. Protect yourself versus fixing someone else. Thanks for reading.