The First Step In Recovery

The First Step In Recovery | Hopelinks

Breaking the Family Roles & Setting Boundaries

When you start learning to break family roles and the codependency cycle, you will need to use assertive skills as your first step to overcome codependency.

It helps to be assertive in recovery by speaking in the first person language “I want, I see, I will, etc.” This way people are owning their feelings.

Feelings are neither bad, nor good, they are just an inner link to want people really want or need. Beginning by asking for small things at first may be helpful, such as: “I need an hour to be alone.” Then using the hour to accomplish personal goals.

When looking at someone keeping eye contact while talking is important. Making sure body language affirms what is being asked for or stated is also important. If someone is saying, ‘No’ standing and smiling is usually not the correct body language for someone to be taken seriously. Making sure the body reinforces what is being stated is much more beneficial.

When setting a boundary, such as, “I won’t let you take my property without permission.”, making sure the statement is followed through with action may be necessary. If someone tests set boundaries going back to what was taken and repeating what was said again may be required. Repeating new ‘codependency free’ rules until people begin to listen and honor them could also be necessary.

Ideas & Examples that May Help

When speaking using the name of the person being talked to can help get and hold their attention.

If the other person is in the middle of something be polite and wait.

If they are watching something on television, wait until an advertisement, then say, “I need to talk to you during this advertisement.”

Be sure you keep your end of deals. If you go somewhere be home on time. Help in setting the example by calling if something happens to make you late so you show you are responsible.

When someone is adjusting to what you ask (removing codependency from a relationship), state your appreciation.

If they continue to trespass on your basic rights (force your relationship to involve codependency symptoms or behaviors) help yourself, by restating the same boundary until you succeed.

The Difference Between Non-Assertive (passive), Assertive & Aggressive Behavior.

Passive Behavior

Never directly asking for what you want but expect others to do it (victim role).

Assertive Behavior

Being secure in yourself. Using “I” statement. Open communication with eye contact and a relaxed attitude.

Aggressive Behavior

An exaggerated show of strength. Superiority over others. Authoritarian. Stares and ‘talks at’ rather than to people. Often has ‘clenched’ or abrupt gestures.

Assertive behavior is the healthy lifestyle where you are most able to get what you want in way that others are not put down.

Assertive Skills in Relationships

Be patient with yourself and do not get angry as you find help for codependency and begin the process of recovery.

Remember, for many people it is tough to welcome change and they may resist or lash out.

“Who are you to talk like that?”, and other techniques to get you to feel small and insignificant may be used in an unconscious effort to force you to revert you back to the codependent relationship role.

Assertive means you are asking for what you need or setting a limit (boundary) on what you will accept. Boundaries are not threats or aggression.

When setting assertive boundaries do not make a physical boundary, such as: “I will hit you if you do that again.” This type of boundary enhancing the issue.

Stating, “I will go for a walk if you continue to treat me this way.”, is setting a good boundary. Be sure you follow through on holding your boundary and think over you next response.

If you are ever hit, have things thrown at you, or your things are broken or thrown away when someone is angry at you seek help and call the police. These events are a crime called assault, which is a form of domestic violence.

It may take you a while to be strong enough in your recovery to do this but you must get help.

Many states will require that a person who is arrested for domestic violence get an anger assessment (similar to an addiction assessment). There may be classes they must attend to teach them accountability for their actions and how to communicate without violence. Yelling and disrupting the public is an arrest able crime.

Many people that call the police back down and say, “I’m sure they won’t do it again.”, or start to minimize by saying, “They didn’t mean it.” This only escalates the violent person’s behavior and the next episode could be worse. Instead of being assertive and fixing the problem, this promotes the violence and stalls the recovery process.

Help yourself by being honest and true.

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