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Post Info TOPIC: Book Study: Codependent No More - Chapter 6

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Book Study: Codependent No More - Chapter 6

Don't be blown about by every wind.

Easy Does it. ~ Twelve Step program slogan

The author realized one day she was a reactionary.  She reacted to everything, what people did, felt, and might do.  What she was feeling, thinking, and her own problems.  Even her low self-esteem was a reaction to everything around her. "I was like a puppet with strings hanging out, inviting and allowing anyone or anything to yank them."

Most codependents are reactionary.  We react to everything to the point it is not in our best interest.  Our reactions are usually negative, such as anger, fear, caretaking - things that get us off track. "We jump into the first feeling that comes our way and then wallow in it."  We don't take time to think before we react and let our surroundings control us.  We give up our right of controlling ourselves and our feelings.  "We are like a wisp of paper in a thunderstorm, blown about by every wind.  We react too quickly and rarely can we be our best in this state.  "Few situations - no matter how greatly they appear to demand it - can be bettered by us going berserk."

So why do we do it?

We react this way from fear and anxiety, out of habit because our lives have been in crisis for so long, or because we think things should happen our way.  We don't have to react.  "We don't have to be afraid of people.  They are just people like us."  We don't have to give up our peace, power, and be so serious.  We can solve problems better when we are not reacting because we have more resources to give to it.  Nothing is so important that we have to lose ourselves.  What we and others think is important, but it isn't the end of the world.  Not everything is a tragedy.  "Lighten up.  Give yourself and others room to move, tl talk, to be who they are - to be human.  Give life a chance to happen.  Give yourself an opportunity to enjoy it."

We don't have to be let your self worth be determined by someone else's behavior.  We don't have to be embarrassed for someone else, let them be embarrassed for themselves.  You don't have to let rejection determine your self worth either.  You are still real regardless of what others think or say.  Even if you make a mistake, you can make amends and change, but you are still of value and you shouldn't give that away.

We shouldn't take things so personally.  Just because someone is doing a certain behavior doesn't mean they don't love us.  Asking an alcoholic not to drink, then if they don't thinking they don't love us, is like asking someone with pneumonia to not cough.  "When people with a compulsive disorder do whatever it is they are compelled to do, they are not saying they don't love you - they are saying they don't love themselves."  Even on a lighter scale, we let people's moods effect us and it may not even have to do with us. So we spend our days on a roller coaster of emotions depending on what or who walks into our lives.

By detaching and not reacting we let people be who they are.  If we are rejected or treated poorly it is not a reflection of who WE are but of THEIR current circumstances, thoughts or feelings.  We have a choice of how to react and each time we practice that choice we become healthier.  If you think that people or things deserve your reaction, you might be right.  But this isn't about them, it is about us and our peace, our serenity.  Reacting is a normal part of life, but we tend to react too much.  We tend to take on - and hold on to - negative feelings before we even know the full story.

If we take the time to think before we react we take away people's ability to control and manipulate us.  Some people do certain things just to get a reaction out of us.  Sometimes we spend so much time reacting that we don't see the real problem or the solution.

Below are some suggestions, and they are just that - suggestions, the author makes to practice detachment.  This is truly something each of us needs to find for ourselves.

1.  Learn to recognize when we are reacting.  Usually when we are feeling a bad feeling, we are reacting.  Feelings are normal, it is what we do with them that counts. 

2.  When you realize you are reacting, do something to calm yourself.  Take a walk, take a bath, go to a meeting - something healthy and relaxing.

3.  Examine the problem.  You may be able to solve it yourself or you may need outside help such as a friend or sponsor to talk with.  Talk about your feelings and take responsibility for them.  Then take a look at reality, tell yourself the truth about the situation.  Are you have a codependent reaction?  Are you taking on someone else's problem, feelings, or trying to control the situation?

4.  Figure out how best to take care of yourself.  You may need to apologize.  You may need to do nothing at all.  Just remember, you are not responsible for other people and their feelings.


1. Are you spending too much time reacting to someone or something in your environment? Who or what? How are you reacting? Is that how you would choose to behave or feel if you had a choice?

2. Go through the previous steps on detachment for whatever or whoever is bothering you the most. If you need to talk to someone select a trusted friend. If necessary seek professional help.

3. What activities help you feel peaceful and comfortable? (A Twelve Step meeting, a steaming hot shower, a good movie, and dancing are my favorite ones.)



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I have been an expert at detaching my whole life ... externally.  Inside it would be a roller coaster soaring when the people around me are happy and plummeting when people were upset, even if it didn't have to do with me.  If it did have to do with me, then forget it ... I was a basketcase.  It was my job to make everyone feel better.

This is all but gone now and my life is so much better.  I do not feel it is my job to keep everyone happy or solve their problems and if they are in a bad mood, then it is theirs.  If they choose to share with me that I am part of the problem, we can then work on a solution.

The issue I still have, which I don't consider too big of one, is my complete inability to communicate with anyone that I do not feel is safe or healthy.  I completely shut down internally and externally.  I will evaluate this more to see if there are better ways to handle it, setting boundaries etc.  For now, keeping myself safe and clear of unhealthy people works just fine for me.  I can empathise, identify, but I do NOT have to plug in.

"By detaching and not reacting we let people be who they are.  If we are rejected or treated poorly it is not a reflection of who WE are but of THEIR current circumstances, thoughts or feelings."

Circumstances to no make the man, they reveal him.

-- Edited by willing on Sunday 18th of September 2011 08:06:26 PM


Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you.   ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. ~St. Francis of Assisi


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I have still more work to do in this department.

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