Doing Too Much
Codependent relationships are filled with helping, rescuing, and enabling behaviors. In an effort to help a loved one, we often cringe when their actions bring unpleasant consequences. We wish we could interrupt the inevitable. Reducing the consequence for someone may appear helpful at first but reducing the pain of a consequence often reduces the behavior change that a consequence is expected to bring.
When people are caught in addiction and damaging themselves and others we want to help. We want to stop the inevitable, and when we cannot prevent the problematic actions, we sometimes try to eliminate, delay, or minimize the consequences for them if we can. When they drive too fast and get a speeding ticket, we pay the fine. If they wake up late, we bring them to work or school. If they get drunk, we call in to work explaining they are sick. This becomes a problem as the natural consequences for their actions are interrupted, or even halted. Reducing the consequence for someone may appear helpful at first, but lessening the pain caused by their actions decreases the likelihood of there being a change in behavior. If we separate actions and consequences for them, we take away their learning opportunity and hinder their growth. When we rescue others from the consequences of their choices, we will only have to do it again. The natural effects of their actions must be allowed to play out. By not allowing them to learn from their mistakes, they learn the solution to their troubles comes from someone else. This pattern harms everyone involved.
Boundaries Will Impact Consequences.
Sometimes setting and living within boundaries is pleasant and sometimes it is painful. By setting healthy boundaries, behavior changes will happen. Loved ones may fight against newly established boundaries, testing and threatening the strength and sturdiness of your limits. To break codependency, boundaries must remain firm and consequences for addictive behavior must be faced appropriately. For me, the most difficult thing about boundaries is accepting that the boundary helps me but doesn’t necessarily change another person’s behavior. However, stay strong in your conviction and consistent in your interactions.
Recovery is a journey. Enjoy the Ride!