Co-NNections Recovery Stories

Tina – 5-28-19

I recently experienced a major shift. Before this shift, any little “attack” from my narcissistic husband or my adult children would be soooo painful it would send me spiraling down into hopeless despair because I thought I needed their love and approval. Their responses to me “defined” me as a person.

Since this shift (through counseling and CoDA), it is like the attacks bounce off and I don’t feel the pain. Now I feel irritated and disgusted by the immaturity of the attacks. I am much more able to speak up, stand my ground, walk away, and most importantly, not be hurt by it or feel rejected when their opinion differs. Now I’m able to say, “I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.”

When I started using and growing into these non-codependent, more mature responses, initially I felt guilty. “Was that mean? Rude? Unsubmissive?” Then God showed me it’s like I’m trying to learn to ride a bike with my God there cheering me on. First I fall one way (too codependent), then I wobble and fall the other way (too reactionary in my newfound speaking up and boundary setting). He reminded me that I don’t know what “normal” looks or feels like. I have not experienced it ever before and it was not modeled for me, just like a child doesn’t know what “normal” balance feels like the first time they get on the bike. They have to learn it by trial and error.

My God isn’t angry, he isn’t frustrated or irritated because I can’t just “get it” right off the bat. I see an excited smile on His face and a gentle encouraging tone in His voice. He says to me, “You’re doing great! Try again. You’ll get it! It takes time, don’t be discouraged. Let me help you get your balance. I’m just so happy you’re willing to learn and keep trying!” And so, I can give myself grace while I “keep trying” to learn these new skills. I can look back and see the smile of approval on my God’s face and hear His words encouraging me and taking away my fear. He is confident that one day soon, I’ll “get it” and then I’ll always “have it” and nobody will be able to take it away. I’m thankful for CoDA for keeping these principles before my eyes, always reminding me what codependency looks like, and what healthy responses look like, and for always informing me, “No, not that way… this way.”

Tina – 2/23/19

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