Definitely a busy summer. Whew! And, some more thoughts on the family discussion of late. We do a lot of work in recovery that centers around why we do what we do when we are trying to address the deeper issues of healing. And we uncover some painful truths about ourselves and our families. When we share this out loud with our sponsor or trusted recovery partner, it can really blow the lid off our stuff. But if done thoughtfully and with plenty of prayer and preparation, it paves the way for a new life and a new way of thinking.
However, we still need to deal with our families. Most of us still have living family members rolling round out there somewhere that we frequently or infrequently encounter. Sometimes a big boundary should go up for a while to give ourselves time to heal. In my case, I wasn’t even in recovery, and yet I knew my mother was so toxic I had to keep a big boundary up where she was concerned to feel any measure of emotional safety. Unfortunately, she passed away before I got into recovery and could learn how to effectively manage my feelings in her wake. It is a regret I have had to deal with.
But that is one of the purposes of our recovery. It is to help us deal with the things we cannot change, like other people = our families. It’s hard though, because they know how to hit our sore spots. And while we can extend grace love and mercy all day long to our recovery brethren, our families are another matter altogether. I know my expectations can quickly spiral out of control (read: fertile ground for disappointment and resentment) with them, where I have trained myself to have little expectations of the world at large.
The old saying is so true: we always hurt the ones we love the most. Why? Because we are so close, too close to often see objectively the forest for the trees. That’s why we need to practice our recovery tools and talk with our recovery partners about these interactions, even when we mess it up, so that we can get better at it. I know that shame and embarrassment at not being able to better negotiate the family landscape is a tool of the enemy, and I need to have a plan, which I do, but I must choose to use it.
As we see dysfunction and toxic behavior in our families, we have some choices. Hear this, we have CHOICES. We can a) disengage for a while and work on our responses so we are not triggered into the toxic mess, b) retain our peace and serenity in the midst and example what recovery looks like. Be ready to answer with grace. Don’t preach or harp on someone. Maybe they will be curious and want some of what we have.
Well, almost time for me to get the day going, but this was on my heart. Much love to all.