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4/14 Interactive Board: Codependent Partners

3/23 Interactive Board: He's Changing... I'm Not...

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11/7 Interactive Board: Is This Abusive?

12/29 Interactive Board: There Goes the Wife...

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10/8 Interactive Board: Seeming Impossibility

9/8 Interactive Board: My Ex MisTreats Our Son

5/1 Interactive Board: I feel Dead - Towards Him

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4/7 Interactive Board: Too Guilty!

Trusting Thy Self

Trusting Thy Self: What One Recovering Codependent Lady Discovered

by Theressa

"If you think you can, you can. And if you think you can't,
you're right."  - Mary Kay Ash

January 30, 2002

Theressa is a long-time participant and contributor to this site. Read what she learned about trusting herSelf. (I've always thought she'd make a good teacher!)

Thank you Theressa!   Doc

Hi Doc,

I am writing to share what I have discovered about "TRUSTING THY SELF" because it seems most of us co-dependents struggle with this notion. (For example, look here.)

I never understood what it meant myself until recently. Even when Ron (my therapist) explained the concept, it never clicked.

Here is what I discovered that helped me:

I was sorting through some old things when I came across my last report from school and some college brochures. I sat for a few moments just pondering this stuff. Then the first of a string of thoughts arrived; thoughts that eventually brought me to understanding "trusting thy self."

The first thought was how "indecisive" I'd been whilst growing up. How there was always someone to fall back on. Someone there to catch me every time.

I was forever losing things since I couldn't decide where the "right" place for them could be. I didn't take responsibility for my life and therefore did not decide what places were appropriate for my things.  Nor could I decide what ideas, decision, responses were appropriate for me... Which ideas, decisions, and responses actions resulted in my favour in the progress of my life.

Instead of researching and finding out about possible work possibilities, I put my trust in another - since I thought they knew better what was right for me. Thus, I ended up doing not quite what I expected, or had in mind.

This trend continued on one level or another until two days ago.

What changed? Well for once the person I running to - to find out what action I should take to sort out my latest problem - was out for the day! Yikes! (Giggle!) So I thought, "Well now what?" Now what indeed! Was I going to wait and continue to suffer consequences I didn't agree with or want?

"Ummmm good question," I thought. Or, was I going to listen to the feeling inside of me that was telling me the consequences were not okay, and that I could do something about changing the consequences by acting instead of sitting wishing someone would come and save me.

I never liked to "rock the boat." What if it tipped over? Who would help me to get it back up straight? How would I handle other's reactions? Especially those in the boats around me, since I'd have made ripples in the water we shared. Oh my goodness - others might get angry at me! Gasp!  Or act in ways that might cause either of us pain. Yes...

So, is it good to never make the water ripple? Good for whom? It certainly isn't good for me when I am feeling unhappy and controlled by external forces beyond myself.

I was out of control of my own craft. I never knew quite where I was going...

I didn't steer my boat of life without checking with other boaters in my waters to make sure I didn't cause a ripple effect. Though inevitably this is most impossible. Sometimes I hit a rock (I am tired, or am not seeing the results I want), sometimes I collided with another boat. My boat rocked - yet, I tried hard to first steady the other boat - at any cost. My cost.

It is very expensive to maintain such smooth waters. Much of my energy is used up. It is hard work trying never to ripple the waters or the other boaters. Yesssss.... Much harder work than paddling along and simply deciding how I'm going to steer my course when I do hit one of life's inevitable rocks. Maybe I could let my boat run over the rocks and see what happens. If what happens is destructive to me, I could steer my boat away from the rocks (remove myself). My choice. Same thing if I collide with another boater.

I have the option of expending my energy to right the other boater's craft, or I might firmly tell the other boater, "This is not okay, this way is not working for me." Then I could listen to the boater's response. The boater may resist, or may listen.

Maybe it is time to sit for a while and enjoy the sun. I don't have to allow my boat to capsize.  Nor do I have to adjust my course because the other boater is not happy with my boat - unless, of course, I truly want to adjust my course. I certainly no longer adjust my course because the other boater is not happy with my course when I know my course is right for me!

The other boater may eventually be ready to discuss how we may both float around the river in harmony. Maybe the boater could decide on a neutral place that can work for both of us.

Or maybe the other boater will decide that the best option is for us to have minimal contact at present. Or that our contact will limit itself just enough to keep the waters flowing around other boats  we may have in common.

This boater and my boat may never totally agree with each other. But perhaps they can decide that while they both are paddling in different directions, they are aiming towards the same destination. Therefore at times it is better for each to stay on its own path and only meet when absolutely necessary. Or not. For now. Or forever, as time will tell.

Though one thing is for sure, each boater needs to "Trust in Thy Self", and know they can handle whatever decision they make to follow their own navigation system and the consequences associated with their path.

If my boat is going where I want it to, then its likely the right path for me. If I don't like where I'm going,  then maybe I need to adjust my course. If I cross paths with another boat, each of us individually must decide how to steer our respective courses. What ever direction I choose to steer my boat towards is the pathway I create. I may never know where the pathway may lead, but I will know I am in control of my own rudder.  I am responsible. I am in control of the only thing I have any control over: me!

And that is all I need to work on.

Each boater is responsible for his own craft's course. Neither knows the outcome, so why trust those outside of the Self for answers? Only time will tell if the chosen path produces the desired results. Oh, it's OK to hear the other boater's opinion and weigh it, but...

No boater can tell another what steps will be the "right" ones. It is all just predicting, and predictions are never guaranteed. I think I'd rather trust my own hunches than someone else's.

So each boater can do no better than to trust it's own rudder.  There are no guarantees...

Knowing there are no guarantees, why put your boat in some other captain's hands? Who knows where you want to go better than you do? 

TRUST THY SELF! And look at where you can go!

With love,