The Language of Letting Go
“There’s a good trick that people in dysfunctional relationships use,” said one recovering woman. ”The other person does something inappropriate or wrong, then stands there until you feel guilty and end up apologizing."
It’s imperative that we stop feeling so guilty.
Much of the time, the things we feel guilty about are not our issues. Another person behaves inappropriately or in some way violates our boundaries. We challenge the behavior, and the person gets angry and defensive. Then we feel guilty.
Guilt can prevent us from setting the boundaries that would be in our best interests, and in other people's best interests.
Guilt can stop us from taking healthy care of ourselves.
We don't have to let others count on the face that we'll always feel guilty. We don't have to allow ourselves to be controlled by guilt--earned or unearned! We can break through the barrier of guilt that holds us back from self-care. Push. Push harder. We are not at fault, crazy, or wrong. We have a right to set boundaries and to insist on appropriate treatment. We can separate another's issues from our issues, and let the person experience the consequences of his or her own behavior, including guilt. We can trust ourselves to know when our boundaries are being violated.
Today I will let go of my big and little guilty feelings. Light and love are on my side.
In addiction and recovery circles, Melody Beattie is a household name. She is the best-selling author of numerous books, including Codependent No More, Beyond Codependency, The Language of Letting Go, More Language of Letting Go, and 52 Weeks of Conscious Contact. Her first book, Codependent No More, was published by Hazelden in 1986.
Melody's compassionate and insightful look into codependency--the concept of losing oneself in the name of helping another--struck a universal chord among families struggling with a loved one's addiction. Twenty years later, the concepts continue to ring true for millions worldwide, as the book has sold more than four million copies and has been translated into more than a dozen languages.