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"Family Recovery, Responding with Dignity. "
by Toby Rice Drews
by Toby Rice Drews
One of the biggest 'kickers' to our family recovery, is the irrational guilt that comes at us ----- after we think we're done with it.
Case in point---- Someone's been chronically verbally abusive to us ..... we've cringed in the past ...... "took it" and kept our mouths shut. Didn't want to make the person angrier at us. Didn't want people to think we're "not nice". Didn't want to 'come off' as anything but sweet....... kind..... very reasonable...... Certainly didn't want to 'come off' as "a shrew".
Then came family recovery and we're taught to not have to act like doormats......that it's good for us to stop that......and it's good for the alcoholic, too. So--------we got 'permission' to act with dignity..........
So, after 'taking it and taking it'---------we finally said, "YOU CANNOT TREAT ME THAT WAY ANYMORE!"
And the person indicated to us ------and to others-------that we are 'hot-headed'.... 'not very nice'....... 'have a volatile personality'.
And as much as we DON'T want to admit it to ourselves.......and perhaps we even do not admit it to ourselves............
The person has "found our buttons".
For, if the person did not find our buttons........ we would not feel like we need to be validated so that deep-down, we had the right to tell them finally.........to stop the put-downs.......the verbal abuse.
And abusers are EXCELLENT at finding our irrational guilt buttons...... at trying to make us feel like we do not have the right to stop them.
THIS HAPPENS TO ALMOST ALL OF US....... NO MATTER HOW GOOD OUR FAMILY RECOVERY......THERE IS ALMOST ALWAYS AN ABUSER WHO INSTINCTIVELY KNOWS THAT HE CAN MAKE US BACK-OFF BY PUSHING OUR IRRATIONAL-GUILT BUTTONS.
But-------- how could that person push our buttons------when we know, down deep, that we had the right to tell them to stop the behavior?
Part of the answer for many of us, are the words we use----the words we tell ourselves about ourselves---- for our behavior when we stop the abuser.
We tell ourselves the buzzwords of mental health........ "assertion"......."assertiveness".......
But what we un-consciously hear ourselves say, often, is "aggression".
What's the antidote? What can we say to ourselves, that eliminates that irrational guilt.......... that tells us the truth about our actions to stop abuse?
We can tell ourselves that we are responding with Dignity.
With that God-Given Dignity........that all children of God have the right ....... to implement.
There is something so very lovely about how we see ourselves when we act with dignity......... when we see ourselves standing straighter.... telling abusers that they can't do what they have been doing..........to a Child of God.
It doesn't mean that we are not left with old, residual fear that we might lose the 'friendship' and 'love' that we often traded-off with abusers.......so they would stay in our lives.
But it certainly does help eliminate that irrational guilt that told us we didn't have the right to tell them that we have the right to be treated decently.
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