Backbone Tools: From Codependency to Dignity
If you grew up in a family with lots of dysfunction e.g. alcohol, anger, illness physical or mental, Borderline/narcissistic (it is all about me), or any other phenomena other than adult people being normal loving parents to their children you may have developed the symptoms of codependency.

A quick test for you to ask yourself if you subscribe to any of these: “don’t rock the boat”, “everyone needs to like me,” “I hate conflict”, “asking myself what is important to me” is selfish,” if people really knew me they would know I was a fraud”. If the answer is YES, heads up and read on.

Backbone Tool One: Say ‘No’ when you mean No
When we rationalize, using one of the above messages we sell out on ourselves.

Are you worried about the holidays and “Uncle Harry” coming because he always gets drunk and then the chaos and drama start? This is your home; your rules/boundaries, your holidays, and you can act with dignity or be codependent. If codependency is running the show you will say. “But it is the holidays, but Uncle Harry may not have many more holiday’s with us, but who am I this is how he celebrates the holidays, but there is always drinking at the holidays.” And I would invite you to ask yourself, “What kind of holiday memories are you giving your family, what are you teaching your children, and how does all that resentment before and after the holidays feel? It is your choice! If you want to celebrate with dignity a simple phone call before the holiday and Say No to alcohol.

You, “Uncle Harry we are so looking forward to having you for our holiday dinner and we wanted to share with you a new tradition we will have for this year: We will be having an alcohol free holiday dinner.

Uncle Harry, “Well that is the stupidest tradition I have ever heard we always have alcohol and it’s the holidays.”

You, “I know and this year we are having an alcohol free holiday dinner.”

Uncle Harry, “ Well I just might not come”.

You, “We will miss you and hope you change your mind and join us.”

The best holiday present you can give yourself is to say No to toxicity and drama and you just did! Congratulations! (PS when Uncle Harry comes with a bottle of alcohol thank him and quietly put it away.)

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Author's Bio: 

Dr. Anne Brown, PhD, RN of Sausalito, California, formerly from Aspen, Colorado in her private practice has served as the trusted advocate and advisor to Influential Corporate leaders, Trial Attorneys, Athletes, Leaders, Physicians and their families, many whose connections extend well beyond the town of Aspen.