At a CoDA meeting last night, someone said something that is worth sharing. (No surprise there... nearly every meeting is seasoned with insight and inspiration.) The phrase she used was new to me, although it had the sound and feel of an old saying. Perhaps you've heard it before.
In AA, it's pretty easy to determine when a relapse is occuring. It's a bit harder to identify a CoDA relapse. Rarely do people seem aware they are about to plunge off the interdependent wagon until they hit the ground.
Last night, a woman was speaking about a relationship she recently ended. She was obviously frustrated with her recent slip. After describing in some detail why she had ended the relationship, she said, "I can't believe how stupid I was. It isn't like I didn't know that anything after no is abuse."
Anything after no is abuse.
I heard that and thought, That is exactly the kind of identifier I could use.
In CoDA we're taught that if we feel angry, isolated,fearful, frustrated, confused, hurt, resentful or a barrage of other difficult sensations, it is an indication that a codependent issue is at hand. These could be a great indicators that one should step back and take a moment before proceding.
The problem is all of the emotions listed above tend to push people into reactive behavior. We are anxious to make the uncomfortable feelings go away and so we are quick to react, doing whatever is easiest in the moment to ease the current stress. Then, an hour, a day, sometimes a year later, we wake up and realize that we've done it again. Once more we are caught in the CoDA web and it's very tricky to pry ourselves loose.
But the phrase she used, Anything after no is abuse, seems like the kind of sign I can put out on my path. I believe I could train myself to notice when I've said no and that is not the end of it. I believe that kind of red flag might be enough to remind me to step back before I even feel angry, hurt, or afraid.
So there's my wisdom of the day. If I say no, it means no, every time. If someone argues, procedes regardless of my stated no, uses hurt or anger to try to sway me or in any other way does not accept no as no, that is a sign that a big swell in the road is coming up. When I see that red flag, I'm going to try to remember to stop the action before my wagon hits the bump and throws me off again.