This week, someone asked for my opinion. I declined. This is less than newsworthy for healthy people, but for a recovering controlling co-dependent, it’s a remarkable sign of my progress.
I Used To Be The Girl With ALL The Answers
In grade school, I wrote out multiplication tables for my math-hating classmates. At home, I helped my brothers with their homework. When I helped others, I was often trying to protect them from punishment or embarrassment. Other times, I was trying to get love by giving them something valuable in return.
As an adult, this pattern of helping others grew to be a big problem. Instead of merely giving friendly advice and helping others dodge painful life experiences, I came across as judgemental, pushy, and overbearing. Eventually, this invited lies. Not wanting to debate or change their plans, people did what they wanted and just told me what I wanted to hear. Hurt multiplied for everyone.
In Recovery, I Learned To Keep The Answers To Myself
At first, this was excruciating. I practiced by:
- Watching my son struggle to make his own sandwich
- Letting my husband turn the “wrong” way while running errands
- Not calling people I love because the temptation to weigh in on their lives was too great
Over time, this grew easier. Keeping my mouth shut is a living amends I make to my family daily. Not only have I made progress, but the relationships are healing.
On Monday, my brother called me to ask for a recipe. He’s having a potluck at work and wanted to bring lemonade. I was happy to help, but I was more happy to see I am earning back his trust. He’s no longer afraid asking my opinion will lead to an unwanted lecture.
Opinion Free Lemonade
- 4 Meyer Lemons
- 1 64 ounce pitcher
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 cups ice
Meyer lemons are a cross between a lemon and an orange. They are a little sweeter than lemons in the same way a recovered sister is sweeter than a co-dependent one. Slice three of the lemons in half and squeeze all of the juice into the pitcher. Slice the last lemon into thin slices. Place slices into the pitcher. Add the sugar and the ice. Fill pitcher with water. Stir and serve.