Terms & Conditions Apply ~ A message to Co-dependents and Naive Women and Men.
Are you co-dependant? Do you search for love, for a mate, for that happily ever after? Constantly? Are you a hopeless romantic? Do you loose yourself in love? Have you been caught in many a trap, of a man or woman, who you excused all his/her coldness away? Have you been raised by a narcissist or a drunk? Witnessed crime, violence and more? Have you a pattern in your life of being lost in a toxic relationship, only to finally break out, only to get caught again? If you are shivering as you read this, read on.
Another way of looking at co-dependant recovery or narcissistic abuse recovery, is to think of developing a contract. Not between you and anyone else. But between you and yourself. Small print included, but we will get to the fine print at the end of the contract, in a minute.
Your contract must include a detailed description of who you are, what you are made of, your hopes and dreams, your strengths and weaknesses. The people you have buried and the impact of that on your life. The loves you have loved and the impact of loving them has had on you. Your patterns. Your shameful secrets. A comprehensive list of everything you have done wrong, yes I mean it. An itinerary (to quote 12 step programme language) of all the crap you have pulled and who you have hurt. This contract must also include, who you wanted to be when you were 4 years old. What job you wanted to do when you grow up. What made you delighted when you were a child. What made you scared when you were a child. You might also want to include a nice piece in the contract, of why on earth are you even still here. Why are you still here? What meaning have you assigned to this life, to your life? Why continue, in a deliberate and kind way. Yes, put that in too.
At this point 90% are gone. No thanks. Too much work, right? And thats fine. But for those of us who wish for recovery and freedom, will need to be pretty thorough as we change our ways.
This contract, this piece I want you to write, could also be described as Therapy. These are common threads in the therapeutic process. Most of the above is at least touched on, if not thoroughly delved into. We chat in the room, about all of the nature of you. An inventory is taken, verbally, as the organic process of getting to know you evolves. If you haven't experienced therapy, or cannot access it, you can write through a similar process yourself. While nothing beats the relationship that develops between therapist and client for magic transformational benefits, solo work is powerful too. Again, I highly recommend a witness though. A therapist who will be with you in your world. In your world. But in the absence of this, proceed alone.
But the contract and work you undertake to document yourself is incomplete without two more steps. What is the contract for? And some complex, irritating fine print at the bottom.
The purpose of the contract, is for you to learn yourself and know yourself and anchor yourself into yourself. Remember this is a piece addressed to codependents and wobbly naive folks, who just keep loosing themselves in love. You are going to have to write it down (In the absence of therapy). The purpose of the contract is to make a deal with yourself that you will never loose yourself again. No matter what. We all say this. And yet, the pattern continues. So if you have freed yourself one more time, do the work of the contract. Learn it. The deal is, the vow is, to never let go, of yourself. To never put anyone before you. To never allow to happen, what has happened again. Only you will know the details of that.
But this isn't enough. Fine print is needed. Sneaky, dark, wily and savy words, that are spoken in silence, to yourself. A dramatic but invisible detail of the lengths you will go to to protect your assets. You. And yours. If you break this agreement, should you forget who you are, if in the event you loose your mind again and hand over the power, if in the unforeseen circumstance of you falling for yet another person. This kind of thing. These terms and conditions are for you, by you, between you and you. What lock-tight conditions can you place in your life, to protect your contract. What systems or people can you position in your life, that can make this contract only work for you. How do you develop your set of rules and boundaries for yourself, so that you are protected at all costs, in the event of. No matter what. You know you. So what details, what fine print, do you need to keep yourself safe. And here's one other thing.
You need to position at least one person, in your blind spot. Someone who excels where you have zero talent whatsoever. A person who has no weakness whatsoever in the area of your greatest weakness. Place trusted people in those blind spots. And listen to them. You won't agree. What do you know?! Look at your life! I have often heard people speak of this in terms of mentoring. I like that. But it's more serious than that. You need to hand over some power to at least one other, in a deliberate way, who can advise you, and have patience with you, as you blindly stumble on. Maybe this could be some of your lock tight fine print. Under no circumstances am I going to not listen to John. No matter how much of a genius I think I am. Or, under no circumstances am I going to hide anything from Pat. Look where that got me last time.
The contract is all about who you are and what you want and need. A vow to yourself about yourself.
The fine print at the bottom, is the emergency clause for the inevitable moment you mess up, and risk loosing everything. Again. You might even discuss what terms and conditions you need, with a trusted other. Placing someone in your blind spot. Where do you think I go wrong? What would you have me do? And pop that into your terms and conditions. We all know it's the terms and condition that are the real stuff of the contract. None of us read them. But you better write yours and learn it. Lock the whole thing in. Don't think you don't need to. Otherwise, the contact is just a dream.
This contract is about self-protection, self- knowledge and recovery from being naive. Vulnerable to abuse. It's no good, writing the contract or going to therapy, without writing in the failsafe at the bottom. In the event of me, completely messing up, I will do this or that. At such a time when I begin to repeat my past mistakes, I will do this or that. Place people in your life to help. Place routines in your life to help.