Darlene Lancer, author of Codependency for Dummies, shares her thoughts on accepting what we cannot change…
One of the early authors on codependency, Psychiatrist Timmen Cermak, believes that codependents and addicts “control their lives by sheer force of will.” It makes sense that the first step of Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon, and Codependents Anonymous addresses control. It suggests that we admit we’re powerless over our addiction, which for codependents, includes people, places, and things. In trying to change things we can’t, such as other people, we’re exerting our determination in unproductive ways, often creating more frustration and problems. Trying to change another person leads to resentment and disaster. It’s hard enough to change ourselves!
Paradoxically, all change begins with acceptance of reality. Herein lies our power. Facing facts, including those that we dislike or even abhor, opens us to new possibilities. Acknowledging a painful truth is not easy for most of us, especially if we’re used to denying or controlling our feelings and our circumstances. But what does acceptance really mean, and how does one do it?
As I wrote in my article, “Accepting What We Cannot Change,” first appearing on my blog, WhatIsCodependency.com,
Accepting reality enables us to live in reality. What does this mean? When life pleases us and flows in accordance with our needs and desires, we don’t think about acceptance. But when our will is frustrated, or we’re hurt in some way, our displeasure causes us to react, ranging from anger to withdrawal. We might deny or distort what’s happening to lessen our pain. We might blame others or ourselves, or we try to change things to our liking and needs.
Read the full article for my thoughts on denial, facing facts, the need to control, letting go of control, and changing what we can.
Darlene Lancer, JD, MFT, is the author of Codependency for Dummies. You can now preorder: Conquering Shame and Codependency: 8 Steps to Freeing the True You. Follow Darlene on Facebook or visit her website, DarleneLancer.com or call her at 310.458.0016.