Before I started my recovery journey I would be so confused by the dynamic of my relationships. I often wondered why my loved ones weren’t doing for me what I was doing for them? I struggled to “show up” in relationships as a reciprocal because I felt the need to over-do in order to “prove” my love for people in my life. It wasn’t intentional to feel that others were in debt to me, but looking back now, that’s exactly what I did.
Recovery is still an active process for me. I still have to be aware of how I “show up” in my relationships because it is second nature for me to create an imbalance, a “credit” in the relationship. Functioning from a perspective of reciprocity is really difficult for me. When I started to use empathy in a healthy way, I began to realize those in relationships with me didn’t feel “safe.” It must have frequently felt like weight, a debt, or less than to be close to me. Everything in my life felt like a competition even when it wasn’t.
A few of my most practical tools are: “Responsible to or Responsible for”, asking myself, “did they ask me to do that,” and “ do I have it to give.” Each of these tools help me to live in intention and force me to be in my body. When I have the desire to do something for someone one, it is usually really supportive in my process to ask myself, “Amber, did they ask you to do this?” In other relationships that are riddled with a history of shame and guilt, I remind myself, “Amber are you responsible FOR this or are you responsible TO this?” Healthy relationships aren’t naturally heavy, so when the dynamic with a loved one does feel “heavy” it’s usually a sign for me that old pain is showing up. Amber, are you responsible FOR that?….NOPE!!!