Beliefnet
The Celebrity Therapist

detaching     We all have people we are attached to.  Some attachments are different than others – for instance, the attachment to our parents will be different than the attachment to our friends or partners.  As love addicts and codependents, however, we often find ourselves too attached to someone.  We can’t get over our last relationship, and we cannot let go.  Think about who that person could be or has been for you.  Did you get over them, or are you still trying to?  Now think about what is keeping you from letting go.  Often, we are so loyal to someone that it ends up hurting us.  Can you think of someone that you may have been overly loyal to?  With the right tools, you can detach with love, too.

So what does it mean to detach with love?  It means being able to take care of yourself before taking care of anyone else.  It means letting go of people, places, and things.  We don’t have to give something up entirely, though sometimes that can be the most loving choice for yourself.  Detaching with love is about doing what you can to take care of yourself in the most lovable, respectable manner.  It’s okay to let go, and to allow them to live their lives the way they see fit.  Think back to the people you chose.  Is there someone you need to detach with love from?

It can be tricky to discuss detaching with love, because there is no physical representation that we can hold in our hands, or explain the directions to.  This is one that we have to give to our higher power.  Our higher powers will guide us to the best route to take with whoever or whatever it is we need to detach from.  We can ask our higher power to help us detach with love, and to give us the strength and the courage to carry it out.  Go ahead and ask your higher power for help now.  The answer will come to you, but it is up to you to take action.  Maybe you need to text your kids less during the workday, or maybe you need to cut ties to an ex to get over them.  Whatever it is you need to do to take care of yourself, remember that it is okay to let go, and focus on yourself first. What action(s) can you take today to detach from someone?

 Sherry Gaba, LCSW, Radio Host, Certified Transformation Coach and author of  the award winning book, The Law of Sobriety:Attracting Positive Energy for a Powerful Recovery and Ecourse www.wakeuprecovery.com. www.sherrygaba.com sherry@sgabatherapy.com.  Find out if you are #codependent. Take my quiz.  http://sherrygaba.com/co-dependency-quiz/ 30 minute strategy session with Sherry http://sherrygaba.com/product/30-minute-strategy-session-sherry-gaba/

boundariesMany of us have heard of boundaries, but have no idea what they are, or we don’t put them to use.  Think about what a boundary is to you. For me, I think of a fence along a property line.  Setting boundaries for ourselves is the same idea. We create a road block that we guard day and night that nobody can get through…unless we let them. Holding firm to our boundaries is what helps us stay on our side of the street.  Boundaries teach people how to treat us and show that we take care of ourselves.

I want to do a little exercise today, and I hope you’ll find it as useful for setting boundaries as I did.

First, think of a boundary you’d like to set with someone. It can even be yourself! Those boundaries are often the hardest to keep.

The first part involves the feelings you get from a particular behavior or action. How does it make you feel? The second part involves what exactly that behavior or action is. The last part is where you set your boundary. What will you do if the behavior happens again? Let’s go ahead and put it all together.

A friend of mine was very passive aggressive during a disagreement between us. What boundary could I set for that?

BOUNDARY:

I feel very defensive and upset when you communicate with me in a passive aggressive way. If it continues, I will no longer engage in the conversation with you and I will walk away.

Coming up with a boundary is the easy part. Actually setting one is a different story. Many of us are afraid of the other person’s reaction, so this process can be hard. We think we don’t deserve to take care of ourselves, but that isn’t true. We are all deserving of self-care and self-love. Try to set a boundary today and stick to it – even if it’s with yourself!

Sherry Gaba, LCSW, Radio Host, Certified Transformation Coach and author of  the award winning book, The Law of Sobriety:Attracting Positive Energy for a Powerful Recovery and Ecourse www.wakeuprecovery.com. www.sherrygaba.com sherry@sgabatherapy.com.  Find out if you are #codependent. Take my quiz.  http://sherrygaba.com/co-dependency-quiz/ 30 minute strategy session with Sherry http://sherrygaba.com/product/30-minute-strategy-session-sherry-gaba/

brokenAs codependents, many of us grew up in households that were dysfunctional and traumatic. In order to cope, we developed survival skills that would carry us into adulthood. We continued to use those survival skills, even when it was plain for anyone to see they weren’t working. It’s not just something we can stop doing – it’s a compulsion that we created to cope with the trauma when we were children. We react to things rather than take our time to think and take a positive action. Oftentimes, overreacting was the only way to have our voices heard. We didn’t know how to articulate our needs as kids, so we learned early on to make noise when we needed something.

Before recovery, I overreacted about everything, big and small. I would find myself blowing up over the littlest thing. Can you think of a time that you overreacted? What was it about? What was the other person’s reaction?

One of my favorite tools to stop reacting is paying attention to my feelings and triggers. When we pay attention to these, we can find out which situations are more likely to trigger us, and we can work on it. When you react next, try to pay attention to how you are feeling. What set you off? Write it down. Find out why that particular situation triggers you if you can.

Another aimportant tool I have found useful is counting. Choose whichever number works for you and count to it in your head when you feel yourself overreacting. Stop, take a breath, and think about how you are acting and what you are saying. The goal is to act (take action) instead of react. It’s hard work, but the payoff of healthier relationships is so worth it.

 Sherry Gaba, LCSW, Radio Host, Certified Transformation Coach and author of  the award winning book, The Law of Sobriety:Attracting Positive Energy for a Powerful Recovery and Ecourse www.wakeuprecovery.com. www.sherrygaba.com sherry@sgabatherapy.com.  Find out if you are #codependent. Take my quiz.  http://sherrygaba.com/co-dependency-quiz/ 30 minute strategy session with Sherry http://sherrygaba.com/product/30-minute-strategy-session-sherry-gaba/

stressThe holidays are a very challenging time for many people. There are extremely high expectations that everything is going to be perfect, people are going to get along and there will be overwhelming good will towards others.

Some people hold the Martha Stewart or Pinterest impression of the season. Everything has to match, have a holiday theme and be just so. The result is hours of planning and second-guessing in an attempt to have the perfect dinner party or gathering.

The reality is that the holidays can be financially stressful, emotionally stressful and mentally stressful. Often the pressures to make the season perfect creates a minefield of problems for people. Adding alcohol to the equation to try to “relax and unwind” can result in even more drama and complications.

Many individuals with social anxiety, depression or low self-esteem use alcohol as a form of self-medication. It allows them to feel as if they have “loosened up” and are being fun, entertaining and socially engaging. This feeling of being the life of the party soon degenerates into being obnoxious, angry and hostile and ultimately creating even more drama.

Then, to make matters even more complicated, there is a constant feeling of being judged for many people. This may be internal or more external with abrasive and challenging family members overtly criticizing and comparing. For those already struggling with challenges this season it can lead to more stress, anxiety, depression and perhaps the use of alcohol as an escape.

Stress Relief

For anyone with concerns about stress levels over the holiday season, being proactive and planning events or activities at your comfort level will be critical. Additionally, blocking off your calendar for “you time” and then accepting events that work into your schedule allows you to remain in control.

This also means having a way to say “I’m sorry, I can’t make it; I have something already on my calendar” when you find yourself overbooked or overwhelmed. Booking time to do the things you want to do and what you enjoy over the holidays will decrease your stress levels and allow you to have control.

Day Events

Evening events and more formal and elaborate dinners and parties are a lot more stressful than day types of events and gatherings. Instead of planning an elaborate dinner party, consider a lunch or a brunch that allows you to serve non-traditional foods and beverages that are your favorites.

Having events in the day is also a good option to reduce family drama, particularly if the drama tends to be more problematic with alcohol. Lunches or brunches can be matched with hot apple cider or a wonderful Christmas punch that is non-alcoholic.

It is also much less likely that guests will bring alcohol to a daytime event as opposed to a dinner. This allows you to control the alcohol at the lunch, brunch or event without adding to your stress.

Start Your Own Traditions

To avoid stress over trying to create the perfect holiday, why not develop your own family holiday traditions? This can be something completely different such as doing holiday volunteer work in the community or perhaps planning a family game night with everyone invited to bring their favorite board game.

Make the holiday season your own. Avoid getting caught up in the quest to provide the perfect Christmas or holiday festival and do things that you enjoy with your family. Having fun, laughing and enjoying the company of people you love is the best stress relief possible over the holiday season and throughout the year.

 

Sherry Gaba, LCSW, Radio Host, Certified Transformation Coach and author of  the award winning book, The Law of Sobriety:Attracting Positive Energy for a Powerful Recovery and Ecourse www.wakeuprecovery.com. www.sherrygaba.com sherry@sgabatherapy.com.  Find out if you are #codependent. Take my quiz.  http://sherrygaba.com/co-dependency-quiz/ 30 minute strategy session with Sherry http://sherrygaba.com/product/30-minute-strategy-session-sherry-gaba/