There comes a time in every addicts journey that they finally say ‘enough!’. And there also comes a time in the co-dependents journey that is enabling them where they finally say ‘enough!’. When I reflect on this journey, I sometimes think that the recovery truly starts when that moment of truth arrives. Sometimes it is a long series of small moments of truth that build into a crescendo. No matter what the chain of events, there is always that point that comes. I had a big moment of truth that was a turning point for me, as well as, my daughter.
As my kids were growing up I was always very strict about any talking back, foul language, bad attitude. It just wasn’t acceptable or tolerated. During the course of my daughters addiction talking back, foul language and bad attitude were the status quo. Although I would say, ‘don’t talk to me that way’. It went on deaf ears and I did not enforce a consequence to effect a change.
As I reflect back, my moment of truth came when I was getting ready to board an international flight and my daughter wanted me to approve an expense for her at the rehab to do an activity. This was something I had told her that I would not do, I had finally started saying ‘No’. She texted me a series of horrible expletives and threats that I came to know as ‘emotional terrorism’ – ‘send me the money or I’ll go use’…’send me the money or I’ll kill myself’… the list goes on. Something snapped in me and I knew that I would not allow this abusive behavior to continue. I reluctantly got on the flight with the threats looming in the text message of my phone and I proceeded to write a letter on email to my daughter and when I landed I sent it to her case worker at the rehab to read to her. I wanted her to really internalize what I was saying. It was a long letter, but I will summarize to say that I expressed that the ‘emotional terrorism’ would stop and if I had one more word from her of foul language towards me or emotional threats that there would be consequences, which I laid out. She didn’t talk to me for about a month. But she has never said a harsh word since. It completely shifted the dynamic. We began to create a new healthy relationship where I set boundaries and enforced them out of respect for myself and her.
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