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Codependency-Free Holidays (Rule Two)

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Codependency-Free Holidays (Rule Two)

I learned two very, very important life lessons in my first marriage.

The first is that when you’re in the path of a tornado and the voice in your head tells you to get out of the car, do not–under any circumstances– ignore it to listen to dude in the backseat when he yells that you have to keep driving to get under the bridge that’s nearly a mile away.

The second is that when you’re playing basketball and you want the guy under the net to take a shot and win the game, do not pass the ball to him and say, “Do whatever you want with it,” because when the buzzer sounds and he’s perfecting his dribble, you’re going to be pissed off.

We lived because I listened to my intuition in that tornado and I am sane today, at least in large part, because he told me the latter is what it was like to live with me. We didn’t know about codependency then, and we hadn’t yet been to that one therapy appointment. We both knew he was going off the deep end but had vastly different opinions about the cause.

Finally, there was this one moment… a divine kiss of inspiration, where he had the gift of the basketball metaphor to explain that I don’t ask for what I need and it made it impossible for him to be a good partner to me.

The undeniable truth of it took my breath away.

Welcome to the world of codependency. Describing it, as I’ve said before, is like nailing Jell-O to the wall. I’ve written much about it and long before me, there was a thriving industry offering explanations and support to those who wish to be free from these patterns. My interest, for now at least, is to make it so codependent behaviors don’t have to suck the life out of this holiday season.

During Thanksgiving week, I wrote about how we can enjoy a Codependency-Free holiday season (Cody-Free for fun) by employing Rule One: Protect yourself from mean people. And in honor of the aforementioned dude, I offer you the following additional guideline.

Rule Two: Ask for what you need.

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Read more: Christmas, Hanukkah, Mental Wellness, Self-Help, Spirit, Stress, Thanksgiving, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , ,

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Christy Diane Farr

Christy Diane Farr is a catalyst. If that sounds like something you want more of in your life, visit 'The Greenhouse' at and join the Wildflower Evolution on Facebook.


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8:03AM PST on Dec 14, 2012


5:37AM PDT on Jun 5, 2012

Thanks for the article.

5:38AM PST on Dec 29, 2011

Thanks for the article.

3:58AM PST on Dec 28, 2011

Good advice.

5:04PM PST on Dec 13, 2011

Thanks, Christy. As a veteran psycho-therapist of 18 years, like you, I teach this stuff every day. Today, after returning from the doc's office and having him tell me to cancel the next three day's clients, this is exactly what I needed to hear.
So, thank you, sister, and a very happy holiday to you :)

12:37PM PST on Dec 11, 2011

Amen and thank you!!

12:20PM PST on Dec 11, 2011

I guess if you are pulling your fair share that would be a perfect program. Sometimes people need a reminder that it's okay if you don't do everything for them and exclude everything and everyone to meet their needs....and yes it is okay if they don't come to a family event. It might even be better if they don't...thank you

12:15PM PST on Dec 11, 2011

(cont'd...where did the character counter go?)

This was not fair to anyone, and went completely against my core belief in self-honestly above all else.

It's been hard, especially since I still live with them and will for the forseeable future, but things are starting to get better, and I feel better about myself for being able to say "No, you can do that for yourself."

12:14PM PST on Dec 11, 2011

"What would it be like it everybody quit trying to be everything for everyone and you got to put yourself first on the list?"

This was my big challenge this fall. Realizing that constantly giving everything I had to save other people from themselves a) wasn't my responsibility, and b) didn't actually save them from anything, was huge for me. Finally realizing that my family's stuff (one of them is a borderline hoarder, the other is just very messy and I live with them), their decisions, and the consequences of their decisions, were not my responsibility was a complete paradigm shift for me. I'm not responsible for any of that, I'm just responsible for making sure that their bad choices affect my life as little as possible.

Part of this was accepting that they are adults and they have the tools and ability inside them to take care of themselves. They don't need me to keep them on track, and if they go off track, it's because they made a choice to do so, not because I didn't save them from themselves. Enabling laziness and irresponsibility (even by nagging about things that need to be done), doesn't help any of us.

I also needed to realize that part of why I was behaving that way was my own need to feel needed. I was selfishly infantilizing them so that I could say to myself "See? They need me; it would all collapse into disaster without me." At the same time, I was resenting them for being so needing and taking everything I had to give and more. This was not fa

9:01AM PST on Dec 11, 2011

thanks. will share.

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Maybe the points will catch up, if I let the stupid pop-up play. I'm letting the bleeping thing run…


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