Two Tools for Dealing
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Below.
A couple of things have really helped me over the past year or two. They’ve been excellent for not getting sucked into the usual situations.
1. My Personal Obi-Wan usually gives me a unique twist on words and it really puts things in a different perspective. Telling me “Don’t judge” was too much like a Sunday School lesson, but saying “Stay Neutral,” well, I could do. So now in a lot of situations where I would have jumped in to help and “fix things,” I now stay neutral and observe. For those of us who struggle with code- pendency, this is a fabulous tool! It gives other people a chance to work things out on their own without relying on me as a crutch. It helps me pull back a little emotion- ally and not get caught up or as caught up in their is- sues. Not for all but for at least some of them, my not fixing things is forcing them to fix it themselves and they’re suddenly self-sufficient in an area they weren’t be- fore and they feel good about it. It doesn’t really feel like I’m less of an active participant in their lives, either, to be the observer, and that’s a surprise. The only iffy part of this is that I probably don’t ask enough personal questions when I meet some new acquaintance, figuring that they’ll tell me what they want me to know, but some people take this as disinterest on my part when it’s not.
2. A rocket scientist I worked with years ago used to get lots of people telling him what to do and how to do it. They were insistent that they knew better how to live his life than they did. Some were just busybodies and some really wanted to help and thought they were. So he would say, “Thank you for the feedback” or “Thanks for that suggestion” in a very polite way, no sarcasm (which I know was hard). Not thanks-and-I’ll-do-that or thanks- you’re-right, but just an acknowledgment of their concern, justified or not, thanking them for their interaction with him. He’d never do what they suggested. Ever. If he was interested in the suggestion, he had a different response, usually an excited discussion ensuing and him asking all kinds of questions. But by acknowledging a suggestion or comment with a polite thank-you, his critics always thought he would take their suggestions and they usually shut up and went away. And he didn’t spend his valuable time arguing with some idiot who didn’t know his situation at all.