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.

Attract Him Back

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.