Codependence can kill you. Being nice can kill you. Not wanting to upset someone can kill you. And, by being a very nice person you can kill someone you love. Now more than ever.
We know about the drunk at the party. We know that we should take the keys away. We know the painful awkwardness of that confrontation. But now we have another –possibly more painful—variation on “Codependence Kills.”
We are living through COVID-19
and the Coronavirus pandemic.
There are safety protocols
There are rules
But it’s been so long—since March 11th --for most of us.
And finally it’s summer and we want to go out and have parties and picnics.
All those June and July and August weddings were planned so long ago, and the deposits were paid.
All those graduation celebrations and family reunions. That’s a lot of family and friendship catching up to miss, and to ask our loved ones to miss.
And you, like me, have friends at each point on the precautions continuum: from not leaving the house at all, to going out carefully and in masks, sanitizer at the ready, and all the way to “I’m sick of this”/It’s God’s Will/ “I’m young and healthy”/ to “This is all a big conspiracy”.
And the people at each point on this continuum are people you like and care about.
So when you get invited to the backyard, socially-distanced dinner, or the inside the house dining room pot-luck, or the wedding in a crowded ballroom, or the picnic at the beach smashing crabs around small tables—what will you do?
Couples may say, “our practices are these” but what if spouses don’t agree? Maybe you tend to the safer, stricter side, but she says, “Oh, come on—it’s my sister, we’re safe”.
Remember years ago when we had to call the parents of our young kid’s friends and uncomfortably ask, “Are there any guns in your home?” Now we need to ask our friends and relatives if they have been practicing safe COVID protocols.
And if they have been going out or traveling—did they quarantine when they crossed the state line? And how do we feel about whatever their answer is?
Example: If I am going to someone’s home can I say, “I prefer that we all wear masks” or “I’m happy to sit in your backyard but not in your living room.”
Example: Everyone is going out to dinner at a restaurant that has advertised their careful COVID precautions of social distancing, and they have sanitation and plastic flatware.
But something is nagging at you. Can you say, “I’m OK with take-out but not dining in”.
Example: Will you say no to a hug when your friend rolls her eyes and says “Oh, come on!”
Are you able to support your own choices and preferences? Can you withstand the pressure of others?
Those of us who grew up in families where there was addiction or emotional dysfunction probably need to take a long time to sort out our own feelings. We didn’t have support in developing healthy boundaries.
Our first instinct will be to doubt ourselves. People pleasers are likely to put their lives, and lives of loved ones, at risk, rather than be seen as “silly” “cautious” or “a problem.”
Social life during COVID and quarantine is going to be one of the biggest tests of your codependency and boundaries.
Is your safety negotiable? Are your boundaries negotiable?
What does self-care mean this year?