permission to say no . . . and other things

I’m prepping for the class I teach tonight on the psychology of addiction.  This evening we’ll be discussing the family legacy of addiction.  Unfortunately, it is one Mark and I know well.  Both of our paternal grandfathers died from complications of the liver . . . complications that were caused by excessive alcohol consumption.  We both came from families that resolved to end the cycle of addiction, but unfortunately addictive patterns do not always cease in the absence of substance abuse.  In fact, I would venture to say that in our culture, a majority of us struggle with codependency issues or addictive patterns (hello facebook).

Tonight I am sharing some affirmations with my students that family systems therapist Virginia Satir prescribes for clients struggling with addictive patterns. As I reviewed my notes this morning they struck me as particularly relevant to my own life, and I’m betting they might resonate with others as well:

1.    I do not have to feel guilty just because someone else does not like what I do, say, think, or feel.

2.    It is O. K. for me to feel angry and to express it in responsible ways.
3.    I do not have to assume full responsibility for making decisions, particularly where others share responsibility for making the decision.

4.    I have the right to say, "I don't know."

5.    I have the right to say "No," without feeling guilty.

6.    I have the right to say "I don't understand," without feeling stupid.

7.    I do not have to apologize or give reasons when I say "No."

8.     I have the right to ask others to do things for me.

9.     I have the right to refuse requests which others make of me.

l0.    I have the right to tell others when I think they are manipulating,

conning or treating me unfairly.

l1.    I have the right to refuse additional responsibilities without feeling guilty.

l2.    I have the right to tell others when their behavior annoys me.

l3.    I do not have to compromise my personal integrity.

l4.    I have the right to make mistakes and to be responsible for them; I have the right to be wrong.


l5.    I do not have to be liked, admired, or respected by everyone for everything I do.

Right now #5 and #11 are hitting home especially.  How about you?  Are there any of these affirmations you need to make your mantra for a while?

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