You’re not a survivor anymore

January 07, 2019

Many years ago, I asked a fellow therapist what the one thing was that hallmarked the unhappy state of being many of us have come to label as codependency.

“It’s the Karpman Drama Triangle,” he said. “People rescue someone by doing something they don’t want to do, or it’s not their business to do. Then they get angry and persecute the person. Then they walk away, feeling like a victim. Again.”

A light went on in that moment. Like a gerbil on a wheel, I could see myself spinning around this triangle. I was regularly rescuing somebody, then getting angry, and ultimately feeling victimized by it all.

I was creating the pain and the drama in my life.

Over the years, I stopped rescuing alcoholics. Many of us have gotten off that painful wheel. We know we can’t control another person’s chemical dependency, depression, problems, or life. But we may have stepped off that wheel and gotten ourselves into another more subtle drama spin.

A friend recently cleaned out his entire house—closets, garage, drawers. He had to hire a truck to come and take everything away.

“I can’t believe everything I collected and hung onto,” he said. “Most of it was junk that I didn’t want in the first place. I guess that came from being poor and going without for so long. I convinced myself that if it was free or cheap, I’d better grab it and take it home.”

Many of us were survivors at one time. We either genuinely didn’t have a choice or convinced ourselves we didn’t. So we clung to whoever and whatever came along our path.

You may have survived what you went through, but you’re not a survivor anymore. There is no need to desperately cling to whatever comes along. You’re living now. You’re living fully and freely.

Choose what you want.

God, help me give myself permission to walk a path with heart.

From the book: More Language of Letting Go

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About the author

In addiction and recovery circles, Melody Beattie is a household name. She is the best-selling author of numerous books.

One of Melody's more recent titles is The Grief Club, which was published in 2006. This inspirational book gives the reader an inside look at the miraculous phenomenon that occurs after loss--the being welcomed into a new "club" of sorts, a circle of people who have lived through similar grief and pain, whether it be the loss of a child, a spouse, a career, or even one's youth.

For more information about Melody and her books, visit the author's official website