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My mom had a saying, “Watch out for nice people.” What she meant was to watch out for those people who only show their nice side. They never blow up and never get angry. They hide behind a facade that is a fantasy. What happens as we interact with them is that we begin to see a glimmer of another person. They stab us in the back when our back is turned, behind closed doors they are controlling and abusive and they have fits of rage and anger. Instead, I was told to look for people who get angry or upset sometimes. My mom also told me to find people who talk about their feelings because healthy people talk about their emotions.

Are you a person who stays around negative and critical people? Do you stay in negative situations too long? Are you in relationships where you are physically or emotionally abused? Do you have friends who are manipulative? Are the people you hang out with controlling? Are you being taken advantage of? If you answered yes to any of these things you are being codependent. We are not rugs to be trampled on. The reality is we do not have to stay in situations that are unhealthy for us. We have the choice to walk away.

I am learning to evaluate my relationships and determine if they are healthy for me. When I have a conflict with someone I evaluate the things the person says and think about what I’ve said to them. Then I ask myself questions. Are they listening to me? Are they trying to understand my thoughts and feelings? Are they providing me with healthy information? Are they trying to rescue or fix me? Am I hanging out with people who allow me to do what God wants me to do? I think through these things before responding to them and I pray. Then I decide whether or not the relationship or situation is healthy for me. Sometimes I have to walk away. Being healthy means choosing to be with healthy people that build us up and encourage us to be better people. Being healthy also means expressing our thoughts and feelings with others even if it means rocking the boat. Standing up for ourselves is a sign of being healthy.

My prayer is that each of us will make healthy and wise decisions to break away from the chains that have bound us to codependency. May we be people who are unafraid to stand up for ourselves. We can choose to be in healthier situations and with healthy people. The choice in ours. May we all learn to be healthier people.

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