Ready for an unpopular opinion? Here we go. Emotions are not bad. Say what?! They are actually a gift from God. Say what again?! 😂 Are they the dictators of truth, absolutely not 🚫, but that doesn’t mean they lie all the time. Take anger or anxiety for example, they are like rumble strips that a boundary has been violated. That might come as a surprise, but truly, your emotions are NOT the enemy. They aren’t the devil’s playground unless you let them be. Your emotions are excellent at pointing out areas of growth opportunity. Sometimes, it takes a while for us to become aware of these places.
It is interesting that the triads of the enneagram all spell out a different emotion that is triggered by a lack of boundaries (either internal boundary or external boundary). The gut triad (numbers 8, 9, 1) tends to lean towards anger when boundaries are violated, the head triad (numbers 5, 6, 7) tends towards anxiety when boundaries are violated, and lastly, the heart triad (numbers 2, 3, 4) moves towards shame when violated. Growing in self-awareness will help you recognize these rumble strips in your life.
Let’s take a look at these responses when it comes to co-dependency. When we become co-dependent, we tear down any boundary that should be in place and we invite these emotions: anger, shame, anxiety. So what do we do when we land ourselves in one of these places? How do we actually break free? It breaks down like this:
1) Recognize if you are in one of these emotions. Are you stuck in anger, shame, or anxiety? I have great news: 80% of healing is done when awareness comes!
2) Admit there has been a boundary violation. This is when you assess whether the boundary can be sustained within the relationship with the person/thing/etc. Sometimes, when boundaries are violated we can re-enter the relationship and other times we cannot. A good indicator is whether or not the person/thing can continue to respect boundaries in the forward movement of the relationship.
3) Release yourself from any responsibility that does NOT belong to you. And take responsibility for what DOES belong to you. You need to recognize where you begin and END. You also need to recognize where the other person begins and ENDS. Co-dependency is a sneaky little critter!
In her book, Rising Strong, by Brene Brown, it was amazing how over and over again she found in her research that the way we rise after any fall is by creating boundaries for healthy (AND SAFE!!) forward movement. We take what we learned and utilize it, coming back stronger and more capable. When we push into the vulnerability, we don’t come out like we were before, instead, we come out transformed into the kind of people that are useful to the Kingdom of God. People who are becoming more and more spiritually healthy AND emotionally healthy.
You CAN rise again. You CAN and you will. It may not feel like it right now, but you are moving towards health. Breakthrough is coming.