Saturday, June 30, 2012

Saying No - J.A.D.E.

I went to the dentist yesterday for my check up and had an interesting conversation with the hygenist.  I told her about my guilt over not volunteering to let my neighbors dogs out for the second week in a row.

She told me her neighbor asked her to watch her animals for a week two dogs, three cats and a bird. She said she went over there three times a day and the dog messed all over the kitchen. She mopped floors, cleaned litter boxes and bird cages.

She went on to say that when she asked for the favor in return the women said no she didn't have time to watch animals. Even if it was only for one day. When the next trip came around she said no and then the women ask if she could pay her daughter to do it. She said no.

When we get roped into to doing things for people that don't appeciate it it is easy to blame it on them. But it is really our responsibility to say no. This is really hard to do. I use to get all my self-asteem from the idea that I am a good person. In my mind the more giving I am the better person I am.

When I pick my needs first I don't measure up to my own idea of what a nice person is. In reality if I am expecting something in return I am not really that giving. If I can't do something without a resentment then I shouldn't do it because I am not coming from the right place.

Everyone at sometime in their life has benefited from someone helping them without returning the favor. At some point we are all takers. There are people who are highly skilled at delegating anything they don't want to do to someone else. This is a great skill in business but in personal relationships people get used up and resentful.

I have become really good at not taking the bait. I can see I was always eager to please and just jumped at the opportunity to help. Even at my own expense. I volunteered for everything and wound up feeling overwhelmed and people got mad at me for not being able to meet my obligations.

It was all about me as usual. I wanted to believe that all that self-sacrificing showed just how nice a person I was. Because deep down I had to do something to make myself worthy of love and acceptance.

I have changed. The first time I said no it felt really awkward and I felt guilty. The world didn't come to an end people can always find another volunteer, just around the corner. In the program they use JADE. When you say no don't Justify, Argue Defend or Explain.

Before I commit to something I check my gut. I say yes in my head and if I get that ugh feeling in my stomach I say no. Now days feelings resentful for days is worse than that momentary guilt.

I was right about not taking care of the dogs for two weeks. It rained no-stop and every time I heard someone letting them out I felt total relief.


  1. Yesterday, I felt like a rag after a conversation I had with my sponsor. She called me out on my JADING. It felt like she was scolding me. I continued JADING. It was a scene from my childhood when my father used to sit me down at the kitchen table as he often would while yelling at me and back then I felt desperately misunderstood. The difference with a sponsor is she has been there herself. So why am I still inclined to respond this way. She had little tolerance and advised me that she may not be able to continue to sponsor me if I continue to repeat this behavior after being reminded so many times. We agreed on a buzz word every time I engage in JADE. For today, I will forgive and love myself just the way I am and accept I am a work in progress

  2. I'm in Al-Anon, also. Have been for 6 years. I gotta say that I wonder how much good you're actually receiving, from a sponsor who scolds you. This doesn't sound appropriate, nor helpful at all, to me.
    You didn't state how long your sponsor has been in Al-Anon, but if she's an old-timer, that doesn't necessarily mean she truly "gets" the Al-Anon program. While most old-timers do, there's others with 20+ years of attendance, who deviate too far away from the program.
    I just don't think a conversation with your sponsor (particularly about anything very painful), should leave you feeling more criticized than supported. That's my two cents.

    1. Every sponsor has their own way of sponsoring. My sponsor was a good fit for me because she was easy going and at that time I was plenty hard on myself and didn't need additional rules. My program today is far from the one I had 20 years ago it is much richer and may not look like the program to other people. The steps have become a part of me. I still stumble and find myself having to make amends. Sponsors are human too. You might want to just talk to her about how you are feeling and see what happens.