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How to Reclaim Identity

Old 03-11-2014, 03:23 AM
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How to Reclaim Identity

I am having an overwhelming need as of late to assert myself, set boundaries, and stand up for myself in order to let go of the past, stop worrying about the future, and live in the present. I am hoping this is a positive step toward reclaiming my identity and recovering from codependency. My desire to please others and seek approval has transformed into an imminent need to protect and preserve my sense of self through creating new and healthy boundaries.

I think it might be a little intense for certain people as I make a point to create space between myself and insanity. "No" feels good, and I am getting many chances to say no. I am not ready to say "yes" very often right now as I feel I need to balance out a life of "yes, sure take whatever you want from me" with a lot of reciprocal "hell no's" in order to make peace with my right to autonomy.

I hope I come out more balanced in the end, but I must admit- I might seem a bit crazy at the moment. With that in mind, I would like to start a list of "how to reclaim your identity" assertions. So far, all I've got is- learn the definition and importance of the word "no."
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Old 03-11-2014, 04:55 AM
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As I was reclaiming my identity and getting to know "that stranger called ME", I found I was surprised at what I found sometimes, but it was all good. Others were not sure what was happening, the person I had always been was morphing into the person I wanted to me and it confused them. That did not stop me and working my recovery was making me a better, happier, healthier person every day.

How did I reclaim my identity?

I made a list of things "I" wanted to do and made a commitment to myself to do them...hobby photography, nature studies and bird watching. The time I used to spend running in circles trying to save my son, who was never mine to save...was filled with healthy hobbies that got me outdoors and out of myself and away from that dark cloud of addiction that had hung over my family for years.

I went to meetings not just for the recovery program, but to meet people who I felt safe with and who I could share my hopes and dreams with and they understood. I had become an "isolator" and made myself get out each day and interact with people, even if it was just the shop keeper or a neighbour I met on the street. I learned the difference between isolation and solitude.

I said "no" when I meant it and "let me think on that and get back to you" when I felt I was saying "yes" too quickly.

I prayed. Funny how telling God what I needed could help me discover what I needed to do for myself. Many times as I prayed, I could hear God saying "You can do that" "This one is yours to figure out" and "You have the answers, take quiet time to find them".

I gave myself a break. I no longer needed to please everyone else all of the time. Just being the best person I knew how to be, warts and all, was enough. If I was the best person I know how to be, then what others thought of me no longer mattered because what I thought of myself had become the most important thought of all.

Great thread blackandblue, a good reminder "to thine own self be true".

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Old 03-11-2014, 08:09 AM
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On National Public Radio this morning there was a woman on there who had written a book about time management. While this does not seem relevant, she told her story about the chaos of what was going on in her life, how she was basically a single mom b/c her husband was doing nothing, how she had to find balance and put priorities back in order. Unfortunately I got to work before it was finished but I think they put all of that on their web site. She worked with a sociologist in her own life to find balance and priorities because she was putting everyone else and their priorities before her own. He taught her that she is teaching her kids that everyone else and their priorities are above her own when she really should be showing them that while she loves others, she has priorities that trump their every little need.

I say this because it seems that so many of us let out lives become complete chaos before we can sit back and say, wow, how do I fix this.

It is something I am going to look at so I can have some calm control over my own life.

Thanks for letting me ramble on...LOL.
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Old 03-11-2014, 08:57 AM
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We set our boundaries for us, yet that doesn’t mean those around will be all happy about them. It surely is a process, not only to believe in yourself and the decisions you need to make for you, but also to allow time to run it’s own natural course … all those things we have no control over.

My family didn’t like no, as a complete sentence. They still don’t like the fact that I do not volunteer to do what others think I should be doing. They choose to make me the bad guy for it, which is their issue, not mine anymore … I could take it personal, but frankly my life is so less chaotic that I know I did the right thing with the boundaries I set forth.

I equate reclaiming myself as following a bread crumb trail backward … seeing where I lost a bit of me here and there over many years trying to balance the fight of being who I am … and who those around me think I am or need me to be. I found at times I just got to a point where I would let myself fall away as unimportant. I am so glad I don’t do that anymore.
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Old 03-11-2014, 02:32 PM
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Thanks everyone for contributing. I found a helpful article on this subject-

Have You Lost a Part of Yourself? | Always Well Within
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Old 03-12-2014, 12:44 PM
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Hey B&B, it's nice to see you around, though I wish none of us were here.

I'm not much use to other posters here, but this thread means something to me, so I thought I'd share.

The premise of "reclaiming my identity", actually seems almost foolish to me, because it sounds like I need to find a way back to the person I was before I met my qualifier. While that person had a lot going for him, it seems pretty obvious his decision making skills weren't quite up to snuff as it were, or none of this would have happened in the first place.

So rather than "taking back what I've lost", my focus has been more on "becoming the type of person this doesn't happen to". I've done a pretty thorough inventory of my life, seeking to identify the patterns/clues/behaviors that made it possible for me to be well-exploited, even though I'm pretty strong in the emotional-detachment department.

It took a lot of historical dredging for me to find the aspects of my identity that need modifying, so I'm not going to write it all out here, but the moral of the story, is that I was the perfect victim, because of a multitude of underlying insecurities.

So the last thing I ever want to do is "reclaim" that old identity. It had it's shot, and got me right where I didn't want to be. Now I'm rebuilding, my own design, and rather than trying to "get better", I'm trying to "be better".

Best of luck to you.
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