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What to do with codependent friends??
March 27, 2002
10:22 am
clare720
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I have some friends, one in particular, who is VERY codependent. Now that I have started reading about it more, and realized that I am codependent in my own life (mainly with my spouse), I have started working on myself and my own issues. But what can I do with this good friend of mine? For about a year now things have been uncomfortable between us in our friendship, but I could never put my finger on exactly what it was. Well, now I know. She is codependent, and I always feel stiffled in the relationship. I have in the past few months really stepped back and gotten some distance, which is very freeing for me. But she has no idea. Should I tell her what I think? Should I say nothing, but continue to have the space and not get close ever again? Any advice? I don't want to hurt her feelings, but I feel so stiffled!

March 27, 2002
11:45 am
artist 2
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If you want to save the friendship, tell her how her behavior is bothering you. If you don't want to be friends, let the time distance you.

March 27, 2002
12:18 pm
gingerleigh
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Exactly how are you taking your space? Are you subtly avoiding her, or are you being very honest and upfront in how you take that space? For instance, do you just not return her calls all the time or not answer the phone if you know it's her, or do you just tell her that you have other plans if she wants to spend a lot of time with you?

Try to avoid diagnosing her as codependent, if you can. (I've heard the phrase "When all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail", and I think that's very true in a lot of cases.) You've done lots of work on yourself, which is terrific. How are your boundaries? Do you have them, or rather, are you in the process of defining them? Are you aware when those boundaries have been crossed? Do you have a script prepared for how to deal with someone when they attempt to cross your boundary?

One thing that has been hard for me to come to grips with over the last few years is that just because I'm ready to really look objectively at myself and try to change my behaviors and destructive thought patterns DOESN'T MEAN THAT ANYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD IS READY TO DO THAT.

I know that if I were in your friend's situation (and believe me, I have been, with men usually), I would absolutely hate to have someone say to me, "GL, you are SO codependent, you stifle me." That's just about the ultimate rejection you can dish out to a person. Take a look at your boundaries, make sure that they are set and reasonable, and then protect them, respectfully. If nothing else, you might want to talk about interesting literature that you've read about codependency and how you feel becoming more aware has changed your life. Maybe recommend some reading IF she displays some interest.

Good luck, I hope that you and your friend are able to form a stronger healthier frienship when all of this is said and done.

March 27, 2002
12:40 pm
Molly
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Re read Gingers post to you, and if you watch 6 ft under, last couple of weeks, with the mom running around trying to share her enlightenment, every one is looking at her like she is crazy, with her new blueprint for life. I took a seminar very similiar to the one that they are mocking, and we called some of the people enlightened ass holes, this is just a warning, that goes along the same lines as what Ginger is saying. Often when some one has discovered the key to their door to freedom, doesn't mean that the key fits for the rest of the world, like those that have suddenly discovered Christ, when he was already there.
Work on you, the more you learn about you , and do your own work, the rest of your world falls into place, we can't controll others, and most are reluctlant to look at them selves. We all change at our own pace. If you discover a group that supports your discoveries, you could invite her, if she gets it great, if not that is ok as well, we all have our own path. You could buy her a book, or loan her one of yours, you will be able to observe her response. Like attracts like, and there may have been a connection at one time, but in adult hood, just like in high school, some times we take different paths, make new friends one are silver and the other is gold ?

March 27, 2002
12:45 pm
eve
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Read the board rules, many of them would also be applicable and helpful for communication between two people.

"talk about yourself" is a central one. Its much easier to stay fair and not to judge somebody if you start your sentences whith "I". Tell her about your feelings (kindly and specificalle). Not 'you're always so clingy, I hate it' but 'when you do .... this makes me uncomfortable, because then I feel....'.

I've also found it very helpful to tell people what I recieve from them - its often different than what they are intending to send. Clear communicaton can help a lot.

Good luck
Eve

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