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am i in a codependent relationship? which one is the codependent one?
March 24, 2009
10:19 am
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cnfusedgrl06
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I’m dating someone that I am crazy in love with, and he loves me back. It seems too good to be true, except for the fact that I feel more and more “addicted” to him – I have started to feel depressed, lonely and insecure when he’s not around, or if doesn’t call when he says he will, or if he chooses his friends over me. I know that these things shouldn’t make me upset, but they do – I start to second guess our entire relationship over little things like this, imagining that he doesn’t love me as much as he says he does, that he is sick of me, etc etc. These feelings are relatively new for me, I’m not used to feeling so insecure or unstable feeling really. I have been trying to figure out where it comes from…

When we first started dating – and this is ongoing I guess – it became clear that he was someone who was very into talking or “processing” his feelings, about everything. That’s not really my thing. I don’t talk about my feelings in that way much at all. I recognize that I feel them, try and get over it, think about it later and bring them up when I can talk about them in a way that feels rational and succinct. I don’t like doing this much in the first place, and admit that I have a tendency to avoid talking about or admitting to my feelings in general anyway – and minimize them when I do. Anyway, he is the exact opposite and can talk for hours about his/our feelings, and seemed to want to do this as a way of “knowing” me. And he wants to talk abut things that feel deeply personal, and are sometimes difficult or painful to talk about because this seems more “real” to him. I am ok with sharing these things with him, but it feels sometimes like I have sold part of my own emotional real estate to him, and in becoming the Listener, he has taken some control or ownership of my own well being, when I am used to being that for myself.

I know that he has a history of being attracted to and/or dating women who are “unstable” –one had a drinking problem, another had a bad childhood, and these are just the few I know about. I know he has a habit of becoming a caretaker, he wants to fix their – and my – problems. I have, more than once told him that, despite his counseling degree, it’s not his job to fix me, and id on’t want him to. I don’t think I’m broken, and I kind of feel like everyone has baggage of some kind or another, and we all just move along with it, and don’t need to continually unpack it to examine, pore over and share. I realize this is not perhaps that healthy either. This kind of sharing breeds an intense level of intimacy, but like any drug, is met with a “coming down,” wherein we both are disappointed by the daily goings on of being together, whent here isn’t a happy surprise of something new and deep and “real” that we have discovered about the other that brings us closer together. And that is not sustainable – there is not a bottomless pit of drama to feed off of, at some point, we’ll reach the bottom, or start creating drama of our own to build on, which is what I feel like I’ve started to do lately, which feeds right into his habit of needing to take care of or fix/soothe a girl.

On another somehow related but kind of unrelated note, when we fight, which occasionally we do, I feel as though I am the one who always ends up apologizing, even if I didn’t think I’d done anything wrong to begin with. I’m not sure how it happens that he somehow is able to explain to me the ways in which my actions were the wrong ones, or my reaction was the wrong one, if I am the one who got angry in the first place… somehow I always end up feeling like a jerk, and I’m not sure how that works. That’s new to me also.

And so here we are, we love each other, but I think he feels dissatisfied if there isn’t enough “real” stuff going on between us –some kind of emotional high stakes for one or the other or both, and somewhere along the way I have become weaker, needier, more scared and anxious than I remember being in recent history. Made all the worse for the fact that when we are together, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been and feel like I’ve found someone who “matches” me in all the ways I’d want to be matched. I’m writing about the crappy stuff here, but there is so much good stuff – he makes me laugh harder and longer than anyone I’ve ever known, we want a lot of the same things, and, I think, enjoy the challenges in our differences. Is there any way to break what feels like a destructive cycle for both of us?

March 24, 2009
10:41 am
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StronginHim77
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Just my take on it, but he sounds somewhat controlling. That doesn't sit well with me. There are people who will deliberately select a dysfunctional partner and probe for "all the dirt," in order to feel superior to them and then "fix" them. Not healthy. And that seems to be happening here.

I would strongly encourage you to see a private therapist, just for YOURSELF. Again, let me clarify. I am not recommending "couples" counseling. Rather, I think it might benefit you to talk with someone neutral and professional about this and about your own feelings.

And yes...there is a destructive cycle going on here. You don't feel comfortable, safe or "secure" around him. Your confidence in yourself seems to be diminishing over time with him. By the way, how long have you been with him and do you live together?

Waiting to hear back...

- Ma Strong

March 24, 2009
12:47 pm
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cnfusedgrl06
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Thanks for writing so soon! You're right it does seem like some kind of cycle has started with us, and maybe counseling for me alone would be a good idea... not sure i can afford it right now, but i can look into it. We've been dating for about 9 months and we don't live together. in fact he lives about an hour away which seems to make everything more dramatic because we can't see each other very often - it's always a small "trip" - too close to be far and too far to be close.

March 24, 2009
2:09 pm
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82hopetoheal
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Cnfusedgrl,

I’m not an expert in the field but I can share with you some of my own situation and feelings. I was in a very similar situation to yours except the gender roles were reversed. I noticed a “cycle” almost immediately (maybe 3-4 months in) in our relationship. We for the large part ignored it. I confronted her about it a few times, and we would argue, and make up. Bottom line was, we both had codependent characteristics and became very “enmeshed.”

She constantly craved and created drama over the smallest things, and I volunteered myself to partake in the drama and at some point it became the status quo. We also seemed to “match” each other very well. We were extremely different, but like you agreed on some major issues, and had an extreme passion for one another (brought out by the drama).

This cycle continued for almost 5 yrs. We recently ended everything for good, and it will take me a great deal of time to repair the damage of this dysfunctional cycle.

I agree with Strong here, go see a counselor for YOURSELF as soon as possible. Couple’s counseling may be an option further down the road, but I feel you have noticed some things about you that you don’t like.

I know this is hard to hear, but look really hard at the relationship and assess it as objectively as possible. A counselor can help you do this. Don’t ignore “red flags”. To be fair to your bfriend, tell him about the “red flags” in a way so that he doesn’t feel attacked. If he cannot or does not want to change his behavior you should be willing to WALK AWAY. There are lots of other people out there, and some of them are capable of having healthy relationships;)

I didn’t have the strength to do this, and I can tell you things are very unlikely to get better down the road if you do these two things and he doesn’t change his behavior or you aren't able to accept it. It isn’t our jobs to change someone else’s behavior, but if it is making you unhappy then you need to see your inner strength and worth and walk away before you become too enmeshed and the hurt will be even greater.

I wish I could tell a happier tale. I am not saying that things couldn’t work out between you two. Every situation is different and if you address this early on and both really, really want to make it work it just might.

Take my story and advice at face value. I hope you can get some worth out of it. I’m hugging you right now. Stay strong, love yourself, and be willing to make a hard decision!

82

March 24, 2009
7:25 pm
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Gracey
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Cnfused girl;

I am writing because I can relate to what you are saying about the person you are dating. Mostly because i have noticed the same thing about my relationship, that I always have to apologize it seems in order for us to move on from a fight. Its really important to my partner and I will do it even if I dont feel one bit sorry, in fact, it was HIM that did something wrong in my eyes that started the argument to begin with. He has gone so far as demand an apology when i have tried to move on from an argument. I agree with the other people who responded by saying that it would probably be a good idea to get some counseling, especially the whole thing about getting you to talk about things you arent really comfortable talking about. Not to be pessimistic, but guys who do that always seem to use it to either throw in your face later or zero in on your own negative perceptions of yourself and 'remind you' about them as if they have observed them, but really they got them straight from you by getting you to talk about them.

Thats not to say theres for sure anything wrong, but you seem like a sound minded, level-headed person from your post, and if thats the case then you are probably right in observing that there is something not quite right. But what to do about it? I beleive that people have the ability to steer a relationship into a healthy direction and away from destructive or unhealthy patterns, but you have to constantly keep things in perspective and giving into behaviors that you think might be 'wrong' or 'comprimising' sets you up for destructive patterns down the road.
Now im trying to correct patterns that i should NOT have allowed to happen in the first place, just because i passively fed into them. Very difficult after the pattern has already been established.

March 24, 2009
10:28 pm
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Anonymous
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The previous relationship that I was in, that similar, to about, the same "Pattern" had also occurred, for the majority of the relationship as well! However, Thankfully...This relationship is different! (None of those dysfunctional and unhealthy behaviors happening here!)

As a matter of face...my Fiancee, had been very upfront with me, at the very beginning of our relationship, and told me, "That, he doesn't want me to feel responsible for whatever's going on with him, and, he told me to, "Just worry about myself, and concentrate and focus in my Own Healing, and Emotional Well-Being!" (My Over all Well-Being!) And...that was the First time, that that had ever been said to me, by a boyfriend! So, I feel Confident that, he has my Well-Being, and my healing, from the issues of the past, at Genuine Heart! 🙂

He's The Only One, that I've ever felt Genuinely and Sincerely Emotionally Safe and Secure with! And...he tries his best, to keep other people's Drama, away from me, as well! (As, he knows that, I don't need other people's "Drama" in my life! It's unhealthy for me!

So...I'm glad I am, where I am now! 🙂

The best of luck to you, with also having the Courage enough, to also correct your personal issues with yourself as well!

March 25, 2009
8:43 am
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cnfusedgrl06
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Thanks to those of you who have responded. I've downloaded the 12 promises from CoDA and have been saying them to myself so I don't freak out about small stuff, like if he didn't call etc. It seems to help me re-center. So far at least. After getting your feedback and doing some other reading about codependent relationships/love-addicted relationships etc. I have been thinking about whether i should talk about this stuff with my boyfriend. I don't feel that leaving the relationship is a step i want to take yet or am willing to take... and I'd like to think we could work on it together, but is that the wrong thing to do - would it just add to the issues? is this something I need to work on for myself only?

On another note, I talked with a friend of mine last night who was very supportive and enthusiastic about my looking into some counseling. I think I'm going to look into doing that over the next several weeks.

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