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Codependency and Low Self Esteem, does it ever get easier?
May 15, 2007
2:41 pm
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MzKitty
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I am curious for other people’s opinion on this question:

Does Co-dependency and low self esteem ever get easier, or is it like an addiction that one has to constantly fight?

I find myself struggling with low self esteem again in my life after a relationship that has been rather confusing to me. I know it’s up to me to fix me, but is this something that I will always struggle with or will it get easier? I’m not looking for an expert opinion, just sound advice from people like myself.

May 15, 2007
2:49 pm
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risingfromtheashes
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I am testement that it DOES get better.

tho, not without some effort on my own part.

it's not handed to you...it's a choice I make every day.

so yeah, it's like an addiction.

BUT, the "cravings" subside in time, like any addiction...but there is always chances of relapse...if you get caught up with the wrong person.

Here's what I found...thru sheer luck or higher power's involvement...I have managed to find a guy who makes me feel "safe"...doesn't trigger my old insecurities.

now, I had to fight thru the "he's boring" stuff....and now things are good.

but, the reason I say I got lucky is...I could have EASILY gotten into another unhealthy relationship, had this guy turned out to be the same kind of loser, just in a different package.

he started out looking like he was...but my gut said to stay cuz I thought it was more about age and experience...and THIS TIME I was right...but was not so lucky last couple of times.

as with any addiction, the longer you are away from people that trigger you, the easier it gets....keep putting yourself in the line of temptation (like an alcoholic going into a bar) then the harder it is and th emore of a fight it is.

May 15, 2007
3:01 pm
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soprano2
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I agree. It does get easier. But you need to put the effort into it.

May 15, 2007
3:10 pm
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StronginHim77
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I had to "bottom out" to face the source of my codependency and decide I wanted to change. I will NEVER again look for a man to feel complete. A man is not the answer, simply the answer I have been programmed to seek, since childhood.

I am sure my HP had a hand in helping me find the Truth and the courage to accept it.

May 15, 2007
3:22 pm
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MzKitty
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Thank you everyone.

I guess right now I am needing support more than anything. I truly don’t have anyone to turn to outside of this web site. I guess for a while things seemed to be going good for me, and now have slid back into that rut of gloom mainly because of the confusion that my current relationship has caused me. I can't help but wonder if the problems he and I are having are my fault or if there is something there that I should walk away from. This is why I wonder if it’s going to be a constant battle for me, or if it will get easier.

May 15, 2007
3:31 pm
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StronginHim77
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If you are struggling now and feeling miserable, maybe you should step back for a season and do a little homework to figure out what's wrong?

May 15, 2007
3:36 pm
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MzKitty
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Stronginhim77,

Thanks, I am. I started reading my book "claiming your self esteem" again last night. It did help some.
I guess my worry is that I will end up this emotional basket case everytime something doesn't work out the way I hope it will. I truly don't want to live my life that way. I have freinds that don't have issues with their self esteem, and I wish I could be more like them. I know this is something that I have to work on within myself. I just don't want to be this way the rest of my life. I don't think I can take it if that's the case.

May 15, 2007
4:08 pm
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MzKitty,

I just posted a similar topic last night "how do you know"...regarding the part you mentioned not being sure if it's your fault. I have that SAME problem, so you are not alone. I often feel confusion and feel that I sometimes may be causing the problem.

Maybe we "cause" these problems to test the waters. Maybe it's a way to see if we should stay or go. I'm not sure.

May 15, 2007
4:26 pm
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MzKitty
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At it Again,

I'm sorry to hear that you are going through this too. It is very stressful to be this confused. I guess I'm at the point that I feel like the confusion isn't worth it. I know a number of people have posted to me in here telling me that if it was meant to be it wouldn't be this hard. So I guess right now I am going on that philosophy. I feel like I've done a good job of being open, honest, patient, and understanding with "S", I guess like today he hasn't called me at all today, so it sends me into turmoil. So I'm feeling that in order to get my strength back it might just be best if I let this one go. Then I hurt because I wonder if I'm not being patient enough. The confusion on trying to make a decision is more then I care to handle. I feel sick to my stomach, I can't eat, and constantly feel like crying. The only one thing I can say that is good for me, is that I'm not taking it personal like I usually do. I usually say what could I have done better. Well with this guy, there really isn't anything. I've given him space, time, etc. etc. I'm not asking for marriage, I'm just asking to know where I stand with him, and I guess if he can't even give me that little bit then I am better off w/o him, because the longer I let him toy w/ me, the worse it is for my self-esteem, and I can't afford that.

If you feel like it you are welcome to tell me more about your situation.

May 15, 2007
4:40 pm
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courage to change
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OH MY. FAB QUESTION.

Just thought I would give you my opinion and experience. 🙂

I spent a year or so by myself, and thoroughly enjoyed the time, concentrating on me, focusing on me, and trying to build up my self esteem. At first it was hard. You know I had to "act as if "for a while, and then towards the end of the year, I actually enjoyed all of.

Now the real test started to come. I met someone (a new man), I got scared, feelings would come up about getting too involved. I was frightened I would loose my self esteem. Well do you know what I found. This was the real test, to carry on looking after myself whilst in his company, and trust me in it.

My new man does not give me loads and loads of excitement. He is dependable and ordinary, flat, no drama. Its peaceful. Halleluh, I thought I can still have the same serenity, as I had being single.

But I still work very hard on having my boundaries, and looking after myself when Im with him. i still get scared days, but this time I do things for me, and he is not my whole life. I am still building me up. He is a part of my life, but not everything and you know what it feels very empowering to be hear.

Good luck to you, and keep looking after yourself no matter what. You are the most valuable person in your life. Take care.xxx

May 15, 2007
4:48 pm
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risingfromtheashes
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I second courage's motion.

It does get easier WITH THE RIGHT GUY.

The more you try to pound a square peg into a round hole, the more insane you become.

Why try to fit a guy into a mould, when it doesn't fit...isn't working?

Or make yourself accept something you can't?

If it's not working, then move on to the next one.

When you find the right one, it WILL BE PEACEFUL...and it may freak you out at first...cuz safe often feels boring...but if you can get thru that hurdle...you are home free.

Dating should be fun...this isn't fun.

May 15, 2007
4:55 pm
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MzKitty
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Courage,

I think what you have expressed that you've been through and what you are going through are exactly where I find myself at this time. New guy, etc. etc., however, I'm not sure this guy has my best interest at heart, but then I don't know if he doesn't either. I guess I don't trust myself enough right now, so I will continue to read and work on myself, who knows maybe it will help me see what I need to do about this person in the long run.

May 15, 2007
5:07 pm
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MzKitty
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rising,
I think you're right, I'm at the point that I just don't feel safe with this guy (emotionally). I understand taking things slow, but not to the point that one of us has to sacrafice their needs over. Honestly all I have been looking for is communication from him, and I just don't seem to be getting it, so I guess I need to heed my own feelings, and walk away from this one.

May 15, 2007
5:15 pm
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courage to change
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You know what guys.

Ive just come back from college, and it was a tough class, but I thought to myself, im doing this for me. I m building myself up, so I can become a more interesting person, more intellectual, etc. And move me forward. And when I build me up, my self esteem grows, and I feel good. 🙂 But when I spend too much time building others up, the balance tips,(my self esteem drops) and then I have to focus on me again.

Then I thought the easiest thing in my life would be to find any man, and try building him up, but its much more rewarding to build me up, even though its harder.

I still get the odd moment when I feel my self esteem drop, but Ive got to keep going with this one, the memories of where Ive been i cannot go back to.

I hope that helps.

Very tired now, am off to bed. Busy day tomorrow. Hope its all helped.

Thanks to you all. Your brill. xx

May 15, 2007
5:19 pm
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courage to change
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Oh by the way.

Your intuition is the greatest thing you have. Whatever your gut tells you. Trust you.

May 15, 2007
5:30 pm
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lovemedo
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I was interested to read all these comments. I have self esteem in my work as a teacher but none in myself as a person outside of work. I feel I am a shell and now \I'm on my own again I have no clear identity. Is it possible to really know oneself anyway. If somebody had told me 7 years ago that I would become a co-dependent, being verbally bullied and insecure, being completely obsessive within a relationship to the extent that my physical and emotional well-being was put at risk, I would have laughed and said "no way". Yet here I am. I feel I am nothing without him (he always used to say, you were nothing when I found you!) yet he made me feel worthless sometimes anyway.

May 15, 2007
5:57 pm
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MzKitty
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lovemedo,

I am so sorry! I guess that is one thing, we both need to remember that we are someone without them!

I read what rising said to me in this post (she's been helping me with this situation since last week) and for what ever reason, I've now decided that this guy isn't giving me what I want out of a relationship, so in my mind now I've decided to move on without him, and I am at peace with that idea. By holding on to what MIGHT be I'm not allowing myself to move at all, so I'm sitting here at work feeling better now then I have for quite a few day's. This person isn't capable of giving me what I want in a man, so I need to move on. I am a beautiful woman, I have a great personality, I am fun to be with, and I am one of the most open and honest people that a man could hope to meet, so why should I let this guy not allow me to be who I want to be in a relationship?

You and I sound a lot alike. I find that outside of a relationship I am confident, in a relationship I become that little girl that crave to be loved, and I know now this guy isn't the person to give me that love, that has to come from within me. ~I just hope this moment of courage sticks around for a while~

May 16, 2007
2:19 am
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lovemedo
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Mz I know what you mean. Having the courage to see it through and picking up the pieces of what's left. My daughter is living with me until she returns to uni in September but she is going away for a week tomorrow. Stupid, but I worry about coming home to an empty house. It will make me feel lower still and more vulnerable. You're right about the little girl. Me and my ex often said we were both children. It was fine when we were children together but when he got a bit manic, he became the adult who didn't need a child in his life because he had so many plans to change the world, his life etc. Of course, when the mania stopped, so did the plans and he needed me to pick up the pieces again. Last year when he was making these kind of plans he booked us a romantic holiday to Venice. We were both so excited about going. Then two days before the holiday he rang one day and said "we can do this on the phone or face to face." I asked what he was talking about. He said we had to separate again. We'd had no argument, nothing, just a mood change and that was it. We did go on holiday but separated the day we got back. Madness.

May 16, 2007
3:19 pm
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4harmony
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That IS a good question, and one that worries me from time to time. I believe in my heart that the answer is that you don't have to remain in the addiction. The reason I believe this is because I, like many of the posters here, have not always been this way. At one time, I was so confident and self-assured that it wasn't funny. I felt like I was on top of the world and there was nothing I couldn't do (in a healthy way, not a manic way!). But life and emotional abuse beat me down and nearly destroyed my self-esteem. I am still in a really hard place but I can see improvements in myself. I have times when I even feel like my old self again. I guess I have always had a codependent personality inside of me, but it wasn't overt until someone or something triggered it. This is where I agree with Rising and Courage, that a big part of it is WHO you're with. Some people just seem to trigger those bad emotions that throw us into a downward spiral. Whether they mean to or not, whether they are good people or not, they trigger us. I guess we're better off alone until we find someone who is in sync with us and won't trigger these things. That's where the real work comes in, facing the addiction and not giving in. And then we have to be on the lookout to avoid getting in the wrong relationships. But it seems we have to be able to be happy ALONE first. Seems like a tough fight, but from what I've seen here, it's totally do-able!

May 16, 2007
4:36 pm
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MzKitty
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Risian, lovemedo, & 4harmony:

Ok, I did something last night that I haven't done for a very very very long time! I set a boundary with “S” and stuck to it. Let me explain:

I have always had a hard time ending relationships, because I don’t like to feel like I am quitting on someone, because I know how much it hurts to have someone quite on me. Anyway, after yesterday, and feeling torn because I haven’t felt like things were equal between “S” and I, I finally decided that I needed to end it for me, and set that boundary, I was completely at peace with this decision.

After work I had several errands that I needed to run so I turned off my cell phone because I didn’t want to talk to him until it was convenient for me, so that I could have my thoughts put together. So he called me last night, he asked why I had my phone turned off, I told him that I didn’t think that I needed to answer that question because we weren’t exclusive, and that I never asked him who he was on the phone with or why he doesn’t answer his phone. I then told him that this was going to be a very hard thing for me to do, but I needed to end things between us because he was causing me too much turmoil. Well that started a 2 ½ hour conversation. He finally opened up to me. He told me that he is very much scared of me (as he put it he may be 6’2 and 260 lbs, but he is terrified of me emotionally, and he is a sensitive man), the feelings that he has for me, and doesn’t want things to go to fast for the fear of it all turning out badly. He referred to this as the “Honeymoon phase”. Which in itself is funny because I use the exact same phrase. Anyway, I will make this long story short. We agreed that there needed to be compromise if this was going to continue, he agreed that he needed to give in more to my needs, and I agreed that I would his. Then he asked me to please not give up on him yet….I’ve never had a man ask me that before. I was absolutely breath taken when he said that. Now again I remind you all, this was a 2 ½ hour conversation so there was a lot of communicating going on, but ultimately what made me decide to give this another chance was that we both agreed to compromise and give more to each other. I feel good because he finally opened up to me, in which I thanked him profusely for. I told him that this is all I really needed from him in order to feel better, just his communication. Now the work begins, I admit I am gun shy with this because I've had men say that they are going to do something ie compromise, then not do it. So I'm giving this a chance with an open mind and open heart just to see what he does. Then if thigs don't get better I'll know in my heart that I did what I needed to do for me.

Thank you all so much for your support, I'm still reading my "claiming your self esteem" and I believe had it not been for all of you and my book I wouldn't have found the strength that I needed to set that boundary! So Thank You all!

May 16, 2007
4:43 pm
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risingfromtheashes
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the only way you will KNOW for sure is to try it.

and it will be fairly obvious from the get go, if he is serious or not.

keep ONE thing in mind.

he has agreed to be more open.

sooooooooooooooooooooooooo

don't go trying to pry this openness out of him.

let him prove it, show it, step up to the plate.

I found that in the past, when faced with a guy who made promises and didn't deliver...that I would remind him of his promises....that I would renegotiate if things didn't seem to be working...that I would nag about his agreement.

Either he is going to do it or not.

and you are right about letting your preconceived notions go and open up to the possibilities.

I did that with my current BF...my gut said go for it...I did.

and it was good.

In the past, my gut said DON"T...and I did...and it was bad.

Either he's going to follow thru or he isn't...and it won't take long to figure it out.

Give a person enough rope and they are bound to hang themselves.

The only thing I don't like here is that it took you threatening to leave before he stepped up and agreed to give you what you want.

HOWEVER

I was in the same situation and gave my guy another chance....the first time it failed...and the next guy pulled it off.

So, it's a gamble...if you are willing to take it, go for it.

Just keep your eyes open...don't fall for fantasy or ignore any realities.

May 16, 2007
5:12 pm
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MzKitty
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Rising,
Thank you! I totally agree with everything you had to say. I will be cautious, but with an open heart, if that makes sense.

I do want to respond to what you said about his stepping up only once I threatend him w/ leaving. At first he said "well if that is truly what you need to do. Then said "what am I supposed to say now,Goodbye?" I said yes, that's when he started to open up. He started by telling me that he didn't want to say good bye, that he enjoys being with me, and spending time with me. That's when he threw out there that he is terrified of me, and what he feels for me, and how much it scares him.

Now don't get me wrong I thought the same thing, oh sure now you open up once I say I'm leaving. But for me with the way the conversation flowed I didn't feel that way for long. I truly felt like he was worried about losing me. I just hope I'm not setting myself up for failure. But like I said before, I'll go into this with an open heart but cautious at the same time.

May 16, 2007
5:44 pm
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courage to change
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Ok so now that you have decided what you are going to do with your boyfriend, have you thought of spending just as much energy on building up you now. He has had enough of your emotional thoughts, time to build up your self esteem.

This is my list of what worked for me when I was going through a rough patch with my boyfriends years ago.

Look after your health, with food and water
Look after yourself with exercise
Sleep loads
Spend loads of time around your supportive friends, talking about things that interest you. What you want to do, holidays, pamper time, etc
Everytime you pass a mirror say "I love you" to yoursef
Finally, everytime you think about him, tell yourself its time to build up your own self esteem.
Relax in a bath with candles
Coda meetings.

Just act as if with some of the above and your self esteem with grow slowely. The idea is not to try and focus too much on him. Now replace the energy you have spent on him, onto you.

Good luck xxx

May 16, 2007
6:19 pm
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MzKitty
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courage,

thank you, yes, I actually started reading a book again that I've read 3 x's now "claiming your self esteem". It's a great book, and it is helping me to remember to build myself up, which I truly started to do yesterday. Honestly I know that before reading this book, and some personal growth, I would have never even have had the courage to tell "S" that I couldn't be w/ him anymore. I would have just stuck it out and taken it. But by the time I talked to him last night I was ready to leave, because of the lack of communication. Like Rising said, and I feel, I am only sorry that it took me telling him that I couldn't be with him anymore to get him to open up. But again like Rising said, now he has the chance to prove himself to me, or give himself enough rope to hang himself! ; ) right!

Thanks for your support!

May 16, 2007
6:24 pm
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courage to change
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Well done for communicating with him.

You are doing brilliant.

Just now look after you.

Best wishes xxxx

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