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Codependency - How do you tell someone you have to caretake yourself right now?
October 15, 2006
5:56 pm
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red blonde
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Anyone

Can you help me?

This is the problem: I have a 76 yr old art teacher who has manipulated me into being her caretaker. It started out innocently enough about 2 1/2 yrs ago, helping her out once in a while after class, then she started asking me to help her out 2 days a week. I told her about a 1 1/2 yrs. ago that I had to work on my relationship with my now xso, telling her that I could only do things for her once a week. Then she started to beg me for my help. When I have panic attacks, I don't want to be around any one. I talked to her again, after she had manipulated me into coming over 3 times a week. (And she does not live close to me.)

I am having problems with the a "recycle" of codependency from C/A xso, feel like I am back in stage one...with panic attacks more frequent.

Every time I tell her I can only do this once a week, she whines and makes me feel "bad". I really do love her but this is driving me crazy. I just don't have the time or energy to keep driving there and do not want to answer phone when I see her name and number on caller id. She just will not take NO for an answer and I feel bad because I do not want to lose her as a teacher or a friend. WHAT DO I DO? ANY SUGGESTIONS?

I have got to caretake myself first...I NEED TO, life is in such chaos right now!

RED

October 15, 2006
6:11 pm
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loverbee
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FIrst, if you lose her as a friend because you won't caretake her than you had no friend to begin with. She is manipulating you because she can. If a dog starts to bark and growl and just to get it to shut up you give it a treat every time, is that dog really gonna stop barking and growling? No because it gets a treat when it does. So she is getting a treat by whining because you never follow through with your no's. So you have to follow through and keep at it and if you don't put your foot down, then you are going to end up too tired to take care of her anyway. You need to be at your best in life and that means you come first.

October 15, 2006
6:18 pm
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red blonde
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Loverbee

I guess I will have to seek a new teacher. Sorry to lose her as friend and teacher, but I can not handle caretaking her as much as she WANTS. Got to work on myself. It's terrible that I feel like I can not answer her phone calls, so I leave it on message...and it is always that she wants more MORE. She will not take no for answer..and I am tired of trying to explain...

Is she a C/A as well? It is beginning to sound like that to me!

Thanks, loverbee,

Red

October 15, 2006
7:11 pm
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loverbee
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Yes I would imagine she is and maybe if you are very firm about your no, she may be offended at first but perhaps you may not need to lose her permanantly. Just make sure that you are taking care of yourself. Cause you will be useless to anyone if you aren't at your best and you can only do that if you take care of yourself.

October 15, 2006
7:25 pm
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red blonde
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loverbee

She has other people taking care of her as well, I don't see what the problem is with dividing up what I have been doing between the others!
The newest thing that she has added was my going another 15 miles beyond the 20 that she lives from me, picking up maybe two dozen or more chicken breasts, paying for them (she pays me back and pays for my gas.) washing them and then cooking them on grilling machines which takes about an hour or so..not counting the drive, the shopping, the washing ...just the cooking. Then I clean the grills afterwards, put the grilled chickens either in refrigerator or freezer. To me, right now, I could be working on my codependency issues and my ptsd and panic attacks. Can't seem to get on any schedule per se because she has me coming over there different days and sometimes different hours. It has also reeked havoc on my routines.

I am just going through alot of clutter at the house (sort of Feng Shui-ing the place) since threw xso
out. He was a manipulator C/A as well. NEARLY PUSHED ME OUT OF MY OWN HOME!

Red

October 15, 2006
7:30 pm
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loverbee
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Just out of curiosity, are you paid for all this cause it seems like she is treating you like hired help.

October 15, 2006
7:39 pm
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red blonde
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Loverbee

She pays me for my gas when I drive maybe another 15 miles farther than the 20 she lives from me to pick up the chickens to cook, but other than that..NO.

Red

October 15, 2006
7:42 pm
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red blonde,

Hi! My name is bonita and I am very glad to meet you. I have been in a similar situation as you with a fellow classmate who wanted me to give her rides home every single time our class met. It was out of my way to drop her off and I offered to do it once but she just kept following me to my car every week and I hated myself for caving every time and taking her home. AAaaaargggghhhh!

The trouble is that we are codependent and as codependents we feed off of other people's approval. We want that so badly that we allow them to trample our shaky boundaries. We keep telling them "NO" but these "abusers of friendship" have such a thick skin that they refuse to hear it and they know that if they ignore our "No" we will eventually give in and give them our time.....

We are waiting for them to say it's ok for us not to help them and to still give us their approval. But, that will never happen. Ultimately, it is you and me, that have to say "NO," and walk away. They do not have power over our actions UNLESS we give it to them.

Take back that power, hon. You have always had it. Don't worry about her being offended. Worry about taking care of yourself and keeping her on the other side of that boundary.

~~bonita 🙂

October 15, 2006
7:54 pm
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red blonde
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Bonita

Hi! And I am glad to meet you as well!

You are right, I HAVE TO TAKE MY POWER. I have given too much of it away the past 7 or so years. My xso did it to me as well. First, he moved me out of Master bathroom, then the livingroom, and was in the process of taking over my sunroom, which was the last place he pushed me when he took over the livingroom. If I hadn't thrown him out because of cheating and porn addiction..I think he would have pushed me out of the bedroom and THEN out of my own home!

It has never been easy for me to say : NO. But it is time that I started to say it emphatically now.

Got to start being strong, stronger. Like I used to be! Set boundaries again and I will have to learn about that all over again.

I have been trying to make a schedule and have a routine, but this caretaking of her has messed my schedule or routine all up!

Red

October 15, 2006
8:47 pm
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red,

I feel your pain!! My ex cheated, he was a porn addict & he sexually abused our first-born daughter. Not only this but we were sleeping in seperate bedrooms and he took all of my stuff out of the master bathroom and stuck them in the garage!!! The nerve!!

Well, I made up my mind that I was not going to be the one to leave the house. Always, always, I had been the one to up and leave. But, not this time. I decided that I was going to keep my house for me and for a safe place to raise my children.

I got a good lawyer who got a court order throwing him out of the house. It's going to be six years since he was kicked out of the house and I filed for divorce. It's been four years since the divorce was final.

It's taken me this long to get back to myself and remember how I used to be strong and sure of what I wanted. Its taken this long to be assertive and not let go of my boundaries. It's not something that comes easily for me. But, I have help in my therapist, even when I don't always keep those boundaries up the way I should. (heavy sigh!)

I feel sure that you are going to be O.K. You are not going to feel guilty when you go into "broken record" mode and keep repeating to your art teacher, "I'm sorry, it's not convenient for me to do that at this time." Keep saying that over and over to her and politely say goodbye, you have an appointment to keep. Remember that appointment is with your schedule!! LOL

~~bonita

October 16, 2006
1:42 pm
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Bonita,

I am just panicking a bit. I just recently realized that xso was a C/A.
And since I started reading Ladeska's thread about becoming prey to a C/A, I have looked at my other "relationships", and it was quite a shock to me.

I think your xh should have been thrown in jail for doing that to your first born daughter!

You are right...I have to caretake myself first! Trying to, way out of practice, and keep slipping back into the "little girl" mode, I guess.

Red

October 16, 2006
2:38 pm
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red blonde
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Bonita! Everyone!

Damn it! I CAVED! She called and I was trying to tell her that I am having panic attacks and have to caretake myself and she whined and told me she had to have Misha (20 year old cat) put down this morning.
She wants me to come in the morning for art class and then to cook chickens for her!

I am just not strong enough yet!

I am so angry with myself! Still shaking like a leaf!

I am trying to set up a website for my art and am having trouble doing so because my confidence is shattered! Plus, I have so much more I have to do, trying to do.

So I am going over there tomorrow morning.

Red

October 16, 2006
3:03 pm
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StronginHim77
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Red -

Call her and cancel.

You don't owe her an explanation. She is using you. If she cared about YOU, she would "hear" what you are saying to her about your panic attacks, etc. and she would not want to put any additional strain on you at this time. She is just another cold-blooded user who is taking advantage of you.

CANCEL. You don't need her good opinion because she does NOT love you.

- Strong

October 16, 2006
3:15 pm
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red blonde
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Stong -

I know you are right. I have been telling her for about a year and a half now that I can not handle this anymore..but I haven't had the inner
strength to carry through right now.
Am trying desperately to build up my self-confidence, self-worth etc. And then she makes me feel sorry for her and me being the way I am right now,
I caved everytime. Why is it so hard to get out of a C/A's grasp? Are we addicted to the poison like Ladeska implicated?

I am just so angry right now and also shaky...somewhat afraid.

I am angry because I realized that I am Prey and codependent again!

Red

October 16, 2006
3:29 pm
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caraway
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Red,

You have options here. Walk away from this situation and don't look back. All of the feelings that you are describing really are just the result of being taken advantage of. I think that one of the most difficult things for us to do is to take care of ourselves and not feel guilty about it.

This woman clearly has no boundaries or respect for your needs and feelings.

Stop answering her calls, find a new teacher, and let it go.

Cary

October 16, 2006
3:36 pm
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red blonde
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Cary,

Just realizing I have others control me or run my life is scary for me right now. I knew about physical/sexual abusers and went through therapy because of that. What I didn't realize is that are alot of C/As out there...never entered my mind and my P/S/A red flags never went off!

I feel so STUPID! I am going to get Codependency No More and read that first...just bought Beyond Codependency and not sure if that will help me right now. I am not sure I ever learned to set boundaries with any other kind of abuser like C/As. NEED TO LEARN!

Red

October 16, 2006
3:44 pm
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red blonde
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Cary,

I have to go and do something outside of the house. When I get panicky I have a tendency to be reclusive or agoraphobic. I have to force myself to go out.

I will post back in a little while.

Thanks for being there for me, I needed you input and support that I am not the "BAD" one.

Just don't know how to think straight right now..I guess it is the circular thinking of panic.

Red

October 16, 2006
4:10 pm
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(((RED)))

Cary

October 16, 2006
4:14 pm
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atalose
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Red,
Take strongs advice and cancel for tomorrow. I agree with her, if this person cared, she would hear what you are saying. And since she is not hearing what you are saying, you need to stop saying it and show her with your actions that you are serious about your own needs. She sounds very selfish and also seems to have others who can do things for her.
Make your actions speak louder then your words.

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

October 16, 2006
6:48 pm
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red blonde
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Thank you Cary for the hug

And thank you Atalose for you suggestions.

I will cancel. I will not listen to her whining...It is a "hook" that always snags me and pulls me in.

Feel much calmer now. And maybe a wee bit stronger. HOPE I do not cave in again.

((((((((CARY))))))))
((((((((atalose))))))))

Red

October 16, 2006
7:07 pm
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StronginHim77
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Red -

We do NOT have to meet all the needs and demands of those around us, in order to know we are GOOD people with character and value. It is okay to say "No" when we are overloaded, sick, ill, tired or just plain need a break.

To push ourselves to the point where we are nursing inner anger and resentment is unhealthy.

Just say "No." No explanations are EVER needed.

You can even end it with "...but thank you for inviting me."

= Strong

October 16, 2006
7:24 pm
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Thanks, Strong!

You always have the right thing to say!

I would like to be of help to others on the site...hope that I am in some way.

Just have had to much to work on, too much to do. And sometimes I think I am just wallowing in self- pity.

I used to be strong...REALLY STRONG. But let down barriers and became vulnerable.

Some day I will have to tell you all that I have been through in my life. You would be amazed. Right now I just feel old and weak. AND STUPID!

Red

October 16, 2006
8:23 pm
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It sounds as if you do want to end a relationship of co-dependency. One of the signs is an inability to say "No".

A teacher of mine told me that sometimes saying "No" to someone was really a "Yes" vote for me. What do you think?

Ending any relationship, especially when someone is needy and demanding sounds like classic co-dependency. So start saying "No".

Do an online search in your area for different Senior Support Services and give your teacher the numbers or call them yourself and line up, cleaning services, shopping, driving to appointments, friendly visitors, picking up perscriptions, and perhaps someone dropping by from your church, or any faith group she was involved with. Just some suggestions. And take care of yourself first or you have little for anyone else but resentment and feeling used.

October 17, 2006
10:00 am
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red blonde
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Littlespirit,

I did it! I cancelled! She started to whine, but I stuck to my "NO". Then she tried to have me come in on Friday instead. I said "NO! That I didn't want to do that."

I feel good about saying no, but I still feel "bad" about "letting her down". Didn't sleep a wink last night. It is really terrible that we feel obligated to or responsible for abusers when they were the ones who have sexually, physically, mentally, and emotionally abused us.

I read the thread: How you become Prey to a charmer/abuser, over and over. I have to stop being so co dependent!

Suddenly, I am very tired.

Thanks everyone. I almost caved, could feel myself doing that but held my ground.

red

October 17, 2006
10:06 am
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You know, I can feel my muscles in between my shoulder blades are starting to relax, when before they were just burning. Maybe some of the stress I have been under is lifting or maybe I was just relieved of the weight of her? Got to dig some of my OLD codependency books out and read over again.

Red

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