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Codependency Question
July 26, 2007
10:31 am
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akensi
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I have just recently found the concept of codependency and I do believe that this describes me and they way that I feel and act. I believe that the codependency comes from my childhood and my verabally and emotionally abusive ex husband.

I have remarried and my husband is a wonderful and supportive man. I still do a lot of the codependency things and have a lot of the codependency feelings. I have told him some things that I feel and tried to explain why I act they way I do, but learning about codependency I feel I have hope for the first time that I don't HAVE to feel the way I do and act the way I do.

What I was wondering is if it is ok or advisable to share with him some of the feelings I have in terms of my control over situation and people and my need to control. They way I anticipate (always bad) what might happen and my anxiety over weekends when we have kids. I have 2 kids and he has 1 son. Obviously being codependent I am scared to death of him leaving me or feeling that I am so "broken" I am not worth his time.

Has any one shared with a new partner their feelings and actions of codependency?

July 26, 2007
10:35 am
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_anonymous
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I think that sharing your feelings with your husband is healthy. My question is after you talk to him about your feelings does it make you feel, better, worse or the same? Some of your issues could best be resolved in women support groups that are usually offered for free. Remember your husband is not your therapist. He may be limited in what he can or cannot do to help you out.

July 26, 2007
1:10 pm
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akensi
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My reason for wanting to share with him is because I do caretake with him and I do have emotional dependency on him. My happiness, sadness ect deponds on how he feels. I go to bed and decided when to eat depending on him. If he doesn't call me when I think he should have I am a mess. If he is upset with me it's like my world has ended.

As I work on all of codependency issues I can see that I will be changing how and why I do things. I thought he might be surprised and wonder what is going on if I change my ways and not explain why.

What do you think? And thanks!

July 26, 2007
3:14 pm
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fantas
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Akensi, I would say that it might be better for you to learn a little more about codependency, do some work on yourself before sharing everything with him. The women's group or a therapist might be a better option for now. Of course you can tell him what you are doing and what you are learning but he might not know how to support you if you share with him all your anxieties at once. Keep us posted.

July 26, 2007
3:54 pm
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risingfromtheashes
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akensi.....

partners usually react in one of two ways....maybe more, but here's the two general ones.

Either he is going to be supportive and embrace the changes and be happy that you aren't going stircrazy every time he doens't come home on time or call when you think he should...which makes him crazy.

or

He is going to be unhappy with the changes because he ENJOYS you caretaking him and making your world revolve around him.

If it's the second one, he is going to do everything in his power NOT to have the dynamics of the relationship change, cuz he likes the way you take care of him. And he is going to try and keep things the way they were, in any way he can. This may be overt or covert...depending no what he thinks it will take.

if he is a kind, supportive partner - your crazy behaviour may drive him nuts and he may welcome the change.

my experience was NOT a good one - in that once I shared my issues - I became the "crazy one", the one that needed counseling, the one who caused all the problems, the one to blame for the failure of the relationship.

He would look at me and tell me everything was ok, that it was ok that I was feeling like I did...but then turn around and blame me, or call me the crazy one, or ask me if I took my meds, or advise me to see my shrink again. In subtle ways, in "nice" ways...but nonetheless, his actions spoke volumes...he used it to twist things around and make them NOT his fault on anything.

So, perhaps you should get some counseling first...and then include him once you know what direction things are heading.

July 26, 2007
4:38 pm
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Mbroglio
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Akensi . . .

Congratulations! You are embarking on a journey from irrational to rational thinking, from anxiety to self-confidence. Professional guidance would we a great help, if you can manage it.

Why would you not want your "wonderful and supportive" husband to be aware, to accompany you on your journey?

If the answer is (and it is the only answer posted so far) that you are "scared to death of him leaving me", then here is your first big step toward rational thinking.

Changing your thinking from irrational to rational will significantly improve the quality of your life together. Wouldn't it be better to have him along on this journey to the light? Do you imagine that he prefers you as you are, rather than happier, more confident, more flexible, and more secure in your thinking?

I suggest that this journey should provide an opportunity to develop real intimacy in your relationship with your husband.

If you desire further outside support, a women's group won't hurt. Try to find one that has a trained professional as a guide.

Good luck on your journey!

-----MBroglio

July 27, 2007
8:39 am
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akensi
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Thank you all for your responses. I agree with you MBroglio. This is the first time that I felt that there is hope to not feel so dependent on him and to not feel the anxiety that I do, especially every other weekend when we have our kids. I did talk with him last night and he was very supportive. I wanted him to know that I am working on this and that means that I need to look inside myself for approval and not to him for approval. That I needed to take the time to work on myslef and not stress over dinner and will everyone be happy with it. I worry so much about what others think of me and what they think of the kind of person I am. I need to be ok with me not them!

I am glad that I let him know that if I act strange or different it's because I'm trying to figure out why I do what I do and how I can react to things differently!

Thanks again. Amy

July 27, 2007
9:34 am
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SadMike
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Hi Akensi,

It's good to hear(read) that you're trying new things to rid yourself of the codependency. I remember when I first discovered the concept and tried to learn and understand about it myself. I've had a difficult road to hoe, but I've come a long way since I started.

I'm stil have aspects of it (but then again some degree of codependency is normal and healthy, I believe), but I'm so much better than I used to be. I have set-backs sometimes, but overall I'm much healthier emotionally than I have ever been in my life prior. It has taken quite a long time and work for me to get to the place where I don't "feel" badly when I can't "control" (for I never could anyway) somone else's feelings or emotions or be happy or sad when someone else is happy or sad.

The positive side effects of your changes will be more peace and serenity with your life and situation. You will learn to be "alone" without worrying about what those "others" to which you have bound your feelings are doing or not doing. You will learn to be happy with what you have and with your husband and with your life. You will not feel so "crazy" all the time. You will learn it's ok not to stress over details and that life is most definitely a journey not the destination. You will learn everyone needs time time alone and it's quite healthy for that to happen, even with you.

If you have not already gotten the book, you should invest in Melody Beattie's book "Codependent No More." The book is a treatise on one woman's struggle with this most devastating of mental conditions; it's an excellent book worth reading.

There's a new song out by a group called "The Frey" titled - "All At Once." One of the phrases in the song says "...sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same..." This is a trueism. Overcoming this detrimental condition is hard, but it is right thing to do.

July 27, 2007
10:25 am
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akensi
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sadmike thank you for your reply. I can't believe how true you are speaking of my life and my issues. It just says again that I am not the only one that suffers from these feelings.

How long have you been healing from codependency? I am just starting and yes I have that book and I purchased a few others of her books on codependency. I am half way through the book and it is the first time I have felt that it might be possible to feel better.

My biggest hurdle is watching the relationship between my husband and his son. Although my head knows it's healthy for them to be together and be alone my codependency rages at those times. I always feel like I'm missing something or like they are talking about me or like I am being excluded. Almost like my husband doesn't love me as much if he's with his son and not me.

Sounds strange to say but so true of my feelings. Does that sound like codependency? Have you experienced anything like that? If so what did you do to help yourself not feel that way or get over those feelings?

Thanks again for sharing your story. It is so nice to hear someone say that it has gotten better. I really do want that more than anything!

July 27, 2007
10:37 am
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risingfromtheashes
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I'm not sad mike, but no, those feelings regarding your husband and his son are not codep. but more low self esteem and insecurity.

You feel he prefers his son over you and that they talk about you behind your back - that is insecurity talking and not feeling good about you and assuming it's about you, when it's probably not.

These things tend to have started in childhood - perhaps you were a child that was picked on in school, or not part of the in crowd or something...perhaps you had parents that didn't help you feel good about yourself, didn't teach you to believe in yourself...perhaps your parents were abusive and made you feel bad...or perhaps your parents neglected you in a physical or mental or emotional way.

somewhere along the line, you came to believe that you were not worthy in some way...and that's why you feel worried about your husband choosing to spend time with his son, or worried they are talking about you.

maybe they ARE talking about you? BUT IT'S GOOD STUFF???!!!

July 27, 2007
11:05 am
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SadMike
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I agree with rising about the insecurity; but it helps breed codependency. Since you are insecure, regardless of what you attribute the insecurity, it manifests itself and you feel like you're not a whole person and the world (your world) is wrong somehow.

It took me a long time to just state outright that my parents (mother mostly) abused me both physically and mentally and I believe this is what led to my codependency. It's not that my parents are evil people, but what they did was wrong.
I was fortunate enough to never pick up some of the vile habits that others pick up like drugs, alcohol, porn or other varieties of vices as a result of abuse.
I ended up marrying someone that was not my "equal" although I continually told myself she was. She herself was desperately codependent and desiring of what she never had in life - a father. And being the ultra responsible person that I was "taught" to be through my mother, it was the "perfect" match for us. We had a symbiotic relationship instead of a husband and wife relationship.

I first started understanding all this the first time she left me for someone else. I realize you might be saying "the first time?" Yes, she left me once and then again for good. But I took her back. Now, that wasn't insecurity, but codependency straight and simple. I was dependent on her for my "feelings" and for my happiness and it wasn't getting me anywhere. When she got tired of "dad" she decided to find someone else with whom she could have a relationship. It was then that I began to investigate this idea called codependency.

I discovered that that was the reason I took her back; that I didn't kick her out for her infidelity; that I didn't get angry for the right reasons; that I didn't have enough self-respect to realize that I didn't need her for my happiness or success; that I need someone to love me for me not someone to "love" me because of what I can do; that I did things in the name of "love" that had nothing to do with love but with controlling her so that I might "feel" good. It's taken me a while to be able to say these things and realize my own sin.

I grew up with many brothers and sisters (eight to be exact) and being the oldest and with my mother's rages and my father's absence (work) it was my job (and my sister) to care for the rest of my siblings. It was there I learned the caretaking aspect of codependency and that I must take care of everything and control everything in order to "feel" good. And yes, I still struggle with those feelings and have a hard time with it some days, but knowing is really half the battle.

If you're truly introspective and really dig deep within and just learn to let yourself feel "bad" for a time, feel the anxiety, feel the pain of "not knowing" and "not controlling" but then do something else, you will get better.

I myself have suffered (and still do) the notion that I'm not worthy of love (for even writing this now makes me feel strange) and that no one really would care for me. I know this to be patently false; nevertheless, the feeling is there; but oh my, the feeling has diminished so much from what it used to be.

You must eventually, however, put the codependency behind you and live your life. You cannot continually dwell on it if you hope to succeed. Eventually, I put the books away and I stopped reading about it and studying it. I decided to live in the way I needed to live. I'm more of a homebody and I don't do much socially, but then that's me. So, I decided to not read about this stuff anymore for a while (although it was a long time before that came about). You will need to do the same; you will need to test the waters yourself and realize that you are more than capable of taking care of yourself irrespective of the thoughts, feelings and actions of your husband or anyone else.

All will come into place and life will be good. You just have to learn (and learn is the right word) to take each day as it comes.

I promise. 🙂

July 27, 2007
11:29 am
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akensi
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Thank you both for your responses. sadmike you seem to have come a long way and you should be very proud of the advances you have made. It is really inspiring to hear someone come all that way.

I also think that my codependency (and insecurities) come from my childhood. Yes, I was picked on as a kid and not included by other kids. I was made fun of for the clothes my parents could afford.

My mom worked nights (RN) and my dad was verbally and emotionally abusive. I was made to take care of him in a lot of ways and I think that's where it started. Then I married my first husband who was verbally and mentally abusive and that took a lot from me.

I will work on all of these things and I will let myself feel the pain and the emotions. Maybe I will just remove myself from the situation and have a good cry about it before returning to the family with a clearer head.

Thank you again for all of your support and wonderful words!

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