September 24, 2010
Holy cow! I just discovered that I am codependent. Isn't the internet a wonderful thing.
At just over 40, I have had three big relationships in my life. The first was my only official marriage. I was married to my ex for almost 3 years and we had two beautiful sons. The second lasted 8 years... a live-in girlfriend who was employed in the same industry as me. The third one ended a little over a month ago and lasted for 3 years.
In each one I became more and more codependent. I my first, I married a beautiful 19 year old who was 7 years younger. I guess even though I was successful, I felt a bit lucky to have her. Though she never told me during the marriange, she was molested as a child. I found out later after we divorced.
The second was again a younger woman who was 4 years younger than me. She never made me feel inferior- but she was beautiful too and I sometimes did. She too, was molested by a family member as a child.
My third relationship was with someone who- as you might imagine- was beautiful. She was NOT molested as a child, however, she had serious anger problems. Anger problems I decided to fix instead of running away. She always made me feel inferior in any argument- but would praise me out side of the arguments. She would always tell me how she "told someone today about me and how great I am." I took that for actually personal praise and it was good enough for me.
When I married my wife (#1) I was the happiest man in the world. I was confident and full of zeal.
Things went downhill when she was pregnant with my first child. We had a fight and she went home to mom's for three months. I remember her pleading with her to come home and that I loved her and needed her. I cried like a baby. Her response to me was to tell me that she was sickened by my display and would often hang up on me. She came with her family to get her stuff and was with another guy. She never gave me any glimmer of hope that we had a future together.
Then suddenly, she "gave in" and decided to come home. I gladly welcomed her back.
However, I never really forgave her, Then as she was pregnant with my second child and things started to resemble what they were before, I broke it off with her and immediately began dating a girl who worked for me.
She pleaded with me a few times, but my pride and new relationship would not give in. I guess I quit trusting her after she made her first mistake. I feel like a real jerk, because it is always possible that she could have had some hormone problem during her pregnancy that made her act the way she did. However, I also have given much thought to the fact that maybe I am a jerk who cannot tolerate the normal moodiness of a real woman. However, the truth is the truth and we divorced.
I pay all my child support and bring my kids home every other weekend. They are preteens now and she is on her third husband.
I have never forgiven myself for the way I acted in my marriage. The fact that I carelessly threw away two beautiful kids and no longer feel deserving to be their dad. The fact that I may have hurt their mother in a way I never should have. The fact that I hate that side of my life carried immediately into my second relationship- which began immediately as I left my ex-wife and kids.
That one lasted for 8 years. Part of that I think was fueled by the need to prove that I didn't throw away everything for nothing. My ex-wife was married within a year of our official divorce and I had to make sure that she and my kids knew I was not a horrible man.
That eventually, dwindled into a friendship. No, maybe it became more than that- but it was never really right due to the amount of guilt I had when it started.
She had lots of typical problems anyone has. She was also younger. being the rescuing personality I am and the fact that I started as her boss, I was the default
leader" of the relationship. This was the opposite of the marriage I broke up to get into this and I thought it would be right. However, I soon discovered I couldn't lead all the time. She wanted me to. There were times where I didn't have th enrgy or willpower to get it done. She ws never willing to step up and I felt that I had to.
She went for a visit to her mom's one day and never came home.
Within a month, I was looking for her replacement. Not a few one night stands and notches on my belt- but looking for a new "wife." Five months later I met #3.
She was much different than 1 & 2. While I never thought she was anything but an "angel down deep inside," she had serious anger an communication issues. Whenever she was asked a difficult question, she would get very defensive and avoid the issue. Stupid me would let her get away with it and a pattern was born. Later as I insisted she communicate her points on whatever issue, she would become very angry. Name calling and lashing out were all time favorites. I even got her to hit me and/or throw things at me a few times. She was an expert at planting guilt in me- about nearly any subject and I was powerless to resist. She showed many many signs of not trusting me early on and I ignored them. She was beautiful and I was willing to accept anything she could throw to avoid proving I was the monster I thought I was from my actions at the end of my marriage. She was also very sexy and could have any man she wanted- I needed her more than she needed me and I acted like it.
She went to college- I did her homework. She had lots of cills, I paid em all. She had a hard day, I rubbed her feet.
yet, she was always stressed out. Even the most minute issue would be a mountain to her. Mr. rescuer, always being at the ready, was a very busy guy. While her stress waned on my head- causing to debate my worth, all I did wa to tirelessly pick up the slack by working even harder. There were many times where she would criticize my whole family- even my kids- and I always took her back.
Then, after hours and hours of countless fights about nothing, with me totally working solely to create harmony and an environment of love, she dumped me. Though we had often talked in fights about how we may not be capatable- me often leading the debate- she made the decision in April that we would break up. being my codependent rescuing superhero self- I continued to live in the house for more than a month, payng her bills and keeping her afloat. She was very good running my guilt to extreme levels. I eventually packed the truck on June 9th.
Now I find myself already looking for my next relationship. The thought of being alone, for even a year, is one I can't bear. At the same time, I am communicating with my ex-girlfriend trying to get her to love me again. I am in a state where I will fall in love with any pretty girl who agrees to let me love them. I am accepting of any fault they might have. All they have to do is to tell me they love me- whether or not they really do & whether or not they meet my needs.
I fantasize that I might find someone who is just like me- who will love with all of their soul and resue me at every turn. But I also seriously doubt I could find anyone like that. Accepting that probability makes me very depressed and self hating.
Yet it doesn't slow down my search for a new "wife."
As a moderately sane person, I know:
Being on the rebound is not a good time to find the love of your life.
Needing someone in my life so much is not healthy.
Falling in love with every woman I who will accept is not healthy either.
My recent ex-girlfriend suggested as I was telling her how much pain I was feeling that I write down my feelings. Incidentally, I have told her to do that a million times about whatever drama she had. I have even done it myself & know it can help.
I did that in an email to her tonight- however, after I wrote it out, I deleted it and did not send it.
Yet, I still needed a way to recognize the real problem. The one that keeps me asking "what the hell's wrong with me?!"
I need a pretty woman to live in my house.
I need to be the guy who fixes all her problems.
I need for her to praise me and recognize my worth.
If any woman shows me any kind of attention, I go a few steps beyond interest and proceed to fall in love with her.
I need to be saved.
Am I codependent? Certainly seems so. Am I messed up? Probably.
I have so many physical things about myself I can hate as well. Not particularly attractive, balding and with a moderate form of erectile dysfunction... the list could go on. I feel like any woman who could love me would be a woman I should love. Not like I get opportunities every day.
And now I am lonely, my birthday is a few days away and my kids are here with me during our yearly July visit (all month). I am an emotional wreck.
I just wish that my codependense could work in the right situation. I value myself when I do good things for those I love. I want to over-perform for the one I love. I always want to feel like I am important. But because I undervalue who and what I am, I will always overcompensate. I have to offer her something, right?
Not sure if there is a sex affinity for codependency. Seems like I always heard that most women have such low self-esteems. That alone is enough to add a reson for me to hate myself. I feel like I am acting like a women. My manly pride wonder what kind of wussy I am.
So here I am, at it again. Looking for my next 3-8 year partner.... wishing it would be paradise. Wishing it would start tomorrow. Sure, I wish I could perform like a swingle single guy and move through the ranks of women with ease and no commitment- however, the talk of doing so is so foreign to me. I have no comprehension of seeing a woman as anything but a life mate. Even the ones who other guys have free, easy sex with.
I have problems, no doubt. What I can do about them starts with writing this letter. If you read this thing, you are a remarkable person who may have some of the same problems I do. Maybe there should be a codependence dating site?
Thank you for letting me get that of my chest. Now I can go to sleep tonight.
September 29, 2010
Hi allman ~ Thank you for sharing your story. I don't "specialize" in codependency but from what I learnt on this site you show many signs of codependency and as you've said acknowledging the problem is the first step on the way to healing. If you really want a succesful relationship asap, start you journey to emotional and mental well being today - and it is a hard work.
What I can certainly relate to in your story - is your low self-esteem. I also in the past got involved quite quickly with men who showed an interest in me without being discriminate the way I should; I didn't feel that I deserve anybody who represented at least as much as I did, and I thought that I should deeply appreciate whatever or whomever shows on my path, because if I won't, even this will be taken away from me, because I don't deserve it in the first place. I guess you will have to venture in your past, perhaps your childhood to figure out where this low self-esteem comes from.
What really touched my nerve though were your words: "Seems like I always heard that most women have such low self-esteems. That alone is enough to add a reson for me to hate myself. I feel like I am acting like a women. My manly pride wonder what kind of wussy I am." First of all, that's not true that mostly women suffer from low self-esteem; women just talk about it more. I am dating myself again, and I met tonnes of insecure, frightened and/or codependent men. Moreover, there is nothing wrong with being a woman. Women are not inferior to men. "Femininity" is not inferior to "masculinity". Femininity and masculinity are social construct perceived as opposing each other, while I believe that that we all, men and women fit within a spectrum, not in the boxes on the opposite sides. Personally I take a "wussy" man anytime over macho; not to control him, but to have more in common with him.
Uhmm... how to tell you: most of the posters here are women, and are in general brilliant, loving and very supportive bunch, and you can benefit tremendously from posting and reading here. I leave the conclusion to draw for you by yourself.
Good luck with your journey!
September 29, 2010
September 30, 2010
HI ALLMAN...and welcome to this wonderful site.
From what you stated, yep, you sound codependent.
Funny about how you mentioned the "codependent dating site"...wow, lots of people could be in it!
Writing all you wrote is a first step, and reading books too helps, some good ones are "Codependent No more" by Melody Beattie.
And joing local Coda groups helps too....logon to: http://WWW.CODA.ORG
I myself am a lil' over 40 BUT never been married, no kids...but many bad coda relationships...heck i was engaged 2x and most likely would be divorced now if the marriages went thru.
I think i used to pick men, just to "have a man" by my side...I "needed" a man, i felt incomplete without one, and i didn't care how bad he treated me...i even
did the rescue thing, finding THEM JOBS, PAYING THEIR BILLS...ETC...DEEP down I was too afraid to hurt them by breaking up with them, so i'd rather just be miserable on the inside than hurt the guys feelings. And yes, i replaced them like batteries....broke up and a week or two later had a new bf...and cheating in between...ahhhhh if I could have just learned the right ways to pick and choose a relationship.
Allman, know you are not alone & keep posting...it helps so much!!!
September 27, 2010
I'm new here, so I am looking for information about codependency.
I think I remember reading that there was much resistence in the 1990s to formalizing the diagnosis "codependency" because it became a dumping ground for all sorts of miscellaneous problems. All, or most, of these miscellaneous problems fit nicely into well-established diagnoses (in the DSM). The objection came down to "Why establish a new rubric for well-recognized problems?"
Allman may have some troubling symptoms, but I think that it is too facile to agree that his problem is codependency. I think he should get some professional help to get a diagnosis and to begin sorting things out.
Which raises the question, What is the definition of codependency? What are the symptoms?
My brief search of the Internet (which led me here) did not turn up a DSM-type set of symptoms. I'd be interested to learn how a codependency diagnosis is made these days. Is it a self-diagnosis?
It might help Allman, and it certainly would help me, to hear how some of you came by your diagnosis.
September 27, 2010
From one co dependant to another... You really can be by yourself and really that is what I think you should do. Its was I have to do too. When I was first alone I thought how can I do this, I can't do this alone and now its 7 1/2 months later and I CAN and I HAVE! Honestly when you put your mind to it one can do anything. I look back at the person I was and I don't really like that person. I look back at my marriage and I don't like what happened. Sometimes we have to go through hard things in order to learn what we have to do for ourselves.
September 29, 2010
Mbroglio ~ There was a book study "Codependent No More" on Liberation Brew Threads - go to search and print "codependent", and you will see the threads. There is a lot of info there and you can diagnose yourself - or not (I didn't).
I absolutely agree, "codependency" is often used in nondiscriminatory way, but on the other hand codependency actually does exists, and if you will go through the list of "symptoms" you will know where you are. It is a dumping ground not only for "all sorts of miscellaneous problems" but frequently also mistaken for human kindness and acts of love.
September 29, 2010
September 29, 2010
As I was reading your post, I was actually starting to get more surprised/frightened on how much alike you and me are.
I am half or your age, will be 20 within 11 days, and yet personality wise I can say that me and you are 95% alike. Well at least from what you have described.
I found this site after getting horribly hurt by my ex-girlfriend. I got treated like trash by her and yet I kept giving her more and more of myself in an attempt to make her realize that I am worth more than what she thinks. Your #3 girlfriend sounds like a mirror copy of my ex-girlfriend.
I honestly have no wise advice to give, with my young age most of the time I try to read other people's topics and gain experience and advice from them. All I can say is stick around here and communicate with others on this board as much as possible. It's a great place to get to know who you are and get positive feed back and helpful thoughts. Without this board I would have probably gone back to my ex-girlfriend and would have allow her to toy with me, my emotions and my life.
September 27, 2010
Thanks, Matteo, for the suggestion to look at the other forum. I did read a number of the threads.
It appears that "codependency" is no better defined today than it was in 1992 when I first read Melody Beattie's CODEPENDENT NO MORE.
It sounds like Beattie's book has become the "bible" for understanding all sorts of problems. I saw no other "authority" referenced on any of the threads. That's disappointing after all this time.
It seems that "codependency" remains a vague compilation of numerous-often contradictory-possible symptoms. I suppose it is that vagueness that keeps codependency a "pop-psych" ailment.
Having said that, I do agree with you, Matteo, that there is something to codependency -- a kernel of real trouble for some (mostly) women. I'd like to find a narrower definition, perhaps call it something else.
I think that true codependent behavior will not be confused with "human kindness and acts of love" by anyone other than a casual observer (and by the afflicted party, of course).
Codependency involves neurotic behavior, devices which allow us to interact with the world without actually confronting unpleasant realities. People notice neurotic behavior; they don't like it and may recoil from it.
Help me define that kernel of troublesome behavior.
September 29, 2010
Mbroglio ~ I have to admit that I never heard about codependency untill I came to this site, so I missed all the debates you are talking about. Over time I learnt to recognize codependent behaviour just from reading the posts here.
There is much more than just a kernel to it, and I have to disagree once more that codependency is gender specific. I doubt there are any statistics in regards with gender and codependency, but I can assure you that there are many hopelessly codependent men, in deep denial. Women though are more often conditioned to become codependents, due to their gender roles of caretakers.
"I think that true codependent behavior will not be confused with "human kindness and acts of love" by anyone other than a casual observer (and by the afflicted party, of course)." Well, actually not, I saw it happening from a highly intelligent person who was years in therapy, so that would hardly be a casual observer. I guess the definition is way too vague for many.
I'm not sure what are the contradictory symptoms you are talking about; in my understanding the symptoms listed by Beattie are pretty straightforward. However, as I said earlier I am on this board for a very different reason, but I am sure that there are many posters who would be able to discuss true codependency much more in depth that I am able to.
September 30, 2010
The funny thing about your description of your last relationship, it sounds exactly how me ex would describe his view of our relationship.
But as they say, there's two sides to every story. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying your ex wasn't as you've depicted. I'm just saying that when a relationship ends, we tend to forget some on the fuel we added to the fire.
I know that I was a real handfull for my ex at times. He admits that he had "a part in what happened". I honestly don't think he has taken a step back to look at the whole picture. He even said he feels that I don't love him.... and never really did. That is what hurts me the most. Probably because I would do anything for him......but most things I did went unnoticed. I loved him to the point that the things I wanted had to wait. I cut my personal time, changed a lot of my routine. But I always felt I had not done enough. It finally got to the point were I didn't know who I was or what I wanted. That's when I started to shut down. Why try anymore? It would never be enough anyway.
The resentment inside me began to build as my needs continued to be ignored. I don't think I asked for too much. But that's my side of the story. Maybe it was too much to ask... maybe.
I'm sorry that I feel my man should deal with the car maintenance.....
And I'm sorry I want to rearrange the furniture....and need him to help....
I'm sorry that I get stessed out when I don't get the laundry done.....
or have the house just right when he comes through the door......
I have to post more later..........need to cry right now
September 29, 2010
one thing that struck a cord with me about your post was the fact that you repeatedly say that you are particularly drawn to beautiful women. perhaps they sensed this and figured your love was shallow and that was one of the reasons it was easy to walk all over you. It's easier to use someone when you yourself feel you are being used. I was in a relationship similar to yours where I was the beautfiful one who never had to lift a finger but I knew he was only with me because of how I looked and because he didn't want to be alone. not because he loved me.
September 30, 2010
allman, you're on your way: you can name your behaviors and feelings that you've determined for yourself need work. Good luck. You're where it took me years to get. Happy birthday!
M broglio, you've seen that in the literature and casual conversation as you say, '"codependency" remains a vague compilation of numerous-often contradictory-possible symptoms.'
True, but that's true of many strictly physical medical problems, as well, that require correct diagnosis before treatment can begin. Especially problems inside the body, that are not obvious, like a broken leg. What docs do with physical problems that need a fine-tuned diagnosis is look for a match with *some* of the most frequently reported symptoms.
What you'll get on this discussion board is discussion of symptoms and problemsolving about them, not what the professional definition of codependency is
I think there are some frequently-reported symptoms of codependency; that would be your core, probably. But all a list in Beattie might do is give a person a confirmation that they have a kind of a problem to tackle. I wouldn't guess that anyone would have a complete match with the whole list that Beattie presents.
What I've liked about reading these threads, is that whenever I've run across people talking about a problem (a symptom) that enough fits with what I'm going through, I can read about what they have done to try to tackle it, and even how difficult the symptom is to change. They put more tools in my toolkit to try, in my life offline.
That's gold, since the real problem-solver in things like addiction, codependency, being a workaholic, and other kinds of unhappiness is the addict, the codependent, the workaholic.
I haven't been on the boards very long, but I've been impressed with people's readiness to offer what they've tested in their own life, with a comment on why it worked the way it did.
Oh, and on those lists of symptoms in the books...just like in the symptoms list for medical conditions, that two symptoms look like they contradict each other doesn't matter; the lists are the result of many people reporting in, and none of us are carbon copies of each other (thank God, it's more interesting)... I'd suggest focusing on the symptoms that you see people reporting everywhere..that kernel.
But the big deal is to use all this reporting as set of possibilities, to see if you yourself acknowledge any parts of your relationships that aren't working.
Glad you're on the site. I've perked up and started looking for guys on the site; I know guys have their own good angles on things, and I want to hear them.
Here's a book written by a man to men about men. I'm just offering it as a possibility...It did blow me away, however; I'm in a kind of work that is 90% men, and it helped me do some sensemaking about some of what was going around me. Plus I found some tools in it to put in my own toolkit. I didn't want to "talk about it," either (grin).
Terrence Real, "I Don't Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression"
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