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If I know it's bad for me, why do I keep doing it?
July 31, 2005
6:29 am
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readysteadygo
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Hi: I'm new to this site, so here goes...I'm in my late forties and have been in a sort of relationship for 8 years with a guy who has, I realise now, never really been available. This is because he's never grown up (he's 43) and treats his family as though they're his best friends (he doesn't live at home, but might just as well - they all live near to him anyway). His relationship with his mother is particularly problematic, and he has said on several occasions that he will only feel free once she's dead (she's 76). In the meantime, he feels both guilty and beholden to her at the same time. What this all boils down to is that there's no time or space for me in this relationship, and I know that I have tried too hard in the past to pander to his needs while neglecting my own. He was going to move in with me about a year after we got together, but this didn't happen as his mother got to him - "what if it all went wrong? You'd end up in some rented place somewhere and would regret everything"...so of course he listened to her.

I've tried several times to end this relationship, and thought I'd succeeded in doing that last year. However, fear of being on my own (although I might just as well be for all the attention I get from him!) comes up a lot and when he began calling me again last autumn I started seeing him again, although we only meet up about once a month at the moment. I also lived with a guy for 12 years (we split in '93) and these patterns were present in that relationship too. My family background wasn't particularly good, and the more I read about codependency, the more I understand why I'm having these problems now.

The irony in all this is that I have read extensively about this type of behaviour, know all about the "drama triangle" (victim/persecutor/rescuer) and actually have a diploma in counselling skills for use in my work. I am trying hard at the moment not to beat myself up too much, but it's not easy.

To make matters worse, I joined an internet dating site and have met two what I would call "toxic bachelors" recently! They both seemed to have similar interests to me - music/art etc - and we had some good email exchanges. However, in person they both had very similar issues to those of the guy I've described above, so much so that it was uncanny. The one I met earlier this week had the full set - separated, two young kids, huge inferiority/superiority complex, etc etc - asked to see me again and then sent an email saying that he didn't see romance in our future! Just as well - neither did I.

So, any thoughts/comments/advice on the above would be very welcome.

July 31, 2005
12:26 pm
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Anonymous
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September 24, 2010
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Ready, well that's the ultimate question for a codependent, now isn't it? I had to laugh, because I ask myself that very question ALL THE TIME! I too have studied the "drama triangle"...it's who I am and what I do. Over and over and over again. What I can't figure out is how to CHANGE my patterns. I guess it feels good to me to "rescue", but then I forget that the persecutor and victim always come next, and that feels awful! I am also in my 40's, and can look back over my life at the types of men I have "attracted" in the past. It's always the SAME guy, maybe different looks, maybe different personality, but always NEEDY! Then I end up "helping" and it always comes back to bite me in the butt. Not just sometimes, but EVERY TIME!

So why am I such a slow learner??? I can also see this same behavior in the friends I have had in my life (male and female alike). I find people who KNOW I am easy-going, kind-hearted, non-confrontational, and they will take advantage of that "weakness" every time. "Oh, she won't mind, she doesn't need me to pay her back, she won't mind if I invite her then forget I mentioned it, oh she'll understand, blah..blah..blah." Well you get the picture. Anybody else out there feel this way??? I'm sick to death of it!

Sorry, Ready, I'm not a very good one to give advice to ANYBODY on this subject! I'd love to find some answers myself:)

August 2, 2005
5:24 pm
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readysteadygo
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Hi Plz...

Thanks for your empathetic words!

You're right, it is the ultimate question for a codependent, isn't it? I'm trying really hard to re-programme myself and have been looking at possibly joining a CODA group as there are a couple near to where I live. But that's going to take some courage and I'm not sure if I'm quite up to that at the moment. However, we only have one life as far as I'm aware, and I sense that I should try to make the best of it before I waste any more time on needy nerds (of both sexes - many of my "friends" sound like yours!)

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