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Is this a lifetime recovery process?
April 18, 2007
12:14 am
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SunshineBear
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Tonight my hubby asked me if codependency is something I will get over or if it's more like alcoholism where I'll be a recovering codependent. Having read Codependent No More and in beginnings of Beyond Codependency, I would tend to think it's the latter. I was wondering what you all think. What has been your experience?

April 18, 2007
1:37 am
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hopeful for change
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I don't know, but I do know its hard to break habits and not revert back, so maybe it is lifelong, or maybe once we figure it all out, then it will just be a new habit without thinking. But with me that would be alot of habits.

April 18, 2007
6:16 am
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revelation
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Hmmmm....The key issue with codependents is low self-esteem or low self-worth. Now, EVERYONE goes through periods in their lives where their self-esteem will be a little bit low. With codependents, YES, you will need to constantly keep your self-esteem in check...you can never neglect your self.

So...in answer to your question...yes, it is a lifetime "recovery" process....but we are all recovering from something whether we are codependent or not...everyone should be constantly taking care of themselves...so I think "recovery" may be the wrong word.

Rev.

April 18, 2007
6:41 am
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Robert123
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I think it is. Codependent habits die hard. I've heard of many who found some relief from codependency after attending 12-step meetings, only to have their old behaviors and familiar feelings return after stopping for a time.

April 18, 2007
9:11 am
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balancesekr
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I don't think it is something that will totally clear. Which may not be a bad thing because it keeps us aware of our relationships and we do need to be cautious and protect ourselves, look out for our needs and wants, etc..

People who are not "codependent" experience relationship troubles also. And could probably use a CODA meeting every now and then.

April 18, 2007
9:56 am
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healintime
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I don't remember where I read it but my favorite analogy about recovery is that it's like taking a drive down a narrow road with some well-worn tyre tracks - and trying to avoid the old tracks. Takes some concentration not to fall into those deep grooves but it's possible - and if the car slips in there it takes some effort to get out again.

For me, I'm at the stage where new behaviors are a little less scary but not entirely natural (the word no is still a toughy sometimes and I still feel guilty about self-care). But I am, definitely, getting better at identifying and avoiding people and situations that will set the old behaviors in motion. And better at catching myself when my codep tendencies kick in.

I think it's lifelong but that hopefully it gets easier every time you set a successful boundary or practice good self care with good results. In many ways I think it's hardest in the beginning because codeps tend to have people in their lives who are pretty happy with the codep status quo and do a lot of stomping when things start to change. I think you reach a crossroads where that either keeps you stuck, you find a new medium with the person or the relationship has to go.

Short answer, I think that it will always be something that I have to watch, but that I'm getting better at knowing what to watch for.

April 18, 2007
10:27 am
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caraway
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I agree with all here who say that it takes constant attention.. much like a garden. (If you let the weeds and insects in they will take over very quickly.)

I feel resentful at times for having to deal with this and want to blame someone in my childhood. Clearly, I should be greatful that I am able to talk here, go to meetings, read, etc, and live a "normal" life.

Cary

April 18, 2007
11:56 am
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gracenotes
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Mellody Beattie, who has written some astoundingly helpful books on codependency, states that, if one really works at, the majority of this can be overcome within a year or so. But codependency is more than low-self esteem, it is really, according to her, more about difficulty expressing appropriate levels of self-esteem, difficulty setting appropriate boundaries with others (a fourth step with codependency would also have to do with how codependents have been inappropriate with the boundaries of others -- I know I have, but it took me a long time to see that), difficulty owning/knowing/sharing one's own reality, and difficulty acknowledging and meeting your needs and wants, and difficulty experiencing and expressing and experiencing your reality moderately. This is a lot, but it is all workable.

I've been working at this for less than a year, and I feel like I am more healed than not. I have worked with her books, am getting along with her workbook, have been in therapy for awhile. Because life is so much better with less codependency, I really think within the year I won't be that focused on these issues, although I will always need to maintain the awareness of what I learned.

April 18, 2007
12:34 pm
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revelation
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I didn't say it was "just" low self-esteem, I said that low self-esteem was "a key issue".

April 18, 2007
6:18 pm
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Robert123
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Pia Melody has some good stuff also. I have her workbook "Breaking free", and continue to plug away at it.

April 18, 2007
8:08 pm
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Rasputin
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Yes it is! But so what? Isn't life itself a process afterall!

April 18, 2007
8:31 pm
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truthBtold
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Sunshine Bear,

You asked if this is a lifetime recovery process?

Evidently SO!!!!!

I've been struggling with it for 46 years now!!!!!!!

For me...it ALL just boils down to getting down to the fucking nitty-gritty of it all...and THAT ain't easy!!!!!

It's messy. It's confusing. It just fucking sucks at times if you ask me!!!!!!!!

BUT.....the answers are there...deep down in our souls. It takes courage to go back and look at our childhood with selfish and judgemental eyes - absent of the fucking ingrained loyalty that was beat into our little, still evolving childhood brains of ours!!!!!!

It takes the courage of looking at our parents and caregivers with adult eyes and saying: You really fucked up in bringing me up!!!!!!

It involves finally getting ANGRY at the way we were treated and placing BLAME where it is needed!!!!! ON THEM....and NOT on OURSELVES!!!!!!!

It involves knocking our parents OFF that fucking pedastal we put them on and come to think of them on terms of NOT "Mom & Dad"....giver of life but as by their first names.......John & Joan - or whomever, you know?

It's about finally giving ourselves the gift of finally getting angry with their shortcomings - repeat...THEIR shortcomings...and NOT our own - but by the same token - realizing all of that and not allow ourselves to get all caught up in the "Blame Train" as an excuse for the unhappiness that we experience in our our own lives as well....you know?

Otherwise.....we will continue to be STUCK - you know?

Anger is a GOOD thing!!!!!!

I only wish that I would have allowed myself to move past the guilt and loyalty factors as a youngster and seen the situation for what it really was growing up as my sister had done.

She knew what time it was and kept a fierce sense of herself all along. I, on the other hand got all cought up in the loyalty bullshit.

Anyway, sounds like I am starting to ramble here........

All I can say is to let yourself get FINALLY angry at what happened to you as a child - you just fucking can't move on until you do - bottom line!!!!!!!

Then, all of that emotional turmoil dust WILL finally settle and we can finally move on..........

Can't change what you don't acknowledge - however painful and confusing it all was - bottom line!!!!!!!!

April 21, 2007
11:31 pm
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lucyloo
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TruthBtold-

Hi - I'm new here. Have an incredibly long story but definitely coming out of the weeds. I could not agree more with absolutely everything you said. The loyalty guilt bullshit that good loving people like ourselves are faced with is 100% driven by our childhoods. I actually moved away from my family a year and a half ago and it was best move for me. It helped me see them and the whole big picture so much clearer than I ever had before. I just visited them for Easter recently and let me tell you, I walked away more clear and more resolute than ever that they are not healthy. In fact, they are all alcoholics and I myself had fallen into that trap for a long time.

I do love my sister though and she was wildly drunk on Easter and then I witnessed her put her two kids to bed in that state. I was disgusted with her and she knew it and called me on my way to the airport. I told her she should go watch the 'Secret' and she did and she hasn't drank since then.

The key in what you said is about the anger - we need to get it out and completely GET IT OUT! If we don't we carry it into all of our relationships.

April 23, 2007
12:20 am
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SunshineBear
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Thank you all for sharing your thoughts on this. I appreciate it much.

Cary, I get angry most at my father for the environment in which I was raied: Don't express your feelings. Stop crying! Never show weakness. The man has never said he loves me that I can recall in the 32 yrs of my life. My sister either. And he wonders to my mom why I haven't visited lately!

Melody Beattie's book talks about it as "recycling" and learning fromt the mistakes. I find that sometimes I get in the "poor me" and "it's just easier to do this" mindset. UGH! I must be willing to do the work to get healthy for myself and my kids! Break the cycle so they're not dealing with this in their futures.

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