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need help unnderstanding co-dependency
February 20, 2006
8:27 pm
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maddy
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I had been dating this man for about a year, we evenn began to plan our wedding, it is through this website I have come to learn that the bizzare behavior he has displayed about every three months in our on and off relationship has been about co-dependency on his ex-wife. In the threads I have read so far on this wedsite, it seems like the co-dependent behavior doesn't bring a third party (that's me) into it. This has caused me so much pain any insights would bbe appreciated.

February 21, 2006
5:18 pm
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taj64
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What kind of bizarre behavior does he display? Also have you read the book mentioned on the site by melody Beattie, "Codependency No More..."? I found it very helpful for me in the beginning and reading through the threads to learn of my codependency. It hit me like a rock. Are you saying that he has not let go of his ex wife? On and off relationship to me doesn't make it a serious relationship or is it that there are a lot of breakups in your relationship? Maybe if you describe things a little more, I can understand. learning about codependency is a start I think.

February 21, 2006
7:45 pm
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maddy
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Your right I was just so exhausted yesterday from another episode of his cut and run. Okay let me start at the beginning. I met this guy back in April. Everything was great. Affectionate, loving, we talked and enjoyed similar things. I was trilled to find a basic "normal guy" He was divorced, implied for a while, turned out to be a few months. At first he said his contact with his ex was because was so he could have continued contact with a child who was his step granndchild. I really didn't see any problems. He told me the war stories about his marriage, 15 years of no llove affection, she ruined him financially, called threateninng him, she prostituted her daughter, had an affair. Her kids all junkies thieves illerate and not working. Totally dysfunctional family. But he took care of them all. He was not without fault, to deal with the situation he just worked 24/7 gave up what he loved doing and just remained in a very dark place. Then along I cam. Loving caring ready for a relationship, he mentionned marriage but I left it past that time because it was to soon. Having made mistakes in picking no so good partners, this time I let friends and family meet him. They all agreed great guy. We really never argued had lots of talks. I bought him lunch to work, he was connfused by this, I bought him a shirt, again confused, couldn't understand his suspicion of it, we talked he said no one had ever treated him a good as me. This went on for about three months getting better and better. All of a sudden he cuts and runs back to his ex wife. Says it is because he missed his step grand child. I am left totally confused. Stays away for about a month. Comes back I take the risk. He said he and his daughter ( is a great girl 19, we get along great) when through the same hell all over again with his ex. Begs me to go to another state to meet his family. spend a week, confessed to his family that he was really shitty to me in the past, goes on and on about how he loves me. On the way back from the trip I start noticing a change, ask him about it. he says I am wrong. Get back home he cuts and runns back to his ex. leaves me devasted. Two weeks before Christmas he comes back again. We talked begged me to take him back, I say know contact with his ex. he agrees. this go great we spend alot of time with his daughter, my family shows him support. He said he went back because he had to know he wasn't to blame. This time he stated sober while with his ex, and said he realized it was her. Again she took him to thhe cleaners was unfaithful. Okay I thought he got it out of his system. Cautiously we began again. Everything as great,he said he never thought life could be so good. He seemed so sinncere and was so loving and helpful with my family. He proposed told his whole family, my family was happy to. We bid on a piece of land he wanted, spent hours planning our wedding, made plans for the future. Talked about adoption. Normal right?? His ex calls and he tells me that his step grand daughter wants to take him to valentines day at preschool. He says no. Then a week later his ex's son comes to work and tells himm she broke her leg. I start getting worried. But still the next day Valentines day he gives me roses and an engagement ring. The next day we make some purchases for the wedding. the next day he goes to check on his house, and the next day he cuts and runns again. I felt so used, but beinng analytical I start searching for patterns and He know he is returning to hell again. My search for answers lead me to this website. It fit him to a "t". In some ways the understanding helped ease the pain. As a child he had been the caretaker of his wheel chair ridden mother. His father never expressing love. At 16 started getting in trouble, and ran away. He felt no one cared. I want to tell him your not crazy you codependent and need help. I love this man but I am scared. I am so frustrated, there is a great guy in there, but just can't hold on. Any advice. Will this never end???
Thanks for asking Taj

February 21, 2006
8:01 pm
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gingerleigh
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People will continue to do the same thing that they have always done until it's too painful NOT to change. There might be a great guy in there, but he's not being a great guy *to you*. And that's really what matters. It's not potential that means anything in this world... it's performance.

I'm so sorry šŸ™

February 21, 2006
9:58 pm
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taj64
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You have a right to be scared. After reading your story, I feel that he is a codependent person but also that you have become codependent yourself along the process somehow. Love is not about being in pain. You seem very concerned about him and his pain and his confusion, the hell he is in. What about you? What about what you need? He doesn't sound at all concerned for your well being or needs. He is too busy for everyone else. These type of guys are always nice and full of charm, when they need to be. He doesn't really sound promising to me. He also cannot be trusted. He also seems to thrive on drama. You seem like you want to get married and want everything to be rosy but it won't get better if you get married. It probably will get worse. You're going to end up always worried about him. I would suggest starting to work on yourself first and foremost. Think very long and hard about what you want. Do you want the idea of this man or do you want the man because to me on paper it sounds like he has a lot of issues and it going to end up drowning you and causing you more pain. You deserve a loving man one who is available emotionally. Love should not make you feel used.

February 22, 2006
1:51 pm
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maddy
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Thank you for your support. Talked to my pastor today. He reminded me that in order for there to be love there must be freewill. It is his choice. He said help from a distance but you must accept that he has rejected your love. Open doors for him but do not walk through with him, that he must do alone. Talked to his daughter today her and I have grown close. She is scared to because when he goes back to his ex he becomes totally aborbed in the chaos of that situation and forgets her. so sad

February 22, 2006
2:04 pm
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garfield9547
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Maddy

Did you read the advise Taj64 gave you??????

Garfield

February 22, 2006
2:10 pm
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Anonymous
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Codependence is a new word that became popular in the 1980ā€™s. It has become a buzzword and important for you to understand in becoming the person you want to be. In less aware times codependence was considered normal. To be good, perfect, compliant, agreeable, giving, and selfless was rewarded and was the unconscious standard with which many people, especially women were conditioned.

Now we are understanding that there is a fine line between where being selfless and taking care of others crosses over to becoming a disease similar to having a physical addiction. If you want to have healthy, mature adult relationships with loved ones and close friends, you will benefit by understanding this condition.

What is codependency? Codependency is a term that grew out of the recovery movement and is what family therapists have termed enmeshment. This is when you are overly involved with another to the point of dysfunction. The codependent personality is formed while growing up in a dysfunctional family system which was emotionally repressive. The codependent does not have appropriate emotional boundaries, can merge easily with another, and does not experience the other person as separate from his/herself emotionally.

If you are codependent, you go overboard responding to another personā€™s problems, needs, and wishes before thinking of your own.
Now let us review a brief history of the word codependent. The recovery movement began in the United States with Alcoholics Anonymous, co-founded in 1938 by Bill Wilson. He developed a peer support group to help alcoholics stop drinking based on twelve principles that changed his life. His spiritual awakening came as the result of practicing these twelve steps. As awareness of alcoholism grew, it was noticed that the partner of an alcoholic had certain types of behavior that were part of the problem. Early on they were labeled co-alcoholics, which was later changed to codependent. It was discovered that the partner had addiction problems too, but these were in the area of relationships with emotional addictions, rather than with a physical, chemical addiction to a substance like alcohol, nicotine, cocaine, or marijuana. There was an unconscious investment of the codependent to enable the alcoholic to stay the sick, "bad" one with the problem, so they could be the good, helpful one, victimized by the chemical dependency of the addict. There was the need for the alcoholic to take the heat, so the codependent did not have to look at his or her own problems.

As time passed it was recognized that you do not have to come from an alcoholic family system to develop codependence, this could also come from a dysfunctional family system. Since most families are dysfunctional to some degree, there are many codependent personalities in society that act out different degrees of emotional dependency addictions.

Now we recognize that many people in our society suffer from codependence and many do not even know it.
How do you recognize if you have a codependent personality or a tendency in this direction and need help healing this? If you are a caregiver, overly responsible, a dependent type person, do not like to be alone, are the rock your family leans upon, have made yourself indispensable to at least one otherā€™s functioning, need to be needed, are a people pleaser, or attract needy, dependent people, then you are a great candidate for this condition.

A good rule of thumb to determine if your normal giving and interest in a loved one is dysfunctional and becomes codependent is answering "yes" to any of the following statements:

I take care of you when you will not take care of yourself.

I take care of you before I take care of myself.

I foster dependency on me by doing what you need to be doing for yourself.

I take care of your needs and do not take care of my needs.

Giving and receiving are not balanced in my adult relationships with family members and friends.
Note: Here I am not talking about the care of young children, the elderly, the ill, or the challenged family member, with physical, emotional, or intellectual limitations.

I believe you do have a greater responsibility in these situations to help people.

To be a fully functioning adult and have mature loving relationships with family members, you need to take care of yourself, your needs and wants, follow your interests, develop your talents, and have your own friendships outside of the family. You need to say "no" to doing tasks that foster immaturity and dependence in adult children; such as, buying, washing, or ironing their clothes on a regular basis.

This strong boundary setting serves family members to separate from you, learn to individuate (be separate individuals), take care of their own needs, to grow up, and be able to have healthy, mature, adult love relationships. As you set limits on what you give, you foster family members and close friends to have mature adult-to-adult relationships with you. Here you relate in a balanced give-and-take way, where you are not in the role of being the "grownup" who is giving all the time.

If you do things for your grown children beyond what is age appropriate, then you lower their self-esteem and actually stop them from growing up.

When you are codependent you are enmeshed with family membersā€™ emotional boundaries and you treat them as extensions of yourself. Therefore, you do not like to see them in pain, uncomfortable, making unwise choices, or unhappy. You like to fix them or their situations to be what you think is right and good for them. If codependency operates to an extreme, it involves subtle control over your adult childrenā€™s choices of career, place of residency, religion, choice of marriage partners, and over all you dominate their decision-making abilities. Secretly you feel safe, secure, and loved when others need you and depend on you; it makes you feel important and gives your life meaning because you do not have your own life fully understood and integrated.

Why do codependents do this? Besides the overall comfort experienced when others are dependent on you, the main reason is to avoid dealing with the painful feelings that are stuffed in yourself. These might be feelings of disappointment, unhappiness, trauma, abuse, victimization, lack of fulfillment, stagnation, and not growing and expanding towards potential. If you focus on another, then you can take your mind off of what has happened, or is happening, to you emotionally and you can stay in denial that you have problems that need attention. Since anotherā€™s problems dominate your thinking, keeping busy with someone elseā€™s issues eases your inner discomfort, which keeps your emotions at bay. If someone is dependent on you and needs you, you do not have to look at your dependencies. It starts in childhood where rigid, unhealthy rules dominated the family system.

It is a good trait to want to give to others. It is important for your own emotional health , as well as others, to learn the fine line between giving that benefits and serves another verses giving that hinders another and binds them to you and is codependent. Remember to balance giving and receiving, to give from your overflow, to notice the affect of your giving on another, and to take care of yourself. Notice when you have issues with codependency so you can make these corrections in your life, to enjoy reciprocal, mature, loving, fulfilling relationships with family and friends.

February 22, 2006
2:24 pm
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garfield9547
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pinkpaw

When you are codependent you are enmeshed with family membersā€™ emotional boundaries and you treat them as extensions of yourself. Therefore, you do not like to see them in pain, uncomfortable, making unwise choices, or unhappy. You like to fix them or their situations to be what you think is right and good for them. If codependency operates to an extreme, it involves subtle control over your adult childrenā€™s choices of career, place of residency, religion, choice of marriage partners, and over all you dominate their decision-making abilities. Secretly you feel safe, secure, and loved when others need you and depend on you; it makes you feel important and gives your life meaning because you do not have your own life fully understood and integrated.

Why do codependents do this? Besides the overall comfort experienced when others are dependent on you, the main reason is to avoid dealing with the painful feelings that are stuffed in yourself. These might be feelings of disappointment, unhappiness, trauma, abuse, victimization, lack of fulfillment, stagnation, and not growing and expanding towards potential. If you focus on another, then you can take your mind off of what has happened, or is happening, to you emotionally and you can stay in denial that you have problems that need attention. Since anotherā€™s problems dominate your thinking, keeping busy with someone elseā€™s issues eases your inner discomfort, which keeps your emotions at bay. If someone is dependent on you and needs you, you do not have to look at your dependencies. It starts in childhood where rigid, unhealthy rules dominated the family system.

Thanks for this information.

Garfield

February 22, 2006
2:27 pm
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maddy
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All your responses have given me alot to think over. Yes, this person has caused me pain,I am not denying the pain, I made unwise choices and I do hold him responsible actions. I am not remaining with him. I am very aware of the old adage, if you keep doing what you have always done, you'll keep getting what you have always gotten.

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