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Nipping the co-da's in the bud>change
February 13, 2004
12:23 pm
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Pickles
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I'm new to the list...realized recently have a lifetime of VERY co-dependent behavior...now in my 60's...too late? Hope not...want to hear how others in same situation have identified/shared specific co-da behaviors and moved on/not repeated these. How long has healing taken for them? Does sharing other's progress help?

February 13, 2004
3:10 pm
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mj
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I think that reflecting on our behavior and having others give us support helps but I can only speak for myself.

I believe that being able to express our feelings and get it out is extremely helpful.

I have been working on my issues since the 70's so I am not sure if I hadn't done the work on self thus far...I would feel as I do now. Its hard to judge progress but I know I have less depression now so to me that's progress.

Good luck with your self discovery.

February 13, 2004
10:38 pm
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themis
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Congratulations!!!! I am always in awe of women who have earned the right to coast, and don't! I'm curious.......what brought you to your realization?

February 14, 2004
12:36 pm
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Pickles
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Having made so many people I cared about angry towards me; losing friendships I valued; constantly being angry, not knowing exactly why...I began to suspect that there was more than my trying to fix everyone's mental health problems around me. I in fact (what a shock) had serious mental health problems of my own. So shocking, so embarrasing. How to begin...pretty clear that the friends I desired but had angered and turned away, likely will never be repaired...
Hoping this venue will be a place to help some level of recovery, along with the weekly private therapy.

February 14, 2004
12:53 pm
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themis
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I think it very wonderful that we all have ways that are so similar. I know about the embarassment of which you speak. I felt less ashamed of being an alcoholic then I did in admitting I wasn't the perfection I thought. I have written a fair amount of late on my lack of friendship in 'Deep thoughts'. It was very affirming to realize that I'm not alone. The good thing, I think is that now we can see it! I can't fix something I can't see.

February 14, 2004
12:59 pm
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themis
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oooops I had thought it was the 'deep thoughts' it is in fact.."taking my own inventory"

February 14, 2004
2:31 pm
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Pickles
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Appreciate so much responding comments. I have so far to go...and wish I had done this 40 years ago...so I wouldn't have made so many around me miserable. I can't seem to get beyond that no one but me knows how to do anything well...yikes!Talk about controlling!

February 14, 2004
9:31 pm
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Lone Wolf
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I'm rather new to this also. Was told years ago I was co-dependent but didn't really sink in until the marriage went away. Now I know. The embarassment is hard but so is the lonely feelings and the anger. Sharing has been of so much help. Even if I don't join in just reading all of your replys has helped. We all grow at our own pace and that is whats wonderful with the recovery - I can do it my way. Hope everyone sees at least one smile today.

February 20, 2004
7:56 am
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Hi Pickles. My first time here on the site, but have just read your entry on co-dependency. Forgive me if I have the wrong end of the stick and ramble on about irrelevant stuff, but I hope this helps. I am in my late 30's and have had a difficult emotional life. After experiencing a whole heap of emotional nightmares - deaths, step-families, eating disorder, divorce and so on, I realised I was of the mindset that another person/loving relationship was the answer to my problems. I was a half-circle and I was always looking for the other half to make my life complete - to give me the firm basis on which to build the rest of my life. Over the last Summer, after a 6 year relationship with a truly remarkable man (light years ahead of me in his thinking) I realised that to achieve true happiness, I needed to be a whole circle myself. Relying upon someone else to make you happy is a recipe for disaster. We have our own way of doing things, our own interests, our individual dreams and aspirations. I have spent my whole life seeking the approval of other's trying to fit in, conform, live as society dictates is the right way. I have spent very little time nurturing myself because I have always been linked in someway to someone else, usually a man, but sometimes a close girlfriend, relying on them to give me the boost I need to get on. Since the middle of last year I have begun looking after ME. I have thought about what I want to achieve in life and how I want to live. I am dear friends with the man from whom I learned so much, but I am single. I have never been happier. I have fabulous friends, male and female, I have a simple job which does not drain or stress me and which allows me to look after my daughter and myself, I am fitter and healthier than I have ever been, and more to the point, I worry less than ever about what other's think of me. I know I am a fab person, I am loved by many - and I no longer deny that or put myself dowm when I receive complements. I have my down momnets, but because am no longer sapped by difficult relationships, exhausting work and self image problems,I rationalise those thoughts and pull myself up again very quickly. I am dependent on NOBODY. I have lovely friends who help me out with all sorts of things, but I choose what I do each day, with whom I spend time and though I am there to listen and help my friends, I no longer get dragged down by their negativity. I am needed, and I give of myself only that which I have available!
You have the power to break the cycles. You must value yourself, see yourself as a whole person, and live your life as you wish. It is truly liberating. I am still mid journey. But I now have the means to stay positive, I have short and long term goals, and I have shed the negative rubbish which I have allowed to drag me down for all of my life. Oh God, this is just a snippet of my mental ramblings. Sorry if I've missed the point. But please try to focus deep inside you, think about what you want to do with your life AND DO IT.

February 20, 2004
8:48 am
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themis
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You didn't miss the point at all from my perspective Wombat. Thank you. It is so nice to here that it is possible. You very articulately described where you had been and where you are now and the question becomes HOW?
I left a 22 year marriage over 5 years ago and was astounded at the wall I hit. Even when the marriage was its worse I could go out and enjoy myself even knowing what I had to return to. It made no sense to me that when I was single I could no longer find enjoyment in those things. Being married gave me an identity. It made it ok for me to talk. I knew no one would ever think I was trying to pick them up or that I was lonely because I was married! Weird........even now that amazes me.
I have opened a biz and just lost a relationship that was very important to me. I remember a moment in his apt when I was doing some stuff for him and the girls before leaving and I had this awakening that this was not who I was anymore and I couldn't fit here. I think in retrospect this was a signpost that losing myself in someone elses life was no longer a possiblity but if not here then where? I took it to mean that it was the wrong relationship as opposed it not being how I can be anymore. (maybe a good thing, I"ll get back to you)
So this relationship ends and I am lost again. Very disatisfied with my life. Feeling as if it as all been designed 'just until'.......just until a guy comes along and I won't have to work so hard at having a life and being happy. Just until!
Today, I am so afraid, had a date with the guy on Wed. and one again tonight and i feel physically sick. I feel trapped. Not by him but by me....and my sick emotions. I so want to be with him and see him and be loved by him. He is a wonderful man. Yesterday we spent about 20 minutes in online sex banter.....very fun and after I felt awful. I can feel all the old stuff gearing up. I want to be together but I feel desperate and needy and insecure. I want to cancel and I don't. I wanted this back so badly and yet now with the looming possibility, I'm terrified. I don't want to manipulate anything and yet I have so many questions as to why he ended it. I know he doesn't want to get lost in me again. He got lost in me.......I try to take men where I am.......lost in me as I am in them.
So Wombat.........how did you shift it....one step at a time......tell me how you did it.

February 20, 2004
9:50 am
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wombat37
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Oh Themis, I know those feelings.How to move on? Firstly, what do you want from your life? When I ask that question is your first thought about a good relationship? Mine used to be because that was what I thought a good life was all about. I craved those bursts of love adrenaline, I wanted to be looked after, nurtured, cared for. Now, if someone were to ask me that I would say to love myself (because I have struggled to do that all my life), and to live a lifestyle in which I wake up each day with a grin on my face, and where I do WHAT I WANT TO DO. Secondly, you say you want to be with him, to be loved by him. How do you define being with him? Are you immediately thinking about marriage and living together? And for Eternity? Do you look at relationships in that way? Again, I used to - a happy ever after. I don't now. I see relationships in a completely different way now. Because I am building for myself a happy little life of my own - small house and garden, evening classes, business plans, great social network, I see relationships with men in a different way. I see that kind of relationship as an ENHANCEMENT to my life which can be as big or as little as I choose. If I have some free time, who can I enjoy spending that time with? It might be that you want one special chap, or that you have a number of them who each enjoys doing with you something different. It would have to be like minded folk you mix with though. Those who are not pressuring you to launch into deep relationships and bond your lives together. I can only speak for myself, as I was insecure, clingy, smothering for much of the time in my relationships before. I wanted them to want to be with me all the time, I wanted us to do things together all the time, I needed to be needed, I loved being loved. Now, because I am secure in myself - I will not allow myself to be brought down by anyone, and I have a good independant life with my own joys and goals, when I do see my lovely men, they see a bubbly, happy, fun-to-be with gal, and they see me at my best - at a time to suit us both. I don't have any niggles with them about domestic business, or 'where were you last night?' or why can't we do that together. God, it's so hard to put into words. All I can say is once you see it - once you change your FOCUS onto yourself, and you take off the blinkers about life/relationships and so on, there really is no going back. It is freedom. Complete freedom. I don't give a stuff about material things any more. I earn less than I ever have before, I have no stress in my life but for circumstances under which I have no control AND I DO NOT DEPEND ONE PERSON TO MAKE ME HAPPY. I am happy because I feel free to be me. I am selfish enough now to say NO if I don't want to do something (I was always a YES girl, desperate to please and for other's approval).
I promise you if you change your focus on to you and what you want to do in your life, and lessen the importance of a 'relationship' it is so easy. Relationships can come and go, the intensity which so often brings heartache eases, you are left feeling 'fantabulous' most of the time. Because you are happier in yourself and with yourself, people will flock to you like bees round a honey pot. Trust me. I wouldn't say I am completely there yet. About three quarters of the way - bet there is no going back. Each day I get stronger. Each day I thank God that I have through being so positive and determined and self-focussed, managed to shed most of the angst, insecurity, neediness, lack of self worth, mistrust, grief, and so on, which I have carried with me over the years. I love my life. When I think of all the years wasted feeling sorry for myself!!!! I am alive and I am great. I am doing what I want to do. Only you can make your life better Themis. Take control and you will never look back.

February 20, 2004
10:19 am
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redk
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Hi to Pickles and all who responded.
I too, am new to this list, actually to anything like this. I found this list by looking for information on co-dependency. I found some very good information that defines it, then trys to help answer the question "How do I know if I'm codependent?" Continuing on to "Isn't everyone codepentdent?" then finally "Why do we become codependent? What causes it?"
I have started counseling but also want to look and find info on my own. My husband tells me I am co-dependent, I am more then willing to investigate this. The sad part of what I am finding is he has classic symptoms but does not see them in himself. I am going into this counseling in hopes of fixing myself, I can't fix anyone else.
I certainly did get some insight from the messages in this thread and plan on sticking around for more.

February 20, 2004
10:56 am
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I'm new here too . This is my third posting , I think . Can I ask has anyone noticed any codependents ( I'm one , btw , recovering )
almost needing to starts fights ? To have some extra drama in life ? I'm married with a small child . I hate to ask but there it is .

February 20, 2004
11:24 am
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themis
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Wombat.........you're there girl. Not almost. I can hear the power in your words and I so want what you have. I have put focus on me. Left the marriage, bought the house opened the business......but its all been until errrrrrrrrrr I can feel it. It has been about trying to be good enough.........but for who? I'm proud of what I've accomplished but never seem to be satiated.
You need to break it down for me in simplier terms......what were the little steps that led the way. Are you in Coda? I'm fighting some resistence. I'm 9 years sober and I don't want to spend my life in meetings. I do AA 3x's a week. I don't want to be ONE BIG DISEASE.......I want to live in the solution! So be patient with me dear dear one and tell me step by step how you got out of here? Pretty please? 🙂 p.s. I'm going to Australia the beginning of April....is that home for you?

February 20, 2004
11:36 am
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themis
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Wombat, the other thing you said that jumped out at me was the 'niggling' I think you called it. I knew EXACTLY what you meant! I hate it! I am tired......so tired of making the world accountable. ITS NOT MY JOB......it is exhausting and leaves me DISCONTENT! I don't want to do it anymore. I want to be that fun girl you talk about. I start out that way.....with great energy, passion, exciting, full of fun and I digress to clingy, needy, discontent, insatiable.....the list goes on. I know he loves me.....I can feel it but he can't manage his life (new biz, 2 kids etc....and me as I am) its just too much and I can't blame him.
What do I want? you asked.........damned if I know! lol
At least I haven't lost my sense of humour. We had dated for 8 months. He had talked about us moving in together down the road but I can't leave my biz for another 2 years. Then I can afford to have it managed. He talked about us moving from the city and opening a shop together and I would hold my existing holdings. He had asked me if I saw that? And I didn't. I don't. I'm caught in between...... Thats the good news I think albeit painful. There is a HUGE part of me that wants to return to the old paradigm but a little ray of healthy that says......."you don't fit the picture anymore" and both views feel uncomfortable.
I'm so glad we are having this conversation because I'm realizing this could very well be, my 'beginning' to GET IT
What do ya think?

February 20, 2004
1:16 pm
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wombat37
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Bearable - yes the need for drama. Huge for me. Having been used to drama - emotional at home and in every way at work (emergency worker all my adult life) I find I crave some drama - and starting fights or having crises romantically or otherwise is an essential ingredient. The roller coaster. Life is so dull without it. I think I will always need it one way or another. I think the key is to find manageable crises- mini-crises. Enough to give the buzz, but small enough to deal with without relapsing into the old patterns of behaviour (break ups, alcohol, drugs, ED's or any of the other compulsive behaviours)I am a drama queen!
Themis - Step by step is tricky. I would say the first and most important step is to be single. See your self as a single person. Think about what that means. How fantastic that is. Complete freedom to be yourself, focus on yourself and do everything you wish when you wish to. Don't see an evening in on your own as a bummer but as an opportunity to pamper yourself, read a good book, watch the tv programmes you like, have an early night, spend some snuggley time with your kids(?) I began to appreciate the little house I was desperate to leave for a bigger one with my man. Less housework, having things my way. My little haven. I then spent as much time as possible shedding the pounds which weighed me down in every way. I exercised, relaxed, read positive thinking books (try the Celestine Prophesy), drinking loads of water and laughing a lot with a good girlfriend. As the weeks went by I realised I had had no heartache, no sadness, I was cheerful at work, less snappy with my daughter and I thought less about the Demons from my past. I see life as a journey of understanding (in a very unreligious way) and I believe that things happen for a reason. Feeling better about my physical appearance and better health-wise I then started thinking about what sort of lifestyle I wanted. Off came the blinkers. Goodbye to the social conditioning (good education-good career-nice man-marriage-kids etc etc)Goodbye to kidding myself about my shortcomings, failings and so on - no I don't want to help everyone all the time, no I don't like other people's kids much, if I am feeling crappy I will tell whoever 'needs' me that I cannot be there for them at the moment, no I am not an Earth Mother...and so on. It's quite liberating. THIS IS ME- LIKE IT OR LUMP IT! Never horrible to anyone, but HONEST. Let go of the past - that's a really big one. I have forgiven my Mum for dying when I was 9, I have forgiven my step-Mother for being so unkind, my husband for failing to appreciate me, and so on.
Oh another one is looking at my realtionships and taking responsibility for my part in everything going wonky AND LEARNING FROM IT. Make lists if necessary. LAUGH AT YOURSELF AND YOUR RIDICULOUS BEHAVIOUR AND THOUGHT PATTERNS.IN FACT LAUGH AT YOURSELF ALL THE TIME BECAUSE PEOPLE LIKE US ARE PRETTY CRAZY. Be pleased you are a bit different... Is that enough food for thought? Doing all that took me months. Might take you years. Doesn't matter because every stage is really important and valuable. I am just at the stage where I am deciding my short and longer term ideal future. I appreciate anything could happen at any time, but I have exciting plans which are MY DREAMS. No one elses. I will make them happen. I will ask other's for help, I may change my plans, I may or may not take a chap along with me. BUT IM NOT COMPROMISING ANY MORE. Im English by the way!

February 20, 2004
6:14 pm
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wombat 37 , Geez you're the second person to write that you crave drama. Thanks for the input , it helps - in a GOOD way : )

February 23, 2004
12:46 pm
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Kessie
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Hi Wombat,
I know what you mean about the drama - Dont'cha just love it?? I know I do. er...did.
You are an inspiration to us all, keep posting

Kx

February 23, 2004
1:38 pm
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I am also a drama queen. And since I've started counseling, I have noticed myself being a little snippy with a couple of my friends. It's like now that I recognize I'm codependent and finally recognize the behavior in myself, I'm going out of my way to not be a doormat. Sometimes to the point of being hateful when it's not called for. It's not anyone else's fault that my life sucks right now. And nobody else can fix it for me.

Wombat, you are such an inspiration. I hope that I can start to put together my life the way you have. It always helps to see that someone has succeeded and girl, you have. Thanks for your honesty and for sharing.

Nan

February 23, 2004
3:52 pm
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marley
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What is co-da?

I see this everywhere I have no idea what this stands for or what this means.

Someone please explain . . .

February 24, 2004
3:49 am
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themis
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Hi Marley......Coda is a 12 step program for co-dependency. I'm not sure how I feel about it. I have been going and feeling some resistence but that is likely where I am right now. When everything was crashing around me as I faced the realities of who I really am.....I would have done ANYTHING to not drown in my sea of emotions. It certainly helped me feel as if I wasn't alone because it explained my behaviour in a way I hadn't understood.

February 24, 2004
4:06 am
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themis
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Hi Wombat: Thank you for all your time and effort. Its is very helpful and very inspirational. I have read the Celestine Prophecy.....great book. I've been on a spiritual path for likely the past 10 years. Began in hopes of addressing the unhappiness in my life. Inspite of what my threads might suggest .......I've come a long way with more ahead. I guess the good news is that we want to grow.....we want to change. I'm often reminded of the people who come to the end of their lives never looking, never seeing, never having lived.
Where am I today........the man has returned in a big way and there were many conversations on the weekend. There were some HUGE profound moments with the hilight likely being that he says he wants to know me..........not the me in how i relate to all the people in my life.......as a mother, friend etc......but he wants to know "who I am" I was able to tell him "welcome to my world.......thats what I"m trying to figure out" Just who am I without a role to someone else. I told him how I recognized while he was gone that I had never developed a me. It was so hard for me to admit that to him.......to anyone. And I'm afraid of what happens from here but I have to tell you, I feel......tenuously happy. And working really hard at not investing everything. I'm regretting Australia a bit but then am reminded that the advances I have made are likely a major reason why this lovely man is back. Maybe, just maybe the Universe thinks I can handle it now?
There is a thing that happens to many before they come to AA......its called "controlled drinking" pretending you can manage your consumption. As I read these thoughts I realize I might being doing 'just that'.........I sure hope not because my hope is that I continue to work on the things we've talked about and have my relationship with him. I look forward to your wisdom.

February 24, 2004
4:48 am
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Hi

I'm new here too-It is absolutely astonishing to hear the familarities of what all is saying.

I could never understand why my now EX boyfriend always said that he became "f...k" up whenever he was with me.Themis, you have described it as desperate and needy etc.

The other issue is that his family brought him around to collect his things from my home (we lived together for 3 years) and he said to me that he had no part in getting his stuff (another story)and that I'm very special in his life and he cannot just leave things as it is(he is still in a treatment facility for compulsive addictions). Is this a kind of keeping me emotionally hostage? Its something I could do too "like please wait for me until I'm out" type a thing.

I should let this ride and passively carry on day to day yet I found myself analysing and subconsciously need to create "drama" as I became unsatisfied with this kind of complacency. What is it?

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