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right or wrong, or is there such a thing?
June 11, 2002
12:48 pm
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jmh
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Hi-this is my 1st time here. I am now going through a separation with my husband and I cannot believe how much my emotions go back and forth. I believe that I can recognize a codependency in me now as I look back over my life. 1st, grew up with alcoholic father. 2nd, got married very young to drug abuser, got divorced. 3rd, got married to another drug abuser who was even worse than the 1st, and now am getting divorced again. My current husband had a daily marijuana habit when we met and this continued on for the 1st 1/2 of our marriage. (been married for 16 years) Now it is just "socially" We have 2 children, 15 and 10 and I have a daughter from my 1st marriage who is 20. Anyway, when my husband and I 1st met, we immediately hit it off. My being codependent fit perfectly with his neediness, need for nurturing and so on. (His mother physically and emotionally abused him through his childhood and believe it or not, continues to verbally abuse him to this day and he is 36 years old)My concerns were all about him. I protected him, he had a paranoia about the public. I helped him hide it from the children. I would forgive and forget when he raged and tore up the house. I would ignore the fact that our children were terrified when this happened. I would tell them that "your mom just gets me so mad!" I enabled him. I pursued his interests and lost mine. on and on and on. (he hasn't had a big "rage" incident for about 2 years now, just very minor outbursts) Does it seem normal that I reached a point of resentment once the reality set in? I started to feel like I had no identity, no goals of my own. For a couple years I went into a depression and blamed him for my unhappiness. then I realized that I let it happen. it was my own fault! but my feelings for him diminished. no sex drive. no affection. hardly even talking. so for the past 5 years or so, we tolerate each other. have a few good moments but not enough. now, I am leaving. you know what makes me really sad now? thinking about him when he is all alone and the kids are not with him and how sad and lonely he will be. but still, i have not desire to be with him so he won't be lonely. isn't that weird? I guess what pushed me over the edge was when my 15 year old daughter got into some trouble in January(we found out she had become sexually active) he stopped speaking to her. for 5 months, nothing. I repeatedly tried to get him to stay involved in her life. to talk to her. She was becoming very depressed. grades dropped dramatically. no interest in anything except partying with friends. she had been a 4.0 student up until then) she told me she felt suicidal. I told my husband and he responded by saying how hurt he is that she is misbehaving. how it makes him feel so bad. HELLO! I was shocked! so i said i did not give a darn about his feelings at the moment, i am worried about her. He says i never cared about his feelings.....we should get divorced. He has always used this statement as the answer to every argument. This time, though, I agree. So here we are. Sorry to drag on so long. It helps to get this out. I just hope and pray that leaving is the right thing. when he is nice, he is very nice. at those times, he is a wonderful husband, very kind and sensitive. honestly, i haven't been able to reciprocate, for quite awhile. not purposely or consciously. the feeling is just gone. all i feel now is compassion and caring maybe, but not love i don't think. it's tough to define my feelings when i have become an expert at stuffing them.

June 11, 2002
12:50 pm
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jmh
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sorry, I meant to say that HE would tell the kids that "your mom just makes me so mad!"

June 11, 2002
5:08 pm
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UK Polly
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Think you might do well to look at http://www.bpdcentral.com and also http://www.successunlimited.co.uk on serial bullies. Your hubby sounds very much like mine and these two sites were a revelation to me. Somehow whoever wrote them knew about ME! And I suspect they'll know about YOU!

Even if you've been conditioned to think you shouldn't have feelings you need to do the best thing for your kids. I think you've every right to feel angry, hurt, let down, confused and diminished.

Unfortunately what you've gone through isn't unique, it just seems to be one of those taboo subjects where women don't discuss THOSE things about their men. Just remember, IT ISN'T YOUR FAULT! He didn't do that because of you, he did that because he chose to.

I'm sure you will get wise counsel from other tribal sisters. Blessings & hugs.

June 12, 2002
12:19 pm
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jmh
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UK Polly
Thanks for your response. I checked out the websites. Whoa!!! It is my story!!!!!!

June 12, 2002
3:28 pm
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UK Polly
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I discovered three things on these sites.

First, it helped me to be able to put a name to it.

Second, I realised he would never be able to change.

Third, I had to do something about it because I was the only person I had.

So gf, where do you go from here?

June 13, 2002
2:16 am
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really confused
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I will check out those websites.
"...all i feel now is compassion and caring maybe, but not love i don't think. it's tough to define my feelings when i have become an expert at stuffing them." Boy have I stuffed. Lets get through this together. I have similar issues. The "stuffing" is something I know I've done and need to learn how to release and start all over and find myself again. I'm glad you're here. Keep writing... maybe we can figure some things out together. Everyone else on here is great and they're very honest. You might not always hear what you want, but it's a way to figure out what's going on, but in your case, it doesn't seem to be that you're doing anything bad. You guys I'm sure just had issues that were never dealt with and that is hard. Just plain hard and finally one day you just give up. What will tomorrow bring? Let's think positive. That's what I'm trying to do. Baby steps. That's what it's all about. Baby steps.... hang in there. We can do this. Especially for our kids. They need us.

June 13, 2002
5:51 pm
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jmh
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Thanks everybody! It is very helpful to be able to talk to others who have been there. I am moving out this weekend. It's really over. Sometimes I cry, out of the blue. My emotions are up and down. I know what triggers the crying. Feeling sorry for my soon-to-be-ex. Sometimes, I look at him and feel so much pity. I worry about him feeling lonely and sad. I don't even seem aware that I might be lonely and sad, too! Typical of me, I guess. I definitely need to find me.

June 13, 2002
6:11 pm
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Ladeska
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jmh...also I think it increases our self-worth if we can somehow make them eventually love us. We kinda vicariously fix what was broken initially in us and in our own home life growing up. Just work the problem until we fix it kind of thing. We compulsively do it, but when we see what we are doing we can reprogram our mind and eventually whatever our mind consistently says - our feelings will follow.

Trouble is, all these years, your mind has consistenly said that - you need to be the reason why.....he finally loves you, as if him doing this would right the wrongs you grew up with as a child. It won't. So, you have to put a bit in the mouth of your emotions and say - you're going this way, like it or not, I'm re-training you.

Eventually, the more worn path, will be the one that you default to feeling wise. It takes awhile though to lay those ruts and you have to be committed to - the consistent journey down that path, no matter what.

What is poison to you, will always be poison to you. You have enough information now and have spent enough life and energy on him. No need to become a martyr, right? Would prove absolutely nothing except that you are a trained rat.

So, to correct years spent in bad habits, make the next 20 spent in good habits in order that you might right some wrongs already ingrained in your children. It's the least you can do for them and for you.

And believe me when I say that someone who is as self-centered as he is and is the con artist he is - will always resent you and have little respect for you because he can "con you" so easily. People like that - learn to despise you because they can twirl you around at whim. Time to make tracks, snip the strings and get wise. Educate yourself, unplug your phone, whatever it takes but get over needing the fix of pain and once you get over the withdrawal part of it, things will get consistently easier and you'll start finding joy and peace in the absence of chaos and crazymaking. It can be done, so be about it.

June 14, 2002
12:24 pm
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Cici
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I may get a shot down by fellow posters, but I believe that there's nothing wrong with feeling compassion for others, even if they have done wrong to you. I mean, in intimate relationships we do a thousand hurtful things to each other every day, and the longer you're together the longer your list becomes.

Feeling compassion doesn't mean you forgive, though many therapists and psychotherapists and recent research shows that forgiveness can be healthier for the body and mind. It just means that you recognize your own suffering in others.

I think one of the main problems for a codependent enabler is that you teach yourself from early on how to identify your own emotions through other people, because emotions are dangerous and painful - and we naturally want to push our pain away.
Some may say that therapists are in a way codependent. Many professionals I know dislike using that term. My mentor from an internship 2 years ago will spew venom if you even mention the term. I mean, psychologists have the highest rate of suicide of any profession - because we can easily identify the problems in others that we have experienced in ourselves.

An old Skinnerian principle: every behavior reflects a need. It's easier to feel pity for another person suffering than to recognize and accept your own. I guess that's part of the first step of developing your identity - owning your own emotions.

June 14, 2002
6:29 pm
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Ladeska
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I think it's fine to "feel compassion" for others, even to forgive them, per say. It's just that sometimes - that need to feel compassion for them and forgive them overrides the need for you to take care of yourself and then...it becomes a real serious problem.

Isn't me shooting you down, Cici, just clarifying what I said and what I mean. You have a valid point here. We just have to learn how to own our emotions and balance everything in such a way that is good for us.

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