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That feeling you have when you read the definition of codependant and realize it is you...
October 27, 2005
4:03 pm
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bandit5000xp
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This is all very strange for me; it is like living through the twist at the end of a movie just realizing who I am and how embarrassingly textbook I am. How I got away from realizing this for so long is unbelievable to me.

I am going to go over what is going through my head regarding a history of this upon my realization, any feedback or suggestions would be appreciated.

My parents were very good parents in every tangible respect, hard working and such, but I believe my mother had children before she was ready, although she was old enough. I say this because she still wanted to "party" but was also responsible enough not to go out with children. This resulted in my mom drinking at home and I have memories of this from a very early age. My dad was always out of town, and she "partied" with my brother and me.

When I was around 15 I was always going out and drinking, abusing drugs, etc. and hooking up with guys – basically trying to be an adult. I ran away for a few months and lived with a 24 year old man in my drug addled state, moved back in with my parents afterwards and took care of business (i.e. finishing school, catching up on reading, and normal socializing with teenagers) and started only drinking or doing drugs socially the rest of my teenaged years.

While finishing high school I was dating my high school sweetheart, Chris. This, I realize in retrospect, was my first codependent relationship. He was the child of a divorce and socially rejected, I was a "cool" girl and felt it my duty to take him under my wing. He practically lived with me, and I was like his mom. I even got a certificate the last day of school saying "most likely to adopt Chris D". It seemed funny then but it is haunting me now.

It was at this time that my parents got a divorce, and in my opinion it was a long time in coming. A psychologist told my dad he was enabling her drinking, and on top of that life had become very hard for him because of her, so he left while keeping close contact. I think he handled it as best as he could.

I did, however, immediately try to replace my father. Chris was smothered by me and my neediness, and left me without saying anything, my heart was broken and I began a trend of emotional eating etc. I met a man 10 years my senior (27), unemployed, drug addicted, and with a baby he did not support. He moved into my house the week I met him and took over, pushing my little brother around and yelling at my mom. I didn’t know how to handle it I was so numb, I think we all were, and I knew he wouldn’t let me leave. It was perhaps the opposite if my first codependent relationship and I don’t know what it means, but it was the lowest point in my life.

I was working and supporting us both on nothing, buying his drugs for him etc. Please remember I was only 17 at the time, 18 when I decided the only thing to do was move us out of my mom's house. I met my next boyfriend, Sean, after months of living with Josh and becoming desperate to find a way out. The relationship was becoming abusive but I was determined to snap right back.

Sean "rescued" me from Josh. He was the same age, but a successful homeowner and business man. I was very taken with him and he let me live with him immediately, dispelling my old life I was able to start over again in a new part of town with someone who was functional. He was a psychology major, and I think he felt bad for me more that really being in love with me because he saw I was a promising young woman in a bad situation.

Despite that, we lived together for 3 years, more like friends and roommates than anything. He taught me how to be an adult, and how to make it on my own. I knew he didn’t really love me in the same way I wanted him too, and like a chick from its mother I wanted to use the grooming and education I had learned on my own. I wanted to see if I could make it on my own, I knew I had to. But I was scared, and he didn’t want me to leave for his own reasons. I needed a reason to get out of it, and someone to rebound with. I could still prove to myself I could be independent and be with someone if he was my dependant, right?

I met Stevie on April 20th of this year, a day after he got out of the hospital for a schizophrenic episode. I denied that he had a problem at all, and he saw in me the emotionally desperate codependent that I am and latched right on. He is and was very sweet, but is like a child to his mother. I moved out of Sean's, and he has been able to have the promiscuous lifestyle he wanted all along. I moved in with Stevie.

His dad was paying his bills since he got out of the hospital, and I picked it up when I got there. I moved us to a new place, taking full responsibility for him. He has problems of his own, but it is obvious that I am a textbook codependent and am hurting myself by being in this situation. I am always scared and he is the only person who can calm me down. I am doing very well but I do not have any faith in myself. I know deep inside I need to be alone, but he is a very nice person and needs help and I have convinced him I love him and will always be there for him. I don’t know what to do. I think he will be able to explain me out of it (schizophrenics are very good at creating an alternate reality, where I have resided for 6 months now).

I am ready to take care of myself 100% and look at myself long and hard, but I don’t want to feel guilty about kicking him to the curb even though he has never had a cent the entire 6 months we have been together. He is 26, 4 years older than me, so it feels silly worrying about him so much - this apprehension is obviously also part of my codependency. I don’t know what to do. Can I deal with my problem and live with him and come out okay, while he deals with his schizophrenia and learns to live with me? Is it possible?

October 27, 2005
4:10 pm
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Anonymous
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Whether you stay with him or move away, you need to stop taking care of him.

so the question remains...can you live with him, but require him to carry his own weight...can you live with him and require him to be an adult...can you live with him and make him stand on his own two feet?

You can't make him deal with his issues. You can't heal him. YOu can't fix him. YOu can't make him work and pay bills.

If you think he can REALLY make the effort to change - so that you can focus on you and take care of you...then sure, stay.

But if you think that asking him to carry his own weight will cause stress - and that if he doesn't, you will slip into continuing to care for him - you need to get out.

His dad took care of him before, he will always find someone to care for him...some people are like that...either dad, or another woman (I know you don't want to hear that) or his mom or someone...

If you can detach from his problems - and he can work on his own without needing you - stay together.

But let me tell you - I am with a normal guy - well he has his issues, but no mental illness...and it has been no picnic. I know the easy road would be to let him go and start over when things got better...but we chose to stay together. He struggles to find a job and pay his bills and it is affecting me adn I have to work DOUBLY hard to "detach" and not obsess or worry about what he is doing. I am doing it...it's a hard but good lesson...but if your guy has mental illness, he might not be as strong or as willing.

October 27, 2005
4:25 pm
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bandit5000xp
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Thanks for responding - I know it was a long read 🙂

I guess I will have to talk to him and set a time limit with myself. I just wonder if I will ever know if I have recovered or not if I stay with him. I dont like psychiatrists / psycologists much - I still think it is an art and not a science, but I am wondering if that is what I should do. I would not be comfortable in a group.

November 1, 2005
3:30 pm
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c8974
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I can relate to how you're feeling. After three years of caring for him, my alcoholic partner has recently completed a 21-day residential treatment program. He seems completely transformed - someone I could REALLY love. I am truly thrilled for him and thankful that he is working on his recovery. Unfortunately, with his new-found sobriety he is off to "discover" himself and build a new life in another province. I've been experiencing a vast array of emotions, but I'm slowly realizing that the loss of the relationship isn't as distressing as not having someone to care for. It's like, "What the heck am I supposed to do now?". It's terrible to say, but in a way I almost wish he was still sick so I could have something meanful to do, i.e. care for him, worry about him, protect him, etc. I fit many of the codependent descriptions - it's scary! My family history fits as well. I grew up with a mentally ill father. My mother and I hardly ever discussed the "craziness" that went on in our lives, and my friends simply couldn't relate to what I was going through. I felt very alone. My mother is also very stoic, and at the first sign of emotional meltdown, she would give her "stiff upper lip" speech and practically order me to feel happy again. I can see the characteristics of codependency expressed in other areas of my life, too. I am a teacher and I am strongly affected by my student's problems and make efforts to help them that go beyond what other teachers do. These actions have always brought me lots of praise from others, bolstering my self-esteem and encouraging me to continue the behaviour. I never viewed it as an illness, I just thought that I was a really good person. Anyway, I'm working on addressing all this stuff, but it's helpful to read people's stories and know that I'm not alone.
Best wishes.

November 2, 2005
12:08 am
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quarius
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Hello, I'm having exactly that feeling ... realizing it's me! As c8974 said, I always thought I was a good person and was doing the right thing. I have read a little bit about co-dependency, and accept I'm going to have to deal with it, but it also feels like a cold and lonely path to be taking. I often have an urge to rescue people, and I think that despite my good intentions, in the past I have smothered people close to me. But this is all I know, it's how I am. I really do want to change this pattern, but I don't know how to start.

November 2, 2005
10:32 am
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iwillsurvive
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I never gave any thought to being a codependent until a meeting with my new therapist last week. I needed a third party advisor after a particularly bad break-up with someone I dearly loved. For him, I had compromised a lot and let down some boundaries I usually wouldn't have let down. My therapist said something important at that point; she said that there are certain people in this world who seek out those who will compromise their boundaries for someone new. Bandit, I think that applies somewhat to you. I see a couple patterns. First, you are on this quest to help others without having ever taken that necessary alone time to figure yourself out. Second, you are going to continue to not only be attracted to these needy people, but they are going to continue to be attracted to you.

You are so young and have gone through a lot so early in life. There is nothing wrong with finding your independence and living only for you for awhile. After my break-up, I worried constantly about my ex's kids who I loved so much and missed. My friends finally sat me down and simply said "Look, they are not your responsibility to worry about anymore. It is time to worry about yourself". I had to make that disconnection and it hurt. But I am stronger and much more independent now because of it and while taking this time to figure myself and life in general out a little bit, I am preparing myself for much happier and more fulfulling relationships down the road and that makes me smile.

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