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When a codependent begins to try not to be....
May 2, 2007
1:27 pm
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tlanie11
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Hi!

I was fishing the internet for information on codependency and found this forum. I am just looking for some advice and to hear about other people's experiences when they learned they were codependent, realized the behaviors they had been exhibiting, and then tried to change. My issue is that through counseling, I've realized I am a pretty classic case of codependency. Divorced parents, lack of communication or indirect communication in home, lack of expression of emotions, etc. have all lead me to exhibit codependent behaviors. Controlling behavior, distrust, avoidance of feelings, caretaking behavior, etc. But now that I realize this and I want to change and make some changes in my relationship with my husband he doesn't want to change with me. Long story short, I put my feelings aside for so long and did what he wanted because I thought that's how you made things work or that was compromise. You give up yourself for someone else. I've moved away from my family, I've taken on roles such as cook and cleaner that I hate, I've put my emotional needs aside for him. But now, that I know that that behavior isn't healthy, I'm trying to build a stronger emotional attachment between us. A healthy one. I mean, I guess part of my problem is that I married an emotionally unavailable person (quite like one of my parents) and am now expecting him to change. I am only 26 years old and feel no emotional attachment to my husband of almost 3 years. I feel lost and I don't know what else to do. You go from an unhealthy behavior and try to build things back up and meet such resistance. It's almost better if I had stayed codependent and had not stepped up and said "I want more!" Because now, what I hear from him is "I am and have always been this way. You've known that from day one. I've tried to make some changes and that is all I can do."

Sometimes I feel like "you've made this bed now lie in it. Accept the way that he loves you and be happy with it." I don't doubt he loves me but there is still something missing between us and whatever "it" is it is what I need. And sometimes it's so hard to get your point across when you have a hard time knowing what you need too. I know I love my husband and I know he loves me. But maybe he doesn't love me the way I want or need to be loved. When that is the case -- is that enough to fight for or do you accept it? Do you accept that those are the differences between you and your personalities and you can't always get what you want.

I'm going to stop rambling now. But I'm just looking to see how others have handled this situation.

May 2, 2007
1:45 pm
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mj
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Hi TLanie11,

Welcome to this site!

I read a book, "Codependent No More" back in the late 80's. That was when I knew that there was a name for what I was experiencing. I was raised in an abusive home, incest, and then later emotional abused by my step-parents and it was really yucky!

After reading that book, I didn't feel like I was crazy anymore. I could relate that the family dysfunction had created many unhealthy behaviors in myself. I had been going to therapists since I was 17 and didn't want my child to be affected by all of that. I had my first child at 17, unplanned and got married because of it back in the 70's.

Through the years I tried many different things, self help books, therapists, antidepressants, relationships, cocaine, alcohol, more relationships to ease my pain. Nothing worked. In 2000 I finally discovered the 12 step program and have been working on this and believe it it works! I now have a spiritual relationship with a power greater than myself and I don't need to run from relationship to relationship for my love fix. I am learning self love which is the healthiest love. I am far from perfect but today I have HOPE. I know that I am right where I am suppose to be today. I am enough today. I have learned that I am never alone and that there are healthier ways to communicate. I am learning that no one wants to be controlled. Everyone wants to be free to live life the way they visualize for themselves. I am learning that its up to me to make a plan of what I want and need for me. I don't have to rely on others for my validation or approval. I can love, be loving, and learn to have healthy boundaries. It takes time and its worth it.

May 2, 2007
2:25 pm
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_anonymous
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The problem is that the message you originally gave your husband when you first began your relationship with him was that it was OK for him to use you as a pawn in his game called life. That you did not exist in his mind and were there to promote his self serving needs. Of course he thought this was fine. Now you want to change things. Which is good. But it will get worse before it gets better. You do not need his permission to do what is good for you. You do not need to explain to him why you want or need to take better care of yourself. Just do it. If U havent felt an emotional attachment in 3 years chances are you probably never will. This guy is obviously not in a position to give anything to you emotionally but you are in a position to recieve emotional support. When things get to this point sometimes it is better for 2 people to get seperated so you can continue doing what is good and right to improve yourself and to allow yourself to find people that are emotionally supportive. That is his problem that he cannot support you emotionally not yours. He either needs to find someone that would enjoy having a relationship with no emotional ties or to live on his own. You do not have to allow an emotionally neglectful person like your husband to be in your life. You do not have to accept any of his hurtful ways. I am in a situation with my husband. On the lowest level I tried talking to him and he minimized my feelings and kept on with his hurtful ways. So, I let my feet do the talking and moved almost 200 miles away. This way he has to deal with himself and he has the time to try to figure out what went wront. Which he hasnt. I found out that I am still alive, and well and doing fine. Better off without him.

May 2, 2007
3:07 pm
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nappy
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I just want to say welcome to this site. There is a reason that you stumble on to this place. This is a place to seek help if you want it.

First of all, there is no timelife that you realize that you are codependent. Some realize it sooner then other but one way or another you will realize it and that you want to do something about it. Now the other people in your life that has been so use to you acting a certain way or even being a certain way will take full advantage of the situation but when you start to change, well they don't like it. It just mean that they can't do you like that anymore.
Now there is nothing wrong by being codependent. You can stand and say that proud, but the real trick is when you realize that you are, that you now have to do something about it. If you want happiness in your life then you will work on yourself. Don't try and work on other because that does not work.
Now when I realize that I was codependent, I was mad, then I was sad and then I became angry. But now I am free to say that I am in control of my life. I refuse to go backward and I refuse to sit and blame. I could blame my parents because that is where is all started but bless there soul, they did the best they knew how and it did do something to me as I became an adult but I just wish that they could of gotten help along the way but they didn't but I did and I am bless with the information. Life is a lesson learn and when you start learning about yourself and others then you my dear is being taught and you is getting the lesson. Now the hard part is doing the homework. If you really want this to work, then put it into action. Your husband will be mad for a while but you are to stand strong in what you believe is right and really stand for how you want to be treated. And if your husband don't want to walk beside you in this process, then guess what. You will be looking behind your shoulder wondering why he was left behind. Except your husband for who he is. The only one that can change him is him, you worry about yourself. Everyone is codependent, some don't just stay stuck in there situation, some don't sit and have a pity party for themselves. Some take a stand because this is there life that they are taking control of. This is there happiness that they are taking control of and my dear we only have one life to live, so my suggestion is to live it and be happy.
Nappy

May 2, 2007
4:25 pm
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tlanie11
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I really appreciate what everyone has said. It is hard when you finally realize "Hey, I'm not perfect." or "Hey, I've not be leading my life right or treating myself right." You know, I always knew what I didn't want in a relationship (thanks to my parents' relationship and divorce) but I never took the time to find out what I did want.

My biggest problem is that I suffer from guilt. Everything I feel and everything I do I feel guilty for. So, I'm not angry with my husband - I'm just sad. And I feel guilty that I'm the one that wants HIM to change. But to me, I don't see how I could work on myself and have him NOT change and everything stay the same. What is the point of that? He's not a bad guy, he doesn't beat me, he doesn't verbally abuse me, he isn't an alcoholic, he doesn't abuse drugs -- he just isn't emotionally available in the way I want. I grapple with the thought that I could actually want to leave a "good" man because he isn't emotionally available. I guess without the fights or the anger I can't fathom, even in my own mind, why it is so bad.

I definitely hear what you all are saying. I'm still trying to figure out how I love myself first. And if even then I will be able to accept my husband's "way" of loving me. It's a long, hard road...

May 2, 2007
4:57 pm
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on my way
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Hi tlannie,

I have seen several couples begin a spiritual 12 step counseling group, where one goes, gets healthy, drops old behaviors, and it actually saves the marriage relationship, because you learn that you can change but your partner does not have too. I have seen those partners see the change in their wives or husbands and want what they have found. It is a whole new way of thinking, and you learn about the tools to use to make it through. YOu are right! You cannot change him, but you can change yourself if you want too. And he may squawk at first because he may not understand, but eventually he will probably appreciate the healthier and better person you may become.

May 2, 2007
5:22 pm
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mj
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I use to wonder why I attended so many meetings when it was my husband with the problem. I kept going back and discovered that some of my behavior might be creating some of our problems. I agree with OMW that one person in recovery is better than none! When I change my way of relating that was not healthy and learn to ask directly for what I need, I get better results. I am learning that if only one person yells, there is no fight. When two people are emotionally distance, there is no relationship. I am responsible for my part of the relationship. I am glad that I am learning new and better ways to communicate. When I first arrived here at AAC, I was really passive/aggressive. I felt like a victim and a martyr. I am changing and for this I am grateful. It does take work tlanie, but you are worth it. Did I mention, I have been married 4 times. I use to think it was the other that was my problem. Now I know that I am not perfect either.

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