Avatar
Please consider registering
guest
sp_LogInOut Log In sp_Registration Register
Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search
Forum Scope


Match



Forum Options



Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters
sp_TopicIcon
Where does unconditional love end and CoDa begin?
August 25, 2005
8:19 pm
Avatar
Anonymous
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 24, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

ABOUT ME
========
I'm a pretty successful single woman...I own my own home, have a good job, lots of friends, and for the most part feel like I really have life figured out. I'm very rational and level-headed.

However, my background suggests that I could very well be codependent. I am also a survivor of sexual abuse...and this abuse happened while I was also trying to cope (around age 10) with a parent who was hospitalized for mental illness (I am compelled to say that the abuse was not by a parent or sibling.) I was the peacekeeper then and that tends to be my role in many aspects of my life.

ABOUT MY RELATIONSHIP
=====================
I met MY GUY at a school reunion. Although we grew up in the same neighborhood and went to the same schools, we never talked. He was one of those guys in school that was bullied, a loner. In fact, I even hung out with the guys that made his life miserable for most of our senior year (not knowing that they were doing this to him though.)

Anyhow, when I got to know him I was fascinated that this guy who was the class underdog was actually so sensitive, articulate, talented (an AMAZING singer and musician) and HANDSOME. I was instantly hooked on him and ready to make up for all the years in school when I should have been there for him instead of hanging out with those losers (you're beginning to see my problem.)

We've been together for five years now. The relationship has been in various states of committment. I've been all for the committment, he hasn't -- due to low self-esteem, trust issues (sexual abuse and dysfunctional family at a young age.) Yet through it all, we have pretty much been best friends and lovers. I've tried to date other people (thinking I should rather than really wanting to) but he never has.

MY PROBLEM
==========
I've helped MY GUY out financially many times...he, being a "starving artist" and bad with money. I had the money to spare so helped him out. He's also borred money from both his parents and owes, all told, about $20,000 to us. I must say, though, he has never ASKED me for money...I always offer and many times have been refused at first.

He desperately wants to pay us back but somehow manages to get into debt worse--he buys gifts for people to make them like him--he buys things when he's depressed (which is often, though he's been better through medication lately.)

Today I got angry at him (and "angry" is a strong word because I am always checking my tone for fear of making him more upset) when I found out that money I just gave him went toward something other than what it was intended for (the money was supposed to be a deposit on recording time for his band's CD but instead he had to use it to pay a delinquent bill.)

After I voiced my "anger" he hung up the phone and has not contacted me. This is his pattern...he gets upset and then shuts himself away. But I'm so afraid that he's going to hurt himself or do something rash. it makes me sick to my stomach with worry (and I'm already on Paxil for anxiety!) What do I do? Do I try NC or do I try, yet again, to counsel him through all this? I want our relationship to work...and it has been progressing through the years...but I don't know if I'm not seeing things clearly anymore.

Anyone? I'd be interested to hear what SexySadie has to say since we seem to have similar goals and feel we know our men better than anyone in the world (which I also do.)

August 25, 2005
9:06 pm
Avatar
lollipop3
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 29, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Hi Toostrong and welcome to the site.

I'll start by answering the title of your thread ....in my own opinion of course......

To me, the only people/things that can give unconditional love are parents and dogs. Even then you don't always get it, but it's as close as most of us will get.

Everyone has conditions (boundaries as we like to call them), or at least they should.

To love unconditionally while someone hurts us, uses us, abuses us, etc. is not loving at all. It is not love that keeps us there, it is fear. Fear of being alone, fear of being rejected, fear of feeling like a failure, fear of the unknown.

In order for a relationship to be healthy there must be boundaries and they must be respected by both parties.

Your situation sounds very codependent. The first thing that you should realize is that his issues are not your issues. If he has money, self-esteem , trust and commitment issues, that is for him to fix. He is a grown man and is perfectly capable of putting the "artist" gig on hold and get a job that pays the bills. If he has a problem with depression, he can get help. You cannot fix these things for him and the harder you try, the more you will be swallowed by this codependent cycle.

My suggestion to you is to start focusing on yourself. You are the only thing that you can fix/control. You must decide what it is that you want out of this relationship and communicate that to him. You must set up boundaries and stick to them.

As long as you enable his very irresponsible and immature behavior, he will have no reason to change.

Start taking of you and your needs and stop worrying about what his needs/problems are.

Perhaps you could talk to a therapist about this or go to a support group for codependency. This site is also a great place to come for wisdom, insight and encouragement....so keep posting.

There are many here that are/have been where you are....you are not alone.

Good luck,
Lolli

August 25, 2005
9:15 pm
Avatar
Anonymous
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 24, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Thanks for your reply, Lolli.

Hard stuff to hear, but most of it true. I do have to mention, though, that he does have a full-time job. Since we've been together, he has made great steps toward maturity...though long overdue.

Yes, I often feel that his problem are my problems. I guess I feel like I can take on his problems since I really don't have any to speak of. I've long put my past in a place where it no longer affects me.

I had been seeing a therapist for a while and she never once brought up codependency. Any idea why?

Can I still try to help him if I set boundaries? Maybe that's where I need to start?

August 25, 2005
9:43 pm
Avatar
lollipop3
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 29, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Toostrong,

Feeling that his problems are your problems is definately codependent thinking. I know you say that you "don't have any problems" but is that really true? The fact that you are afraid to "get angry" is a problem. That fact that you put your needs last and his needs first is a problem. The fact that you are consulting a co-dependency web site indicates a problem. But you know what....that's okay.

I'm not sure why your therapist hasn't brought up the issue of codependency. There are a couple of great books on the subject that I would certainly encourage you to read.

1. Women Who Love Too Much...by Robin Norwood

2. Co-dependent No More...by Melody Beattie

Both of these books were a tremendous help to myself as well as others on this site in gaining insight into codependency.

Perhaps if after reading these books you feel that you can relate, you can bring up what you discover with your therapist.

To answer your question about helping him while setting boundries.... In my opinion, you cannot help him WITHOUT setting boundaries. If there are no boundaries then you will continue to enable his behavior and he will never feel compelled to change his behavior.

There is nothing wrong with supporting him during this process as long as he is the one doing what is necessary to change. You cannot change him. You cannot make him change. You cannot control him. I use the word control because that is exactly what "helping" is.

The only thing you can control is you. The only person you can change is you.

Keep the focus on yourself. What your needs are, what your wants are and as far as the rest of it goes....you have to let go.

Part of setting boundries is having respect for ourselves and allowing the others to have respect for themselves. That requires us to stop enabling them and let them learn for themselves the consequences of their actions.

I strongly suggest that you read the books that I've mentioned. They are written very clearly and easy to understand....and will help you to make sense out of some of the things that I spoke of here.

Start taking care of yourself and the rest will fall into place.

Love,
Lolli

August 25, 2005
9:50 pm
Avatar
Anonymous
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 24, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

You're a smart woman. Thank you. I will check on those books.

A lot of these ideas have already been in my head. I know that he has to make the changes himself so that he has successes...so that he can build his self-esteem.

He often tells me he wishes he was dead. He tells me he absolutely hates himself. He tried committing suicide when he was a teen. Now he says he wishes he could kill himself but that he's too much of a chicken. That tears me up. What do you say to that? What do you say when you tell him to go to therapy and he says he can't afford it? What do I do while I sit here, wondering if he is hurting himself at this moment?

August 25, 2005
9:57 pm
Avatar
D dog
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 24, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Lolli -

Thanks for these replies. I liked what you said about not setting boudaries and continually enabling their behavior. Guilty!

I guess that's why "no contact" is so important for me?...I've been struggling with these same types of thoughts all day, and this has made it much clearer.

Thanks, dude! (I know you're female, I just call EVERYONE dude, even my cat! LOL!)

August 25, 2005
10:01 pm
Avatar
Anonymous
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 24, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

D Dog, what's your situation? Would like to hear...

August 25, 2005
10:08 pm
Avatar
lollipop3
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 29, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Toostrong,

Here's the easier said than done part of the program.....

You have to let it go.

If he can't afford therapy....there are plenty that offer sliding scale and even free counseling. There are suicide hotlines. There are free support groups, etc. There is help out there....if he chooses to get it.

It is also very possible that he is using these statements to manipulate you. People are very quick to spot a codependent and many will take full advantage. It has been said many times (thank you Dr.Phil) that we teach people how to treat us.

He knows very well what to say to get what he wants. You are angry....he says he's depressed....you back off. You want your money....he says he wishes he was dead....you back off.

I'm not saying that is what is happening in your situation but I'm willing to bet that 99 out of every 100 people on this site will tell you that is exactly what their mates do to them.

It is manipulation and it works....if we allow it.

I know that you are concerned about him and that's okay. It is very normal to worry about someone that you love. But the problem is when we worry so much, and try to help so much and try to control so much...that we lose ourselves.

I pray to God that he never does anything to hurt himself. However, if he was to do something like that....there is nothing that you can do to change that. You are powerless over him and his actions.

No amount of love, arguing, pleading, cajoling, reasoning, crying, yelling, etc. is going to change him if he doesn't want to change or make him get help if he doesn't want to get help.

You can wonder and worry til your hearts content and it still won't change anything.

I apologize if I sound to straight forward, I don't mean to make it sound easy....I know first hand that it is not but it is necessary for you to realize that you have no control over this situation.

Love,
Lolli

August 25, 2005
10:14 pm
Avatar
Anonymous
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 24, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Tears...

And here I thought I was the best thing that ever happened to him. Now I'm beginning to see that I'm helping to pave the road to his own personal hell with my good intentions.

You are so right. I knew this but it needed to be told to me.

Thank you, Lolli.

August 25, 2005
10:15 pm
Avatar
lollipop3
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 29, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

D-dog,

I'm glad I could help. Yes, I believe "no contact" is very important for you.

As a matter of fact, if I thought you could still post to us through osmosis.....I'd take that computer right away from you. lol

Love,
Lolli

August 25, 2005
10:17 pm
Avatar
Chontelle
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 24, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

toostrong,

I have just begun to read Codependent No More by Melody Beattie, I would also recommend it to you. I'm just learning that I may be codependent. I won't go into my issues because I seriously think we may have the same person in our lives. Or could just be the cliche starving musician, lol. I highly recommend that book though (only to page 62 so far).

August 25, 2005
10:28 pm
Avatar
lollipop3
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 29, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Toostrong,

I'm sorry if I made you cry. I don't mean to hurt you. I understand exactly how you are feeling right now. I honestly do. I have been there myself as have many others on this site.

Do not blame yourself for "his own personal hell". He created that for himself and you just happened to fit like a piece to a puzzle. It's like a dance, when we meet our mates....they need help....we need to help them. It is nobody's fault. It just happens that way.

The important thing is that you are beginning to recognize this and want to do something about it.

Believe me....my b/f and I were the perfect dysfunctional, unhealthy couple. He was an irresponsible, immature alcoholic and I was going to fix him. He used alcohol to fill his void.....I used him to fill mine.
We loved each other but our co-dependency nearly destroyed our relationship.

Only with the help of AA, Alanon, therapy, this site and a willingness to change OURSELVES (independently) were we able to hold it together and salvage what was left of our relationship.

I am happy to report that we are still together and although things are not perfect, our relationship is healthier than it has ever been.

It has been a difficult and painful road but in my opinion....it was worth it.

Love,
Lolli

August 25, 2005
10:31 pm
Avatar
lollipop3
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 29, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I would also like to add that you may very well end up being the best thing that ever happened to him.

I know that I am the best thing that ever happened to my b/f. LoL....just kidding.

I was hoping to make you smile:)

Love,
Lolli

August 25, 2005
10:42 pm
Avatar
standbackup
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 24, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I just thought I'd pass along a story...my h was threatening suicide so at our next therapy session I told the therapist. And I couldn't believe his response...........SO.....That was what he said! I was shocked, but continued listening. He said it IS the ultimate temper tantrum and like was said before, if he wants to do it there is nothing that you can do to stop it. This is really hard to swallow when you are trying to 'take care' of someone, but mull it over a while. Maybe it will provide a little clarity and distance for you.

August 25, 2005
11:05 pm
Avatar
lollipop3
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 29, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Toostrong,

It's getting late and I must head off to bed.

I'm sorry that you are hurting and I hope that you are okay.

Please, look into those books. Coming to the realization that we may be codependent(i.e. not perfect) is not the end of the world.....

It is actually the beginning of a new world and a new life.

I will check in tomorrow.....so if you feel like it, we can chat again.

In the meantime, be gentle with yourself. You are a good person and you deserve to treat yourself with kindness.

Goodnight.

Love,
Lolli

August 26, 2005
12:14 pm
Avatar
lollipop3
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 29, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Hi Toostrong,

I just wanted to check in and see how you are doing.

I'll be back later if you want to talk.

Take care,
Lolli

August 26, 2005
1:51 pm
Avatar
StronginHim77
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 453
Member Since:
September 30, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I am hoping someone will be helped, if I share my painful story. My husband of nearly twenty years was an alcoholic. He verbally, emotionally and (occasionally) physically abused me. I spent nearly two decades helping him make something of his life. In short...I tried to "fix" him. Many times, when I cornered him and demanded accountability for his irresponsible and selfish actions, he would back me off with outbursts of rage, guilt-inducing (pathetic him) confessions of his own worthless or (toward the end) screaming at me, "Maybe I should just go kill myself."

Finally, I drew a boundary. No more drugs/booze, or he had to leave the house, until he decided to clean up. He raged, of course. Threatened to kill himself (for the umpteenth time). I finally said, "If you do, you do. Go ahead. I can't stop you."

Well, he did. He swallowed a ton of pills, then hung himself to death. We found his body in the morning. The grief therapist told my sons and me that his suicide was the "ultimate temper tantrum." She was right. It was an insane act of vengeful rage.

I am sorry he is dead, but now I am free from his tyranny and control. And I am a recovering co-dependent. I pray you get the support and help you need to be free, also.

Love,

Strong

August 26, 2005
2:12 pm
Avatar
kathygy
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 30, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

toostrong,

I don't really have anything to add to what lolli said. I think she said everything I would say. I agree, you are not responsible for yoru boyfriend. Your number one responsibility is to yourself. Why are you afraid to get angry at your boyfriend? You should feel free to express anger in a healthy relationship. I would not give him another penny no matterwhat. He needs to grow up and take responsiblity for his financial needs. I see codependency in your need to try to rescue/fix your boyfriend. Put the focus on you and learn how to take care of yourself. A healthy relationship can only exist between equals. You don't have that as long as you keep enabling him and trying to help rescue him. Stop and see if he picks up the slack.

Love,
kathy

August 26, 2005
4:53 pm
Avatar
lollipop3
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 29, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Hi Strong,

Thank you for sharing your story. I'm sure that was a very painful time for you.

I have known several people that have commited suicide (fortunatley, no one as close as a husband) and it really is important to know that there is nothing that anyone could have done. Believe me, the people closest to them tried everything in their power to stop it but as we all know, you cannot control another person's actions.

Toostrong......I hope that you are doing okay.

We are here if you need to talk.

Love,
Lolli

August 26, 2005
11:43 pm
Avatar
Philosuffer
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 27, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Well, I have something to say about your subject heading--"Where does unconditional love end and CODA begin?"

I believe that the worst thing you can do in a relationship is think that you need to love someone unconditionally. The only time you can love someone unconditionally, if at all, is when you are *not* in a relationship with them. Relationships are *not* unconditional--when you are in a relationship you are in the relationship at least in part because you are getting something from it, or at least because you want to get something from it. I'm not talking about being selfish, I'm talking about being human and having needs, which is human.

I think perhaps the biggest mistake one can make in a relationship is to try and love the other person unconditionally--it is not a good thing for either person.

August 27, 2005
1:49 am
Avatar
SUSIE BABY
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 29, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

STRONG,GOD BLESS YOU.so sorry for what you and your son's have been through.i have know children age's 14 and 19 who took their live's.as sad as it is,NO ONE COULD HAVE STOPPED EITHER.the 14 year old's parent's are drug addic's,he thought this to be the only way out of his hell.to this day his parent's use(they also have a daughter 17,she use's with them )the 19 year old was mentally abused as well phy. by his mother's boyfriend of 10 year's.this man was a teacher in our local high school.no one realy "know's" why people take this way out,all anyone can do is get help so "you" know it had "nothing" to do with you.KEEP THE FAITH,SUSAN

August 27, 2005
10:20 am
Avatar
StronginHim77
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 453
Member Since:
September 30, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Philosuffer....

I think unconditional love is very healthy. Let's define it: Unconditional Love is loving someone, without expecting/requiring anything back from him. The love a mother has for her newborn baby is unconditional. That baby is unable to meet the mother's needs in any way. It is too young to smile, manipulate, soothe or reciprocate. Yet mom loves (accepts) that baby with great devotion and passion. I believe that is the way God loves us, unconditionally.

I don't think unconditional love means having no boundaries. Even God lays down boundaries. There is "right" and "wrong." In our relationships with one another, we have boundaries, as a parent would have with their child. We accept both the good and the bad, but we certainly lay down limits on their actions/behavior. If they do something wrong, we won't stop loving them, but we will impose a consequence. This is how I see unconditional love versus codependency. The codependent person does not have the ability to draw boundaries/impose limits and this is essential to healthy love. Hope this made sense.

August 27, 2005
10:45 am
Avatar
lollipop3
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 29, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

In my opinion, the word "unconditional" means litterally....without condition. Or as Webster's puts it....

"not subject to limitations or reservations".

The definition itself, therefore does not allow for "boundaries", which are essential for a healthy relationship.

I believe that people can come to a place in their relationship that they truely "accept" each other the way they are, faults and all. However, I also believe that type of love takes yyeeeaarrrsss to come to and most people in society today do not stay in relationships long enough to ever get to that point. Nor, should they if the relationship is detremental to their own well beings.

Again, just my opinion.

Love,
Lolli

August 27, 2005
6:26 pm
Avatar
Anonymous
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 24, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Hello Lolli and others,

I'm here and I'm okay. Thank you so much for your concern and words of encouragment! I've been processing all that you have said and am trying to figure out what my next move is...or wondering if the next move isn't mine at all.

My guy did make a move this afternoon, actuall. He came over to mow my lawn this afternoon (as he usually does...he really does try and do things for me too.) I was at home but didn't go outside to see him. Nor did he come in the house to see me. I'm pretty sure he's keeping his distance because he thinks I want him to. I sent him a quick email to thank him for taking care of the lawn and to offer up the chance to talk if he wants to. I hope that wasn't wrong. I want to be supportive but I realize I need boundaries and will try to put them in place.

STRONG...what a horrible thing to endure! That is my nightmare and you went through it. I'm so sorry. But, it sounds like you are handling it well. Next time my guy mentions suicide, I will try and remember that it is a temper tantrum. That really puts it in perspective for me. Thank you for sharing your story and I hope you are well.

CHONTELL...I would love to hear your story. It would mean a lot to me to hear from someone else with the same situation...it really would!

Again, thank you all for your responses. I have never been part of a 'therapy group' or however you want to classify this site but it sure is helpful!

xo
toostrong?

September 2, 2005
11:59 am
Avatar
unsurewhy
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 27, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

too strong, I could have chosen that as my nickname. I identify with you tremendously. Actually what lollipop has said too, I am married to an alcoholic, a fun loving, cheerful person, who doesnt worry about much - like MONEY, just doesnt worry about it, "things always get paid, done etc"
Used to be that I got them done, paid etc, but no more. Ive been "too strong" in thinking I have no unmet needs or problems. So, I should be able to devote a tremendous amount of energy, emotional energy and financial to "helping" the one I love, Right? Now Im slowly, SSLOWLY, learning that its not good for my spouse to have me fix his problems - how will he ever learn or change if he does not suffer his own consequences? Bills may be paid late, but eventually he will pay them,and recently, paying them more on time ! Im still hurting and struggling with these issues, because I also am good with my money, dont go in debt and dont "have any problems" successful in work and personal life, at least with friends - but my 2 marriages , well , the first one was emotional abusive and became physical abusive - when I finally left. 18 years of my life spent trying to rescue him from his problems. ( he was emotionally abused ) Now age 47 I remarried, a person who seemed to have his life together, but manages his money in a hap- hazard fashion. Is an alcoholic, spends hundreds of dollars a month on his habit. And all I do is get frustrated that Im working full time, paying most of the bills - while he supports his habit. We are in counseling, I am reading and I did buy the book by MBeattie - so I feel like Im on the right path - to start with, but as I read your story - I really identified with you. I guess that's all I can say - trying to continue to learn and grow is all I can do right now & I am seperating myself from his problems as much as I can manage.. sincerely ( "unsurewhy" = this has "happened" to me in my life "

Forum Timezone: UTC -8
Most Users Ever Online: 349
Currently Online:
43
Guest(s)
Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)
Top Posters:
onedaythiswillpass: 1134
zarathustra: 562
StronginHim77: 453
free: 433
2013ways: 431
curious64: 408
Member Stats:
Guest Posters: 49
Members: 110990
Moderators: 5
Admins: 3
Forum Stats:
Groups: 8
Forums: 74
Topics: 38562
Posts: 714273
Newest Members:
Slizzeringod1, Slizzeringod, texas321, lasserfelt, Gosia88, Hollynluna87
Moderators: arochaIB: 1, devadmin: 9, Tincho: 0, Donn Gruta: 0, Germain Palacios: 0
Administrators: admin: 21, ShiningLight: 572, emily430: 29

Copyright © 2020 MH Sub I, LLC. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy | Health Disclaimer | Do Not Sell My Personal Information