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Why did I end up like this?
April 23, 2004
11:04 am
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wings
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I just posted on another thread about this, but I figured I could start a new one...My father was an alcoholic, which I believe has led to my codependency. I was and still am walking on eggshells around him(even though he has been sober for over 10 years). My moods and feelings reflected on his behavior. Nothing was ever stable and he constantly let me down...what I want to know is why do people who grow up like that continue to follow the pattern? Why haven't I learned from my uneasy childhood to stay away from messed up guys? My current boyfriend has addiction and anger problems as well. Yet, my sister(3 years older) is happily married and shows no signs of codependency...Why am I the messed up one?

April 23, 2004
11:18 am
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Anonymous
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I remember learning in psychology, my major, but I hate it now, that there are resilient children, that no matter what they go through, they overcome any and everything, they are rare, maybe you sister is like that, but you also have to remember that just because she seems happy and so forth, you have no idea what goes on in her mind, or her feelings, or anything, she may just be able to hide things a lot better than you.

April 23, 2004
11:22 am
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Maybe your sister was just luckier. Sometimes it happens that way. Or maybe her relationship with your parents was slightly different?

When I was growing up i was my father's confidant, therapist, and Marriage couselour. Roles no child should have to take on. My sister, who is only one year younger than I, was completely oblivious. Her life is most certainly NOT problem free, in fact, some of our 'issues' are the same...but she has a completely different personality and grew up being extraverted and sociable, while I was introverted, and stayed home all the time (there were other factors, but my father did not help t make me feel any less like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders.)

Wings, maybe for whatever reason, your sister was able to extracate herself from your father's alcoholic neediness. His delicate temperment may have affected him in other ways that you are not aware of.

Also, sometimes, some people are lucky as to who they cross paths with and fall in love with. Everyone is different. And you are different at different times of your life. Maybe you have more of a natural tendency toward depression than your sister. I know I am very different than my sister that way.

April 23, 2004
11:28 am
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marley
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When my sister went through AA - I accompanied her to a bunch of meetings. One of the most informative was a meeting on the dysfunctional families and addiction. Anyway, they said that in a dysfunctional family there is an addict and a spouse. The spouse is generally a martyr for putting up with the addict and this leads children to develop certain roles. The eldest child becomes the acheiver (they tend to have very professional jobs and marry well - but in many ways act similar to the addicted parent), the second child has a 99% chance of becoming and addict and is generally called the rebel. They are always in trouble, never can seem to get their lives together, etc. I don't know if this helps, but believe me it has little to do with you. All you need to do is recognize the cycle and end it - which is a hell of alot, but it is possible.

April 23, 2004
11:29 am
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wings
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thanks mzrella...i do remember my sister being very angry with my father about how he had treated us and she confronted him about 5 years ago and since then she seems to be more at peace with the situation...I have not yet been able to do this and he and I just have a 'fake' relationship, just avoiding the fact that I can't really stand him. My sister did find a very special person and prior to him she was with someone who wasn't ideal, but still not abusive. Her and I are just so different. Like you mzrella, I was always more introverted and self-conscious and she has always excelled and proven to be much more mature. I've always been bad with money, dealt with drug problems, been more easy-going, etc...But Aces, she definitely doesn't hide her feelings, she is very honest and has the opposite of my codependency and irresponsibility issues...I just want to change, but I always resist it and my life just seems to get worse.

April 23, 2004
11:31 am
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wings
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Marley, you are so right about the roles that ACOA's take. I have read about this before, but it just kind of sucks! I have always been the rebel and my sister has always been the controlling overachiever. She has broken her controlling behavior because of her supportive husband and I am still with my addict boyfriend who treats me like poop 75% of the time!

April 23, 2004
2:05 pm
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Zinnie
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Hi Wings,

I grew up in a home with a philandering Father and an alcoholic Mother. When they finally divorced at the age of 13 or 14, I became the parent to all, including them.

When I was 18, I got the hell out of dodge, and made the decision, this is not what I want for my life.

I'm my own worst critic, and have a tenuous relationship with my Mom, and a so-so one with my Dad. I love my parents, but sometimes I think only because they are my parents.

I have learned to deal with life on my own terms, and in my own way. When my sister got married back in September, I was shocked when a family friend came over to the table where my husband and myself were sitting and said "I have always hoped you were O.K., you did so much for your family when you were a kid, and it makes me so happy to see that you have a nice husband and a nice life now."

I can't tell you what the magic answer is. I only know that for me, it was the decision to leave and build my own life and my choices of what to tolerate in my life that turned it around for me.

Z.

April 23, 2004
2:26 pm
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Anonymous
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I stayed in a relationship where I was with an alcoholic because I was comfortable in that environment. I was getting what I wanted in feeling like I was "needed", and it also gave me a chance to feel sorry for myself.

After a while I realized that I deserved to be loved the way I love, and the relationship ended.

I was prepared to spend the rest of my life alone when my "soul mate" showed up. It was the scariest thing, accepting unconditional love. I wasn't used to it in my childhood or adulthood. Now I can't imagine my life without it.

For me, it was something that just happened. I hope it happens for everyone!

Ren'ai

April 23, 2004
2:42 pm
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wings
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Thanks Z and R,
It's always encouraging to hear about people who overcome such obstacles...Sometimes I also think I just love my father because he is my father, because I can't really think of too many things he's done for me that have been positive. And I love my sister and don't resent her in any way, I am happy for her. Family dynamics just boggle my mind. Unconditional love is a term that is so far from anything I know right now.

April 23, 2004
2:56 pm
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Zinnie
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Hi Wings,

For me it was realizing that I did not want to be married to anyone who was even remotely like my parents.

Are you currently involved with any kind of support groups?

Z.

April 23, 2004
3:13 pm
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wings
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Z- no support groups...I have been in therapy, but not in about a year. I should go to a Coda or an ACOA group. I am not sure if there are any in my area but I could look online. It's often hard for me to go to things like that, as I suffer from social anxiety disorder. (I was in therapy for that so that is one thing in my life that is better than it used to be)

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