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You Won't Understand Me
July 20, 2005
5:45 pm
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Prefect
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OK. Maybe you will. As I read some of your posts, I realize that I have a lot in common with some of you. Like some of you, I'm a chronic "rescuer" who has found himself in a mess and looking for a way to stop. Maybe you can help. Maybe it'll help just to write my story. As is my habit, I'll probably make this way too long. I hope you don't get bored, but I thank you for reading.

I've been a rescuer for many years. My family jokes that if there's a damsel in distress somewhere, I'll be there to save her day. Most of my girlfriends have been that way. Many of my other friends (male and female) have also been that way.

I was married once, many years ago, and only for a short time. When I met her, she was a very withdrawn girl. After a few months, she opened up to me with stories that she had never told anyone else before. That's why I married her. In our first year of marriage, she was a much happier person and her mother repeatedly thanked me for helping her daughter out of her shell. But then she got abusive. Strangely enough (at least I think), I really wasn't willing to tolerate that, even though I was very excited that she was so much more confident than she had been before. I get a huge sense of satisfaction when I know I've helped someone. Anyway, I found out how manipulative I can be, and manipulated her into leaving me for another guy. For all anyone else knew, it was all her idea.

Since then, I've always gotten a great feeling from helping someone deal with their problems. So much that I have seeked them out. More than once, that has gotten me into trouble, too. Several years ago, I let an old man rent out a room in my condo for a very very low price because he couldn't afford the rent anywhere else. Later, when I decided to move out of state (to help my grandfather until he passed away), I tried to keep the condo and let the man live there for the same price. In my new home I was returning to college and working for a very low wage (less than half of what I had been making), so I eventually lost the condo to foreclosure. I tried to keep it so I wouldn't put an old man out on the street, and then I was forced to put him out anyway.

I tend to get myself in much worse trouble with women, because I want to do more to help them. That's how I've gotten myself into my current situation. Several months ago, I was moved into an area at work where there were several women. I immediately found two women dealing with some serious problems, so guess what I had to do? A month after I moved into that area, I was warned by my manager to be careful what I said around one of them, because all of the other women in the area are very protective of her, due to her personal issues. That just made me want to talk to her more. Soon, she was openining up to me and telling me all about her problems. She was trapped in a house with a husband who wouldn't leave. They hadn't slept in the same room for two years and were planning to divorce, but never did. I thought it would help her to get out and have some fun on a weekend, so I asked her if she'd like to come with me and some other guys for lunch on a Saturday. She misunderstood my intentions and went to my manager about me inappropriately asking her for a date. So I got warning number two. After that I shifted gears and turned my attention to the other woman. At that time, we flirted a lot in the office. On one occasion, she went as far as to announce to me and everyone else (in a joking manner, of course) that she'd like to meet me after work for sex. A day or two later she told me she wished our company had a wrestling team. When I answered that if she were to join one, I'd be happy to practice with her, I got warning number three. After that I didn't talk to her for a while, and even moved out of that area again. But I couldn't stay away, and started going over to say hello every day before I left (I left about two hours before she did). She began telling me all about her personal life. I believe she is a codependent caretaker, because she is forever taking family members into her house. Plus, she never sleeps at night. She's up late every night cleaning house for her nonhusband and two sons. I call her husband and nonhusband because he's a womanizer who basically ignores her. I let myself fall in love with her. When I decided it was time to try to show her, something changed. She became uncomfortable with me and went to our human resources office to file a complaint, saying I was making her uncomfortable at work. I was shocked. I honestly believed my feelings for her were mutual. I wasn't fired, but I could be if I don't stop.

I haven't talked to either of these women in about a month other than to say a very quiet hello in passing in the hallways. The second one, the one I was in love with, has tried five times (exactly five) to make some kind of contact with me. She's even come into my cubicle to talk to my partner twice. I just keep my back to her, but you know I don't want to.

The strangest thing about this all (to me, anyway), is that I've started seeing a woman away from work who I am very happy with, yet I still can't get over the other one.

I've been looking for a new job. That'll help me get a fresh start, but I don't know how I'll keep something like this from happening again. Does anyone have any advice for an idiot like me?

A good friend told me I was codependent and suggested I read up on it. That's how I found this site. Maybe there's an answer here to help me lead a more normal life?

July 20, 2005
5:57 pm
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22haha
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Well, first of all don't get so down on yourself. O.k. so your manager warned you from the start to watch what you said around these women - red flag. Thats should have been the only warning you needed but like me - you want to save the world. So, you listened to her and it ended up that your "niceness" got you in trouble. I think the best thing to do is walk away from the woman at work - even though it is very difficult. Look at the problems she has caused all because you tried to listen to her and you cared. Focus your energy on yourself and someone who is interested in you. Is this other woman someone you need to help alos? If so - you can't change people - and they really don't want to be changed. Let me know more about this other woman.

July 20, 2005
6:01 pm
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CAMER
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hi, i would stay away from all women for now, and try to find out why you keep rescuing these woman. Spend some time alone, doing things for YOU and finding your wants and needs...and the more you focus on YOU the less you will focus on fixing others, and again, you cannot change anyone, they can only change themselves...give yourself a lil' break and learn to spend more time with your self, and read some coda books in the process you will learn so much.

July 20, 2005
7:12 pm
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exoticflower
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Prefect, the important thing is that you are asking questions, wanting to help yourself. That is HUGE.

Love the nickname, by the way.

I have more to say but my daghter has locked herself in a room and isn't sounding happy about it...I'll hold that thought. Welcome.

July 20, 2005
9:01 pm
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on my way
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Prefect,

I think it is good that you want to "help" people, shows you have a very kind heart, and that is good yes?

Seems you experience problems when you think that you have to help someone for them to survive or live a better life. In the codependent world this is known as "enabling" to a degree.

And, who appointed you God? 🙂
You cannot save anyone. See, you like to help, so you choose women who need help. They are vulnerable and then cannot let go very well, or do not know how to treat you, so it never works out.

I suggest making a list of your non-negotiables, who you are deep inside...your core being, and your dream girl, her qualities as well. Then do not settle for less. Take a break from dating, and maybe read some books about codependency, and maybe see a counselor for some professional advice?

Rescuing and helping are very different...see what Webster's defines them as.

At least these are the things I would do...I can't tell you what to do, but then this is why we have this website, is to offer what has worked best for us.

July 21, 2005
3:31 pm
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kathygy
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Be on the look out for recusing urges in you before you act on them. You can resist rescuing someone when you develop a good awareness of its pull on you. How does rescuing someone make you feel? When you rescue someone you are taking the focus off yourself. You need to keep the focus on you to heal your wounds. Think of the price you pay for rescuing someone and the benefits of being with someone who doesn't need rescuing. They are more likely to be there to meet your needs. You count too.

July 21, 2005
5:53 pm
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Prefect
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I want to thank you all for your comments and advice. You don't know how much I appreciate it.

22haha. I think yours will be the easiest advice to follow, because I have a new girlfriend who seems to be very infatuated with me right now. When I'm with her, I don't have a care in the world. I'm even the goofy, funny guy I like to be. She hasn't shown any sign that she needs rescuing, except that she's one year out of a 22-year marriage and I'm her first boyfriend in all that time. She doesn't really know how to date anymore. I guess I'm already trying to rescue her, huh?

The one who complained to HR about me was interested in me at one time, but something changed. The reason I stopped to talk to her every day (in the beginning) was because she was always so glad to see me. She even got mad at me once a couple of months ago because I went home without talking to her. It started to change when I told her I was going to try for a promotion within our company, but in another state. Oddly enough, her first response was "I'm not going to take my kids to another state. It would be too traumatic." That response didn't make sense coming from a married woman to a single man, did it? The day I told her I had actually applied for a job in the other state, she bit her lip so hard I thought she was going to bleed. Then things changed, leading eventually to her HR complaint. Incidentally, employees on written warning are not allowed to change jobs, so she got what I think she wanted. So I'm looking for another job.

CAMER. Your advice would be smart, I know, but I don't think I can do it. I haven't dated (other than three dates with one woman last year) in over five years. I just find myself "rescuing" nonromantic friends. Right now I'm learning about codependency.

exoticflower. Thanks. I am trying to learn more and see if I am able to make a positive change in my life.

onmyway. It's very nice of you to say I have a kind heart. I really hope that my friends see that. That's how I want to be known. No matter how bad I screw up sometimes, I hope people realize that I meant well...

Kathygy. Yours is some advice I believe I can follow. If I learn about codependency and recognize what I'm doing before I do it, maybe I'll be able to control myself. That's my goal.

Again, thank you all for your advice and for reading my story. I'll try my best to follow the good advice you've given me, but I don't know if I'm capable yet.

July 21, 2005
8:00 pm
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22haha
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perfect, just be careful - if she is one year out of a 22yr. marriage, she may just be looking for fun. Don't get comitted too fast. Good luck and remember that even though you are nice you still must always stand up for yourself or people will not respect you!!!

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