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Explain co dependency
July 24, 2002
11:56 am
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sandman
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please. I'm not sure I understand the signs.

July 24, 2002
12:26 pm
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syqg
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My "own" meaning of codependency is maybe not "the" meaning. But I will try to help you the best way I know how. First of all I believe everyone born is codependent really in some way. (Not much for lables) But some people have a real problem functioning in a healthy way through life. They let other people control them. Either emotionally or physically and sometimes both. They rarely have their own opinions on anything including their own life decisions. They worry constantly about what other people think, say, feel about them. They carry shame all of the time. They feel responsible for everyone's happiness around them while rarely making sure they do what's best for themselves. They are pleaser's to all. And then usually end up feeling drained, used, and mistreated. They rarely take up for themselves. Live life out like a child in a sense. Don't know how to break bad relationships, choose good ones or even recognize the difference at times. They become too needy themselves in the end. They depend on other people too much. Financially, emotionally, physcially dependent on others. It's like walking through life on the outside looking in and never finding you because so many people are in the way............breaking the patterns of "codependency" can help you jump into life and see you for who you are and finally say you are ok. Either way you can be ok. With or without anyone else on YOUR journey through this life.

July 24, 2002
12:31 pm
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syqg
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I hope this helps. Maybe Site Coordinator can give us the true meaning. I hope I am on the right track with this. But remember to take into account it was only my definition.

July 24, 2002
12:50 pm
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syqg
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On the first page here it has a place to click for beginners! Whoohoo! Just saw that! So go there! :o)

July 24, 2002
1:03 pm
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Ladeska
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One way to describe it is - taking responsibility for someone else's actions. Always feeling like you need to "fix" them, do things for them, make excuses, justifications.

I tend to think there is alot of narcissism involved with codependency because what I see is people who dedicate alot of their lives to supposedly helping someone be it mate, child, friend - and it equates to them basically cleaning up after all their life's messes, telling them what to do, covering up for them, bailing them out - but basically making the person dependent on them...

Then what happens is - this dependent one - (who is usually quite the manipulator themselves) is racking up a "debt" in the eyes of the enabler. The one who's wiped their butt all this time - wants something in return and basically disrespects the hell out of whoever the wipee is and says at some point - You owe me, after ALL I've done for you, bailed your butt out time and time again, gone to the wall, to my checkbook, taken your abuse and for what? blah, blah, blah! You know I've tried to help you and what do I get for it!!??

You know the drill....... Not saying that all codependent people do this by any stretch, but I do see it alot. Their "help" has a price on it or at the very least - helps them look like such the martyr and I cry "Foul" on that crap. Our supposed Love and Caring - isn't - alot of times. It's deception, manipulation and flat out disgusting.

No. 1 - people who keep screwing up repeatedly aren't in a position to - learn squat. They are giving you the big, fat warning light on that one. You give people a "crumb" to test the waters, see what they do with a little light, a little help and if they grab it and run with it, then...if you are so blessed with another crumb to spare - throw it out there and see what happens with that one...so on and so forth.

But, you never, ever go in and say - Well, I'm just going to fix you because you need me and if you don't - By God, I'm going to make sure you Do!!! A good manipulator will use the heck out of someone like that, say thank you so very much and onto the next one.

Codependency has alot to do with our lack of integrity. We put our hands in other people's stuff in order to fix our own or to make excuses for it "because I am so caught with you, I just can't seem to tend to me!"

Consequently, no self knowledge and true self reliance ever happens on anyone's part. We just swim around in murky water endlessly. And we end up enabling people that should be left to wallow because - that's what they "choose" to do in life.

It also gives us a good place to hide our own sins when we have someone else to blame it on and to look like a martyr for. Oh boo hoo, woe is me -

"I am Soo involved with this person's bullshit that I made this and that mistake in life, and it's all their fault, and aren't I the saint for putting up with them?"

We take responsibility for other's people's actions alot of times because it helps us "hide".

July 24, 2002
2:51 pm
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toffee
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My need for you is strong.
I think of you and my heart races,
My body trembles, and my spirit soars.
I try to fight the craving for you,
But I know the cause is lost.
I must have you again.

I fear that the world will someday know
About my weakness for you.
I know that if I go to you
For one more taste of you,
My guilt will overcome me
And a heavy penance will be paid.

But my resolve weakens and crumbles.
I go to you, I take you and hold you.
The wonderful smell of you fills my senses.
This is insane, why can't I resist you?
I know that any other can have you
If they but pay the price.

Ahhhhhhh, chocolate.

July 24, 2002
2:54 pm
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toffee
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Recommended books for reading:

Anne Schaef: Codependence, misunderstood, mistreated

Addiction to Love by Susan Peabody

Everything by Melody Beattie

:))

July 24, 2002
4:42 pm
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sandman
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I thought I might fall under Sygg's definition of it, but then Ladeska's description was far from me. I am everything Sygg said. I have forever felt overly responsible for everyone in my life, like I have to try to make them happy. But not for Ladeska's reasons. I found your thinking a little harsh, to say the least Ladeska. Does nobody deserve a break? Are we to be suspicious of everyone as a closet manipulator narcissist? I don't think so..that's such a negative, pessimist way to live. Yes, it is my choice to keep helping people, but I do it because I feel like I don't want them to be unhapy. I love them, if I can help, then I want to help. I guess I don't understand why that's a problem.

On the other hand, it is a problem for me because I feel so pulled in so many directions. Why do I feel so responsible? Ever since I can remember I've been the one everyone comes to for help. I don't control anyone's life by any means. Far from it.
Sygg, I will go read the other suggestion like you said, but I think
you hit the nail on the head. So, now what do I do about it? It's hard to walk away from people you love.
Maybe labels are just bullshit. Maybe we should just do what our hearts tell us to do, in moderation, in balance.

July 24, 2002
5:29 pm
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Ladeska
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Sandman...sorry, I know it seems that way to you when you read my stuff sometimes. Don't mean to sound so mean and nasty or negative, understand your drift. No, no, codependency isn't all the dark stuff - by no means - but if no one talks about this side of it - it doesn't get said either, right? And what I said - was only one side of what codependency could look like.

The last statement you made is probably more right on than anyone knows. I get really tired of the label thing myself. Sometimes two plus two should just be four and we end up making it 6.73452 and calling it 4.

I am a little harsh sometimes with the things or the "view" that I share regarding the narcissistic slant of "some" people and that's because I think we'd really rather not look at that because it's just too ugly and then what happens is - we almost get killed by one. Then everyone is oh so willing to ask - how the hell did THAT happen to me?? So......if I make a few people upset or sing a song that no one else does - I don't really mind. But, if I could keep someone from being bitten by a really good manipulator - then it was worth it.

You'd be surprised but I'm really not that "negative" or "harsh" in person. There are all kinds of animals in the forest and while some people may talk to us about all the pretty ones - I will warn about a couple of the super ugly ones. Sorry to have offended, carry on.

July 24, 2002
10:12 pm
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sandman
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Not offended, just don't agree with your opinion. No problem.

I've heard co dependent bantered around for a while now and wasn't sure exactly what it was.

If you're constantly trying to help a drug addict, say a wife, does that make you a co dependent?

July 25, 2002
12:46 am
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gypsygirl
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Lots of codep are involved with addicts. even with other illness' such as mental illness'. They feel the need to take care of them. But then again I don't know what I am saying. i am just as confused as anybody else on here.

July 25, 2002
5:15 am
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UK Polly
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I can see myself, in part, in both descriptions. Neither are an exact fit, but close enough for me to identify quite strongly. I started reading Melody Beattie's book Codependent No More, a friend had bought it and I was curious to see if it applied to me - but I was quite convinced it would NOT.

I was horrified to find that the person she described WAS me, I WAS EXACTLY LIKE THAT!

I tried talking to my counsellor about it, nice woman, like her, she didn't know about codep and could I give her book titles, web references, etc. CoDA were fairly useless.

Since starting the book (and I haven't got far beyond the descriptive bit) I feel burdened by the realisation. I don't know how to dig myself out of this hole, don't want my kids to behave in the same way, know it's still feeding hubby's gross behaviour. So I've dug my pit and I can't concentrate, feel very down, wonder why I have to struggle for everything. Where do I start?

July 25, 2002
8:39 am
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syqg
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Sandman, I don't like labels either. The "balance" idea is what I am after. It's helping "anyone" you choose to help and still keep YOUR sanity and not enable them in any way to harm themselves.....sometimes that is a fine line. Balance in life is what I have been after for two years now. My biggest challenge has been my Mother addicted to misery, pain, and drugs. But I love her so much. Her misery was dragging me in the ground with her. That had to stop. Not my love. I found "balance" now. I had to move 2 hrs away to get it. It's on some old threads of mine. It's been 4 mths and I feel so free since I left my home town. I feel like I'm growing up for the first time. I still visit and LOVE, I just don't dwell on my families problems and enable the addictions anymore. I don't think there is anything wrong with helping my mother in every way that I can, but it is IF I can, and IF I feel strong enough for it, and IF it doesn't affect my children in any way anymore. I had a long talk with my mother while she was sober.......she knows and accepts the fact that she will no longer have contact with me or my family while zombied out. I asked for her forgiveness on that and told her how much I loved her......and I told her what it does to me and my children. I hugged her, she cried, I cried. I asked her to repeat the words back to me so that I knew she understood....she did. So there you have it. Not saying that I won't attempt to get her back into rehab for the 100th time anymore or that I want have a friend go check on her to see if she has enough food...it's that I am free to live my life, not call 100 times that week, not drive over every day to see if she's alive or dead or all the candles she lights are out at night..........it's a letting go of some sorts. I pray for her and give her life back to her and to God. I was drowning in her life.......I want to live mine. That's not selfish in a bad way. I have other responsibilities now. My husband, my children, bills and a house to clean. I just couldn't emotionally or physically carry her pain anymore. And that's okay. And that's okay. It's okay. It's okay. It's okay. It's okay. Balance. Balance. Balance.

July 25, 2002
8:49 am
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syqg
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Constantly trying to help is not a bad thing. It's learning how to REALLY help, how to help yourself as well, when not to help, and sometimes it's okay to NOT help at all. It's finding YOUR balance and what works for you. I believe EVERY situation is different so it would be hard for an outside person to really know what YOU should or shouldn't do. So..........YOU work on YOU and your own life and find what works with you. So to answer your question........to a therapist, yes would be the answer, from a person seeking balance like me, no is my answer. Do all you can for people, but just know when to give it back to them for you as well as them. It's okay to constantly help, and it's okay to let it go. We have to all learn one day that we are only human and we can solve all problems of others or even our own at times. Some things have to be let go for awhile. Some things have to be let go forever. And it's all okay.

July 25, 2002
8:52 am
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syqg
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can up there should be -----can't solve everyone's problems.....

July 26, 2002
8:22 am
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sandman
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Sygg, you've made some very brave strides. Takes alot of guts to do what you have done.

The hardest part for me is restraining myself. I feel as though if something happens to that person because I didn't help (again), then how could I possibly live with the guilt. Problem is, I cannot fix everything for everyone, I just keep going around in circles with some. It's not that they are manipulative as much as they are in a deep rut and cannot/wont get themselves out. Turning my back and pretending not to be affected by their behavior is difficult, but I've been trying to do it.

You've shown some great strength.

July 26, 2002
10:23 am
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syqg
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Awww, the guillt. Boy do I know about guilt........like how could I possibly need even 5 hrs of sleep when Mother could be dying of prescription drug overdose? And it would be all of my fault wouldn't it? I would be selfish? I would have regret all of my life is she died? I would be the one who killed her? BULLSHIT! Sandman, if you are like me, you will probably take this the wrong way...............STOP THINKING YOU CONTROL EVERYTHING AND RUN THE UNIVERSE!!!!!!!! The world will still turn when me and you die. I can promise you that! You are not responsible for another's addictions to anything. You are not responsible for their death, their pain, their misery, their denial, their fear, or their life. You just are not responsible. Guilt was my biggest battle. The biggest battle of them all. Fight the guilt.

July 26, 2002
10:34 am
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syqg
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Sandman,

You do not sound ready to "turn your back on anyone", and that is okay. Just think of "different" ways that help. Just think of taking a day or two off, like work for instance. You don't have to withdraw from people you love or care about. You just need to start putting yourself first because obviously you need too.........or you wouldn't feel drained, guilty, tired, etc........It's okay to need time-outs. It's okay. It's okay. It's okay. You can help some people by just listening and loving them. You DON'T have to solve THEIR problem. Tell me more about your situation, if you want to. And please don't ever think I'm telling you to "hurt" people you care about. Never. Never. Never. And I'm not telling you not to help them either. Just want to be a shoulder here and maybe suggest "different" ways of helping them.

July 26, 2002
5:26 pm
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Ladeska
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Pulling away from someone, when you know you could help them, IF they would let you - is kinda like being a good parent. Not saying it's our job to parent anyone,except our own children, but what we do in that moment - is "like" that. I think we want to stop people from feeling pain, maybe we wish that because people saw our pain once upon a time - and yet did nothing....could be one strong motivating force for our need to help so much.

But, pain sometimes - teaches a great deal to people. Blows out the cobwebs, clears their vision/sinuses, let's them run out of themselves, out of their own wind, smoke.... The more we help sometimes, the more they run because they really do want to butt their heads against the wall 49 times until - they have no more strength left. Sometimes, not overtelling the way out is best, because you don't want to dysensetize them to it. One note sent into the middle of the fray - might go to the heart more than - an every day Fedex.

Often where we might be coming from is a place of low self worth - where we get that void place in us energized by helping someone else. It gives us meaning and identity. Who would we be without it, kind of thing?

That's good in some ways, but it can be overdone and can exhaust/deplete us. If it is coming from that place, then there would always be a strong need to "help" someone, since the self worth wasn't generating from inside us. We would have to go outside us - in order to get it/earn it. If they do well, then we are valuable. And the hunger would always be there and need to be replenished. We need to only give - when they are really ready and when we have it "to give" and for the right reasons.

It's all a balancing act and just alot of introspection - always.

July 31, 2002
10:47 am
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sandman
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Have a son who cant seem to get in step with life. He makes one bad decison after another, feels badly about it, wants to do better, wants to do things his way, doesn't seem to think things out before he rushes into them. He is 22, too much alcohol in his life, partying, soaks up his money, and then he wonders where it all goes, goes from one job to another looking for something he can stay interested in long enough, he's not dummy, had great grades in school, just has no real direction. And because I love him and he's basically a good person, I always think I need to help him when he gets down because I think maybe that will be the time he finaly gets with it. And he's my kid, he is not a kid anymore, but he's still my one and only son. His sister is a great friend to him and is also there for him. I see me and my wife affected by his life, it's hard to not be depressed when we're both concerned about him. I don't call that co-dependency, I call that family. It's what my parents and everyone I knew 40 years ago used to call being family. Everyone took care of everyone else. My parents were immigrants and all of my aunts and uncles and cousins watched out for each other, even as we got older.
Maybe it was that their plan was to lift the other person up so that they never did hit rock bottom, but that they saw the bottom before they hit it, and woke up. I know my wife worries alot, my daughter worries alot, although she is away at college, she still is close by. Everything my wife sticks in front of my face to read says let them go, let them hit bottom and then climb out and up, but what if when he hits it, he just is so affected by the booze and partying, he just cant get up? How can anyone who has been in my shoes say to just let him go, it's his decision? He's my flesh and blood, if it's codependent to say I'd rather be dead than watch my son die a slow death, than yeah, I am codependent.
So call me that, and then give me some real advice on how to help him.
Don't cop out by saying it's up to him. I think that's bullshit because todays attitude is every man for himself, I hear it all the time, only not in those words. It's alot of f*** this and f*** that, take care of you and f** the rest of the world. I just don't get it, too many labels, too many psychologists, and wannabe's and not enough love thy neighbor.
Me and my brothers were raised by tough, loving parents who barely spoke english, we had it rough like everyone else in the neighborhood and we got into scrapes and bad moves, but our parents never gave up on us.

I get so damn sick of that new answer to every problem, let everyone just take care of themselves. Maybe the answer should be, if everyone just took care of one person in need, we'd all be alot happier and safer. Take resonsibility for your own actions, yeah, and then help someone else get to their feet so they can also take responsibility and help someone else, and so on.
F*** the labels.

July 31, 2002
1:51 pm
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mossrose
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Being supportive and helpful is important, we do have a responsibility as a human being to be this way towards our fellow man if they should ask. But being "helpful" to the point of trying to control, manipulate, shame and blame the helpee into what we feel is best for them is maladaptive and coda

July 31, 2002
4:30 pm
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sandman
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mossrose,
well then, that explains it to me. Then the codependent person is the one who is trying to control, manipulate, shame and blame...as opposed to simply helping anyone and everyone and bailing them out when they need it. Got it. I get no satisfaction, no personal pleasure, no thrill out of worrying about people. If what I do for them helps, then that's all good and I feel relieved. I don't feel in control. I don't want to be in control. I don't care if they clean up their act because of me, or something they've read, or something someone else says, as long as they clean it up and quit making themselves unhappy and then wondering why they're unhappy.

Thanks for the simple, 2 sentence explanation.

July 31, 2002
8:23 pm
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Ladeska
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Sandman....you just love your son and that's not bad or wrong or being codependent. It's just hard to sit and watch as they make mistakes and not stick out an arm to keep them from cutting - their off! It hurts - to watch and to go through their trials with them.

I completely agree with you that - we've lost the meaning to "real family" and men like you in families is almost non-existent anymore, that's why so many guys are on the street doing whatever. I wish I had had a father who cared.... So you let a little steam off here and talk about how it hurts - that's okay and doesn't make you some "label".

It's hard to draw the line, to know where to draw it, to know when to give it gas and when to hit the break, blah, blah. Sometimes - you just have to go on gut and heart. Love hurts alot of times. I just hope he really understands some time soon - how much - you really do love him.

Unfortunately, this world and this society that he walks around in - is very different than the one you grew up in or your parents...just has a real different set of values and they get caught up in all this for awhile, but I really think after he's had his run - he'll at least see the worth behind your kind of love. They have alot of resilience - these kids...they bounce better than you think. Maybe after he's seen how far he can go with what he knows and thinks and runs out of his own strength - he'll turn around and see you right behind him...

July 31, 2002
9:00 pm
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mossrose
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hmmmm i found your reponse to be quite rude sandman, if you think you are going to get any support and help by being rude and disrespectful, you are highly confused

July 31, 2002
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mossrose
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You also misread what i said..

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