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I am a full-fledged codependent!
September 4, 2002
2:49 pm
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cody7
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I am addicted to helping people. One in particular is my ex boyfriend, who is an alcoholic and can't hold down a job. He is one of those charmers who I can't get rid of and I am becoming emotionally and financially drained. We're not even a couple and haven't been for almost tw years, yet I can't seem to stop helping him and being there for him, even though I realize that he's never going to get his act together. It's like I have a son or a pet. I do care about his well being but I've finally realized that this is very bad for me. Anyone else out there been through this? It's horrible!

September 4, 2002
3:49 pm
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Spud
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Boy oh, boy have I been there! And am still there...

September 4, 2002
4:44 pm
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mossrose
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Its BAD FOR HIM AND FOR YOU.
If you really care, let him fall on his ass and let him stand on his own two legs.
I know where you are coming from.
I did it for my husband for years and he just ended up resenting me for it.
He said it was like a parent-child relationship.
I suffered emotionally, financially, spiritually ..you friggin name it.
ITS NOT WORTH IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Also y ou think your doing it entirely for him, your being selfish.
YOu WANT the control and him depedent on you.

September 4, 2002
6:19 pm
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cody7
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I would love to hear your story Spud. It would help me to know someone else is in my shoes.
And thank you mossrose. I know what I need to do! I need to get the nerve to do it. He's so damn dependent on me and it's my fault for letting it happen. He will be lost without me and I need to realize that he's his own person and it's not my problem. AND he does resent me after all i've done for him! It's the worst situation imaginable!

September 4, 2002
6:22 pm
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cody7
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and you're right, I must be being selfish because I think I must be addicted to being needed. It's sick isn't it? And why I'm on this message board. I know I need professional help. I'm finally hitting rock bottom here and coming to terms with this codependency problem I have. Of course, I grew up in an alcoholic environment and I've always been in denial about my problems. On the outside, you would never know what I'm going through. I'm acting and suppressing contstantly and I can't take it anymore!

September 4, 2002
9:40 pm
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sosos
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Been there, done that, and finally left him to stand on his own two feet. Like I imagined, he fell and fell hard. SO NOW he's blaming me for this too, because I finally left. And my teen son wonders why I left instead of staying and holding things together like I did for 20 years (21 tomorrow). Never mind blaming his choices, and the drugs and alcohol. It all boils done to me, and I too feel I helped him become so helpless by always stepping in to take of him and everything else. Now I take care of me first, kids second and that's it. A 44 year old adult should be capable of handling their own life. And basically he is, only in such a way that I don't want to be a part of it anymore.

September 5, 2002
1:22 am
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mossrose
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hey cody i know your fear and desperation, im here for you.

September 5, 2002
11:34 am
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Spud
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Well Cody7 I too am a full fledged Codependent. I don't know that I have a story per se to share but more like a general pattern of behaviors. The one that strikes me as most similar to what you are describing is my "need" to take care of people. I agree with Mossrose that this "need" really is not about any generosity on my part but rather my way of controlling people and situations. Classic example--I continually get inolved with men who have no car and little money. Very soon into my relationships with these men I find myself giving them free reign of my car. Not really becuase I am being nice but becuase in my manipulative way of thinking-if they have my car during the day that means that they would have to return my car to me at some point in the evening and therefor would need to spend time with me. I dont know how to feel confident enough in myself to think that someone would just want to spend time with me because they like me, it is much easier for me to make people spend time with me by bribing them with my car or taking them to the movies or dinner or whatever manipulation I choose to use for the moment.

I also do a lot of caretaking in the sense that I put others needs ahead of my own. Most of the time I don't even know what my needs are beacuse I spend so much time trying to figure out what other people want me to do or how they want me to feel.

You might be interested in joing us on the "12 Step" thread. I think there is a lot to learn there.

Good luck to you!

September 5, 2002
12:08 pm
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cody7
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Thanks all for sharing. I know I need to let him fall and believe me he will fall hard. I pay his rent. He works here and there but cannot support himself. Why should he when I'm always there for him? He will be homeless without me and the thought of that breaks my heart and why I haven't ended this yet. He's like a little boy, even though he's 35, and has a charm about him that's amazing. He's developed this to get what he wants. And like I said, we're not even a couple anymore, he sees other women and I'm so frazzled and worried about him that I don't see other men. Why I'm still doing this is beyond me. I do nothing for myself anymore. I'm completely obsessed with helping him and I let him come over and stay with me just so he's not out drinking. I agree it's about control, but it's also about feeling so sorry for him. He's had a horrible life, but it's his fault for not getting the help he needs. He knows he can rely on me and why he won't get his act together. I know this at least.
Thanks again everyone! 🙂

September 5, 2002
1:57 pm
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gingerleigh
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Hi Cody,

One of the questions to ask is what are you getting out of this? I don't mean the obvious answer, "nothing!" *smile* I mean really, what hole inside you is being filled by the care-taking? It could be a lot of things...

For me, when I kept trying to caretake, it was a number of things. I wanted to feel needed. I wanted to feel loved. I wanted to feel like I deserved to be loved (and by taking care of him, I was proving that I deserved to be loved). I wanted to justify my existence. I wanted to feel useful. I was empty and dissatisfied with how I was taking care of myself and wanted to distract myself from that failure by successfully taking care of someone else. I had my own mother issues growing up, where my mother wouldn't let my dad take care of himself, and she wouldn't let me take care of myself either, soooo overprotective. I resented it, didn't want to do the same thing, yet unconciously fell into the same pattern.

That's just me though. When I started to see these things, it made it easier for me to pull back and let him take care of himself, and also let me take care of myself.

So, what hole is the caretaking filling for you?

September 6, 2002
11:57 am
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cody7
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Wow Gingerleigh. You have some great insights. I am just beginning to figure out why I am like this. I too had major mother issues and I never realized that her overprotectiveness was partly the cause of my disease. You are right, I am filling a hole and a void by taking care of him and it's interesting that you mention not liking the way I take care of myself and distracting myself by taking care of him. I have lost my sense of self with this guy and seem to only be happy and content when he is safe inside my apartment with a full stomach and not out drinking. When he's not with me I am worried sick that he's drinking and will come over drunk and cause a scene...he gets angry and verbally abusive when he drinks. Luckily not physically abusive but who knows if or when he will snap? Even though I am such a help to him, he resents me. And I resent him. It's so sick and twisted. But since I am starting to see what's wrong with me and this situation, it's given me the inner strength to do something about it. I just don't know quite how yet. Thank you for your great thoughts!
Cody

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