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Codependency No More CHAPTER 3
January 18, 2007
11:33 pm
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mamacinnamon
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I have been learning to stay back and not jump in and fix. I am always right there willing to help, but sometimes I think folks don't want my help and I am learning how to recognize when not to fix or help. Yes, it is hard to break a pattern.

January 18, 2007
11:35 pm
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bevdee
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MamaC "I am learning how to recognize when not to fix or help"

This is a tough one!!

January 18, 2007
11:38 pm
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mamacinnamon
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Yes, very touch. I had to walk away from a dear friend this past weekend coz she didn't want halp, she just wanted attention. I should have walked a couple years ago, but stayed in for the kids, but now looking back I think the kids suffered more than if I'd had walked away and stopped trying to fix and help. I think DFS would have been involved before now. But, now they are and I am no longer available to help. It's very hard.

January 18, 2007
11:46 pm
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mamacinnamon
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Army:

I think one of the main things about realizing we need to grieve is that we do take the time to grieve. It is not an all out moarning for days or weeks, but we moarn in tiny ways in the inside. We let things go little at a time. But mostly a person needs to realize what the selftalk they are saying to themselves is and change it.

A log to write what you said during the day that was hurtful to yourself write it in the book. Then at the end of the day take your book and thru prayer or meditation or shredding, whatever means you like, take the page for the day and look at the things said and then give them up, throw them out.. ya know what I am saying?

They say it takes 14 good positives to eliminate 1 negative. Write it in sentences, type it out, say it outloud, get them out of your mind before you go to sleep at night.

January 18, 2007
11:48 pm
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armyleo
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Back to your question on setting up..Maybe we should go with everyone's suggestion..

Let's say today we realize we went as far as we want on what we think co-depedency is....

Then we can start a new thread Chpt 4 characteristics... due 1/25/07. and list the questions from the back of the book. We write all our thoughts etc... then come back on the 25th and discuss, what we learned, what we need to work on, or maybe just summarized what we all said??

This is so new, i've never done a book club, so I don't know what you do.

January 18, 2007
11:52 pm
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armyleo
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self talk, yes that is hard to change...I guess a person has to recognize they are doing it, and stop...I don't realize, I'm doing it even here, until I go and re-read, and realize how negative I wrote...

Did we loose everyone else. It has been over an hour and we were going to try to keep it to that...

January 18, 2007
11:57 pm
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mamacinnamon
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i'm still here. Yes, I still find myself in the negative selftalk even now. Very hard to break.

I like that idea. I'll get them posted and make he due date the 25th.

Question tho. The list is so long I did it like this. Do you think this is to hard to read? or should it be back in one long list??

example:

DENIAL

Codependents tend to: ___ ignore problems or pretend they aren't happening. ___ pretend circumstances aren't as bad as they are. ___ tell themselves things will be better tomorrow. ___ stay busy so they don't have to think about things. ___ get confused. ___ get depressed or sick. ___ go to doctors and get tranquilizers. ___ become workaholics.
___ spend money compulsively. ___ overeat. ___ pretend those things aren't happening, either. ___ watch problems get worse. ___ believe lies. ___ lie to themselves. ___ wonder why they feel like they're going crazy.

January 18, 2007
11:57 pm
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bevdee
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I'm still here, listening.

January 19, 2007
12:05 am
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armyleo
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No just how you have it for the sake of being too long...

I think most also have the book, so they will hopefully be glancing and looking through the chapter...

Thanks for doing this!!!

January 19, 2007
12:12 am
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mamacinnamon
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Thanks for bein here and bein you Army. I am really proud of how var you have come since I've known you. My world is a better place since I've known you.

I'm gonna go for now. My sister is awol again. Have a good night.

Thanks Bevdee, CPT, S2, Mj and others that took the time to come study w/ us. 🙂

January 19, 2007
12:13 am
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bevdee
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Goodnight MamaC. Thank you for your insights.

Gotta think about this one -"I had to walk away from a dear friend this past weekend coz she didn't want halp, she just wanted attention."

Nite all

January 19, 2007
8:27 am
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soprano2
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Sorry I had to get out before it was done. Should have stayed because I got a speeding ticket on the way home. 🙁

I know that this thread will stay on for a while, but maybe bump it up until Monday or so. That way people have the weekend to add anything that they would like to. Plus, then they will have some time to collect their thoughts on chapter four.

So many people have good comments and thoughts on here. I am sorry that I missed getting in on all of the conversations.

I would say that at least I tend to become like whatever I am around. If I surround myself with needy people, I become the person to fulfill their every need. Why do I do it????? I don't know. I used to think because I needed their acceptance, but I don't feel that way anymore. I guess old habits are very hard to break.

In the last couple years, in my new friendships, I have tried to be a little more assertive and a little less need-filling. In my opinion, these friendships have been very successful. In fact, last week I had a conversation with one of my new friends about the fact that I am codependent, and he said that he did not believe me. He said,"you don't seem like that type of person--you have it so together."

Yes, I have it together with my new friendships because I took the time to set boundaries and I keep to them.

What is happening to my old friendships? Some don't call me anymore because I think some of the new habits I am trying to instill are seeping into them. I think that is a good thing. I used to be upset at my friends because I felt like I was being abandoned by them. Now, I am realizing that really, it's their problem. Whether they don't like the "new me", or if they are jealous, or what, but I don't have time to worry about it.

I would rather focus on starting healthy, new relationships with people who I set boundaries with so that I don't become the sacrificial lamb that I have been for so very long.

It is a journey with lots of twists and turns, but I am sure that when I look back, I will see how much better of a person I really am.

January 19, 2007
9:34 am
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risingfromtheashes
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know what I find with myself?

I don't "do" alot for anybody...and because I have a small circle of friends, nobody asks much anyway.

But I find that I find partners that need help with "growing up"...or mental health.

I play shrink. I play "mommy". Everything I do, is to show them I love them.

And I realize now, thinking about it, I am OVERCOMPENSATING for what I didn't have growing up.

for instance - birthdays, xmas, holidays...I am always buying nice stuff, putting myself into debt, cuz I want them to feel good on those holidays.

now, I was never wanting on the holidays, BUT, my parents used the holidays to overcompensate for their failures during the year.

we ALWAYS had a big xmas.

But beyond that, I am always jumping in to help them "learn"...to teach them how to be a grown up, to be responsible, to help them find a job, etc.

And i never had that growing up. I didn't have the support. I did it on my own.

And I always thought that if I could learn it on my own, ANYONE can.

So, I try to teach.

Cuz I am proud of myself for helping them become better people.

But it's NOT MY JOB.

And I have to learn that...and apply it.

If I meet a guy who needs to get a job, needs to pay his bills, needs to learn how to be responsible...I NEED TO BACK OFF...not jump in and "train him".

I'm just not really sure I understand why I am compelled to do this...other than nobody helping me, and compensating for this.

I know that when I do it with my BF's, I am hoping to "mold" them into the perfect man. Instead of patiently waiting for someone who already has all the right qualities.

anyway, I am not exactly the "people pleaser" type...my codependency manifests by sticking around, hoping and waiting for change that never gonna happen. And not seeing my partners for who they really are and trying like hell to change them into who I need them to be.

January 19, 2007
10:44 am
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soprano2
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I have struggled with some of those things too, Rising. Very hard to not help people with life's lessons by guiding them this way and that.

Thanks for sharing.

s2

January 19, 2007
1:58 pm
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garfield9547
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Soprano2

"I would say that at least I tend to become like whatever I am around. If I surround myself with needy people, I become the person to fulfill their every need. Why do I do it????? I don't know. I used to think because I needed their acceptance,"

I can relate here. I used to fulfill my mother every need and I hated that part of me. I realised that I NEEDED to fill her need in order to feel whole myself.

If I could not 'fix' her or help her emotionally I did not feel normal.

I needed this bc I was raised to fill her needs and not my own. This was part and parsel of whom I was until I broke the chain.

I had to grieve the loss of what I was raised to believe what love was.

For me love meant to allow myself to get 'raped' emotionally by my mother until nothing was left. To be used by her daily as her emotional toilet.

What about me??? I was the child not her. Thats how it was suposed to be.

I had to be her mother, emotional toilet etc.

So what happens then. I married somebody that needed a mother. A man that was emotionally neglected. So I knew excactly how to mother him and this was normal for me. It was love at first sight.

SH>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Thank goodnes he was mature enough to join me in theraoy and solve the issues

January 19, 2007
2:13 pm
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garfield9547
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risingfromtheashes

I can soo relate to your post on what is the parents job and what is the childs.

Maybe i am also overcompensation. The words struck me between the eyes.

I am the therapist of the family. I used to be terrible at one stage. Now I have cooled down and realise i cannot change them, BUT I do not take any abuse anymore. They are sort of affraid of me in some ways.

My mother and father works for me. The are reps. They get paid on commition only.

I hardly speak to them. Orders are handled by the receptinist. I have little or nothing to do with them.

This was the only way for me to heal.

I hate the fact that they never made it in life. All of there children are very succesfull. My brother thinks it was a good thing that we suffered otherwise he says he would never have been able to make so much money.

I think its just his way of feeling better about all of it.

My mother is NEVER satisfied with anything. She will always in a suttle way critise anything and anybody.

My mother gave birth to me and then ....... big full stop.

Thats were it ended. I had to look in society's eyes to see what normal is. I had to learn from other people on what is expected of a person... Gosh..
smoke break

Thanks

Garfield

January 19, 2007
2:14 pm
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mamacinnamon
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garfield: Thank goodness he was mature enough to join me in therapy and solve the issues. That is great. I love to see when two folks work together as a couple. Isn't that how it should be?

Since I have come here and read and read and read and and and... I have come to a better understanding of my sister. She is a very resentful and selfish person. She was the one designated to be mom's mom; even tho mom's mom lived 2 blocks away. I feel for her, and you, and wanted to know if you have any suggestions to help her pass this and become her own person. She's been in counseling for 8 years and the counselor cannot see why she is not getting better. Not to put you on the spot, of course, but just to see if there might be something simple that would help her to take that step out of the shell she has built around her.

If you are uncomfortable to answer that is just fine. Just the similarity was something I definitely noticed.

January 19, 2007
2:34 pm
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garfield9547
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mamacinnamon

I will just type what comes to mind ok.

"something simple that would help her to take that step out of the shell she has built around her. "

These words speak to me. i built ford nox (spelling?) around me emotionally. This was the hardest part of therapy. i felt nothing emotionally. I do not have a jealous bonde in my body.

To this day its a daily struggle for me open up to others and to trust. Looking back I have come a long way.

First let me ask you how old your sister is and how much contact does she have with your mother on a say weekly basis?

Do you find her emotionally cold as a person?

Garfield

January 19, 2007
2:50 pm
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garfield9547
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Mamacinnamon

Have to go in a short while so i though I will post what comes to mind until I see what your response is.

This is me. Because my mother always NEEDED me in every way I could not handle people that are needy (that was before therapy)

So if my children or husband felt to me like they are being needy I would freak out.

I could not handle it because it was a straight line that connected me to my mothers needs.

I had to come to realise that my children or husband needs is NOT that of my mother, I felt sooooo sad the day I made this connection.

My sister who is the opposite of me always saw me as "the strong" one emotionally and wished she could also be as 'strong'.

She is in contact with my mother on a say every 3 day basis and always complains about what happened and how she resents thing my mother did.

Her children are much younger than mine and she hopes that my mother would form a bond with them.

My husband sees me as a very unemotional person. This has been a problem. He needs to connect and I don't. Well we had to change. Hope all this rambling makes any sense

Love

Garfield

January 19, 2007
3:07 pm
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garfield9547
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ok my last post

Just been thinking MAMA,

If your sister has been in therapy for 8 years without much change she needs to change therapists.

She needs a therapist with stronger boundaries. somebody she can look up to. If she has lost of anger and recentment it going to cost somebody that knows what he is doing.

The therapist needs to be ontop, not your sister.

Are you affraid of confronting your sister?

How does she react if somebody confronts her?

Is the rest of the family affraid of her anger?

This is a key to the answer in my mind

Love

Garfield

January 19, 2007
4:18 pm
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armyleo
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A lot of what is being said is hitting home…

Short story here, I didn’t really know my parents early on because I was raised by grandparents, then when I lived with my parents they both worked, owned a business, so I always had a sitter/nanny.

I don’t think I was really abused physically, I remember getting hit but not to the degree some are. I was more, I think abandonded, emotionally, no showing of love, physically, in that they were always too busy so I was sent to grandparents, or stayed at home with sitters. I was always at friends/people’s houses, having dinner with others, we never really had dinner together. They would always critize, I was always trying to get them to love me…

My brother is different he came along 7 years later…He gets upset he shows it, he loves he shows it, he’s had little breakdown, I think, since he was raised by my parents, he got more of the love, attention, etc.

“My sister who is the opposite of me always saw me as "the strong" one emotionally and wished she could also be as 'strong'.” I could substitute brother here.

“For me love meant to allow myself to get 'raped' emotionally.” - I don’t this just struck me…

“I have built Fort Knox around me” “To this day its a daily struggle for me open up to others and to trust.” I’m scared they are going to leave, if I let them in they will hurt me, I’m scared to love, scared of rejection… I didn’t know I was like this until someone told me I have issues with trust.

“Do you find her emotionally cold as a person?” I didn’t think I was…but looking back maybe I am because I won’t let people near me…I’ve become bitter and resentful…

January 20, 2007
12:49 am
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garfield9547
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armyleo

I see myself as being counterdependent, like mamacinnamon's sister. Counterdependency is also a form of codependency. To explain what I mean I will leave you with a piece of information on it from the site joy2meu.com

Attempts to control are a reaction to fear. It is what we do to try to protect ourselves emotionally. Some of us (classic codependent behavior) tried to control through people pleasing, being a chameleon, wearing a mask, dancing to other people's tunes. Some of us (classic counterdependent behavior) protected ourselves/tried to be in control by pretending that we didnít need other people. Either way we were living life in reaction to our childhood wounds - we were not making clear, conscious choices. (If our choice is to be in an abusive relationship or not to be in a relationship at all, that is not a choice - that is reacting between two extremes that are symptoms of our childhood wounds.)

Both classic codependent and classic counterdependent behaviors are part of the condition/disease of codependency in my definition. They are just two different extremes in the spectrum of behavioral defense systems that the ego adapts in early childhood. The ways in which we got hurt the most in childhood felt to our egos like a threat to survival, and it built up defenses to protect us.

While the classic codependent had their sense of self crushed (it is 'self' destroying to feel that love is conditional on pleasing others, living up to the expectations of others - even if our parents never raised their voices to us) in childhood to the extent that confrontation (owning anger, setting boundaries, taking the chance of hurting someone, etc.) feels life threatening, so the classic counterdependent feels like vulnerability (intimacy, getting close to/being dependent on other people) is life threatening.

Both the classic counterdependent and codependent patterns are reactive codependent traits that are out of balance and dysfunctional. We do need other people - but to allow our self worth to be determined in reaction to other people is giving power away and setting ourselves up to be victims. It is very important to own that we have worth as the unique, special being that each of us is - not dependent on how other people react to us.

This is a very difficult process for those of us who have classic 'codependent' patterns of trying very hard to get other people to like us, of feeling that we are defined by how others think of us and treat us, of being people pleasers and martyrs. Classic codependent behavior involves focusing completely on the other (when a codependent dies someone else's life passes in review.) Having no self except as defined in relationship to the other. This is dishonest and dysfunctional. It sets us up to be victims - and causes one to not only be unable to get one's needs met, but to not even be aware that it is right to have needs.

A classically codependent person, when asked about themselves, will reply by talking about the other. Obviously, before someone with this type of behavioral defense can experience any self-growth, they have to first start opening up to the idea that they have a self. The process of owning self is frustrating and confusing. The concept of having boundaries is foreign and bewildering. It is an ongoing process that takes years. It unfolds in stages. There is always another level of the onion to peel. So, for someone whose primary pattern is classically codependent, the next level of growth will always involve owning self on some deeper level. A very important part of this process is owning the right to be angry about the way otherís behavior has impacted our lives - starting in childhood.

Classic counterdependent behavior focuses completely on the self and builds huge walls to keep others out. It is hard for those of us who exhibit classically 'counterdependent' behavior patterns to even consider that we may be codependent. We have lived our lives trying to prove that we don't need others, that we are independent and strong. The counterdependent is the other extreme of the spectrum. If our behavior patterns have been primarily counterdependent it means that we were wounded so badly in childhood that in order to survive we had to convince ourselves that we don't need other people, that it is never safe to get close to other people.

Each of us has our own spectrum of behavioral defenses to protect us from being hurt emotionally. We can be codependent in one relationship and counterdependent in another - or we can swing from co to counter - within the same relationship. Often, someone who is primarily counterdependent will get involved with someone who is even more counterdependent and then will act out the codependent role in that particular relationship - the same can happen with two people with primarily codependent patterns.

Both the classic codependent patterns and the classic counterdependent patterns are behavioral defenses, strategies, design to protect us from being abandoned. One tries to protect against abandonment by avoiding confrontation and pleasing the other - while the second tries to avoid abandonment by pretending we donít need anyone else. Both are dysfunctional and dishonest.

Love

Garfield

January 20, 2007
1:13 am
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ggfred4
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sorry I am late, just got back from out of town and i missed a great conversation i see...Haven't had a chance to read a lot of it...I am stuck on the first question...my definition of codependency....Let's see...I am still learning about and realizing how much I am codependent, so this is hard to attempt a definition in these learning stages, but I wiil try:

Codependency to me is like wearing a disguise, moving through life to avoid dealing with the real me. My disguise helps me deal with situations, yet is a great place to hide my feelings. The disguise can change according to the situation also.

Right now, I am trying to face the world without the mask, yet feel exposed with raw feelings and fear, yet I can't hide forever and am seeking change.

January 20, 2007
1:23 am
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bevdee
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Disguise is a really good word to describe how I have felt.

I was afraid of being exposed and afraid of revealing my true self.

January 20, 2007
4:26 am
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garfield9547
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'Questions for ponder: 1. How would you define codependency? and 2. Do you know anybody who has significantly affected your life, somebody whom you worry about and wish you could change? Who? Talk about that person and your relationship. What are your feelings?"

For me codependency was living my mothers life for her and also my fathers life. In the process totally losing myself.

My mother was so immature I always had to help her choose her clothes if we went shopping. She could not think for herself and burdened me daily with her relationship problems she had with my dad.

I always tried to please my mom. If she was happy I would be happy. i tried to protect her from my father and then also tried to make him happy.

My parents have significantly effected my life.

My dad being high up in church made things very difficult for me. He is a N and just loves all the attention he got from church members.

If he could only practise what he preached on a Sunday morning things would have been better. he never saw himself for whom he really was.

So to protect myself I became the biggest rebel. Looking back that saved me. I left the house while still very young.

Garfield

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