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Please help Matteo
August 15, 2008
5:43 pm
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Matteo
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Hello everyone,

I used to post on this board, I am sure some of you still remember me. My problem was an unresolved abandonment, so I never read "Codependent No More". I did my test, it was negative :-), so I never was closely interested in the issue of codependency, and that's why I need your help.

I am in a relationship with someone who is, as I suspect, codependent. Freshly separated (I know, not the best sign), and was in a very long term unhappy marriage, which he had the hardest time to leave.

I noticed that sometimes his ways of operating in a close intimate relationship are, to say the least, immature. It seems to me that he is applying the same tactics as he did in his marriage to survive there... Half- truths, white lies, and this is not what I want to experience in my relationship. I want him to be open, honest and fully present, not create some twisted reality. He wants to open up, and sometimes he does, a lot, but then it seems it scares him and he pulls back.

What else can I expect? I try to talk about it with him, and he is receptive, but then, after a while, he seems to forget what was said before, and again does something strange.

I know that if he will not want to change his ways, I won't be able to function with him, but our relationship is very young, and he fits all my expectations otherwise, so I would like to give it a try. What patterns of behaviours can I expect? What can I do to help him change those patterns - or can I?

Any thoughts and comments, and personal experience are appreciated. Thank you for you time.

August 15, 2008
6:38 pm
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Giggles_29
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(((((Matteo)))) Yes I do remember you and welcome back :o)

As for your situation, unfortunately there is nothing that you can do to help him change his behaviors and/or patterns. He has to want to change it. Have you sat him down and really talked to him about what it is you need and want from the relationship?

As for what patterns of behavior can you expect, well the ones you are experiencing now. If this is how he was in his previous marriage and is now starting to show signs of the same behaviors, this is already a pattern. He will most likely keep doing the push-pull when it comes to intimacy.

I am glad to see you back on the site!!! Don't know if you remember me or not, I started in Nov 2005, and left in 06 for awhile, but then came back again. :o)

August 16, 2008
9:46 am
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Isis
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(((Matteo)))

Good to see you.

Communication is key. Hopefully he will feel safe and comfortable enough to continue to open up with you. And you being you- keep on keeping on- setting the bar high,
establishing healthy boundaries and settling for nothing less.

Like Giggles said, you can't fix him, only he can make positive changes for the better. It's odd though, coda's never realise that they are coda's. It usually takes some big dysfunctional tragic event for them to scratch their head and say- hmmm... something isn't right here.

Sad, but true.

Anyway, I had this cousin who was going through her own hell. When she started her 12 steps program, the light started to dawn on Marble-head.
She knew that I was going through my own personal (different) hell. Long story short, the best thing she ever did for me was to leave a copy of the book Co-Dependent No More behind one day.

That was when things started to change for me. It was a moment of self discovery.

Best wishes to you and your new beau.

Isis

August 16, 2008
7:38 pm
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StronginHim77
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Dear Matteo -

Yes, I do remember you. Welcome back. I am sorry to learn of your current situation. I'll do my best to respond with honesty:

Immature dynamics manifesting in his personal relationship/intimacy with you? RED FLAG.

Recently exited a long-term/permanent relationship? RED FLAG.

Codependent? RED FLAG.

Lies and half-truths? RED FLAG.

He will have to change his ways for you to be able to function with him? RED RED RED FLAG. This is codependent thinking on YOUR part. We cannot change anyone. We can only focus on and change ourselves. He is what he is. Take him at face value or move on.

I realize this is not a very "positive" or upbeat posting. But I wanted to be straight with you.

- Ma Strong

August 18, 2008
10:17 am
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Matteo
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Thank you for your responses.

((((Giggles_29)))) I remember you name but I don't think we interacted much, if ever before.

As for helping him changing his patterns I thought no more than of pointing them out, if I knew exactly what they are; perhaps buying him a book; the rest is up to him.

Yes, sadly I started to see patterns, and I have a hard time understanding why would someone not be totally honest when it is so easy to be? Is that typical?

(((Isis))) so nice to see you again.

"setting the bar high, establishing healthy boundaries and settling for nothing less." - yes, this is exactly what I am doing and he seems to be rather very surprised with what's going on. Clearly, he is not used to his partner calling him on his behaviour, and I have to figure out yet if he is really changing it, or just pretending that he is changing his ways to keep me satisfied.

As I've said, our relationship is quite young and we are still in the "walking on the cloud" stage most of the time. Yet, I don't want it to get sour, and it seems that we will have to build it from the ground, or not have it at all. I am not compromising, denying or pretending, and I won't in the future, I would rather be alone than in a dysfunctional relationship.

Thank you for your kind words and all the best to you too.

Thank you, Ma.

The reason I posted here is because I wanted to understand the codep' patterns of behaviour without reading the whole book. You are talking about a bunch of red flags but aren't they are related? Isn't immature same as codep? Lies and half-truths - isn't it related to being codep as well?

Sorry, but I failed to see how my behaviour is codependent here. I never said that I want to change him, the most I've said was that I would help if it is possible. Are there any non-codep people who were in relationship with codependents and the patterns changed for the better after a while? Are there codeps who were or are in successful relationships with those who are not, and was your partner able to help you start behaving in more healthy and mature way? These are my questions.

I am not desperate to be with him, I just would like to know if there is hope and if I can do anything to help. Saying that "if he will not want to change his ways, I won't be able to function with him" is not the same as saying that I want to change him. I would like him to change, but I cannot make him. I have no idea how is it codependent not being able to function with a codependent person in a close intimate relationship? Because I think that if he will not start making changes I can either leave or start behaving the way he does, which for me is not an option.

August 18, 2008
10:31 pm
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free
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hi matteo! I 'member YOU! Good to see ya back, hang around!

On your issue- I think he can change if he wants to. If he recognizes he's codependent and doesn't wanna be anymore.

Otherwise, I think that as your relationship progresses, he's gonna drive ya nuts at first, and then piss ya off, and then drive you away.

That's what codeps do to non-codeps.

free

August 19, 2008
1:54 am
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Matteo
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Hi Free,

You've made me laugh my head off!!!

LOL! That was the sweetest and the shortest answer, up to the point!

"I think that as your relationship progresses, he's gonna drive ya nuts at first, and then piss ya off, and then drive you away.

That's what codeps do to non-codeps."

I can see it happening in the future!

You are precious! Thank you for your welcome and pearls of wisdom.

August 19, 2008
3:55 pm
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StronginHim77
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Matteo -

"What can I do to help him change those patterns - or can I?"

The answer is that "helping him" change those patterns would, indeed, be codependent behavior on your part. We have to take people, exactly as they are. "Helping them" change (to better meet our needs in a partner/mate) is what my psychologist identified in me as codependent behavior.

Not much more I can add.

- Ma Strong

August 19, 2008
5:42 pm
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bevdee
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Matteo,

Hey. It's good to see you, my clear thinking buddy. You always cause me to think. I understand where you are. I also took a little codep test and the test said I wasn't!

Here's my opinion. You can only let him know that his way of communicating is confusing, etc. And why. If he is too entrenched in his current behaviour patterns and unable to change that, it would probably be in your best interest not to continue. To continue expecting him to change, or to try to change him might fall under that old codep category.

It's tricky labeling, though, isn't it? If you read the literature, you could probably build a case so you could call him that - and see the whole world with that filter, but in the end what matters is you. If it is going to hurt you or stagnate you to stay in the relationship, or the relationship isn't nurturing, it doesn't matter what it is called, does it?

Worried Dad said this in one of the recent threads on Narcissism - "I think the trick is not to "diagnose" a narcissist. Learning about and insisting on healthy relationships accomplishes the same thing--and is easier."

I thought that was good advice on diagnosing. And labeling.

You asked - "Are there any non-codep people who were in relationship with codependents and the patterns changed for the better after a while?"

Although not romantically, I was in a relationship with a female friend. My best friend is very insecure and needs to enmesh with people. These needs and her methods seemed suffocating to me. A couple of years ago, I finally worked up my nerve to tell her what bothered me and why. The risk to me was losing her friendship, but at that time in my life? When I had started to dredge up all my inner muck? I knew I couldn't be what she needed me to be without it hurting me, and took the risk. Luckily, she accepted my boundaries, but never asked for my help to change. She withdrew for a while, but the love we have for each other is still there and our friendship has changed. She enmeshes with another friend now, but I respect that at this time in her life, she needs that. It's just her. If it's unhealthy of her, it's not for me to say. I can only say why it isn't healthy for me.

I still ponder helping vs codependency- or helping vs hurting. I helped my alcoholic cousin as he died of liver cirrhosis. Because he couldn't get out of bed, I measured out and handed him the few ounces of liquor he needed every six hours to numb his pain in his last weeks. In his chronic state, this didn't hurt him, but helped ease his pain. It neither enabled or disabled him, it created stasis. Anyway, it's a fine line.

(((Matteo))) - hugs and positive energy to you ~ ~

August 21, 2008
12:20 pm
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lewis
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Hi matteo, I remember you! Always good advice from you 🙂

August 21, 2008
12:22 pm
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lewis
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just take small steps.

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