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Thinking I am co-dependent...

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Foolme1 posted 5/3/2013 11:51 AM

Please be gentle with any 2x4’s, but, I think I am co-dependent. But I do not know why. I am successful, I have a great career, I can, financially, take care of myself and my daughter with no problems. I am currently pursuing my Master’s degree. Overall, I feel pretty confident in my ability to provide for my daughter and myself. However, I have this stbx that for some reason, I have not confronted yet. And I have been doing a lot of thinking. I don’t want to lose the “comfort” of being in a “relationship” (if that’s what you want to call it). When things are good, they’re great. But NONE of that can excuse this behavior of his!!! So everyone tells me “kick his ass to the curb, if he’s homeless, that’s on him”. But then, me…I can’t actually see myself doing that to someone. Yes, yes, I know, HE did this to himself. But he is the father of my daughter…and I am putting my happiness and my well-being on the back burner in order to avoid being “the bad guy”, the “crazy ex”. This guy has DENIED MY EXISTANCE in his little circle of “friends”, yet here I am, afraid to be alone…like I’d rather be in a bad relationship than to be alone. But I KNOW that it’s not what I want. I just take my time in taking that first step…

We have been together for 12 years. I was the faithful wife who stood by him during 4 deployments to Iraq. I have always taken care of EVERYTHING. He never knew how much money as in the account. All he had to do was provide me with receipts every day, and I would tell him if there was no money to spend, or don’t spend more than $20 this week, etc. I took care of the cars. Oil changes, maintenance, etc. I took care of the house. I took care of EVERYTHING. I was in charge. I was in control. He…well, he served his country. I always let him “relax” because I always felt that he sacrificed so much. When he got PTSD, I helped him get in to counseling. When we reconciled, I took care of the MC appointments. When a big event happens in his life, I contact his mother to let her know. He rarely talks to her. I have practically been his mother this whole time. And now, I have reason to believe that I am co-dependent. He will not move out if I ask him to. And I do not want to resort to a court order or getting the police involved. Why? I don’t want to be “the bad guy”. I know how stupidly ridiculous this all sounds. If I were reading someone else’s post and read this, I would think “WTH?? He’s using you, he’s dragged you through the dirt, why the hell are you co-dependent on a guy who doesn’t put as much effort in to you as you do him? WHAT ARE YOU TEACHING YOUR DD????”. I feel guilty a lot. If I don’t feel that I did my wifely duties to a certain standard, I feel guilty, like a failure. Not because he makes me feel like one, but because I hold extremely high expectations on myself. Its like, if I did a half ass job on such and such, then others will think I am a dirty person, or a bad wife, or a bad mom, and that is not acceptable to me.

My parents are most definitely in an abusive, co-dependent relationship. My father is in an open relationship with another woman, who he brings to the house, and my mother turns the other cheek. She won’t leave him, even though she is successful, retired military herself and has a Master’s degree herself. Perhaps I am doing what I have learned.

I have not confronted. I will confront soon. I am deathly afraid of losing the comfort. What comfort? I do not know. But I know that I am afraid to bring another man in to my daughter’s life out of fear that he will be a pedophile. As a child of sexual abuse myself, I trust no man with my daughter except her father.

I have an IC appointment next week to address all of this and start working on making ME happy. To work on doing what is best for ME AND MY DD.

Thank you for listening…

absolut posted 5/3/2013 12:13 PM

I'm so sorry FM1.
Try googling
narcissistic parents
& adult child of narcissistic parents

See if any of that helps.
Good for you for making an appointment for yourself.
Best wishes.

tushnurse posted 5/3/2013 12:23 PM


Why are you Co-Dependent?
I think you answered those questions in your post alone. You grew up in a dysfuntional family, and saw your mother take whatever shit sandwich was provided to her.
Why are you Co-Dependent?
Because you are a survivor of Abuse, both mental and sexual.

I too walked th Co-dependent path. My dad drank too much, my mom was mentally abusive, my dad was the pleaser in their relationship, and if he/we could keep Mom happy then all was good. So you try to keep the peace, and internalize all the stress, pain and grief you feel yourself.

Here's the one tidbit that finally helped me out of the Co-Dependent pattern. I finally realized. If I didn't put me first in life NO ONE would. I would always come second to H's needs, Parents needs, and of course the Kids needs. However when you internalize it all htere comes a point and time where you cant take anymore, and then you find yourself useless to everyone.

When you can start to take control of the situation and demand better for yourself they cycle starts to break, and you start to feel oh so much better.

I am 5 years out from A, and I can say that I really am not Co-Dependent anymore, but do still play the role of the pleaser. However if I don't get the appreciation and love and respect I deserve then I don't play so nice (ask my 13 year old).

I think IC is a great place for you to start. Ask how confrontation can go so that it is empowering for you, and prevents harm to your child. Would you want your daughter to grow up and repeat the patterns of yourself and your mom?
(This was a question I had to remind myself of frequently in moments of weakness).

Being strong, and independent, and not giving a Dang what others think about you is a much happier way to live.

Be gentle to yourself, but know that you have to make a better life for you and your daughter.

(((((and strength))))

Jada52 posted 5/3/2013 16:21 PM

I was very co-dependent and hated it. I managed to let that part go while I was in counseling a few years ago. I had a couple books I read that helped a lot but I cannot remember the name of them now.

cp1962 posted 5/3/2013 17:07 PM

I can identify so much with you. I too took care of everything around the house, and I always placed his needs, wants, & desires before my own. In my first IC session, therapist told me to read "Co-Dependent No More" and now I am reading "Beyond Co Dependency". I had lost who I was, what I liked, didnt like, wanted, didnt want. Who was I, if I wasnt taking care of WS? Through IC, which I am getting so much out of, I am learning all of that & more..Like other post said, if you dont put your needs first, no one will.

Pippy posted 5/3/2013 17:36 PM

Hon, your mother has taught you well. This is not your fault.I am glad you have chosen to go to an IC.

One thing you should keep in mind, when you get him out of your life, at first it will hurt but then you will become stronger than you ever dreamt and you and your DD will be fine. You've already proven you can survive and handle things on your own. Good luck.

stilltrying2025 posted 5/3/2013 19:00 PM

I hear you completely! Losing the "comfort" is really tough. I know I can't afford, on my own, to take care of me and my daughter....he will pay in the end if that's what it ends up as. You have a lot of things in your favor, and you should focus on that. What he's doing is his choice, not yours, so he needs to own it, not you. I'm not one to give advice as I'm in a rocky situation myself but please know there are a lot of us out here that hurt right along with you. Hugs!!!!!!

Foolme1 posted 5/3/2013 20:55 PM

He's meeting up with her tonight. I'm confronting tonight.

LearningToFly posted 5/4/2013 01:46 AM

No two by four here. I think you are doing great. Its scary to face being alone. It is for me for sure, for emotional and financial reasons. (I am dependent on his income, I stayed home with the kids and expected to be with him for the rest of my life). As for being alone emotionally, my husband left me long ago. His emotional energy has been going to someone else for almost two years. I survived even though life has been one HARD event after another. You sound like you have been surviving too.

Sometimes I dream about what it would be like to be with someone who loves me for me. Someone who isn't constantly telling me that I need to change myself to make his life easier. Someone who finds his life blessed because I am in it. I still don't want to give up on my husband, I've invested 30 years. I do think about what could happen if I let go though.

You aren't the bad guy if you stand up for yourself. My daughter(21) has told me that she is angry with me for "treating myself like 'c..p'" and allowing myself to be treated the way I am. She loves her dad but it upsets her to see the example I am setting for her. I'm not ready to leave but I do know that she is watching to see if I will turn things around and treat myself the way I deserve to be treated. Your daughter is watching you too.

You have to do what you believe is right when you are ready. I hope the confrontation will be a wake up call to your husband and he will actively work to change things. You deserve that.

luv2swim posted 5/4/2013 02:31 AM

FM1 - We teach our children how to be with our words, and with our actions. Could it be that by watching how your mother was when her husband was unfaithful, you learned how to act when your husband did the same? And now, you are passing the same eduction on to your daughter. Now she will know how to act when her husband cheats on her, and treats her poorly.

You might consider if you get something essential out of being in a relationship such as yours is now.

Could it possibly be true that if you decide to speak up and tell your husband his behaviors and choices are not working for you, and they are not how you believe a husband should be, you will also have to admit something about your own father that is too uncomfortable?

In my own marriage, it actually took me nearly a year after D-day before I recognized clearly that I loved my husband, but his actions did not work for me. I was monogamous and I expected him to be too. When I believed he was not faithful, something inside me moved away from him emotionally. I think the distance was equal to the amount I thought he was vested in the OW. It was involuntary on my part. And ... it hurt because I believed in a mythology of marriage that he obviously did not (but I could of sworn he did believe in).

Anyway, given your family of origin background, I would encourage you to really be clear what it is YOU want in a mate, and in your marriage. It is possible you married a man a lot like your daddy. And this may be what you thought you wanted, but now it may not be the case.

Best of luck... and welcome to the "up" side of infidelity: getting to know the self. It sends a lot of us into the very depth of who we are, why we are, and what we are. If we do our work of self, most of us gain a wisdom we might not otherwise have had.

[This message edited by luv2swim at 7:52 AM, May 4th (Saturday)]

Dawn58 posted 5/11/2013 20:54 PM

Hugs foolme1.

Given what you shared about your background, you would either be a codependent or a cheater. Be gentle with yourself and don't beat up on yourself. You are doing what you know.

I grew up in an alcoholic home, so I do caretaker really well. I took care of my narcissistic husband, our two dysfunctions fit really well. My first husband was an alcoholic, so lots of caretaking there too.

Now, the universe has given me the "opportunity" to learn about myself and do some healing with that.

I sort of view it like this - I am a loving, caring person and when done in a healthy way (not to the detriment of myself, need to take care of myself first and from that place, love the people around me), it's a wonderful gift that I will bring to my friendships/family/relationships.

You are strong, you may not know that just yet. I thought I would absolutely fall apart, and I have not. I am 54 years old and have never lived by myself. It's lonely at times, but I have friends and family I can call. I have not scattered to the wind yet.

Hang in there!!

PhoenixRisen posted 5/11/2013 21:00 PM

here is a great book

Phoenix1 posted 5/12/2013 13:01 PM

Don't beat yourself up. You have an emotional investment, and it can be difficult to call it quits.

My father is an alcoholic asshole. He treated my mother like crap, but she stuck it out until she died. I watched that growing up and became the same. Like you, I did absolutely everything for POS and our family. Even after A#1 I was willing to stick it out because I wanted to be in our relationship even though it was all rug swept and never dealt with. Three years later came confirmation of A#2 (it was actually the first A chronologically). That was the breaking point, but I was willing to stick out until our youngest turned 18. Even then I dreaded the change and giving up on us. I used to tease POS that he was my old comfy shoe that you never want to get rid of no matter how beat up and ratty it might be. Then I caught him red handed with A#3 a little over a month ago. He has not been back since. Even though I would probably be willing to stick it out because I still really want the relationship, I also know that my daughters need to see their mother break the cycle of being a doormat.

I am financially able to support my DD and me, and POS is currently unemployed. I struggle internally with the desire to keep the relationship but continuing to move forward with the D. I need his toxic cloud out of my life and out of my DD's life, and we will be better off. But that doesn't make the reality pill of flushing almost 30 years together down the toilet any easier. I won't be his personal maid, secretary, bed mate, caregiver, and all around keeper any longer. Follow your gut.

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