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norabird posted 3/13/2014 11:20 AM

Because I still have an emotional investment in things like whether my ex is paying his rent or seeing a therapist, I've been exploring the idea that I had some codependent traits in the relationship. I've put 'codependent No More' on hold at the library and am probably going to try out a few CODA meetings in my area.

But I'm not totally comfortable with how much energy I'm spending trying to figure this out. I don't relate to probably over half of the codependent traits--my self-esteem was always good, I don't minimize my feelings, I wasn't afraid of being without him even though I did fight to save the relationship.

It's not just that I don't fully identify with the profile though. It's also that I was his victim, yet by labeling myself as codependent I seem to be blaming myself for letting myself be his victim. Does that make sense? He lied to me and misled me, and I believed him. I genuinely didn't understand that anyone could lie the way he was lying, it didn't make sense to me. I feel like all the gaslighting was abuse. And I don't feel comfortable assigning responsibility to myself for being betrayed.

Maybe when I read the book and go to the meetings I'll get more clarity on what does and doesn't apply. I am trying to be active in my healing in a way that prepares me to have healthier relationships in the future but when I look problem wasn't really with my attitude in the relationship, it was that I was with someone who I had no idea was totally unsafe and entitled.

Just wondering if anyone who's done the CODA thing has any thoughts on how it applies.

deena posted 3/13/2014 11:37 AM

Sorry I can't help


Just wanted to get your post back up there for someone else to see that can help
Hate seeing 0 replies for someone

Lionne posted 3/13/2014 11:40 AM

I hear you. I think the operative word is "blame." I can't blame myself for trying to be the best partner I could be.

I, too, knew NOTHING about his activities. I thought that by keeping the household organized, the bills paid, the cleaning and maintenance done, his appts. and family cared for properly that I was just being supportive and complementing his more "creative" "spontaneous" style. The problem is, I enabled him to NOT be the responsible adult, freed him up for his extramarital activities, and fueled his resentment of me because I was too "controlling."

I found many codependent traits in myself but not all characteristics fit me.

norabird posted 3/13/2014 11:41 AM

thanks deena

Luckily I am the type that just likes to think out loud!

MandMs posted 3/13/2014 12:12 PM

I also don't like the "codependent" label because of all the negative connotations and the way the term is casually thrown around. Hearing that word tends to make me cringe most of the time.

Nevertheless, I do consider myself to have codependent tendencies.

What this looks like for me is needing external things to be in order and people to do what I think is "right" for me to feel peace and serenity inside. It's relying on others to make me feel happy and okay.
Also, I decide how I feel based on how the people close to me are feeling. I guess this is where the people pleasing comes in because I only want to please you so I can feel okay, not because I care about how you feel.
So basically, for me codependency is relying on external circumstances for my self-esteem and value as a human. This is just the tip of the iceberg though. It's great you are willing to dive in and investigate this for yourself!

I don't feel comfortable assigning responsibility to myself for being betrayed.

And why should you!? Whatever he was up to that you didn't know about has nothing to do with what kind of person you are. You believed his lies because you are a trusting, loving, kind person and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Those are wonderful qualities you should be proud of.
Don't waste your time trying to figure out the whys and hows of what he did and focus on your recovery. Read Dr.Steven Stosny's Living and Loving After Betrayal and get busy healing from this.

[This message edited by MandMs at 12:13 PM, March 13th (Thursday)]

LifeIsTooWeird posted 3/13/2014 12:35 PM

I find it interesting that you switched to past tense in your writing "my self esteem was good" "I wasn't afraid of being without him". You may not be able to relate to co-dependency because in the past you weren't. But how do you feel now? THIS changes us, but try not to let it change you into something you don't want to be. Do the research, not because you're trying to see if you WERE clingy, but because you want to avoid turning into that in the future. During relationships, if you perceive both parties are invested, it's perfectly normal to do little things to show you're looking out for your partner, like reminding them to pay their rent. Turning into their mother is a fine line though. But, if the relationship is over you have to stop worrying about them. It doesn't mean you don't care anymore, it just means you've chosen to put yourself first.

[This message edited by LifeIsTooWeird at 12:41 PM, March 13th (Thursday)]

IWantDoOver posted 3/13/2014 12:55 PM

Because I still have an emotional investment in things like whether my ex is paying his rent or seeing a therapist,

I don't know what this "is" ... but it's NOT detachment.

Energy follows Attention.

Where is the best place for you to focus your attention?

JustWow posted 3/13/2014 13:33 PM

I'm not a huge believer in the whole co-dependency club.

Sure, there can be such a thing. However, that normal, healthy people can exhibit "co-dependent" behavior in the wake of a close one's abnormal or abhorrent behavior does not put you at blame, or at fault, or responsible for the situation. Some situations are so surprising, so bizarre, so out of the norm, it is hard to determine initially how to react to them in a healthy manner. Few people handle trauma in a perfectly flawless healthy way at first crack.

If you were one to wallow in the behaviors, that may be another story altogether.

Nature_Girl posted 3/13/2014 14:05 PM

I am not to blame for being betrayed. However:

I consciously ignored red flags

I explained away inexcusable behavior

I tolerated outrageous and abusive behavior

I tried everything in my power to make myself into the perfect wife so he wouldn't stray

I tried to control him by trying to control the situation

I minimized myself to the point of becoming invisible

norabird posted 3/13/2014 14:20 PM

Thanks NG, I was hoping you'd find your way to this post! Like many of the others who've responded I think there are some places where codependency might be applicable and your list reminded me why that is. I don't WANT to allow myself to make excuses again or put up with less than I deserve and I know I did both of those things, partly out of confusion over what was happening, sure...but whatever the reason, I know it was just awful for me! I think CODA hopefully will give me some new tools for that...

Nature_Girl posted 3/13/2014 14:38 PM

I never once verbalized to myself that I did/didn't deserve certain kinds of shitty treatment. My thoughts didn't go there. I didn't tell myself I was worthless. However, that's how I allowed myself to be treated. I thought if I was nice enough, then he would be nice to me. I thought tolerating mistreatment was "being nice", and would show him I loved him, respected him, valued him, blah blah blah.

MadeOfScars posted 3/13/2014 15:41 PM

Because I still have an emotional investment in things like whether my ex is paying his rent or seeing a therapist

Not trying to t/j and focus just on that opening sentence, but I really identify with this statement. I know my STBXWW needs professional help. I don't say that to be mean-spirited, nor am I trying to justify her actions as a mental health issue. She's in a downward spiral and I worry for her. All that said, that just ties me to her and interferes with my healing. She made her choice that I am not to be part of her life, and with that, I have to let go. I am getting there little-by-little, but I need to let go of that worry for my own sake.

norabird posted 3/13/2014 15:44 PM

SoulHurts, not a t/j at all, detaching is SO hard. I think maybe I'm especially bad at it?

I know this advice is so wise:

Energy follows Attention.

Where is the best place for you to focus your attention?

Yet still the energy and attention keep following the patterns they are used to, out towards this person who hurt me.

That said I do think there are gradual's just sloooow. Aggravatingly, stupidly slow.

MadeOfScars posted 3/13/2014 15:51 PM

For sure norabird. It is soooo slow. I'm not even 2 whole months from d-day and in some ways it feels like years. I never wanted a fast-forward button for life as much as I do now. I want to just wake up past all the worst and able to take all the great advice in posts like this 100% to heart.

Time speeds up for now one though, but as long as you're making more steps forward than backwards, then it is progress.

Nature_Girl posted 3/13/2014 16:01 PM

SoulH, you have an excellent point. A codep will make all kinds of excuses as to why they, the codep, won't insist/demand being treated with respect, kindness, love and so forth. The codep will keep making excuses (justification) to explain why the other person is being an asshole and to explain why tolerating abuse is the right course of action.

Lionne posted 3/13/2014 19:08 PM

There is also significant evidence that when addictive behavior stops, when true recovery begins, codependent behavior also is extinguished.

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