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User Topic: How do you break free of old codependency patterns?
Lonelygirl10
♀ 39850
Member # 39850
Default  Posted: 9:19 AM, April 24th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I spent around 8 months in IC following Dday. Looking back, it was probably something I needed to do before Dday. In IC, we focused on my codependency issues and standing up for myself. A lot of it was focused on being true to myself, and getting my own voice back. After about 8 months, my IC said that she had noticed dramatic improvement and she thought that I was ready to stop seeing her. She told me to just keep practicing what we had learned. I stopped IC, and then about a month later ended the relationship with xwBF. I felt strong and empowered, and I felt like I had my voice back.

I had a friend point out yesterday that I am falling back into my old patterns again. I really thought about it, and she's right. I really don't want to be that person again, and I'm not sure what to do.

I have patterns in relationships. All of my relationships have gone pretty much the same. They start with me being independent, strong, and happy. Then as little stuff starts to happen, I start doubting myself. I start questioning myself and friends on whether I'm overreacting. I want so badly to be a "normal" girl instead of an abnormal, overreacting, or paranoid person. And then after I start questioning myself like that for a couple months, I start giving in to the guy. I lose my voice. I do what he wants, instead of what I want. And then after a few months of that, I get frustrated and upset, and start testing the line and pushing back and doing more of what I think is right. It comes out of left field for the guy, and causes fights. That lasts for a few months, and then the relationship ends. All of my relationships have some varying degree of that pattern in it. I've been in 4 serious relationships. Two were four years each, and two were two years each. The last one definitely involved infidelity, and I suspect it in the others.

I've been casually seeing a new guy, and feeling slightly irritated that he's not more of a planner. He'll make tentative plans to see me, and then I'll be waiting around the day of for him to text me with details. I texted a friend a few times about how it annoys me, and last night I made the comment about how maybe I'm overreacting. And that's when she pointed out that I'm falling back into my old pattern.

She's right. I am. I feel like I'm over my ex. But I'm falling back into my old pattern. I don't know what to do to stop it, or how to control the thoughts. My friend told me to take a step back and focus more on me, so I'm going to try to do that.

I don't know if the problem is with the guys I chose to date, or if the problem is something internal with me. And I don't know how to fix it.

Has anyone experienced this? How do you stop old patterns?


30 Bgf
Dday: April 2013
Relationship ended: January 2014

Posts: 1339 | Registered: Jul 2013
SeanFLA
♂ 32380
Member # 32380
Default  Posted: 10:00 AM, April 24th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I get what you're saying about him not being a planner. I got really turned off by a woman I tried to date who was like that. The night before we would agree to go to the beach the next day for instance. I went to the grocery store, bought stuff, got the coolers out, etc. I texted her the next morning about 11am to see what time we wanted to meet up. I don't hear back from her for two hours. Turns out she's remulching her entire yard and can't go. Ummm...wtf? She actually thought it was Saturday and asked if we could do it tomorrow on Sunday. Well it WAS Sunday.

I was pretty pissed too. Makes you realize what a priority you are to them. If this is the way they run their relationships, can you imagine the way they run their lives or their financial obligations? Can you imagine what it would be like having him as a father of your child one day? Clearly you two probably aren't compatible. It's not being co-dependent in my opinion if he's not a planner. There's nothing wrong with that. Next him.


BS(me) 48
WW 47
1 son 14 yrs old
Married 18 yrs, together 21 yrs

"You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have." ~ Bob Marley


Posts: 1479 | Registered: Jun 2011 | From: Zombie Land
Nature_Girl
♀ 32554
Member # 32554
Default  Posted: 10:16 AM, April 24th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I cannot speak of breaking old relationship patterns. However, I can speak about breaking old, dysfunctional life patterns. I found that my codependency was/is a problem in all areas of my life, not just relationships with men. So I've been printing out inspirational memes and affirmation concepts & taping them up all over my house. I'm serious, I probably have 10 or more things taped up or magnetized on my refrigerator right now. I know the only way I can break free of my unhealthy thoughts is to replace tem with healthy ones. Seeing these things daily is a great help. I'm internalizing the messages. I'm moving forward. My kids see them, too. I'm hoping they internalize these messages.

Also, a helpful book is "Getting Past Your Breakup". It's much more than just getting past a breakup, though. It's about changing your thought patterns and focusing on getting your mind & spirit healthy. It's an amazing book for recovering codeps. If you haven't read it yet, I urge you to do so!

Good luck!


Me = BS (Stay-at-home-mom)
Him = EX-d out (abusive troglodyte NPD SA)
3 tween-aged kids
Together 20 years
D-Day: Memorial Weekend 2011
2013 - DIVORCED!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJgjyDFfJuU

Posts: 10137 | Registered: Jun 2011 | From: USA
Lonelygirl10
♀ 39850
Member # 39850
Default  Posted: 10:19 AM, April 24th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

We may or may not be compatible. That's not really what's worrying me. What worries me is my reaction to it. Instead of feeling justified for being annoyed, my mind wonders to whether I'm overreacting. I spent 8 months in IC trying to get past constantly questioning my own views/opinions, and I'm right back to doing it again with the next guy that I try to date. Is it possible to ever get past it, or something that's just part of me? I feel like I lose myself when I date. I'd like to date someone and maintain my own opinions. I got there, and I now I see myself slipping back.


30 Bgf
Dday: April 2013
Relationship ended: January 2014

Posts: 1339 | Registered: Jul 2013
Lonelygirl10
♀ 39850
Member # 39850
Default  Posted: 10:35 AM, April 24th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage


Also, a helpful book is "Getting Past Your Breakup". It's much more than just getting past a breakup, though. It's about changing your thought patterns and focusing on getting your mind & spirit healthy. It's an amazing book for recovering codeps. If you haven't read it yet, I urge you to do so!

Thanks for the book recommendation. I'll check it out. The quotes is an interesting idea too. What types of things do they say that you find helpful?


30 Bgf
Dday: April 2013
Relationship ended: January 2014

Posts: 1339 | Registered: Jul 2013
Nature_Girl
♀ 32554
Member # 32554
Default  Posted: 10:42 AM, April 24th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

If you do Facebook, you've probably seen some of the inspirational quotes floating around. While for some those quotes & memes are annoying, for people like me they're invaluable ways to think about myself and my life. I copy & paste them, then print them out.

I also have the poem "Phenomenal Woman" by Maya Angelou printed out & on my refrigerator. OMG, I love that poem. I need that poem.

I have things up about courage, about taking the first steps into a new life, faith-based stuff, feminist things, and on & on. Things that will encourage me on this new trajectory of my life.

A good source of material is the Baggage Reclaim website.


Me = BS (Stay-at-home-mom)
Him = EX-d out (abusive troglodyte NPD SA)
3 tween-aged kids
Together 20 years
D-Day: Memorial Weekend 2011
2013 - DIVORCED!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJgjyDFfJuU

Posts: 10137 | Registered: Jun 2011 | From: USA
norabird
♀ 42092
Member # 42092
Default  Posted: 11:02 AM, April 24th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I understand your worry and I agree with Sean. It sounds like you're trying to make his response pattern not an issue but you know that to you it is an issue. So honor that, and next him. There are people who can give you the follow-up you need and you have every right to expect that type of follow-up. I am a planner as well, and while with old friends one can be more 'are you maybe free this weekend?' and then go on the fly depending on last minute stuff, dating is not the area for that approach early on.

Getting Past Your Breakup is next on my list too! On the bedside table now.


Sit. Feast on your life.

Posts: 4235 | Registered: Jan 2014 | From: NYC
IWantDoOver
39440
Member # 39440
Default  Posted: 11:15 AM, April 24th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I spent 8 months in IC trying to get past constantly questioning my own views/opinions, and I'm right back to doing it again with the next guy that I try to date.

What ARE your own views, opinions and VALUES? Write them down. What are YOUR dealbreakers? Write them down.

Type them up in a fancy font, print them out and laminate them. Pull them out once a month and evaluate you, your partner and your relationship against your authentic values. Listen to your voice daily, but give it a thorough evaluation once a month.

You don't need to obsess daily, or worry about daily fluctuations in feelings and hormones.


Peace

Posts: 221 | Registered: Jun 2013
sadone29
♀ 38597
Member # 38597
Default  Posted: 11:27 AM, April 24th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I don't belong in NB, so I hope it's okay that I chime in.

That old familiar feeling of guilt and shame whenever I stood up for any personal boundary...ugghhh

I can only speak of my personal journey. The first step for me has been to fight my way out of denial. It's uncomfortable, it's painful, but I think it's necessary. Be on the lookout for that negative self talk...you know what I'm talking about. "Who am I to take away his freedom to do xyz?" "All men do these things, so I have to get used to it", etc. These are the surface thoughts that cover the deeper beliefs, such as "I'm not good enough" and "no one will stick around". It gets tiring always trying to be aware of your thoughts, but it gets better.

After that step, well, the only answers I have found for myself are faith based. Maybe someone by sheer will can learn to sit with the uncomfortable feelings until they disappear, but I can't. I have tried to change things myself, tried to be perfect, but it never goes well. I know we all have our own paths, so I won't go into that if it's not yours.

There are some excellent speakers about codependency that you can find on youtube. A few are: Dr. Kathy Baker, Pia Mellody and Darlene Lancer


DDay Feb. 28, 2013
"I am pretty sure enforcing the boundary is the most important part of the boundary"- Jerry Seinfeld
Can't wait to D, but stuck financially until I find a way out of this SAHM position I'm in.

Posts: 813 | Registered: Mar 2013
IWantDoOver
39440
Member # 39440
Default  Posted: 11:46 AM, April 24th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Good stuff here:

http://www.survivinginfidelity.com/forums.asp?tid=529279


Peace

Posts: 221 | Registered: Jun 2013
Lonelygirl10
♀ 39850
Member # 39850
Default  Posted: 12:46 PM, April 24th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

It sounds like you're trying to make his response pattern not an issue but you know that to you it is an issue.

Yup, that's what my friend pointed out last night. She said I'm focusing too much on trying to do what other people would think is okay or not okay, instead of what I want. And she's right. I'm always so paranoid of overreacting. I guess when it comes down to it, I'm worried I have too high expectations and I'll be alone forever. And I feel like an idiot when I say something like that, because I remember so clearly feeling the same way with my xwBF and now I feel grateful that I walked away from that. So I know my belief system is screwed up, but don't know how to fix it.

What ARE your own views, opinions and VALUES? Write them down. What are YOUR dealbreakers? Write them down.

My IC made me do that. And when I started out dating again, I did very well with sticking true to those things. One guy said he does hulu hoop competitions with girls at work. I cut him out. Another guy wanted to be bf/gf after two dates. Cut him out. I don't know why I'm suddenly slipping back into my old patterns.

I can only speak of my personal journey. The first step for me has been to fight my way out of denial. It's uncomfortable, it's painful, but I think it's necessary. Be on the lookout for that negative self talk...you know what I'm talking about. "Who am I to take away his freedom to do xyz?" "All men do these things, so I have to get used to it", etc. These are the surface thoughts that cover the deeper beliefs, such as "I'm not good enough" and "no one will stick around". It gets tiring always trying to be aware of your thoughts, but it gets better.

Yeah, I did that in IC too. It was a long and painful process. She really helped me deal with a lot of my negative self talk, and I got my voice back again. I felt comfortable with my own opinions. I ended the toxic relationship I was in. I guess maybe it's not a fix it once thing and it's done. Maybe it's something I'm just going to struggle with my whole life.

I look at girls who are independent and happy, and feel so jealous of them. I have friends that lead full and busy lives, and the guy just fits in there. They don't analyze things that the guy does, and they're happy with or without him. I wish that could be me. I wish I could turn my brain off sometimes and just LIVE instead of thinking about everything constantly.


30 Bgf
Dday: April 2013
Relationship ended: January 2014

Posts: 1339 | Registered: Jul 2013
Almost12Years
♀ 34861
Member # 34861
Default  Posted: 2:49 PM, April 24th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I've been in 4 serious relationships. Two were four years each, and two were two years each. The last one definitely involved infidelity, and I suspect it in the others.

Gently, you're only 29 and have been in relationships for 12 years of your life - your most recent just ended a few months ago. Have you considered just working on you for the next year or two? Give yourself a chance to figure out who you are and what you want on your own? Gain some confidence from being independent for awhile? That could be an incredible opportunity for you..just a thought.

Best of luck whatever you decide..


Me - BW (38). Him - FWS (35)
College sweethearts
M - 13 years; together 16
DD (9) and DS (7)
Blindsided by confession on 2/17/12
6+ mo. EA/2x PA

Putting the pieces back together, day by day. Hardest thing I've ever done.


Posts: 225 | Registered: Feb 2012
Kajem
♀ 36134
Member # 36134
Default  Posted: 3:15 PM, April 24th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

The first step is being aware of the issue. The next step? What did your therapist suggest? It might be worth heading back to therapy to figure out how to change your reactions.


I trust you is a better compliment than I love you, because you may not trust the person you love, but you can always love the person you trust. - Unknown
Relationships are like sharing a book, it doesn't work if you're not on the same page.

Posts: 5742 | Registered: Jul 2012 | From: Florida
SeanFLA
♂ 32380
Member # 32380
Default  Posted: 9:58 PM, April 24th (Thursday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Gently, you're only 29 and have been in relationships for 12 years of your life - your most recent just ended a few months ago. Have you considered just working on you for the next year or two? Give yourself a chance to figure out who you are and what you want on your own? Gain some confidence from being independent for awhile? That could be an incredible opportunity for you..just a thought.

Bingo^^^^^. Sounds to me it's like you've never been without a bf for an extended period of time? Are you one of those girls? And you know if you are. Possibly what's going on here is that you define yourself by having a bf. And without one you lack personal identity. This could be your co-dep issue right there.


BS(me) 48
WW 47
1 son 14 yrs old
Married 18 yrs, together 21 yrs

"You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have." ~ Bob Marley


Posts: 1479 | Registered: Jun 2011 | From: Zombie Land
Lonelygirl10
♀ 39850
Member # 39850
Default  Posted: 6:28 AM, April 25th (Friday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Bingo^^^^^. Sounds to me it's like you've never been without a bf for an extended period of time? Are you one of those girls? And you know if you are. Possibly what's going on here is that you define yourself by having a bf. And without one you lack personal identity. This could be your co-dep issue right there.

I usually go about 6 months between relationships. I'm not one of those girls that finds the next guy before she leaves the current one. I felt like I was happy and confident before I met this current guy. I wasn't sitting at home feeling lonely or whatever. I seem to always be happiest when I'm single, but I would like to have a family someday


30 Bgf
Dday: April 2013
Relationship ended: January 2014

Posts: 1339 | Registered: Jul 2013
cayc
♀ 21964
Member # 21964
Default  Posted: 8:30 AM, April 25th (Friday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I experience this, the doubt that creeps in that makes it hard to know if my feelings are justified. And it only happens with men/dating. Not work scenarios. Not friend scenarios. In both of the latter two cases, I never doubt how I feel.

Hmm, I guess a similarity in all 3 cases is that I can't always be honest with how I feel. At work, you have to tamp down on a lot. With friends, if you value them, you have to have some care about how you express negative stuff.

But with guys, it's almost like I don't even realize I'm mad or hurt or whatever until I've gone to far down the road. And so in between dating, I right my keel and feel good. So good I reach out, start talking to guys and sure enough, it's not long before I'm tense, doubting myself and engaging in self sabotaging behaviors because I'm not even sure what I'm feeling or why.

So far, the only solution I have found is not to date. And that's not really an answer because if I want to find a partner, which I do, that involves dating.

All this really comes down to honoring how you feel. Being very aware of how you feel, and being able to put those feelings in context. Because if you let negative feelings build up, they always come out inappropriately when they are forced to burst out of a dam. And the recipient is left bewildered at the strength, not so much at the feeling.


"I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning how to sail my ship." - Louisa May Alcott

Posts: 3205 | Registered: Dec 2008 | From: Mexico
Lonelygirl10
♀ 39850
Member # 39850
Default  Posted: 8:42 AM, April 25th (Friday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

But with guys, it's almost like I don't even realize I'm mad or hurt or whatever until I've gone to far down the road. And so in between dating, I right my keel and feel good. So good I reach out, start talking to guys and sure enough, it's not long before I'm tense, doubting myself and engaging in self sabotaging behaviors because I'm not even sure what I'm feeling or why.

This is exactly how I feel. I'm great when I'm single and casually dating multiple people, but it goes downhill when I actually like a guy. I thought I worked through it in IC, but it's happening again. I guess it's good that I'm at least recognizing it


30 Bgf
Dday: April 2013
Relationship ended: January 2014

Posts: 1339 | Registered: Jul 2013
norabird
♀ 42092
Member # 42092
Default  Posted: 11:29 AM, April 25th (Friday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Maybe be more careful in the early stages of liking someone? Hold back your feelings a little bit, and make sure he shares, for instance, your communication patterns before getting invested. And if he doesn't share them, and it makes you doubt yourself, cut him off and re-group.

I think learning to date healthily is about being very firm in your boundaries and not allowing a new relationship to immediately slide into bad patterns. You're doing that by id'ing the bad pattern; but you're not quite yet able to fully follow through on your gut.

You'll get there.


Sit. Feast on your life.

Posts: 4235 | Registered: Jan 2014 | From: NYC
SeanFLA
♂ 32380
Member # 32380
Default  Posted: 11:46 AM, April 25th (Friday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I seem to always be happiest when I'm single,

^^^^Yeah might just be time to try this for a while again. You mature and change when you really start looking for that person to spend the rest of your life with. Even then nothing is guaranteed, look at all of us who thought that. At your age I don't believe 6 months between guys is really all that long. Especially if you're looking for THE guy. But I like what you said about nexting several guys you mentioned before because of this red flag or that red flag. That shows maturity.

I think the only thing you're guilty of is being a compassionate person who cares about those she loves. To me it's not about being so non-codependent that you become selfish in a relationship. You have to absorb another person's life to be in a give and take relationship. My fear sometimes with all this co-dependency talk is that it sometimes produces more selfishness within a relationship than it might help. It all centers around finding your own happiness, not worrying about their's so much. At least that's how I understand it to point. Well if I'm not trying to also make my partner happy, why bother being married then?

Personally I don't think I fully grasp and buy into the whole co-dependency theory so much. And that's all it is...a theory. Maybe I agree to bits and parts. But to me it's like the term "sex addict" people throw around so much. Just because a person cheats or watches porn doesn't mean they are a sex addict. Just the same as if a person feels compassion, hurt or genuine concern for their partner's life doesn't mean immediately they are co-dependent. To me it's called empathy. Much of what unremorseful WS's lack on this board as that trait. Don't give up your empathy. I know I'm looking for that in a new partner after everything I've experienced. I don't want someone who is so independent that I can't rely on them to support me during my tough times. Last thing I want in a partner is somebody telling me to "go find your own happiness and leave me be because I'm good." It's exactly what my exWW told me after Dday when she left me. I'd rather be alone then suffer that shit again thank you very much.


BS(me) 48
WW 47
1 son 14 yrs old
Married 18 yrs, together 21 yrs

"You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have." ~ Bob Marley


Posts: 1479 | Registered: Jun 2011 | From: Zombie Land
IWantDoOver
39440
Member # 39440
Default  Posted: 12:18 PM, April 25th (Friday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

The first step is being aware of the issue.

I agree with Kajem -- self-awareness is key. Wisdom is learning from past mistakes (or learning from other's mistakes).

But with guys, it's almost like I don't even realize I'm mad or hurt or whatever until I've gone to far down the road.

Any patterns of bad behavior you can name in hindsight? Any disrespect or boundary violations you can name in retrospect?


Peace

Posts: 221 | Registered: Jun 2013
Topic Posts: 26
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