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Codependency in the Marriage: A BS’s common mistake
I will say Dr Phil is right on when he says, you teach ppl how to treat you. I was always the one saying, oh that's ok I don't care, shit on me that's fine, then later saying damn why does everyone shit on me.
My question is this:
How do you figure out how you should be treated? I did not learn this as a kid, no one showed me how to value myself, I do not really know what it looks like, when I do try, I feel selfish, and demanding, I feel bad.
I could go on, but will stop it here, as this is probably a bit of a T/J.
GraceisGood and anyone else who might be asking her same question....
I hope this is helpful...
I struggle with co-dependent relationships too, and with a deep feeling that I always have to "earn" love and value....by picking up the slack of others....
This summer my son and his fiance are living with us. I do most of the cooking and cleaning for everyone, and sometimes go to bed resenting it.
Long story short, last night at the dinner table I just simply said, I'm going in to take a bath now....I'll be out in time for dessert - which is in the fridge.
And I said it in a genuine, friendly way!
And presto! I got out of the bath and dinner was cleaned up and dessert was on the table!
My usual way would have been to feel "put upon", and also kind of the hero for "doing everything".....and instead of being straight-forward and matter-of-fact about it I would just "wait" and "hope" someone would notice all I was doing and step up to help.
...and the cycle continues.
Last night I changed it up and it worked!
The message was clean and simple - "I'm done with my part of the job here, and now I'm taking some deserved time for myself, and I'll be out for dessert in 20 minutes."
And they stepped up!
I did not feel "selfish, demanding, or bad" and I know they didn't feel I was any of those thing either.
I so hope I can do that again!!
After D-Day and a lot of reading and counseling, I learned a lot about codependency and how I fit the 'bill' to a T in so many ways. I have worked very hard to change that. But every time I think I can safely say I am no longer a codependent, I discover some residual lingering touches of codependency. For example, I am working the Weight Watcher's program online (I pay the fees, I just don't go to meetings due to time constraints, etc.). My H makes wonderful wine. I love wine with many of my meals but it adds so many points to my daily count. My H needs to be praised for his efforts, whether it be his cooking, his wines, etc. I found this new wine made with diabetics in mind that has a fraction of the Weight Watcher point value of regular wine. When I told him I was going to buy this wine for myself from now on, he gets this 'little boy' disappointed look on his face and says, "But I made this and that wine just for you!!" My first reaction was to give in and say I would drink his wine. But within seconds, I changed my mind and said, "No way. I am on a mission to lose weight and feel better and the Weight Watcher's friendly wine is what *I* need. I've spent 30 some years trying to please you by giving up what I want and need and this is one example." No argument from H. He just gave in and didn't pull the sulk act at all. He's learning that I am slowly learning to put myself first and not the relationship. The relationship can come first when he puts as much into it as I am willing to do, if and when he gets healthy!!!!
As usual....your eloquence is amazing.
I never really considered myself a co-dependant...but I guess I am.
You cannot make the marriage work with someone else who’s not.
A lot of what you say is 100% correct.
After D-day I became co-dependent. The reason I became co-dependent was because I was scared of loosing what I had. The life, the kids etc. Most BS are not prepared for the shock of an affair and cling on to everything as a defense mechanism. We start fighting and checking phones etc.
Like so many other BSs though, I reached a point where I realised I was doing all the work in trying to make the marriage work. I can remember this realisation as clear as today.
While we may try and analyse what went wrong and co-dependency is to be avoided, the bottom line is simply is;
You cannot make the marriage work with someone else who’s not.
Great post -- and great reminder....(sigh)
I am just now realizing how codependent I have been in my M. One more thing to work on...
Thank you! Great article. Reading Codependant no More and attending CODA meetings. One more thing to work on (ugh).
I too have just learned my role in this behavior. A lot of what you wrote is so true. Hard to break the cycle but...gotta do what I gotta do. Thanks for sharing.
As a codependent BS, I felt it was a good idea to read through this again.
Thanks for the great post. Every new BS ought to read it. My IC is helping me work on this. It's not easy to change my behavior. But you can't do a 180 when you're acting like a doormat.
Just back from MC. Bumping this for myself. Being a brother of a drug addict has its strong points, but the codependency is not one of them.... I need to get back to not sacrificing needlessly for others issues. Codependent no more!! No more neglecting myself for others issues.
WH says HE is codependent and that is one of the reasons he can't re-commit to saving our M right now. He's working through those issues so he won't continue that cycle.
I'm really struggling with this because, much like Snowy, I find myself trying to control this fall out and FIX the damn M right NOW. And WH is not on board or with the program, and I'm left fumbling around in the dark trying to fix something that I can't fix alone.
Bumping this. I needed to read this again!
Well - just go ahead and hit me in the head with a 2x4!
Thank you for posting this.
I am bookmarking it and am going to read it every day until it sinks into my co-dependent head.
I didn't know what was wrong with me until my father (who was an alcoholic) got me to going to al anon. Tehn I got into IC along with Aanon meetings. The support that you can get from meetings is wonderful. There are meetings for codependancy both face to face and online.
After all the therapy I received and all the meetings I went to for years I slipped back into some behaviors that are not healthy for me. It's almost like I forgot everything I've learned.
Doing a modified 180 and taking care of me again. It's hard since I've been focusing on WH so long.