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Codependency & Loving Too Much

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onlytime posted 7/5/2018 10:16 AM

BTW, how did you change this dynamic?

It didn't change until after he became sober and he had started doing the work on transforming himself, so I don't really have any advice to offer as to how to go about it with someone who is not actively working on themselves.

I do know that just before he finally started working on himself that I was at the point of being willing to walk away, take the hit on my credit and just start over. I had done it before with my xH and was able to rebuild my credit, so I was prepared to do it again.

I think trying to figure out a way to separate as much of the credit/bills as possible, so you will take less of a hit, is one option to try and protect yourself if your spouse isn't willing to step up and be responsible.

trb84 posted 7/9/2018 10:14 AM

Hello -
I am new to this forum. Joining after I read my journal prior to DDay. There were several signs that my SO was not interested in me. He never wanted to propose to me after several years together. He finally proposed and then we never slept together because he had every excuse in the book.

He is always high and blames me when he loses a job or doesn't get a promotion.

I am starting to realize how I allowed him to treat me. I am going to start making changes in myself to ensure I know what to do in the future.

[This message edited by trb84 at 5:51 PM, July 9th (Monday)]

BobPar posted 7/10/2018 23:51 PM

Trb84, you will be someone I remember from here on in as I’m joining this group as next in line.

I am SO frustrated.
I’m on my third Co-D book since Friday and all I am is sad at how much work I have to do.

I’ve learned so much and am still so screwed.

Step #1. Keep connecting with my inner child and love and nurture him.
Step#2. Get the divorce finalized
Step#3. Is a little fuzzy and I’m just glad step 1 and 2 seemed clear. I want to date to test my boundaries but there is really only one person I want to date. And there is uncertainty that she will date me when that time comes.

My inner child wants a glass of wine...

[This message edited by BobPar at 11:59 PM, July 10th, 2018 (Tuesday)]

onlytime posted 7/15/2018 19:11 PM

I am starting to realize how I allowed him to treat me. I am going to start making changes in myself to ensure I know what to do in the future.

Have you figure out what changes you plan on making and where to start trb84?

onlytime posted 7/15/2018 19:17 PM

I’m on my third Co-D book since Friday and all I am is sad at how much work I have to do.

I’ve learned so much and am still so screwed.

It can feel overwhelming in the beginning BobPar, but it does get better. It takes time and a lot of work to break codependent behaviours, but once you do you will find so much peace.

What books have you read, and what has resonated with you so far? Have you been able to implement any small changes yet?

onlytime posted 7/16/2018 16:54 PM

I don't venture into JFO very often, but I popped in to read yesterday and saw that gmc94 had bumped up the "Codependency in a Marriage: A BS's common mistake" thread. I had forgotten all about posting on it back in early 2015, and was blown away when I read my response and realized just how far along I've come in my healing.

Thank you for bumping it up gmc94.

After checking with the mods to make sure it was okay, I am posting my response to that thread here, and thought I'd share what is different between then and now, and how I have come this far.


onlytime
♀ Member
Member # 45817   Posted: 1:14 PM, April 4th (Saturday), 2015

THIS IS ME! Thank you for this post.

Given the devastation that is unleashed on our lives in the wake of discovering that our spouse was unfaithful, it’s not uncommon to find ourselves holding on and attempting to fix the WS or control the Marital outcome.

I can see that I have been trying to control the marital outcome since d-day. WH lost his job two months post-dday and we have been together 24/7 since which has only increased my codependency and attempts to keep him here. As for attempting to fix him, well that has been going on for most of our relationship. Logically I know that I cannot fix him or control the marital outcome yet emotionally I cannot let go. I need to work on this for sure.

Codependency, means making the relationship more important to you than you are to yourself. Are you making your relationship more important than yourself? I know I did, prior to the affair and increased that in the aftermath of D-Day. Please let me say this as clearly as possible. You cannot make the marriage work with someone else who’s not. The harder you try the worse it will become; you do it at the detriment to yourself, putting that dysfunctional relationship first. Many BS’s here wanted my marriage so bad they were willing to negotiate with thier WS to their own emotional and mental peril
.

I have made the relationship more important than myself for years. Just prior to his A I had finally let go of the codependency and was focusing on myself, working on making myself a better, stronger person...and it was during this time that he began his A and so on d-day all the old codependent behaviours came back with a vengeance. I am finding myself still stuck in my codependency and I know it has been at a great cost to myself and my mental health yet I cannot seem to find my way back to where I was before d-day. I am trying hard to find my way back but it has been so freakin' hard.

There are many reasons I have seen here on SI for the codependency within the marriage. One partner may have trouble controlling other impulses, or simply not show much interest in the partnership. It can be about controlling outcomes and assuming a motherly/fatherly role with the WS. It can be a historic need by the BS to work the partner’s problem or issue in an attempt to “fix” their problems. But other issues in a couple’s lives can foster codependence, too.

Trouble controlling impulses - that would be a massive yes for both WH and myself as we are both addicts (alcohol/gambling)

Controlling outcomes - again a massive yes on both of our parts.

Assuming a parental role - again another massive yes, moreso on my part. Not so much in the beginning of our relationship but most definitely after he lost his sight. It certainly didn't help that his mother had asked me to "take care of him" on her deathbed, since that definitely fed the codependency.


Codependency issues seem to gravitate around a few common things here on SI. The first being control. Many times the BS grabs control of the relationship and allows the WS to give less and unplug from the Marriage. They do this because they perceive the WS as out-of-control person or to have some flaw the WS refuses to address or BS is not allowing them the space to address. This dynamic allows the BS to get to be the person who is in control and thus be respected for being the responsible one or one who steps up. It allows the BS to be the better person, the smarter person, the person who’s recognized as having it all together. They’re defining themselves as strong enough to deal with it, when actually they need to realize that maybe they should be taking care of themselves instead of proving their strength. This dynamic also allows a WS to feel less than capable, if they have underlying self-esteem issues it creates a further expansion of the space by which they can spiral that place. 

Wow, YES! I definitely took control and allowed WH to unplug from the marriage. I made sure the bills/mortgage were paid, did the groceries, cooked all the meals, made his coffee in the morning and his lunches, drove him to and from work, cleaned up the financial messes he made when he would go on his benders. I was looked at as the responsible one and I thrived on that. I had been so irresponsible for years that when people would tell me how responsible I was it just fed my codependency. All the while I didn't even notice that WH felt less than and that his self-esteem, which was incredibly poor to begin with, took a huge nosedive. How the hell could he possibly feel worthy when I stripped him the ability to take care of his own shit? It kills me to know what I have done to him and that I continue on in my codependent ways.

Ask yourself a few questions regarding your relationship, see if you believe your codependent to the WS or the idea of the marriage. Is this relationship more important to me than I am? While love does have a selfless element, we all want to make partner happy, do you see yourself as “the giver” and your WS “the taker”. If so you might be codependent. Giving a lot for that person because you love them is fine, but you shouldn’t be destroying yourself to give it. If I have to do that, something’s wrong.

WH and I have both taken on the roles of "giver" and "taker" throughout our relationship. When I was full on in my gambling addiction he was definitely the "giver", he would work his ass off and I as the "taker" would spend his paycheques on my habit, with no regard for him or anyone else. Then when I got clean and his alcoholism spun out of control I became the "giver" and he became the "taker". What a mess, right? It makes me incredibly sad that we have both destroyed our own selves in the process of trying to give to the other. There is so much work we need to do on this.

Ask yourself , Am I the only one putting energy into this relationship? If so you are definitely codependent and setting yourself up to be abused emotionally. You cannot make the marriage work with someone else who’s not. You need and deserve a partner, which means they give to you as much as you give to them. There is no couple when only one person is putting forth any effort, it’s a mother/father relationship.

Most days it feels like I am the only one putting energy into the marriage and I know that as a result I have allowed myself to be emotionally abused, especially with the TT. The days where I see WH putting in effort give me hope, but those days haven't happened too often. It is so tiring to keep fighting for a marriage that I am not even sure WH wants. I am trying to find my strength again right now and release myself from this codependency. Baby steps right now is all I can manage, but at least I feel like I am trying to find myself again.

Co-dependent marriages are the most abusive form of marriages. They are based on need, but are not healthy. Each partner in the marriage tries to take advantage of his or her hold on the other partner. This can often deteriorate into the sort of marriage where the two partners can neither live together nor live apart. This is where BS’s need to be aware, and stop the marriage from sliding into co-dependency. The individual needs the confidence to become independent, to stand on his own feet. There is no harm in encouraging inter-dependence, but co-dependence in a marriage must be avoided at all costs.

I can see where we both have, at times, tried to take advantage of our hold on each other. It certainly feels right now that we are in a marriage where we cannot live together or apart. It really is a toxic situation to be in and incredibly draining emotionally. I know that I need to become independent again so I can see things more clearly. I know I need to focus on myself. It is easier to know what to do than to actually do it, but I know I have to start.

I still remember the absolute desperation of those early months after dday. The thought of being abandoned and not having control over anything put me into an emotional tailspin. I clung on to my relationship with BetterFuture13 as though my life depended on it. I tried anything and everything I could think of to get some control back, and my codependency worsened.

I really believed that I had conquered my codependency just prior to dday, but as it turns out I had just done superficial things to give myself the illusion of being better. I had started doing things for myself at that time, but hadn't dug into the roots of why I was codependent to begin with, so when dday hit I went right back to the same codependent behaviours (and then some).

I made all sorts of excuses as to why BetterFuture13 couldn't do x, y or z and I had to act like a parent instead of a wife. His disability. He worked too much and didn't have the time. He was too immature. He wasn't responsible enough. He wasn't insightful enough. And on and on. He didn't even need to make up excuses for himself, because I did it for him. I needed him to be "less than" so I could feel like I was "better than". So that I could feel worth.

In the three and a bit years since I responded to that post so much has changed.

Insights into myself, my thoughts and behaviours.

I am able to see the difference between living in denial and living in reality. I still check my thinking and ask myself "Are you looking at things how they ARE, or are you looking at them how you want them to be?". I have learned to be mindful and really pay attention to keep myself from slipping back into the denial I used to live in (that is so common with codependency).

I have seen and I own my role in creating/maintaining a parent/child relationship with BetterFuture13 for so many years. I have seen the impact it had on myself, him and our children.

I have watched BetterFuture13 step up as I stepped back. I see now that he was more capable, wiser, stronger and insightful than I thought or ever gave him credit for. It was scary stepping back and focusing on healing MYSELF, but I knew if I didn't I would lose myself completely. BetterFuture13 could have easily decided to walk when I started working on myself, and that was the risk I knew I would have to take, but he surprised me, and together we have created a much stronger partnership. We value and respect each other now.

Through all of this work and healing I have also discovered that my worth does not depend on what or how much I can do for others, or by making others "less than" - I now know that I have worth just by simply being me. Developing self-compassion and working through years of toxic shame was key for me.

I have become so much healthier mentally since I started the work to address my codependency (and other issues). It really feels like a weight has been lifted off of me and I feel free.

I feel like I am rambling at this point, so I'll stop here.

If you are just starting out on your own path to healing, please know that it takes time and perseverance, facing your fears and dealing with your own issues head-on. It's not easy, sometimes it's one step forward, two steps back, the key is to keep pushing forward. You are worth it!

BobPar posted 7/16/2018 17:27 PM

It can feel overwhelming in the beginning BobPar, but it does get better. It takes time and a lot of work to break codependent behaviours, but once you do you will find so much peace.

What books have you read, and what has resonated with you so far? Have you been able to implement any small changes yet?

I've read:
The journey from abandonment to healing. (Loved this one and do the exercises daily has the most practical application aspect in my opinion it was recommended by a fellow SI'er. Like your post touches on, I feel this aspect is dealing with the root cause of why I want to control.)

The Human Magnet Syndrome (Great for understanding but little sense of direction afterward left me thinking "ok so what to I do to fix it?"

The New Codepency (Halfway in, I had read the portion on control long ago but started from the beginning this time very good book. I'm on the boundaries portion)


Growing Up Again (Halfway through, informative. I find it a hard read but there is some good information It seemed to fit with the nuturing of "Little Bob" mentioned in Journey)

Adult Children: The secrets of Dysfunctional Families (Very good highlighted the addiction aspect that can go along with Co-D although I think I did that indirectly rather than it being stated in the book)

In Sheep's Clothing (Can't remember much about it)

No More Mr. Nice Guy (Thought it was good. Stressed boundaries)

Beyond Boundaries (1/4 the way in )

Should I keep going?

I've been working on nurturing "Little Bob" and "Outer Child Bob/Outer Bob". I'll walk and talk with "Little Bob". Visualize my created space with my boys Little and Outer. Sit and chat with them as per Journey from Abandonment.

My SO has been texting more lately, which I'm thankful for (gratitude). I am working on holding back on texting to reach out for that contact. Self soothing Little Bob. Making sure that I'm working out of a position of Love rather than Need. And doing it because I want to rather than trying to affect her behavior or thoughts.

Trying to think what else. It's been good. I really like talking to Little Bob and being the strong one form him. And I can feel the difference it is making in me. I can relax myself more easily.

Thanks onlytime

[This message edited by BobPar at 5:50 PM, July 16th, 2018 (Monday)]

BobPar posted 7/18/2018 20:23 PM

SO is exSO and I have decided that I would never be able to resume a relationship. There is sadness but there were also some red flags.

So I went to talk to little Bob.
I said," little Bob, I know this is tough to have SO gone. But I need to keep her away from you. I don't feel she is safe for you and I need to make sure you are always protected".

onlytime posted 7/19/2018 08:53 AM

I feel this aspect is dealing with the root cause of why I want to control

Have you been able to get to that root cause? What have you been doing so far to let go of the need to control?

In my case, I found Pema Chodron's books incredibly helpful with letting go of my need to control. As I've mentioned in other posts on SI, learning to truly accept the groundlessness of the human condition has been immensely helpful in my healing and ability to let go of that drive to control. My automatic instinct still goes to that place of control, but the mindfulness I've learned helps pull me out of that place quickly.

Have you read any of Pema's books or listened to any of her talks? If not, I highly recommend them.

The Human Magnet Syndrome (Great for understanding but little sense of direction afterward left me thinking "ok so what to I do to fix it?)

I felt the same. It was good for understanding the dynamics of why we often stay stuck in CoD relationships but really did not address how to get ourselves into a place to get unstuck.

Self soothing Little Bob. Making sure that I'm working out of a position of Love rather than Need. And doing it because I want to rather than trying to affect her behavior or thoughts.

SO is exSO and I have decided that I would never be able to resume a relationship. There is sadness but there were also some red flags.

So I went to talk to little Bob. 
I said," little Bob, I know this is tough to have SO gone. But I need to keep her away from you. I don't feel she is safe for you and I need to make sure you are always protected".

I'm sorry things didn't work out with your exSO like you had hoped. I think it's great that you were able to recognize red flags and that you are engaging in self-care right now.

BobPar posted 7/19/2018 12:49 PM

Have you been able to get to that root cause? What have you been doing so far to let go of the need to control?

I think there is a sense of abandonment (need for love) that I need to deal with through learning to self soothe/nurture. Also, I think it is picking the wrong women and then feeling out of control with their behaviours like described in the Human Magnet.

My brother said, you commit to things too early and have since high school. You just need to recognize that about yourself and be mindful of it. Interesting that a cousin also said that usually around 3 months the mask will start to slip with a Narc if you watch closely. So this may be what I am seeing. Did I mention she put up an OLD profile already?

I have been pondering xSO and there was a concern that she was needy early on. I didn't give voice to my inner "no" feeling/didn't trust my gut. I liked feeling liked. Being told I was the most handsome. She was a BS but it seemed she might have entertained an EA while her xH was having his A unbeknownst to her. Seemed self esteem issues (I picked her yet was reassuring her that I thought she was beautiful in spite of her perceived flaws). If I couldn't come over because I needed to tend to my kids (sometimes at short notice) she would get upset. But it was also difficult to plan around her kids but there wasn't a reciprocation that this was also an issue preventing us from spending time together. There seemed to be a blame placed on me whether real or perceived. I'm working on divesting myself of that responsibility. Improving my boundaries. I chalk this up as learning experience. I recognized a lot of issues that I might not have before. I just didn't protect my boundaries well enough still.

And the IHS setup made things crappy. it was a huge weight on things. I think everyone can understand that aspect and understand why she wouldn't want to deal with that. It is just that what was said two weeks prior was so opposite to two days ago, the flip caught me by surprise.

I'm sad/ hurt today and letting myself feel. But at the same time I tell myself, you picked the same type of woman and did it to yourself so just buck up and pick better.

"When you complain or feel upset, ask yourself if there is a boundary you need to set"
"The more certain we are about our limits and our right to have them, the softer we'll speak"
"When we send only loving thoughts to people, it makes thought tough boundaries easier to set"
~Melody Beattie The New Codependancy

I don't understand the "groundlessness". Could you define it a bit more?
I'll take a look at the Chodron books. Haven't felt like reading for the last couple of days.

[This message edited by BobPar at 4:30 PM, July 19th, 2018 (Thursday)]

onlytime posted 7/20/2018 09:02 AM

I don't understand the "groundlessness". Could you define it a bit more? 
I'll take a look at the Chodron books. Haven't felt like reading for the last couple of days.

Here is one of the best definitions for groundlessness that I have found that explains it far better than I ever could BobPar.

Groundlessness is the idea that long term security, a permanent solution to a problem, or even predictability just don’t exist. The more we attempt to hold on to things and ideas in this world (that just so happens to also be in constant motion) the more we get dragged around. The struggles we encounter are not because we don’t have a solution, but rather because we are always looking for one.

Trying to control people and situations is an attempt to put ground under our feet, to find security and predictability, and we cause ourselves to suffer more because we don't accept that everything in life is impermanent - that everything constantly changes.

If you go onto my profile and scroll down, near the bottom you will find links to some of Pema Chodron's YouTube videos (mod-approved). Check them out...no reading involved. She really does a great job of explaining the whole concept more.

My brother said, you commit to things too early and have since high school. You just need to recognize that about yourself and be mindful of it.

If you haven't already, I think digging deeper into why you commit to things so quickly would we a good step to take. Is it because of fear? Is it tied into abandonment issues? Self-worth? Aside from self-nurturing/self-soothing what else do you think you can do to change this dynamic?

I didn't give voice to my inner "no" feeling/didn't trust my gut. I liked feeling liked. Being told I was the most handsome

Why do you think feeling liked and being complimented allows you to ignore your gut?

BobPar posted 7/21/2018 11:36 AM

Ok, I can get that. Groundlessness is similar to living with uncertainty.

I'll take a look at the videos tonight.


Why do you think feeling liked and being complimented allows you to ignore your gut?

Impatience. Feeling like the opportunity will be gone if I don't act.
A lot is my needing work on self soothing, self love, boundaries, I don't really believe in uncertainty and feel that I "should" be grounded in God (like the AA higher power). I am frustrated with myself as the logic of it seems apparent but the behaviour and feeling seems so out of touch with that. Yet I am making the choices every time.

I'm going to be kind and patient with myself, and today I start again.
The breathing and visualization are so helpful, but I get tired of doing them. Maybe because the greasy slope of "my normal" is an easier path.


onlytime posted 7/30/2018 10:36 AM

Groundlessness is similar to living with uncertainty.

Exactly BobPar!!

I'll take a look at the videos tonight.

What did you think? Did you find them helpful?

Impatience. Feeling like the opportunity will be gone if I don't act. 

What is the fear behind that impatience? What is the internal dialogue that goes on when you think you might miss an "opportunity"?

[This message edited by onlytime at 10:37 AM, July 30th (Monday)]

BobPar posted 8/1/2018 22:46 PM

I thought the videos I watched were good. Interesting how a lot of the meditation and visualization techniques sounded familiar.

I think the impatience reflects my difficulty with living in the moment.
The fear... still trying to define it decently.😔

BobPar posted 8/7/2018 02:00 AM

From Melanie Beattie’s “The New Codependency”

“Heavily influenced by Buddhism, Gestalt therapy was developed and written about by Frederick and Fritz Perls.”

Thought you might find that interesting onlytime.

onlytime posted 8/8/2018 15:34 PM

Sounds interesting BobPar. I think I may doing some reading about that.

BobPar posted 8/8/2018 20:32 PM

This kind of addresses the fear...

We never have to do anything we don’t get the power and ability to do. We don’t have to do what we can’t.e can’t.

1. Maybe something isn’t wrong. Maybe we’re sensing a change coming, but we don’t know what it is. What we’re feeling is a premonition that something is right around the corner. But if it’s around the corner, we can’t see it yet so we might as well stop trying and wait until Life shows us what it is. One rule of thumb for what to do when something’s wrong and we don’t know what it is: Make a conscious decision to wait and see. A premonition that something’s coming doesn’t mean something bad is going to happen. It helps to stop judging Life’s events as good and bad. All that does is make ourselves feel scared. We walk around with a sense of impending doom. It’s out of our hands. Let go of our need to control. Step gracefully into the unknown.
~Melanie Beattie

[This message edited by BobPar at 8:46 PM, August 8th (Wednesday)]

BobPar posted 8/12/2018 13:51 PM

I am reading Codependant No More, The language of letting go, and Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend.

p52 Boundaries

Blocking a child's ability to say no handicaps that child for life. Adults with handicaps like Robert's have this first boundary injury: they say yes to bad things.

This type of boundary conflict is called compliance. Compliant people have fuzzy and indistinct boundaries they "melt" into the demands and needs of other people. They can't stand alone, distict from people who want something from them. Compliants, for example, pretend to like the same restaurants and movies their friends do "just to get along". They minimize their differences with other so as not to rock the boat. Compliants are chameleons. After a while it's hard to distinguish them from their environment.

The inability to say no to the bad is pervasive. Not only does it keep us from refusing evil in our lives, it often keeps us from recognizing evil. Many compliant people realize too late that they're in a dangerous or abusive relationship. There spiritual and emotional "radar" is broken they have no ability to guard their hearts.

Then there is a list of fears given as reasons. Which seems right up there with Melanie Beattie's assertion about fear as a big issue with CoD.

Interesting themes of Boundaries, Proper/Healthy Valuation of Self and Fears seem a common theme. Maybe a Healthy Valuation of Self already encompasses proper Boundaries and a realistic fear (versus worry, obsession, living in the moment).

wifehad5 posted 12/22/2018 16:35 PM

Bump

onlytime posted 12/31/2018 14:01 PM

Just checking in to see how everyone has been doing?

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