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Author Topic: 1.23 | Dealing with Enmeshment and Codependence  (Read 34483 times)
toomanyeggshells
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« Reply #30 on: September 23, 2010, 03:50:20 PM »

I'm not going to quote Skip's whole post, but that's an amazing piece of writing.  I've already read it 3 times! I printed it out and I'm going to carry it in my purse to read and re-read and just maybe, if the time is ever right, show it to my bf. Thanks for posting that Skip  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #31 on: September 25, 2010, 07:51:11 AM »

Thanks for this amazing thread... .

I needed this right now as Im struggling to get out of the FOG.

Can we not have this as a pdf file on the site for everyone to read?
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« Reply #32 on: September 25, 2010, 08:28:07 AM »

hotapollo,

You immediately hit on one interesting aspect - FOG.

Enmeshment works both ways. BPD over-reacts to our stuff. But also we over-react to their stuff (and that side is wild and weird). And this has quite some disorienting effect.
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« Reply #33 on: September 25, 2010, 01:55:49 PM »

Great Topic and posts.  Really needed this today as I've been dealing with a lot of emeshment issues the past couple of months both with FOO and with a number of situations in the work place.

How we get there?  For me, the original pattern was established in my FOO - uBPDm; absent uPDf combined with the best and worst of a small town, strict religious upbringing.  It wasn't "ok" to have thoughts and feelings that didn't agree with what you were "supposed" to think and feel; anger was not ok unless you were the authority figure.  Questioning things or pushing back was "rebellion" and selfishness.  You should be nice to people, not hurt their feelings and do for others first.  Not too much room in that world to develop good boundaries or an independent sense of self.

Also not surprising that I have ended up in a number of personal and professional relationships where I didn't recognize warning signs of exploitation or unhealthy emeshment until some crisis event. . . or if I sensed something wasn't quite right, or felt instrusive, I didn't have any self-protection "how-to's" or practice.  Still trying to learn that.

I think that lack of validation in the past has made me very vulnerable to the "you're wonderful, you are so understanding, etc." hook with manipulative people. Learning to not automatically respond to requests, hints, neediness without FOGging myself is huge.  Setting limits and not taking on other people's frustration when they don't get what they want or are used to is also important for me.  Not sure how to say this, but I need to get a better balance around "entitlement" - I need to expect more for myself and respond less to others sense of entitlement.  I'm amazed and caught off-guard by the things some people feel free to do and expect, when I would never take those kinds of liberties.  Some place in the middle is healthy interdependence.

I'm dealing with several situations at work right now where I'm needing to pull back because in the name of teamwork, collegiality, etc. things have gotten very emeshed and unhealthy.   It's uncomfortable and awkward and very difficult to redraw boundary lines - especially when you realize that some of the players were using those "admirable words and concepts" as a cover for exploitive BPD and PD supply games.  How people respond when you say "no" is becoming my early warning sign for "Emeshment Danger Ahead".
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« Reply #34 on: April 12, 2011, 11:39:49 PM »

It can be difficult to step back and away when someone we care about is hurting. The need to step in and make it all better is a sign of our own issues though.

Excerpt
Signs of a Codependent Relationship

Unhealthy dependencies and repressed anger could be just a few red flags that you are codependent.

(continued)

Red Flags

Red Flag No. 1: Do you become obsessed with fixing and rescuing needy people?

"Codependents are more oriented to other people's reality than their own," Cannon explains. "They can tell you what everybody else is feeling or needing but have no earthly idea what they want or need. They are the finder, fixer, and Mother Theresa. That is how they see themselves, and where they get their ego fix."

A person's motive for "doing good" indicates whether they are codependent or not, says Cannon. "Are you literally giving for fun and for free -- or to get some kind of payoff?" she asks. "If you're codependent, you're trying to be someone's savior to make yourself feel good. You give to them with an expectation of return. After all I've done for you, I get to tell you what to do with your life."

Red Flag No. 2: Are you easily absorbed in the pain and problems of other people?

"Codependent people can be obsessed with the pain and suffering of the other person," Cannon tells WebMD. "That allows them to sacrifice themselves. It's really learned self-defeating behavior."

It's why women in helping professions burn out, McKee adds. "They get super absorbed in the pain of others. They have trouble setting limits in taking in that pain. Some empathy is wonderful. But when you can feel the pain more than the person in pain feels it, it hurts you."

Red Flag No. 3: Are you trying to control someone? Is someone trying to control you?

Neediness is a hallmark of a codependent relationship. One person's happiness depends on having the other person right there -- right now. Not letting you hang out with friends, calling frequently to check up on you, having to be with you all the time -- these are controlling behaviors, says McKee.

"If you get close to someone else, it's very threatening to them," he explains. "They're calling you all the time when you're away: Do you still love me? Are you still there for me? It's a very unhappy way to live."

Red Flag No. 4: Do you do more than your share -- all of the time?

What's the difference between a hard worker and a workaholic? "Motive and consequences," says Cannon. "In those gray areas of addiction -- workaholism, housecleaning, perfectionism, religion, computer games -- those are the telling signs. Is your family suffering because of what you're doing? Are you suffering?"

"Many codependent people were the favorite child because they did more -- took care of the sick parent, got straight A's, cleaned the house," McKee adds. "Now, they feel like a martyr, victimized by doing it all. The martyr has a sense of gratification, but it's not a soul-satisfying gratification."


Red Flag No. 5: Are you always seeking approval and recognition?

Low-self esteem is a mark of codependence. "Shame is the core of the whole thing. Neglected children view themselves as dumb, stupid, worthless, and defective," says Cannon. "It's ingrained into the fabric of their character. It's because the message they got as children was -- I don't matter. I'm not important. I'm not worth taking care of."

As an adult, a codependent person judges themselves harshly, says McKee. "When they get recognition, they are embarrassed. They have difficulty asking others to meet their needs. They don't believe they are worthwhile or lovable."

There is no strong sense of self, McKee tells WebMD. "Ask them who they are, and men will give their job title. Women will say I'm a wife, partner, daughter, mother -- they define themselves in terms of relationships. A healthy person would say, 'I'm an independent and adventurous person.' There's nothing wrong with being proud of your job or relationships, but a healthy person should be able to identify characteristics beyond that."

Red Flag No. 6: Would you do anything to hold on to a relationship? Do you fear being abandoned?

During childhood, the codependent person felt abandoned by a parent, so they learn to fear it, McKee explains. "They are not really good at bonding. They don't know how to bond in a constructive way that has a healthy dependency between two independent people. They don't feel able to express their own feelings, express a difference in opinion, so bonding never quite works."

People who put up with abuse "are usually bright, attractive, intelligent women," he tells WebMD. "The abuse ranges from emotional to sexual and physical abuse. Why do they go back? Because they feel so terrible about themselves... .that nobody else would want them."

www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/features/signs-of-a-codependent-relationship?page=4
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« Reply #35 on: June 29, 2011, 03:19:07 PM »

Hi UFN, Can you suggest some strategies to combat codependency?  Thanks for bringing up this important topic.  Uke

I am doing Melody Beatties Co Dependent No More workbook. It is a 12 step program. I am loving it. I did not consider myself codependent but knew there was some issue with me in order for me to be with this person. To continue in a dysfunctional relationship, there had to be some issues of my own. And there are. I feel as if I am returning to ME. The writing exercises in the workbook really make you delve into yourself and your past and just everything. It is meant to take quite some time (many months or longer) to complete the book. I highly recommend it.
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« Reply #36 on: June 30, 2011, 09:39:33 AM »

I recently read this on detachment and it definitely resonated for me in terms of family relationships:

Excerpt
What is detachment?

Detachment is the:

* Ability to allow people, places or things the freedom to be themselves.

* Holding back from the need to rescue, save or fix another person from being sick, dysfunctional or irrational.

* Giving another person "the space" to be herself.

* Disengaging from an over-enmeshed or dependent relationship with people.

* Willingness to accept that you cannot change or control a person, place or thing.

* Developing and maintaining of a safe, emotional distance from someone whom you have previously given a lot of power to affect your emotional outlook on life.

* Establishing of emotional boundaries between you and those people you have become overly enmeshed or dependent with in order that all of you might be able to develop your own sense of autonomy and independence.

* Process by which you are free to feel your own feelings when you see another person falter and fail and not be led by guilt to feel responsible for their failure or faltering.

* Ability to maintain an emotional bond of love, concern and caring without the negative results of rescuing, enabling, fixing or controlling.

* Placing of all things in life into a healthy, rational perspective and recognizing that there is a need to back away from the uncontrollable and unchangeable realities of life.

* Ability to exercise emotional self-protection and prevention so as not to experience greater emotional devastation from having hung on beyond a reasonable and rational point.

* Ability to let people you love and care for accept personal responsibility for their own actions and to practice tough love and not give in when they come to you to bail them out when their actions lead to failure or trouble for them.

* Ability to allow people to be who they "really are" rather than who you "want them to be."

* Ability to avoid being hurt, abused, taken advantage of by people who in the past have been overly dependent or enmeshed with you.

From: www.livestrong.com/article/14712-developing-detachment/#ixzz1Qlo8ii2d

One of the issues I see with adult children as well as siblings of pwBPD is that since we've been in these relationships all or most of our lives, we have to untangle our identities from that of the pwBPD. We're so busy coping with the drama or the after effects of the drama of these relationships that we don't always have the energy to discover who we actually are. Detachment is a way to gain a foothold on yourself.

Might be worth going down the list of elements of detachment and see what hits you (if anything).

B&W

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« Reply #37 on: June 30, 2011, 12:38:08 PM »

uBPD bf NEEDS the enmeshment. He is tolerating, but not happy about me pulling out of it. It is so hard to do. It is not 100%, maybe only 50%, but it is freeing and I feel so much better. I had to realize that getting out of the enmeshment and getting better is my stuff. I cant control him and his stuff. It is his.
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« Reply #38 on: June 30, 2011, 02:20:46 PM »

useful quote for enmeshment fighting:

"Love without honesty is sentimentality and honesty without love is brutality."

Enmeshment provides no room for true love that encompasses honesty.
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« Reply #39 on: July 04, 2011, 03:31:46 AM »

I have been working on my r/s with my wife for sometime and most of the members here have been aware of what I am going through... .

things have been really good for us after I realised that it was AS MUCH MY FAULT as it was her in this relationship being dsyfunctional.

The biggest hurdle that we think we have overcome is transparency of feelings. I have realised that she has a problem of her emotions overwhelming her and then her behaviour results as an action of the overwhelming emotions... .I see her behaviour and get emotionally hurt... .which in turns makes my behaviour go bad. Since we both are sensitive... .we un intentionally both hurt each other and damage the r/s which a period of time takes its toll on the bonds... .

We have taken baby steps to express our emotions to each other and that helps each other understand us better as well as signals when the other person is feeling vulnarable. however I still have not been able to get over my emotional enmenshment with her as a person.

When she dsyregulates I do not let that affect me to a large extent, neither do I get too worked up with her crazyness which helps my sanity. But at the same time I do run to her when I feel emotionally vulnerable and I need to express my feelings to her and vice versa... .we have landed up being our own mutual shrinks!

Im not sure if this is the start of something bad... but so far is suits me and us well!
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« Reply #40 on: July 04, 2011, 10:54:24 AM »

B&W, I really like that list of definitions of detachment!  It's incredibly helpful.  I think I should print it out and have it by my computer.  They are all things I struggle with, and need to work on.  Today I'm especially struggling with the second to last, "ability to allow people to be who they really are and not who you want them to be."  Since my mom, the one who really was a drain on my life-energies, is out of my life, what I struggle with the most is people who remind me of her by recreating dynamics in our relationship.  There's a person in my life who I feel drawn to even though I don't really like them, and I crave their approval, which they are very reluctant to grant.  It's all very reminiscent of my relationship with my mom, and so today I'm struggling to separate out my own anxieties about whether I'm really worthy of love from this person and their own personality, which happens to trigger me.  It's really hard. 
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« Reply #41 on: August 09, 2011, 11:04:00 PM »

Skip I wanted to respond just to thank you, I have been trying to talk to my son about healthy relationships.  I had been looking for information to refer too (not sure about my judgement) to talk about what a healthy relationship entailed but could not pull up what I was looking for.  I am not sure what I click on but this post came up.  Your post on interdependency was the term I was trying to pull up from the depths of my memory.  The dynamics of an interdependent relationship made more sense than any thing I read in my past about health relationships.  There was actually a book that gave the difference between a dependent relationship versus a interdependent relationship... .but as the term it seems to be buried in the depths of my mind.

Also to validate those... .who didn't get a bunch of flags in the beginning... .I think it fits with anyone who has unknown... .underlying issues...

Excerpt
Most people don’t act co-dependently when things are GOOD! (When life and others are supplying their needs). Most people act CODEPENDENTLY when the going gets tough! (When life and others aren’t supplying their needs).

We can all blame life and situations for throwing us into turmoil – but the truth is these challenging times are only EXPOSING the lack of self-resources and self-belief we had on-line in the first place. If ‘other people bring you down’ – your state of ‘down’ was lying just under the surface before the event occurred!

THEREFORE – the number ONE priority is to stop being just a ‘fair weather person’ and know that you can ‘hold it together in a storm’. These stormy times are inevitable (they are a part of life) and through these times we gain enormous confidence and resources to become self-empowered. These times are a gift. The irony is the more we deal with them, the fewer storms come.

www.melanietoniaevans.com/articles/codependence-independence.htm



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« Reply #42 on: October 07, 2012, 07:35:28 PM »

This is an amazing thread. I read it three times and kept saying "yup... .yup... .yup."

I'd never experienced enmeshment before. It took me a long while before I understood it. During my time with dxBPDgf, I felt like I was losing who I was. I'd even had friends comment to that effect. I finally understood it as one of the subtle and cancerous forces that really making me unhappy. I'd always been independent and self sufficient.  With dxBPDgf I felt smothered, like a lid on a pot. I couldn't go to work without my phone exploding with texts; there were always subtle things to get my attention. I had a hard time focusing independently on the things I wanted to do, because I was always being pulled in the direction that dxBPDgf wanted me to go in.

DxBPDgf would say to me, 'I don't know where you stop and I start.' At the time I thought it was the wierdest statement I'd ever heard. Once I understood enmeshment, I had a lightbulb moment.  She WANTED that overlap that intermixing. She had created that in her children to where that was the norm and expectation. Her children, her son especially, was having a bad time functioning in relationships that weren't enmeshed (school, peers etc.). He was very angry when people wouldn't fall into this relationship structure. Boundaries? Oh my, that was a fast way to get his wrath.

In subsequent introspecting, that was one of the subtle battlegrounds - independence vs enmeshment. I kept pushing towards healthy independence by both parties - dxBPDgf was pushing for enmeshment. It fueled many a fight.

Point #6 is important, because deep connection and intimate sharing was never achieved. There was the initial pull towards one another (in the idealization and mirroring phase which I fell for). However, when the transition started out of that to a more deeper connection - nothing was there. It was like being in a funhouse full of mirrors - distorted images, strange things going on etc. Alas, that was the disorder.  :)xBPDgf was trying, but the underbelly of the disorder was coming out because she was letting her guard down.  I knew that I wanted that mature love of depth and of connection - I knew something was off 3 or so months in. I stayed because I wanted to try.  Try I did, and learn a lesson I did. A disordered person whom you are now the trigger for the likelyhood of them improving is slim because they turn it on you. It became a cycle. Once the the walls came down of all the lies and the twists of the truth as well, I had to go.

What I had wasn't even in the same galaxy as Point #6.

Thanks for posting this Skip! A little introspection and further understanding on Sunday is a good thing!

What does it feel like to be "interdependent"?  I'm not suggesting that this is an easily achievable state with a partner with BPD - but as the emotional leaders its important that we know what the ideal is... .

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« Reply #43 on: August 29, 2013, 10:43:27 PM »

Skip, The definition of enmeshment you posted reminds me of a saying that one friend once shared with me -- "Happy wife, happy life" -- which to me is codependence in a nutshell and not something to which I subscribe.

A friend of mine recently threw out that phrase (happy wife, happy life) then she realized what she had said.  My immediate reaction was "well, I'm screwed then".   Smiling (click to insert in post)

Another phrase that might be more accurate - "If Momma bear ain't happy then nobody is happy".  That's my home.   
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« Reply #44 on: August 30, 2013, 03:54:00 AM »

Really interesting workshop.  I resonate with the enmeshment with pwBPD.  In my efforts to "save" him, I would take on feelings that weren't mine to deal with, so much so that I felt physically ill.  I've always been "spongy" but I had never experienced something like that before.  And pwBPD wanted me to help him with his trauma, wanted me to process some of his stuff, because it was too much for him.  Very unhealthy boundaries (if any) on my part.

Where did it come from?  Well, my first thoughts go to my relationship with my mother.  She was the center of our family, and I remember feeling physical pangs of guilt and anxiety sometimes when I went out with my boyfriend as a teenager, leaving her with my dad.  I didn't want her to feel lonely (Dad was very emotionally absent) or hurt.  It was my job to make her happy, and I have to say that I'm still working on that in T to this day.  Although I've lived a very independent life, emotionally I think I am still somewhat enmeshed with her, if that makes sense.

Why?  I don't know if I have an answer.  I think I need her love and support, so I make sure that I'm the perfect daughter in order to keep it.  Of course, that's mixed in with genuinely caring and liking to be close to her - we are like friends who enjoy the same things.  Lately, I have been learning that her happiness is her job, and always has been.  That sounds preposterous to write, but I really had it ingrained in me that it was my job.  

That brings me to my vulnerability in relationships, where I think that my behavior has so much power over another - geez     Ego check.  

I can't love someone to health and happiness.  My love can support them to be their best and healthiest self.  Taking care of my own emotional needs is a big enough job, and I still have lots to learn.

Thanks for the great topic.  
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« Reply #45 on: September 03, 2013, 03:04:25 PM »

I'm so glad I read this thread again.  Very helpful and useful information for my situation.

Last night, when discussing our r/s issues, I tried to explain again that I need some time for myself - to see friends, go shopping, etc. - some "girl time".  Of course, he's totally against any time or focus on anything but "us", for me at least.  After explaining to him what I need to continue in this r/s, he turns right around to me and says "we need to re-dedicate ourselves to each other, to shut everyone out and just spend time together".  HUH? Not five minutes earlier I said that I need just the opposite to continue. 

His abandonment issues are something that feel impossible to overcome, and his quest for enmeshment is killing me. 
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« Reply #46 on: September 07, 2013, 09:00:47 AM »

Hi toomanyeggshells,

I'm so glad I read this thread again.  Very helpful and useful information for my situation.

Last night, when discussing our r/s issues, I tried to explain again that I need some time for myself - to see friends, go shopping, etc. - some "girl time".  Of course, he's totally against any time or focus on anything but "us", for me at least.  After explaining to him what I need to continue in this r/s, he turns right around to me and says "we need to re-dedicate ourselves to each other, to shut everyone out and just spend time together".  HUH? Not five minutes earlier I said that I need just the opposite to continue. 

His abandonment issues are something that feel impossible to overcome, and his quest for enmeshment is killing me. 

sounds like you are making progress expressing your needs and relationship issues Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

You won't see joy on the other side when you explain that you need more time on your own. Of course abandonment kicks in and even more balanced persons in a close relationship will at least take notice and might be slightly upset. A more rational person may grudgingly say: ":)on't like this idea at all but if you insist let's give it a try.". Both establishing and recognizing new boundaries is hard emotional work for all sides.

What matters is whether you actually take action and start spending time separately. If you do abandonment will ramp-up for a while during an extinction burst. The path of standing up for yourself of course carries some risk for the relationship. If you don't he has learned that it is enough to express his displeasure to control you. The path of appeasement of course also carries some risk for the relationship.

In what sort of relationship do you want to live in 5 years?
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« Reply #47 on: September 09, 2013, 09:38:10 AM »

sounds like you are making progress expressing your needs and relationship issues

Not really     When I try to talk during calm moments, it leads to him raging and not letting me speak, which just leads to me walking out of the room or house.  Very rarely do I get to speak my mind. 

The path of standing up for yourself of course carries some risk for the relationship. If you don't he has learned that it is enough to express his displeasure to control you.

I reinforced this enmeshment and his "control" over me this weekend when I wanted to spend some time with a girl friend but didn't call her or even mention it to uBPDbf knowing that when I did, he would rage.  I didn't stand up for myself and make plans that a person in a "normal" r/s would do without much thought.  I need to work on that immediately because I'm in worse shape than I even realized.

Is there a specific way to begin to change this?

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« Reply #48 on: September 10, 2013, 04:13:23 AM »

Hon; Please read the detachment guide posted above."Very rarely do I get to speak my mind." Your mind was, is, and will always be your own God given gift to you from the beginning to the end to forever... For you to be free to learn with, make choices with, reshape, and change your own life with,as much as you want to, when you want to, so you may have peace, wisdom, and understanding in your life. You can try to teach others, but their mind is also their own. The BPD use to say, "we share a brain." Nobody can. Not even if you or they wanted to. It is all your own, and always was, and will be, to say or do whatever you please. In reality, he cannot share it, cut it in half, or do whatever he wants with your mind. It is yours, and no one elses. Even God, will not force you to believe or become emeshed, if you do not freely choose to. Quote by an0ught "in what sort of relationship do you want to live in  5 years"? My answer would be one in which no one wants to share my brain.
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« Reply #49 on: September 10, 2013, 04:26:19 AM »

heartandwhole!  
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« Reply #50 on: September 16, 2013, 11:54:36 AM »

I reinforced this enmeshment and his "control" over me this weekend when I wanted to spend some time with a girl friend but didn't call her or even mention it to uBPDbf knowing that when I did, he would rage.  I didn't stand up for myself and make plans that a person in a "normal" r/s would do without much thought.  I need to work on that immediately because I'm in worse shape than I even realized.

Hi Toomanyeggshells, I have been in your shoes and know well the feeling of being "stuck" in a BPD r/s, when it seems like you can't move forward or backward.  I remember making excuses to myself why I didn't get together with friends, or cancelled again when we had made tentative plans.  I was too afraid to rock the boat because, on some level, I feared that my BPDexW would rage at me, which is usually what happened.

I can only say that it helped me when I reached the place of BTFI (beyond the F*** it), when I realized that my survival depended upon having relationships with friends and family outside of the insular world of my marriage.  If you reach this point, you are willing to say "damn the torpedos, full speed ahead" which makes a huge difference.  You come to realize that your freedom is worth fighting for.  This sounds dramatic, but I think you see what I"m getting at.

Hang in there,

Lucky Jim

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« Reply #51 on: September 17, 2013, 08:13:42 AM »

An excellent topic.

I am enmeshed with my two sons that live with me.

The co-dependence is complicated b/c of our living situation (the oldest is supporting me for the most part and the younger has emotional/physical issues). I'll go into details at another time.

Will you be addressing parent/child co-dependence as a different topic?

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qcarolr
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« Reply #52 on: October 21, 2013, 10:04:33 AM »

We want Interdependence.  We generally counterbalance the enmeshment with some level of disengagement - hopefully not too much because it also affects the cohesion.  

If we are in an enmeshing environment, it's hard not to become enmeshed.  It's not likely we will change the others, so ultimately it comes down to how we process the enmeshing environment as to how it affects our quality of life.  

The starting is point is to realize that this is a problem that we face and the goal we want to achieve.[/color][/i]

My primary struggle today is with my BPDDD27. My marriage has been impacted by this also, especially when baby DD came along 10 years into our marriage via adoption (3 weeks old). My marriage is improving. I feel so much intolerable pain in the detaching from DD that I often run away - ie. over-disengage. So DD has felt this over-engaged/under-engaged cycle with me from the beginning. There have been many moments of my understanding this inconsistency, and the damaging impacts on DD's growth as a child. Yet, I have not been able to sustain a healthy connection. She seemed so needy of my protection. Feels very complex to me.

Where are we today? DD has been in jail 7 weeks. Third time this year for exbf pursuing harrassment charges against her. Yes, she was harrassing him, as she has often harrassed everyone else in her life as they fell from the pedestal. And I am trying to not protect her from the consequences, though bailed her out the first two times, to her detriment. I filed this last complaint after she violated the no-contact order at our home with exbf and this had triggering impact on gd8 (dh and I have custody of gd since she was baby, even though DD has lived in our home often in these 8 years). So not protecting gd enough is also a complication in my story. Of course DD blames me for this time in jail, and the prospect of more harsh sanctions when she has her hearing in court Thursday. How do I balance loving support of her -which she reaches out for - with wanting to cushion the impact as much as possible? She cries to me - don't abandon me - even as she blames me harshly. I am in turmoil and sink into the abyss of enmeshment.

Does this tell how we got here, and what our roles are? Now, how to I get out of here? How do I detach with love? I do not anticipate a truly interdependant r/s with DD. We both need lots of recovery. I want to work on a healthy connection with her. And to support a healthy connection between her and gd. And I need lots of patience, persistence an endurance to get to this place.

What is the next step?

qcr
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« Reply #53 on: October 22, 2013, 02:01:37 PM »

Hi qcarolr,

it is hard to close your eyes to the drama on your DD side   It is not reasonable to expect yourself being able to shut off these emotions either. It is genuinely human to suffer when a person so close to you suffers. It is part and parcel of your connection with her, we are wired to feel stronger in relation to people closer to us.

You are describing well on an intellectual level what is going on, which can be a useful way to create some distance from the drama. It still leaves you with all the emotions to deal with and from using words like "abyss" that sounds like you are mightily overwhelmed. It is natural to feel these contradictory emotions of love, guilt, anger and more. It may be helpful to express them in a safe environment and seek some validation to calm yourself.

In addition to your own emotions there will be transfered emotions in you. Dealing with a pwBPD means dealing with a person who feels extremely strong emotions and is able to project them. Validating the pwBPD is one way to verbalize those foreign emotions and by that being better able to recognize them as foreign. Making clear who owns what. Validation is a useful tool to protect our own sanity. It is disengaging from unconscious transference and building health connection.

Does this tell how we got here, and what our roles are? Now, how to I get out of here? How do I detach with love? I do not anticipate a truly interdependant r/s with DD. We both need lots of recovery. I want to work on a healthy connection with her. And to support a healthy connection between her and gd.

Dealing with co-dependence also means dealing with our need to control outcomes. A lot of things in life are outside of our control although we struggle to accept it and often pretend that we are when we are not. Living with a pwBPD means dealing with plenty out of our control. Most certainly the other side of our relationship with the pwBPD is out of our hands.

Now it would be fallacy just because plenty is out of control it is not worth planning and having goals. We have control over our side. We can move towards were we want to be. There may be detours but we have a general heading. We take the right steps - steps we believe are right and are aligned with our values - and we can feel satisfied. Satisfaction from moving in the right direction. Satisfaction now and not when we have reached the elusive goal of having the "right" relationship.

And I need lots of patience, persistence an endurance to get to this place.

Yes you do  . But then it is also a balancing act of investing into the relationship and getting something back. Without getting something along the way you will become exhausted and build up resentment.

So not protecting gd enough is also a complication in my story.

You worry rightly about gd8. You take steps to protect her. There are risks and consequences to any course you choose (and others including gd is choosing). It is painful for gd8 but then it is also not under your full control to protect gd8 either. What is under your full control is your side - being available to mitigate when needed.

There is wisdom in the serenity prayer:

Excerpt
God grant me the serenity

to accept the things I cannot change;

courage to change the things I can;

and wisdom to know the difference.

What is the next step?

There is not one next step. Getting where you want to be will take many steps. Under pressure it is easy to fall into the thinking that there are mostly wrong or right moves. Even more so as our moves in an enmeshed relationship are under constant and harsh judgment from the other side. That causes us to fear taking steps - a fear which is defeating even positive well executed steps as the fear will transfer on the pwBPD. It is important not to give into that thinking. Leaving the enmeshed state means regaining a sense of perspective, the ability to formulate our own plans and repairing our self management capability.  

Steps come in all forms and sizes. It can be useful to think about options/directions in terms of dualities.

 validation <-> boundary

 forgiving <-> accountability/consequences

 close <-> distant

 trust <-> skepticism

 vulnerability <-> self protection

 ... .

A relationship needs or contains of all of these sometimes contradictory aspects. It is virtually impossible to get it right in one step. So we have boundaries but we also validate. We trust where it has been earned or we choose to invest but we also protect ourselves are are careful to limit our initial investments. We forgive losses but we also learn and draw consequences for ourselves.

Some steps in some circumstances may be simply wrong and still can be better as they give us something to learn. The worse alternative is worrying too much about what to do, not doing much for too long and then feeling forced to make a big step. As we are dealing with split realities where the ground can be shifting in zero time no step will ever be truly safe. But if we have good intentions and keep our steps small (our steps, not reactive steps so deliberate thinking at times is needed) we have a good chance to make progress. In any case we act in line with our values, can feel good about ourselves and we will live another day to make the next step.

Hang in there  

a0

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« Reply #54 on: October 23, 2013, 02:33:14 AM »

Very interesting topic.  I have learned a lot from the discussions.

The question was raised about the parent/child enmeshment process being different from the spouse/spouse or bf/gf types of enmeshment and/or co-dependence.

I am speaking specifically about adult children with mental illness who seek financial and emotional support from us, and at the same time hate us for doing anything to help.

Is anyone else out there dealing with this?   Are you able to keep it from becoming a burden?


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« Reply #55 on: October 23, 2013, 09:59:17 AM »

mammamia - yes and yes to your questions. And sometimes no to 'keep it from becoming a burden'.

I find with my BPDDD27 that when she is reaching out to me for help, I feel connected, have trouble being consistent with my boundaries out of fear of shifting her to projecting her overwhelming emotions onto me -- blaming and anger. I am finding that my struggle has a lot to do with seperating who I am from how she is doing.

Some of this may come from how much she did need me starting at a very early age - if she were a child today most likely on low end of autism spectrum. When I can look back with clarity at all that I did for her from her adoption at 3 weeks, I have put in an immense effort of love and advocacy for her. Now she is a needy adult, resistent to accepting the community support there for her, not letting go of me. So I keep stepping back to help her. This inconsistent response from me has gotten in her way to finding her own way.

The judge setting a very high bond in her current time in jail on probation violations and no-contact violations has forced me to stay out of her way. And guess what. She is aware of what she needs and is asking for help from the programs there for her. Now to continue to give the emotional, loving support that is appropriate from me when she gets released to new probation program. Dual-dx program with daily check-in, T, classes, etc.

We have set aside a portion of money to help her with housing. She knows it is short term. The program will try to get her housing assitance. This is part of our support for her to have a safe, stable place to be that is away from our home. Again to help me consistently stay out of her way.

I need to set strict boudnaries about getting too involved in her day to day life. She will ask for this from me, and already has as her release approaches. I need to continue to reach out to my own support network to keep me on track. To keep me out of her way. To encourage her to keep asking others for help to get her needs met -- for her to be learning to meet her own needs.

Another aspect is my belief, based on years and years of struggles, that she is not able to do this without me by her side. I have to accept she is an adult, and she is able to find adult ways to get her needs met. Stop being her 'mommy', and be her friend. She has been asking for this also. A friendly voice on the phone.

Where I am today.

qcr
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« Reply #56 on: October 23, 2013, 12:59:26 PM »

qcarolr

Thank you for your reply.  It is so difficult isn't it?  We can divorce a spouse or breakup with a partner... .not so easy with a sick adult/child.  There are options and people who can help them help themselves but sadly, they come with a price in the form of admitting their disorder, crushing their already low self-esteem, and branding them to the world as mentally disabled.  That is how my dBPDs describes it.  Seeking outside assistance is a last resort.

On the flip side, these organizations are charged with treating the mentally ill with kindness and respect.  The hard part is getting sick people in the door.  Obviously, your daughter has had some counseling in jail and come to realize that asking others (besides the Bank of Mom) for help is ok.  It takes the pressure off the parents to some degree.

We are not there yet.  I am so happy that you are making progress in that direction.
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« Reply #57 on: November 03, 2013, 03:55:05 PM »

Beattie's book is a MUST READ, especially for "victim" types.

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=56458.0


She relates codependence to substance abuse, but the content relates to all types of dysfunction. I ask my clients to read the book and substitute "depression", "anger", "neglect", whatever was the theme at home whenever the alcohol word comes up. Its the same thing."

Codependency involves a habitual system of thinking, feeling, and behaving toward ourselves and others that can cause pain.

Codependent behaviors or habits are self-destructive.

We frequently react to people who are destroying themselves; we react by learning to destroy ourselves. These habits can lead us into, or keep us in, destructive relationships that don't work. These behaviors can sabotage relationships that may otherwise have worked. These behaviors can prevent us from finding peace and happiness with the most important person in our lives... .ourselves. These behaviors belong to the only person we can change... ourselves. These are our problems.

The following are characteristics of codependent persons: (We started to do these things out of necessity to protect ourselves and meet our needs.)

Care Taking


Codependents may,

1. Think and feel responsible for other people---for other people's feelings, thoughts, actions, choices, wants, needs, well-being, lack of well-being, and ultimate destiny.

2. Feel anxiety, pity, and guilt when other people have a problem.

3. Feel compelled --almost forced -- to help that person solve the problem, such as offering unwanted advice, giving a rapid-fire series of suggestions, or fixing feelings.

4. Feel angry when their help isn't effective.

5. Anticipate other people's needs

6. Wonder why others don't do the same for them.

7. Don't really want to be doing, doing more than their fair share of the work, and doing things other people are capable of doing for themselves.

8. Not knowing what they want and need, or if they do, tell themselves what they want and need is not important.

9. Try to please others instead of themselves.

10. Find it easier to feel and express anger about injustices done to others rather than injustices done to themselves.

11. Feel safest when giving.

12. Feel insecure and guilty when somebody gives to them.

13. Feel sad because they spend their whole lives giving to other people and nobody gives to them.

14. Find themselves attracted to needy people.

15. Find needy people attracted to them.

16. Feel bored, empty, and worthless if they don't have a crisis in their lives, a problem to solve, or someone to help.

17. Abandon their routine to respond to or do something for somebody else.

18. Over commit themselves.

19. Feel harried and pressured.

20. Believe deep inside other people are somehow responsible for them.

21. Blame others for the spot the codependents are in.

22. Say other people make the codependents feel the way they do.

23. Believe other people are making them crazy.

24. Feel angry, victimized, unappreciated, and used.

25. Find other people become impatient or angry with them for all of the preceding characteristics.

Low Self Worth


Codependents tend to:

1. Come from troubled, repressed, or dysfunctional families.

2. Deny their family was troubled, repressed or dysfunctional.

3. Blame themselves for everything.

4. Pick on themselves for everything, including the way they think, feel, look, act, and behave.

5. Get angry, defensive, self-righteous, and indigent when others blame and criticize the codependents -- something codependents regularly do to themselves.

6. Reject compliments or praise

7. Get depressed from a lack of compliments and praise (stroke deprivation)

8. Feel different from the rest of the world.

9. Think they're not quite good enough.

10. Feel guilty about spending money on themselves or doing unnecessary or fun things for themselves.

11. Fear rejection.

12. Take things personally.

13. Have been victims of sexual, physical, or emotional abuse, neglect, abandonment, or alcoholism.

14. Feel like victims.

15. Tell themselves they can't do anything right.

16. Be afraid of making mistakes.

17. Wonder why they have a tough time making decisions.

18. Have a lot of "shoulds".

19. Feel a lot of guilt.

20. Feel ashamed of who they are.

21. Think their lives are not worth living.

22. Try to help other people live their lives instead.

23. Get artificial feelings of self-worth from helping others.

24. Get strong feelings of low self-worth ---embarrassment, failure, etc... .from other people's failures and problems.

25. Wish good things would happen to them.

26. Believe good things never will happen.

27. Believe they don't deserve good things and happiness.

28. Wish others would like and love them.

29. Believe other people couldn't possibly like and love them.

30. Try to prove they're good enough for other people.

31. Settle for being needed.

Repression



Many Codependents:

1. Push their thoughts and feelings out of their awareness because of fear and guilt.

2. Become afraid to let themselves be who they are.

3. Appear rigid and controlled.

Obsession


Codependents tend to:

1. Feel terribly anxious about problems and people.

2. Worry about the silliest things.

3. Think and talk a lot about other people.

4. Lose sleep over problems or other people's behavior.

5. Worry

6. Never Find answers.

7. Check on people.

8. Try to catch people in acts of misbehavior.

9. Feel unable to quit talking, thinking, and worrying about other people or problems.

10. Abandon their routine because they are so upset about somebody or something.

11. Focus all their energy on other people and problems.

12. Wonder why they never have any energy.

13. Wonder why they can't get things done.

Controlling


Many codependents:

1. Have lived through events and with people that were out of control, causing the codependents sorrow and disappointment.

2. Become afraid to let other people be who they are and allow events to happen naturally.

3. Don't see or deal with their fear of loss of control.

4. Think they know best how things should turn out and how people should behave.

5. Try to control events and people through helplessness, guilt, coercion, threats, advice-giving, manipulation, or domination.

6. Eventually fail in their efforts or provoke people's anger.

7. Get frustrated and angry.

8. Feel controlled by events and people.

Denial


Codependents tend to:

1. Ignore problems or pretend they aren't happening.

2. Pretend circumstances aren't as bad as they are.

3. Tell themselves things will be better tomorrow.

4. Stay busy so they don't have to think about things.

5. Get confused.

6. Get depressed or sick.

7. Go to doctors and get tranquilizers.

8. Become workaholics.

9. Spend money compulsively.

10. Overeat.

11. Pretend those things aren't happening either.

12. Watch problems get worse.

13. Believe lies.

14. Lie to themselves.

15. Wonder why they feel like they're going crazy.



Dependency


Many codependents:

1. Don't feel happy, content, or peaceful with themselves.

2. Look for happiness outside themselves.

3. Latch onto whoever or whatever they think can provide happiness.

4. Feel terribly threatened by the loss of any thing or person they think proves their happiness.

5. Didn't feel love and approval from their parents.

6. Don't love themselves.

7. Believe other people can't or don't love them.

8. Desperately seek love and approval.

9. Often seek love from people incapable of loving.

10. Believe other people are never there for them.

11. Equate love with pain.

12. Feel they need people more than they want them.

13. Try to prove they're good enough to be loved.

14. Don't take time to see if other people are good for them.

15. Worry whether other people love or like them.

16. Don't take time to figure out if they love or like other people.

17. Center their lives around other people.

18. Look for relationships to provide all their good feelings.

19. Lost interest in their own lives when they love.

20. Worry other people will leave them.

21. Don't believe they can take care of themselves.

22. Stay in relationships that don't work.

23. Tolerate abuse to keep people loving them.

24. Feel trapped in relationships.

25. Leave bad relationships and form new ones that don't work either.

26. Wonder if they will ever find love.



Poor Communication


Codependents frequently:

1. Blame

2. Threaten

3. Coerce

4. Beg

5. Bribe

6. Advise

7. Don't say what they mean.

8. Don't mean what they say.

9. Don't know what they mean.

10. Don't take themselves seriously.

11. Think other people don't take the codependents seriously.

12. Take themselves too seriously.

13. Ask for what they want and need indirectly --- sighing, for example.

14. Find it difficult to get to the point.

15. Aren't sure what the point is.

16. Gauge their words carefully to achieve a desired effect.

17. Try to say what they think will please people.

18. Try to say what they think will provoke people.

19. Try to say what they hop will make people do what they want them to do.

20. Eliminate the word NO from their vocabulary.

21. Talk too much.

22. Talk about other people.

23. Avoid talking about themselves, their problems, feelings, and thoughts.

24. Say everything is their fault.

25. Say nothing is their fault.

26. Believe their opinions don't matter.

27. Want to express their opinions until they know other people's opinions.

28. Lie to protect and cover up for people they love.

29. Have a difficult time asserting their rights.

30. Have a difficult time expressing their emotions honestly, openly, and appropriately.

31. Think most of what they have to say is unimportant.

32. Begin to talk in Cynical, self-degrading, or hostile ways.

33. Apologize for bothering people.

Weak Boundaries


Codependents frequently:

1. Say they won't tolerate certain behaviors from other people.

2. Gradually increase their tolerance until they can tolerate and do things they said they would never do.

3. Let others hurt them.

4. Keep letting others hurt them.

5. Wonder why they hurt so badly.

6. Complain, blame, and try to control while they continue to stand there.

7. Finally get angry.

8. Become totally intolerant.

Lack of Trust


Codependents

1. Don't trust themselves.

2. Don't trust their feelings.

3. Don't trust their decisions.

4. Don't trust other people.

5. Try to trust untrustworthy people.

6. Think God has abandoned them.

7. Lose faith and trust in God.

Anger


Many Codependents:

1. Feel very scared, hurt, and angry

2. Live with people who are very scared, hurt, and angry.

3. Are afraid of their own anger.

4. Are frightened of other people's anger.

5. Think people will go away if anger enters the picture.

6. Feel controlled by other people's anger.

7. Repress their angry feelings.

8. Think other people make them feel angry.

9. Are afraid to make other people feel anger.

10. Cry a lot, get depressed, overact, get sick, do mean and nasty things to get even, act hostile, or have violent temper outbursts.

11. Punish other people for making the codependents angry.

12. Have been shamed for feeling angry.

13. Place guilt and shame on themselves for feeling angry.

14. Feel increasing amounts of anger, resentment, and bitterness.

15. Feel safer with their anger than hurt feelings.

16. Wonder if they'll ever not be angry.

Sex Problems.


Some codependents:

1. Are caretakers in the bedroom.

2. Have sex when they don't want to.

3. Have sex when they'd rather be held, nurtured, and loved.

4. Try to have sex when they're angry or hurt.

5. Refuse to enjoy sex because they're so angry at their partner

6. Are afraid of losing control.

7. Have a difficult time asking for what they need in bed.

8. Withdraw emotionally from their partner.

9. Feel sexual revulsion toward their partner.

10. Don't talk about it.

11. Force themselves to have sex, anyway.

12. Reduce sex to a technical act.

13. Wonder why they don't enjoy sex.

14. Lose interest in sex.

15. Make up reasons to abstain.

16. Wish their sex partner would die, go away, or sense the codependent's feelings.

17. Have strong sexual fantasies about other people.

18. Consider or have an extramarital affair.

Miscellaneous


Codependents tend to:

1. Be extremely responsible.

2. Be extremely irresponsible.

3. Become martyrs, sacrificing their happiness and that of others for causes that don't require sacrifice.

4. Find it difficult to feel close to people.

5. Find it difficult to have fun and be spontaneous.

6. Have an overall passive response to codependency -- crying, hurt, helplessness.

7. Have an overall aggressive response to codependency -- violence, anger, dominance.

8. Combine passive and aggressive responses.

9. Vacillate in decisions and emotions.

10. Laugh when they feel like crying.

11. Stay loyal to their compulsions and people even when it hurts.

12. Be ashamed about family, personal, or relationship problems.

13. Be confused about the nature of the problem.

14. Cover up, lie, and protect the problem.

15. Not seek help because they tell themselves the problem isn't bad enough, or they aren't important enough.

16. Wonder why the problem doesn't go away.

Progressive


In the later stages of codependency, codependents may:

1. Feel lethargic.

2. Feel depressed.

3. Become withdrawn and isolated.

4. Experience a complete loss of daily routine and structure.

5. Abuse or neglect their children and other responsibilities.

6. Feel hopeless.

7. Begin to plan their escape from a relationship they feel trapped in.

8. Think about suicide.

9. Become violent.

10. Become seriously emotionally, mentally, or physically ill.

11. Experience an eating disorder (over- or under eating)

12. Become addicted to alcohol or other drugs.

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« Reply #58 on: November 03, 2013, 03:57:56 PM »

in considering my part in the r/s with xBPDgf, or really the larger picture of digging around and asking myself questions like "who am i? what's the problem(s)? how can i heal?" co-dependency is something i've been exploring more... .

i read free2forward's post abt co-dependency where she copy/pasted a list of characteristics and i thought the list was long and wondered where she got it so i google searched and good god i found lists even more longer, more comprehensive.  this one (above) was so long i couldn't includ this part written by me b/c it exceeded the max characters allowed! 

and it has me really concerned.  i bought this book a couple weeks ago (!) but haven't gotten to THIS part yet.   is there anybody that doesn't have a lot of these? or  am i that much in denial about myself and the world-at-large?
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« Reply #59 on: November 03, 2013, 04:17:11 PM »

I saw the codependency list before-it's SO long! It overwhelmed me every time I looked at it. I just decided to forget about it altogether and work on my habits instead.
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