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Before you can make things better, you have to stop making them worse... Have you considered that being critical, judgmental, or invalidating toward the other parent, no matter what she or he just did will only make matters worse? Someone has to be do something. This means finding the motivation to stop making things worse, learning how to interrupt your own negative responses, body language, facial expressions, voice tone, and learning how to inhibit your urges to do things that you later realize are contributing to the tensions.
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Author Topic: Enabling and Codependency  (Read 3154 times)
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« on: November 02, 2014, 01:41:16 PM »

Hi everyone,

I would like to start a topic of discussion from one of our articles Codependency and Codependent Relationships.

For this discussion I want to focus on a few points in the article.

“Codependent relationships are a specific type of dysfunctional helping relationship." Burn defines a codependent relationships as a dysfunctional helping relationship where one person supports or enables the other person’s addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or under-achievement.

People with a predisposition to be a codependent enabler often find themselves in relationships where their primary role is that of rescuer, supporter, and confidante. These helper types are often dependent on the other person's poor functioning to satisfy their own emotional needs.


As I was going through the articles and lessons on our site I noticed a lifelong pattern in intimate relationships and my anxieties, fears and control. I can relate with the great pain we feel when we break-up with a significant other with borderline personality disorder traits. I also feel that it is very important that we identify our roles in the relationship and our behaviors as well.

I am self aware enough. I spent a lot of effort in trying to change my partner in my marriage and I truly believed that I didn't have any issues. It was a hard pill to swallow for me that I am a codependent enabler. I was tired of my unhappiness in relationships. I had to step back and look at the bigger picture as difficult as my feelings were about my dysfunctional actions and behaviors

"I do everything for her in the relationship.  It's not because of me that we have problems."

I identify with the above statement in all of my relationships. I often either said or thought that my exes were the problem in the relationship because I felt like I was doing everything for my partners.

There's a good codependency checklist by Robert H. Albers, Ph.D. in the article.

Does anyone else feel like they have a long term pattern in their relationships in life?

Do you identify with codependent enablers in the article?

Let's discuss.
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« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2014, 02:07:24 PM »

Hi everyone,

I would like to start a topic of discussion from one of our articles Codependency and Codependent Relationships.

For this discussion I want to focus on a few points in the article.

“Codependent relationships are a specific type of dysfunctional helping relationship." Burn defines a codependent relationships as a dysfunctional helping relationship where one person supports or enables the other person’s addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or under-achievement.

I do not believe that I ever had a normal relation , I always felt like the rescuer ,deep thoughts made look back in my past relation and yes I thought I am more stable and more intelligent than all of exes , it's sucks now , it does , I am a codependent I think due to the lost of my dad at a younger age I think that is the trigger .

After being on this site I felt that and read about the co-dependency , that's what caused me to atrack unhealthy partner looks to me I can't atrack a healthy one , just a self deep analysis

People with a predisposition to be a codependent enabler often find themselves in relationships where their primary role is that of rescuer, supporter, and confidante. These helper types are often dependent on the other person's poor functioning to satisfy their own emotional needs.


As I was going through the articles and lessons on our site I noticed a lifelong pattern in intimate relationships and my anxieties, fears and control. I can relate with the great pain we feel when we break-up with a significant other with borderline personality disorder traits. I also feel that it is very important that we identify our roles in the relationship and our behaviors as well.

I am self aware enough. I spent a lot of effort in trying to change my partner in my marriage and I truly believed that I didn't have any issues. It was a hard pill to swallow for me that I am a codependent enabler. I was tired of my unhappiness in relationships. I had to step back and look at the bigger picture as difficult as my feelings were about my dysfunctional actions and behaviors

"I do everything for her in the relationship.  It's not because of me that we have problems."

I identify with the above statement in all of my relationships. I often either said or thought that my exes were the problem in the relationship because I felt like I was doing everything for my partners.

There's a good codependency checklist by Robert H. Albers, Ph.D. in the article.

Does anyone else feel like they have a long term pattern in their relationships in life?

Do you identify with codependent enablers in the article?

Let's discuss.

After reading what you wrote , and looking at myself , I think I am a codependent I looked back into my ex relationship and I notice I did atrack unhealthy people all the time , I wanted to rescue them change them tell them what to wear sometimes , and here I am single again if I learned something , I did from my Bpd , this break up made look deep in my self and realize what I contribute to unhealthy relation , maybe I am that way because of the lost of my father in my early teens ?
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« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2014, 02:08:01 PM »

Does anyone else feel like they have a long term pattern in their relationships in life?

Do you identify with codependent enablers in the article?

Let's discuss.

I do X2. But isn't that what a pwBPD wants? A helper/fixer type. In a relationship with a healthy partner I don't believe that the outcome would be so horrific. Being codependent, we hurt ourselves. When with a pwBPD, they hurt us too. It's like a double whammy catch 22.
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« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2014, 02:21:11 PM »

maybe I am that way because of the lost of my father in my early teens ?

It's possible and I can relate, I lost my adoptive mother at the age of 8 and my father had a significant role. Codependent behaviors are learned by family members in order to survive great emotional pain.

But isn't that what a pwBPD wants? A helper/fixer type.

You make a good point fred6 that we hurt ourselves. What my ex wants and my behaviors are different things. Do you feel like you enabled some of the behaviors?
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« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2014, 02:22:57 PM »

Thanks for starting this thread Mutt! I think one of the interesting things about codependents (me) and BPDs (two of my exes, my recent one much more full spectrum than my first) is that we are each other's perfect fit AND worst nightmare. For me, my exes were a perfect fit because they "needed" me in a way that was so deeply validating, and also idealized me. But then of course the discarding/devaluing part is the nightmare-- the need doesn't translate into secure love. For both of my exes, though, the devaluation cut the cord of the attachment for me pretty deeply. Does detaching on devaluation relate to codependency?

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« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2014, 02:33:24 PM »

For me, my exes were a perfect fit because they "needed" me in a way that was so deeply validating, and also idealized me. But then of course the discarding/devaluing part is the nightmare-- the need doesn't translate into secure love.

I felt like my self worth was validated in idealization and I felt the opposite in devaluation, it felt like my self worth was destroyed. Her idealization phase was something that was missing in my childhood and later in life, validation.

Does detaching on devaluation relate to codependency?

I think that it goes back to my first point and self worth.

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« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2014, 02:33:37 PM »

Great topic.

I am definitely  a co-dependent.  I always kind of suspected I was and after talking to my T we both  agreed that I have some of the components that make up that personality type. He refrains from using the word co-dependent because he says it's over used and over applied today but none the less I am a people pleaser and a fixer, which fits nicely for a BPD because they want to be attended to, showered with N-supply, and pleased all the time right?

Core issues in myself, abandonment issues as a child with an emotional manipulator mother; the receipt was there for me to be drawn to a BPD and her drawn to me.  I've come to realize this not without some embarrassment on my part.  Embarrassment coming to terms with the fact that I had a part in the dysfunction of the dysfunctional relationship. It takes two to dance right?  

So now I'm working on detaching from her, staying NC, letting go of the addiction, missing her, etc.  I know I need to work on my own emotional growth, which  involves self-worth, self esteem , and becoming emotionally  balanced enough to not be drawn to her personality type ever again.  
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« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2014, 02:33:51 PM »

I knew I had a lot of co-dependency issues before I met my pwBPD.  I have a fear of abandonment and  did not set or enforce boundaries in fear of losing my bf.  Obviously, a lack of boundaries enabled many of his behaviors. I coddled him and forgave him for many inappropriate things.  I disregarded my own feelings to continuously please him because I was afraid.  It is a vicious cycle of self-blame, I could not "fix" or help him, nothing I ever did was "good enough."  I take full responsibility for my own self-blame and my co-dependency.  I am not a victim and played a part in the dysfunction.  Therapy has really been helpful with working on my issues.  I think there are positive attributes to being a helper/fixer type, but only if boundaries are set.  
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« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2014, 02:38:16 PM »

You make a good point fred6 that we hurt ourselves. What my ex wants and my behaviors are different things.

I understand that we have our own issues to address and can't blame everything on our ex's. The difference that I see is that our behaviors aren't hurtful to others. We actually care too much. My ex on the other hand is a 41 year old woman that made choices that hurt me more than anyone has hurt me in my life. She knows what she did and she knows how it affected me. She has not once contacted me to ask how I was doing or to see how I am doing.

I could see how a very very emotionally weak person in our situation could actually commit suicide. I'm sure that it's happened before. If that was to happen and exBPD knew she caused it. Would someone like my ex even care? Would she blink an eye? Or would she spin, smear, and coldly say, "I knew that weirdo was crazy".

While I think that our codependency issues are a part of the equation. I don't think that they are anywhere close to what our ex's problems are. We care about them and we care about ourselves. They don't seem to care about anything or anyone except their emotions. Maybe they do, but they don't treat people like they do. Words vs actions.
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« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2014, 02:38:50 PM »

I am self aware enough. I spent a lot of effort in trying to change my partner in my marriage and I truly believed that I didn't have any issues. It was a hard pill to swallow for me that I am a codependent enabler. I was tired of my unhappiness in relationships. I had to step back and look at the bigger picture as difficult as my feelings were about my dysfunctional actions and behaviors

I have been slowly gaining an awareness of my efforts to take care of my husband during the relationship. I think part of what created problems for us was me starting to recognize it and pull away. It is weird because I have slowly been taking a stand with different dysfunctional people in my life. My mother used to try to guilt me into stuff. She still tries it but I have become immune to it. Both of my older sisters have tried that at different times. I have gone no contact with one sister and the other one I have only recently started talking to again because she is finally on some meds that seem to help her stay regulated. At one point, that sister was calling me 20 or 30 times a day in rapid succession. I had to block her on my phone. It was a mess. If I had done what she wanted me to do, there wouldn't have been a problem. Same with my other sister, if I had done what she had wanted and given in to her attempts at manipulation, there wouldn't have been a problem. As I was trying to set boundaries with them, I noticed that things were way off with my spouse. I have always felt a bit like there wasn't something right with our relationship but could never really put my finger on it. What was wrong was that I was doing most of the work. I was constantly fixing things for him and rescuing him and protecting him. He was in a band one time. His band mates said they probably never would have invited him to join the band if it hadn't been for me. When they would send him practice times and other information, they would copy me on it. Heck, there were times when the band leader would email me instead of him. I had become his personal secretary.

Excerpt
"I do everything for her in the relationship.  It's not because of me that we have problems."

OUCH! I have said this and thought this more times than I care to admit.

Excerpt
I identify with the above statement in all of my relationships. I often either said or thought that my exes were the problem in the relationship because I felt like I was doing everything for my partners.

I have only felt this way in my relationship with my husband. I am not sure if I am being totally honest with myself but I do know that the people that I dated before meeting my husband would call me and make plans with me. I recall one of the guys that I was serious about saying some of the same things to me and about me that I have said about my husband. But, I have to remember that I was maybe 18 or 19 at the time and the guy was 9 years older than me and had a lot more life experience than me. I had just graduated high school and had only dated one guy before him so I had no idea what an adult relationship looked like. I had a very bad example of romantic relationships growing up. The guy that I was with before my husband was expecting more from me than I could give because I was rather immature. I sometimes wonder if I didn't take what he said to heart and then overcompensate with my husband. But then again, I have to wonder if part of the problem is that I am expecting more from my husband than he can give. If that is the case, then is the problem me, him, both, or are we just a really poor match.

Excerpt
Do you identify with codependent enablers in the article?

I identify with some things but not others. I think the thing that I identify with most is that of protector. I have such a strong need to protect my husband. I don't know why. Even now that I am trying to detach, I still want to find ways to protect him. Sometimes, I feel towards him like I would a child. That is not healthy at all.

Within the relationship with my husband, I noticed that I had become too compliant. I know my own thoughts but I rarely share them and tend to go along with whatever he wants. It is weird because the very things that were attractive to him in the beginning about me were: self sufficient, very strong and secure in my own opinions, a go getter, intelligent, risk taker Now, I don't think any of those things apply to me. I don't think either one of us intentionally did those things to each other but in the process of it all he pretty much left everything to me because I was and am good at what I do. Because he was not good at so many of the things that require what I consider basic common sense, I was perfectly content to take those things over. In relationships where I feel the other person is competent and trustworthy, I am content to step aside. I don't feel like I need to control things as much as I feel a need to be able to trust the other person in the relationship. It is like the difference between dealing with my mother and my father. I don't trust my mother to deal with stuff so I don't rely on her. If my father says he is going to do something, I trust that he will. Does me being different depending on who I am with mean that I have BPD or some other dysfunction?

Even if he does get help or whatever, I don't know that I will ever be able to truly trust him to do what he is supposed to do. I imagine that living with me can be difficult at times. I can't imagine what it must be like to live with somebody that tries to help you, fix you, etc. Ultimately, that is why I want to split with my husband. I don't see him as a bad person. I question whether or not I will ever be able to trust him enough to be in a relationship that is mutual. I know that I am capable of having relationships that are not one sided.

Within the relationship with my husband, I think I can say that most of these apply:

-My good feelings about who I am stem from being liked by my partner. (It didn't start out this way. It started out as me being pretty secure in myself. This started after feelings of rejection started to mount when he would continually choose porn and self pleasure over me. A little porn, so what, big deal. In my other relationship, the guy would go to strip clubs and spend lots of money but it didn't bother me one bit.)

-My good feelings about who I am stem from receiving approval from my partner. -I don't know that I wanted his approval as much as I wanted to NOT be rejected. Maybe I am playing with words and getting caught up in semantics.

-My partner's struggles affect my serenity. My mental attention focuses on solving my partner's problems or relieving my partner's pain. -Yes, this one is so true. Isn't it normal for one person to help a partner or loved one that is in pain? Again, I don't feel like it started out this way. Somewhere along the way, I got caught up in the whole idea that if I help him alleviate his angst, then my life will get better because I won't have to listen to him go on about his troubles.

-My mental attention is focused on pleasing my partner.

-My mental attention is focused on protecting my partner.


Big giant yes to all of these! But isn't that what normal people do in the context of a normal relationship? I guess it becomes enabling and codependent when the other person does not do the same in return.

-My own hobbies and interests are put aside. My time is spent sharing my partner's interests and hobbies. -Oh man, this one is spot on! I used to paint and sew and do all sorts of stuff. Somewhere along the way, I got tired of feeling like there was a lack of connection. So, I tried to learn more about the things that he liked and loved. We had different religions so I tried to learn about his religion and even joined his church. No matter what I did, he simply would not or could not connect with me the way I thought we should. I was drawing on how I used to connect with guys that I had dated prior to him. I didn't have the same interests as those guys but we did have enough commonalities and interests to have fun together.

-The dreams I have for my future are linked to my partner. -I am trying to change this one. I am trying to develop myself personally and professionally. It is slow going. Up until recently, I was putting everything on hold waiting for him to commit to our relationship. I don't care if he commits. I am going to do my thing for me and the kids and he can come along if he wants. But, I am not going to let him talk me into staying in the long run.

I am not going to go through all of the other things on the checklist. Some of them are spot on and others not so much.

It is definitely food for thought. I think the biggest question that I have is "Most of those things are parts of a normal relationship. At what point do they become enabling codependent?" Somewhere along the way, I crossed the line from having myself together to being what I am now.
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« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2014, 02:50:20 PM »

Ive read a bit about codependancy and admit that I do jave some codependent trairs. What I will add though is that mt exs made me codependant. In tge beginning I had boundries but they where slowly eroded away.

as a final note it has been said that if you ended the relationship then you are not codependant as a true codependant would stay through anything.
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« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2014, 03:01:48 PM »

I have a fear of abandonment and  did not set or enforce boundaries in fear of losing my bf.

I fear abandonment as well and I didn't have boundaries. I would like to add that intimacy causes feelings of anxiety.

The difference that I see is that our behaviors aren't hurtful to other

I think that it does. I'll give an example. I was running away from my childhood and did not want my children to grow up in an enviroment like I did. I was fostering the same environment and I am responsible in that role as well.

Within the relationship with my husband, I noticed that I had become too compliant. I know my own thoughts but I rarely share them and tend to go along with whatever he wants

I'm guilty of this and I also had feelings of resentment because I didn't have boundaries. My ex was over-stepping invisible lines and also not fulfilling my needs. I wasn't using my voice in the fears that I was going to hurt her feelings. I was putting her needs and wants ahead of my own needs and I was sacrificing myself in the process. I was always more pre-occupied with what someone else needs and trying to make them happy. It was very confusing and I was very unhappy in the relationship. Feeling resentment and anger for your needs when you are not communicating what they are. How was she supposed to read my mind? To a degree, I think that's what I wanted her to do.

as a final note it has been said that if you ended the relationship then you are not codependant as a true codependant would stay through anything.

Is there a source for this?
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« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2014, 03:03:31 PM »

Ive read a bit about codependancy and admit that I do jave some codependent trairs. What I will add though is that mt exs made me codependant. In tge beginning I had boundries but they where slowly eroded away.

as a final note it has been said that if you ended the relationship then you are not codependant as a true codependant would stay through anything.

I didn't end mine, she did.  I have an incredibly high tolerance for 'stuff', which is a real PC word for insert nasty word->     <- here.  I was receiving conditional love during the entire three year relationship, which seems to be another component of co-dependency.  I'm pretty sure they are capable of love, but in my experience it's ALWAYS conditional and not remotely close to unconditional from BPD individuals.  Even the conditional variety has a price tag on it as I continually found out.
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« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2014, 03:13:18 PM »

Ive read a bit about codependancy and admit that I do jave some codependent trairs. What I will add though is that mt exs made me codependant. In tge beginning I had boundries but they where slowly eroded away.

as a final note it has been said that if you ended the relationship then you are not codependant as a true codependant would stay through anything.

I didn't end mine, she did.  I have an incredibly high tolerance for 'stuff', which is a real PC word for insert nasty word->     <- here.  I was receiving conditional love during the entire three year relationship, which seems to be another component of co-dependency.  I'm pretty sure they are capable of love, but in my experience it's ALWAYS conditional and not remotely close to unconditional from BPD individuals.  Even the conditional variety has a price tag on it as I continually found out.


This really resonated with me.  I feel that I unconditionally love him and he cannot do the same.  As a co-dependent, I related unconditional love with tolerating everything, invalidating my own feelings to not "hurt him", and absolute forgiveness.
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« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2014, 03:21:18 PM »

Ive read a bit about codependancy and admit that I do jave some codependent trairs. What I will add though is that mt exs made me codependant. In tge beginning I had boundries but they where slowly eroded away.

as a final note it has been said that if you ended the relationship then you are not codependant as a true codependant would stay through anything.

I didn't end mine, she did.  I have an incredibly high tolerance for 'stuff', which is a real PC word for insert nasty word->     <- here.  I was receiving conditional love during the entire three year relationship, which seems to be another component of co-dependency.  I'm pretty sure they are capable of love, but in my experience it's ALWAYS conditional and not remotely close to unconditional from BPD individuals.  Even the conditional variety has a price tag on it as I continually found out.


This really resonated with me.  I feel that I unconditionally love him and he cannot do the same.  As a co-dependent, I related unconditional love with tolerating everything, invalidating my own feelings to not "hurt him", and absolute forgiveness.


Yep, this was me exactly.  I really feel that's why when she cut the cord and disposed of me I felt so empty, so alone, and so devastated even now.  I gave and gave and gave (very dysfunctional  obviously) but in the end there was nothing in the emotional bank for me to hang onto because she gave me nothing in return.  Conditional love sucks... .bread crumbs here and there it what it is.  If I change one thing in my life it's that I will never let another person conditionally love me, and I need to grow inside in order to fix that.
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« Reply #15 on: November 02, 2014, 03:26:58 PM »

Yep, this was me exactly.  I really feel that's why when she cut the cord and disposed of me I felt so empty, so alone, and so devastated even now.

I can relate to this Raybo48. I felt an incredible amount of shame, failure, rejection, abandonment and loneliness with the demise of my marriage. I was so angry at her and at the same token I was blaming myself because I thought that I wasn't good enough for her, that I didn't try hard enough. I was taking the lion's share of the blame and being very hard on myself.

I felt a lot of anxiety at the end of my marriage and to be fair throughout the marriage as well. I ignored and enabled her dysfunctional behaviors, I would have rathered stay in a dysfunctional relationship and marriage because I feared being alone.

I don't feel that I was a victim.
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« Reply #16 on: November 02, 2014, 03:28:03 PM »

Feeling resentment and anger for your needs when you are not communicating what they are.

Also feeling this, and disappointment, frustration, etc., when you've stated your needs and they continue not being met. It seems then like the choice is being made to not do so. Yes, we're supposed to take care of our own needs first and foremost, but in a r/s it's possible to share a positive exchange.
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« Reply #17 on: November 02, 2014, 03:36:37 PM »

I'm guilty of this and I also had feelings of resentment because I didn't have boundaries. My ex was over-stepping invisible lines and also not fulfilling my needs. I wasn't using my voice in the fears that I was going to hurt her feelings. I was putting her needs and wants ahead of my own needs and I was sacrificing myself in the process. I was always more pre-occupied with what someone else needs and trying to make them happy. It was very confusing and I was very unhappy in the relationship. Feeling resentment and anger for your needs when you are not communicating what they are. How was she supposed to read my mind? To a degree, I think that's what I wanted her to do.

I am still trying to sort all of this out. There are times when I feel like the boundaries that my husband has crossed are boundaries that most people would inherently get without having to be told. It is a common sense thing. With a little kid, you know that they have not learned certain things so you try to teach them and let them know. With a grown adult, I did not expect to have him cross certain boundaries or do certain things. Maybe it was naive on my part to think that but there are times when I find myself thinking, "What grown adult in his right mind would do those things?" I definitely hate hurting his feelings. I think it is because of the way he acts when his feelings get hurt. I have no problems saying things to other people.

See, that is something else that confuses me. I feel like I was trying to communicate my needs to my spouse. I would tell him that I wanted and needed certain things. But, I feel like I tried to balance it out so that I wasn't expecting him to read my mind but wasn't nagging either. I had read a bunch of stuff several years about about how a person should be able to meet his or her own needs and should not expect other people to read their minds. I was trying to figure out how to meet my own needs because he had repeatedly shown that he was incapable of meeting my needs even when I was as direct about things. If I took care of things for myself, then he would get mad because I wasn't telling him or even giving him a chance. If I would tell him, then he would conveniently forget. There are certain things about me that have not changed in the 18 years that we have been together. To me, it wasn't about wanting him to read my mind. It was about me wanting him to pay attention. It was crap like him saying, "Oh, I didn't want to make you mad." It was usually about something stupid. And I would respond with, "When have I ever gotten mad at you for that?" It is/was almost like every day is a new day and I am somehow different today that I was yesterday or the day before.
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« Reply #18 on: November 02, 2014, 03:48:00 PM »

Feeling resentment and anger for your needs when you are not communicating what they are.

Also feeling this, and disappointment, frustration, etc., when you've stated your needs and they continue not being met. It seems then like the choice is being made to not do so. Yes, we're supposed to take care of our own needs first and foremost, but in a r/s it's possible to share a positive exchange.

I had several talks with my ex about my needs. We had one a couple months before she dysregulated. The intimacy, closeness, and sex was all gone. She seemed so detached from me. I told her that I didn't feel like she wanted to be with me or me living there. I ended it by saying that I just wanted her to be proud of me and give me some attention every once in a while. I got emotional while saying this.

She said nothing, she got up and went and slept in her daughters room. The next day she got ready for work and walked over to my side of the bed and put her hand on my shoulder and said, "I do love you. I do want you here and I do want to be with you". Then a couple months later with no major issues. "It's over, move out". It's sick... .

Yeah, I'm codependent and a sucker Idea
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« Reply #19 on: November 02, 2014, 03:51:20 PM »

I'm guilty of this and I also had feelings of resentment because I didn't have boundaries. My ex was over-stepping invisible lines and also not fulfilling my needs. I wasn't using my voice in the fears that I was going to hurt her feelings. I was putting her needs and wants ahead of my own needs and I was sacrificing myself in the process. I was always more pre-occupied with what someone else needs and trying to make them happy. It was very confusing and I was very unhappy in the relationship. Feeling resentment and anger for your needs when you are not communicating what they are. How was she supposed to read my mind? To a degree, I think that's what I wanted her to do.

I am still trying to sort all of this out. There are times when I feel like the boundaries that my husband has crossed are boundaries that most people would inherently get without having to be told. It is a common sense thing. With a little kid, you know that they have not learned certain things so you try to teach them and let them know. With a grown adult, I did not expect to have him cross certain boundaries or do certain things. Maybe it was naive on my part to think that but there are times when I find myself thinking, "What grown adult in his right mind would do those things?" I definitely hate hurting his feelings. I think it is because of the way he acts when his feelings get hurt. I have no problems saying things to other people.

See, that is something else that confuses me. I feel like I was trying to communicate my needs to my spouse. I would tell him that I wanted and needed certain things. But, I feel like I tried to balance it out so that I wasn't expecting him to read my mind but wasn't nagging either. I had read a bunch of stuff several years about about how a person should be able to meet his or her own needs and should not expect other people to read their minds. I was trying to figure out how to meet my own needs because he had repeatedly shown that he was incapable of meeting my needs even when I was as direct about things. If I took care of things for myself, then he would get mad because I wasn't telling him or even giving him a chance. If I would tell him, then he would conveniently forget. There are certain things about me that have not changed in the 18 years that we have been together. To me, it wasn't about wanting him to read my mind. It was about me wanting him to pay attention. It was crap like him saying, "Oh, I didn't want to make you mad." It was usually about something stupid. And I would respond with, "When have I ever gotten mad at you for that?" It is/was almost like every day is a new day and I am somehow different today that I was yesterday or the day before.

I think that a person with BPD falls on the far side of the spectrum with having a lack of personal boundaries and understanding and respecting another person's personal boundaries. Boundaries are not set on the other person, they are boundaries that you set on yourself. That's something that I learned here and honestly, if you had asked me what boundaries were a year and a half ago I would have drawn a blank Laugh out loud (click to insert in post) I had always wanted to other person to invoke change.

I think what is challenging with someone that is disordered is that they don't quite register your boundaries right away. It takes having to defend them several times and it's something that I struggled with in the beginning. I think that I struggled with it because I wasn't used to looking after my own needs and I wasn't used to using my voice and not worrying about hurting the other person's feelings. As I said, it was challenging and difficult in the beginning and I struggled. With anything else in life that you are not used to, it took practice and time. Boundaries is still something that I hone to this day.

What I mean is, that having been split up with my ex for some time now. I assert hard boundaries. Very clear and defined lines on myself. That is how I understand boundaries and I am learning softer boundaries and that is still a work in progress. If I set down boundaries of steel with a non disordered person for example, well the reaction can be just as hard.  Like anything else in life it's embracing change. Life is about change. So with that in mind, I constantly try to challenge myself with tweaking things.

3

Yeah, I'm codependent and a sucker Idea

I don't think your a sucker fred6 Understanding that some of us are codependents is OK. The first step is always the hardest right?
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« Reply #20 on: November 02, 2014, 03:54:10 PM »

disappointment, frustration, etc., when you've stated your needs and they continue not being met.

this is just what happened in my marriage, and i didn't know how to deal with it. i knew this was happening, but i couldn't articulate it. it did break through: she: "i forgot!" (for the umpteenth time), me: "dear, i'm your husband, i'm the one you should remember for." or, me: "what do you think i'm getting out of the marriage?" a few sparks there of healthy self-regard. so i stayed, for a few very good reasons, but none in fact good enough. i needed a relationship, she needed a caretaker. she got no caretaker, and i got no relationship. is it co-dependency that i stayed?

part of the work of recovery is working to stop this cycle of worrying about the reaction of another/saying or doing what i don't really think/ feeling embarrassment or resentment or tension afterwards. this would apply not only to personal relationships, but to friendships, work relationships, etc. it's the daily practice of honesty, and it's scary sometimes.
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« Reply #21 on: November 02, 2014, 04:03:46 PM »

part of the work of recovery is working to stop this cycle of worrying about the reaction of another/saying or doing what i don't really think/ feeling embarrassment or resentment or tension afterwards. this would apply not only to personal relationships, but to friendships, work relationships, etc. it's the daily practice of honesty, and it's scary sometimes.

Very good point maxen. I would like to add family.

Family was likely my most difficult challenge, maybe more so than my ex.
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« Reply #22 on: November 02, 2014, 04:10:52 PM »

3

Yeah, I'm codependent and a sucker Idea

I don't think your a sucker fred6 Understanding that some of us are codependents is OK. The first step is always the hardest right?

Oh, I didn't mean that I'm a sucker because I'm codependent. I meant that I'm codependent and a sucker. A sucker for believing all of the lies that were told to me when my gut said differently. But then again, they are damn convincing with their lies, Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)... .
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« Reply #23 on: November 02, 2014, 04:13:02 PM »

part of the work of recovery is working to stop this cycle of worrying about the reaction of another/saying or doing what i don't really think/ feeling embarrassment or resentment or tension afterwards. this would apply not only to personal relationships, but to friendships, work relationships, etc. it's the daily practice of honesty, and it's scary sometimes.

Wouldn't much of this behavior be considered passive aggressive actions in a codependent context?
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« Reply #24 on: November 02, 2014, 04:14:06 PM »

I definately have strong codependency traits. I had never been in a codependent relationship like this though including my previous 14 year marriage. It was sort of the perfect storm for me. I was vulnerable coming out of my marriage, she was young, attractive and I wanted to have fun. The signs were there after a couple of months but she used sex to keep me around and my boundaries were very poor. Nothing in my 3 year relationship was ever overt or openly intentional, just waif like. I should have moved on but she slowly got her hooks in me and I couldn't process the craziness then she destroyed my self esteem with subtle comments and actions.

I've had a year of therapy working on my codependency. I am now very aware of my actions now and my boundaries are strong. I now know what I don't want in a relationship. Problem is I still don't know what I do want. I'm not sure if it is because I am still not ready to put myself out there or I haven't met someone that has caught my fancy.

I do know that I am in very frightening territory. I am healthier and am turned off by the people I used to be attracted too. I am scared to date healthier people though. I worry that I will be judged by my past relationship with my pwBPD. I also worry that I don't know how to act in a healthier relationship. I no longer fear being alone so I am willing to wait it out.
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« Reply #25 on: November 02, 2014, 04:15:23 PM »

part of the work of recovery is working to stop this cycle of worrying about the reaction of another/saying or doing what i don't really think/ feeling embarrassment or resentment or tension afterwards. this would apply not only to personal relationships, but to friendships, work relationships, etc. it's the daily practice of honesty, and it's scary sometimes.

Wouldn't much of this behavior be considered passive aggressive actions in a codependent context?

Passive aggressiveness is something a person would get enjoyment out of. On the flip side it could be avoidant behavior, another behavior I inherent myself  

I've had a year of therapy working on my codependency. I am now very aware of my actions now and my boundaries are strong. I now know what I don't want in a relationship. Problem is I still don't know what I do want. I'm not sure if it is because I am still not ready to put myself out there ori haven't met someone that has caught my fancy.

That's great news Waifed T works! It is something I have given consideration therapy for codependency.
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« Reply #26 on: November 02, 2014, 04:27:40 PM »

3

Yeah, I'm codependent and a sucker Idea

I don't think your a sucker fred6 Understanding that some of us are codependents is OK. The first step is always the hardest right?

Oh, I didn't mean that I'm a sucker because I'm codependent. I meant that I'm codependent and a sucker. A sucker for believing all of the lies that were told to me when my gut said differently. But then again, they are damn convincing with their lies, Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)... .

Truer  words were never spoke here... My gut KNEW she was lying most of the time, but chose to accept her truth time and time again when it came to her dealings with other men, her always being the victim/someone else hurt her, etc.  

I don't know if sucker is the right word, and neither is naïve.  I intentionally ignored my intuition and the anxiety that came with that when the red flags would start going off.  

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« Reply #27 on: November 02, 2014, 04:30:07 PM »

part of the work of recovery is working to stop this cycle of worrying about the reaction of another/saying or doing what i don't really think/ feeling embarrassment or resentment or tension afterwards. this would apply not only to personal relationships, but to friendships, work relationships, etc. it's the daily practice of honesty, and it's scary sometimes.

Wouldn't much of this behavior be considered passive aggressive actions in a codependent context?

Passive aggressiveness is something a person would get enjoyment out of. On the flip side it could be avoidant behavior, another behavior I inherent myself  

I've had a year of therapy working on my codependency. I am now very aware of my actions now and my boundaries are strong. I now know what I don't want in a relationship. Problem is I still don't know what I do want. I'm not sure if it is because I am still not ready to put myself out there ori haven't met someone that has caught my fancy.

Thanks for sharing Waifed. It is something I have given consideration therapy for codependency.

I actually have a P that is very good with psychotherapy. With him I relived much of my childhood and he dug into the roots of my codependency, engulfment and passive aggressiveness. He has been doing this for 40 years and specializes in addictions so I believe he could relate to my "addicted" disposition when I started. I also saw a therapist who was both a patient then later trained at The Meadows in NM. She dated a pwNPD so she has incredible insite into the way I was feeling. She used EMDR Therapy and it was a great way of releasing much of the pain I have always carried.
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« Reply #28 on: November 02, 2014, 04:30:58 PM »

Passive aggressiveness is something a person would get enjoyment out of. On the flip side it could be avoidant behavior, another behavior I inherent myself  

How do attachment styles play in to all of this. After the being split, the first thing that I ran across is attachment styles. I'm anxious preoccupied and I figure that my ex was dismissive avoidant. It seems that those two have the same dynamic as a codependent and a pwBPD. At first they attract and fit together like 2 pieces of a puzzle. Then the relationship unravels kind of quickly. I would bet that most of us here are in the anxious preoccupied territory.

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« Reply #29 on: November 02, 2014, 04:33:32 PM »

Passive aggressiveness is something a person would get enjoyment out of. On the flip side it could be avoidant behavior, another behavior I inherent myself  

How do attachment styles play in to all of this. After the being split, the first thing that I ran across is attachment styles. I'm anxious preoccupied and I figure that my ex was dismissive avoidant. It seems that those two have the same dynamic as a codependent and a pwBPD. At first they attract and fit together like 2 pieces of a puzzle. Then the relationship unravels kind of quickly. I would bet that most of us here are in the anxious preoccupied territory.

That's a good question fred6, I don't know.

She used EMDR Therapy and it was a great way of releasing much of the pain I have always carried.

How does that feel? Does it feel like a weight was lifted off of your shoulders? What is EMDR therapy like if you don't mind me asking. Does it take time to see the results? Is it difficult?
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