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Author Topic: Co-Dependents Anonymous ~ Gregory J. Jurkovic PhD  (Read 701 times)
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« on: March 24, 2019, 06:06:16 AM »

Co-Dependents Anonymous
Author: Gregory J. Jurkovic PhD
Publisher: CoDA Resource Publishing; 1st edition (2012)
Paperback: 593 pages
ISBN-10: 0964710501
ISBN-13: 978-0964710504




So I bought this book today and I quickly read the first chapter. First thoughts? They are onto me. They wrote it for me I think. I can see it being a very uncomfortable read but it's getting read.

The first chapter listed traits and I have around 90% of them. It said that the book is about recovering from this "illness". I found that pretty hard to hear to be honest. I have been out with my boys today and I couldn't stop thinking about the traits, I was doing them and thinking, i do do that.

The book appears to focus on the 12-step program used at AA/NA. I am familiar with this program as I joined a drink program just before I moved out from the ex. I never had issues not drinking when not around her but I still took on board the principles.

I am very shocked and confused that the way codependancy is treated is by an addiction program.

Codependancy is a much bigger problem for me than I thought it was.
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« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2019, 12:25:06 PM »

it is kind of humbling, learning about codependency.

people with codependent tendencies tend not to see themselves very well, objectively.

take heart, though. more clearly seeing ourselves, doing the hard work, learning new skills and making better choices, is what we are here to do, and i for one think its very freeing - not a curse.

you might find our article on codependency and codependent relationships helpful too: https://bpdfamily.com/content/codependency-codependent-relationships
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« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2019, 03:02:12 PM »

Yes, I've been going to a local group for six months that uses similar faith-based materials.

Oh my. It's been great, but it's been like peeling away my skin at times. I was deeply codependent, and the effects have been hard to work through. So needed though. I feel like a different person.
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« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2019, 07:40:48 PM »

Always there with a useful link once removed, thank you.

I mean 90% of it is spot on.

She will have very few relationships like that yes. I have said before that she believes me to be her property and her sense of self entitlement towards my "help" has been evident. Thinking I should fix all this mess and fight to please her is in essence, my fault. She cannot get what she has been conditioned to from her new partner. This must be very frustrating and I have felt it myself.

When I had a gf last year I could not get what I "needed" from that relationship either. She was very independent and I remember that she told me "I don't need you, I want you" I remember looking at her and not understanding. I do get my sense of self from my actions towards others. This woman had a toolbox and one day there was a problem with a door, she would not let me help. she got some tools and fixed it whilst I sat there and watched. I was extremely angry and my sense of worthlessness was overbearing. Of course she did not see this because I expressed it inwardly. It hurt to not be needed.

My friend nailed it, "dude, you don't know what a healthy relationship is supposed to look like"

Luckily, it appears this can be fixed through self awareness and dedication. Thankfully I can self reflect.

I had CBT years ago following an accident and the biggest thing I got from it was to be able to see the positives in situations. I struggled to leave my house because I became scared of the world around me, CBT changed everything for me and helped me see new ways of looking at situations. I think it could massively help with codependancy and although I had it privately I know it's available free on the NHS.

I shall be making a call tomorrow.

@meandthee, you Give me hope so thank you.
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« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2019, 11:16:12 PM »

Excerpt
Codependancy is a much bigger problem for me than I thought it was.

Me2 Longterm...

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« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2019, 05:39:14 AM »

Is there a difference between rising above and doing nice things for people who really don't deserve it, just because, and being codependant. Trivial example but I cleaned my W's car yesterday, I drove it on Saturday and it was disgusting. She's never cleaned her own car EVER. Not even a sniff of gratitude and she pretty much seethed hate and anger all weekend. I was disappointed that I didn't even get a sniff of gratitude for my efforts but I didn't do it to gain favour or panda to her.

She rarely moans about the state of her car now as I'm pretty sure she knows full well that I will just tell her "Here's the bucket and sponge, fill your boots".

I just can't bring myself to stoop to her level of childishness so keep doing pleasant things as I'd expect any normal human being would do for another.

I wonder sometimes whether or not we hurt ourselves with labels for just being nice kind people in the face of people who are incapable of behaving in a reasonable manner that might be expected from normal human beings.

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« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2019, 07:28:24 AM »

Hi enabler.

It really is difficult Right?

I remember that my counsellor said that being kind and gentle are very good traits to have but I need to be more selective in who I give them too. I decided from then on that the only people who would receive these traits unconditionally were my children.

Everybody else? I dunno, I find it difficult.

My ex reaching out for help had me pulling in different directions. I want to help because it's who I am but she doesn't deserve it. I know it's going to play on my mind for months now.

I've had people tell me in the past that this person or that person is taking the p1ss while I was completely oblivious to it.

I dunno, it's difficult.
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« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2019, 07:39:08 AM »

Enabler- yes, there is. I had a counselor explain this to me. The action ( cleaning the car) could be identical and depending on the person- could be a nice thing or be co-dependent.

It's probably too complicated to explain. It was something I needed to learn as I was ( and I think it's an ongoing process and I'm less now) dealing with co-dependency. One goal is to be able to do nice things for people without being co-dependent. I think the addiction model works well for co-dependency, but some addictions aren't all or nothing. For an alcoholic, one can say - don't ever have a drink- but for co-dependency, or food addictions, shopping addictions - one doesn't say don't ever do anything nice, or don't ever eat, or don't ever buy anything. The idea is to stop dysfunctional ways of relating to people. ( or food, or shopping )

It took me a while to understand how co-dependency can fit an addiction model. I don't have issues with alcohol, so it didn't make sense at first, but later it did. Mostly I am glad I have done this- label or not, addiction or not. I was willing to try it because I was fed up with dysfunction- in my family of origin, in my marriage- and motivated to work on myself- regardless of whether or not I agreed with the label.

As to deciding for yourself if your action was co-dependent or not. I think that's why we need a sponsor. We really can't see it in ourselves well. It's a pattern that seems "normal" to us. It took a sponsor who firmly but caringly pointed it out to me. Just like an alcoholic can think " I don't have a problem" but others can see it, the co-dependent may think " I was just being nice" until a sponsor turns the mirror on them and shows it to them. It isn't easy to have the mirror turned on you- but I am grateful for it.
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« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2019, 07:44:28 AM »

One Panda's (woman's) story of co-dependence...

I'm on these boards because my partner has an uBPDxw, I was not in a relationship with someone with BPD but was married to an alcoholic for 20 years.  I didn't look at my own codependency until near the end of my marriage and beyond and I read Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself By Melody Beattie.

Longterm like you reading the CODA Bluebook, Beattie's book really flipped the spotlight on to me and to my behaviors and how I contributed to the dysfunctional dance I had going with my ex.  I have to have an awareness of my codependent tendencies so that I don't end up falling back into unhealthy habits.

I have a long history of care-taking, of relationships where everything is about my partner...their wants, needs, happiness etc.  I never even considered myself, my wants, needs, happiness.  Why? no self-esteem...I internalized a lot of negative messaging from my mother that I wasn't good enough, smart enough, pretty enough...I wasn't enough.  If I could make my partner happy then I was happy, and I considered myself good enough.

But what happens when someone like me meets someone that moves the bar?  The happiness bar is in one place you get there and then your partner moves the bar?  What happens when what made them happy doesn't make them happy anymore?  What happens to someone like me with low self-esteem that ties my self-worth to someone else's happiness and their happiness is never achieved?  What happens when your partner cheats on you and you realize that you don't make them happy, and someone else does?  What little self-esteem I had was crushed. 

I didn't date anyone for a year...it seemed like an appropriate amount of time.  But it wasn't I hadn't healed, I hadn't figured anything out about myself, I hadn't done the work...I spent a year licking my wounds.  Then I met my rebound man.

We met in June, started dating in July and were engaged in August.  We married a year later.  I had no experience with alcoholism so I didn't recognize it until later.  I married him simply because he asked, I married him to prove to my ex that someone was willing to commit to me in a way he couldn't, and I married him because I believed that at 26 this is what my mother expected me to do.  I married my husband for all the wrong reasons.  But also for all the reasons that would boost my self-esteem...Someone loved me enough to ask me to marry him, I showed my ex that I was lovable, and my mother would surely be proud of me for landing a husband!

So it turns out my rebound man husband is an alcoholic...weekend binge drinker...functional alcoholic.  It also turns out that when I figure this out and start thinking I should leave he sabotages a condom and I am now pregnant. (Yes gentlemen it can happen to a woman too).  I want my baby, I have wanted to be a mother all my life so I stay and have my baby.  I can deal with it I can make it work...I can normalize the completely abnormal.  I stay and slowly over time things continue to decline.  My husband had 2 DUI's during our marriage and still never acknowledged his problem, I dumped all the beers I found hidden around the house, and he spent money we could ill afford buying more, we started fighting more etc.  But I still stayed, I stayed because in my mind I needed my husband's paycheck to create the life that I thought my son needed.  I had absolutely no recognition of what my son needed.  I stayed married to this man for 20 years.  Why?

He boosted myself esteem, I stepped on him to lift myself up.  I was the responsible parent (good person), I was the person that took care of everything (good person), I was the person who made the most money (good person), I stayed married so my son could have a whole family (good person)...I stayed married so I could feel like a good person.

At 47 I had what I have always described as a breakdown that became breakthroughs.  I finally realized and believed that I was a good person, a lovable person, a worthwhile person just as I was.  That my happiness was my own and not dependent on someone else, and that I was not doing what was best for my son.  I left my marriage.  My leaving was a catalyst for change for all 3 of us.  I broke the dysfunctional feedback loop we were living in.

I guess after sharing my story I encourage you to look to yourself and what are you getting out of your co-dependent dance, because it really does take two to Tango.

Panda39
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« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2019, 08:39:43 AM »

Thank you Panda and Notwendy,

The situation I am in at the moment is that things in our house just wouldn't get done if I didn't do them. Be that the weekly shop, cleaning the cars or even cleaning the house. It's a battle of attrition. So, if I want to live in a house at standard X and my W is prepared to live in a house with standard X-1 then I will likely fold first. Whilst I understand that I am in essence enabling her anger by putting me in a position where I do these things, I'm just rising above the perception that I am being made to do things... I could lower my bar as well... but I'm choosing not to. I leave her to deal with the things that are important to her whilst I deal with my own standards and desires. Like I said, if she made comments about her car being dirty, I'd inform her where the bucket and sponge is.

What I struggle with is letting her bare the consequences of her pooping in the corner of the metaphorical cage she lives in. Her rejection of her responsibilities is fine... but how do I leave her to deal with the fallout from that given that our lives (since living together and have 3 kids) are intertwined with each other. I can't clean half the house and tell her she has to live in the dirty section whilst me and the kids live in the clean section. Similarly I don't want my kids to have to travel in a filthy car. It's tough to isolate her.

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« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2019, 08:42:01 AM »

Panda39, thanks for sharing.

I know all about self esteem as I soon came to realize I have non.

I was bought up in a very abusive home. My mom was controlled and afraid of her mother who lived with us. I call her "she who shall not be named". This woman was evil, her own mother described her as the devil's daughter. She abused her own children to various degrees and when she lived with us shortly after my dad died she abused me and my brothers. I now understand her to be a narcassist at the very least. I have many physical scars including on my head, body and arm. The real and more problematic scars are mental. There were many forms of abuse, some I will not speak of. We were made to sit only on the floor and were not allowed to speak, punishments included starving and regular beatings. It was only when my step dad came along that things changed and he got us away from her. I will be forever thankful to that man, the kids loved him dearly and he is sadly missed (he passed 5yrs ago).

My mother was an incredibly broken person, she loved us and we knew that but she was not strong in the slightest. This is where my knight in shining armour stems from and my codependancy.

My ex is like a dream come true for me. She would often raise the bar.

Much like yourself I see this as a great opportunity to think about what I want and how I want to make changes moving forward. By the age of 31 I had been to 18 funerals, that's crazy Right? Although far from ideal this has taught me that you just have to get on with things and I think this is the reason why I never self destructed when me and the ex split.

I felt frustrated in that marriage and I see that now, I wanted so much to change but she didn't. I feel like I'm in control of my own destiny now and it feels very freeing.

I found the same thing happened to me when I met my gf. I thought I was feeling better so I was good to go. I am not fine and I intend to work more on me so I can be the best version of me I can, I owe it to myself to untangle my childhood and my marriage in a far more in-depth way.

I relate a lot to what you said and you are right it does take 2. My ex is very much still self destructing but I have to leave her behind while I do my own work.

Thanks again.
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« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2019, 08:48:54 AM »

As to deciding for yourself if your action was co-dependent or not. I think that's why we need a sponsor. We really can't see it in ourselves well. It's a pattern that seems "normal" to us. It took a sponsor who firmly but caringly pointed it out to me. Just like an alcoholic can think " I don't have a problem" but others can see it, the co-dependent may think " I was just being nice" until a sponsor turns the mirror on them and shows it to them. It isn't easy to have the mirror turned on you- but I am grateful for it.

My sponsor struggles with codependency and alcoholism. She's an older, blunt lady, but I know she loves me to death. If she says "why did you do that?" I know that she's seeing signs. Of course it's all in the motivation. We can do things because we love people that are perfectly fine. But when we are trying to keep someone's approval and turn around a relationship that has all kinds of red flags already, we need to look at ourselves.

When I look back, I can see dozens and dozens of times I should have said "enough" and/or walked away. My kids think we should have just have packed up and left long before he left. It would have caused a crisis that might have ended up the same way, but we wouldn't be as damaged ourselves.
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« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2019, 08:55:55 AM »

Enabler, I can relate to your situation in that, we have children and my H didn't have much to do with helping with them or with housework.  I'm fine with the traditional roles. I didn't expect him to do it, but the situation appeared more like I was his servant with benefits. He wasn't very nice to me either during this time.

I wasn't working on co-dependency at the time. It was really more survival mode- how to do the best for the kids. Thankfully my H supported us financially, but he wasn't kind to me about it.

I shifted my focus from my H to the kids. I did what I needed to do as we all had to eat, have clean laundry, etc. The kids were my reason, not my H. This was a shift in focus from trying to please him, trying to do things to "fix" my marriage.

Eventually my H agreed to MC. The MC was the one who pointed out my co-dependency. I think this has made the greatest change in the relationship- my stopping the co-dependent behaviors. But I had to continue my regular household duties as far as the kids and the house is concerned.

The actions on my part are not a lot different. I still take care of house and kids although the kids are older and need less of this from me. The next step for me was going back to work. The income helps but it is also for me. Mentally it has made all the difference in my perspective. Not being co-dependent has been mainly a mental shift. It also means taking a step back when I have the impulse to "help"- am I helping or enabling- and being able to distinguish between the two.






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« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2019, 09:06:35 AM »

Longterm-
I also grew up with an emotionally and verbally abusive BPD mother and an enabling co-dependent father. I had very poor self esteem despite achieving academically and having lots of friends growing up. Sometimes I think kids growing up in dysfunctional homes can look "good" on the outside while still having the emotional consequences of dysfunctional parents.

I couldn't see my own co-dependent behavior because it was "normal" to me. I was raised with two role models- and I knew I didn't want to act like my mother. I saw my father as the normal one, the victim of my mother's behavior. It wasn't until I had to deal with my own co-dependency that I saw his role in my parents' relationship. I was also expected to be my mother's emotional caretaker, so co-dependency was rewarded growing up.

The interesting thing about co-dependent behavior is that people with healthy boundaries feel uncomfortable around someone who is co-dependent. The co-dependent is thinking they are being "nice". For the recipient, it feels controlling. So I would actually "repel" people with healthy boundaries and people who did not have healthy boundaries- who had their own dysfunction would "match " with me. This led me into dysfunctional relationships.

The biggest motivator for me to work on my own issues was to break this cycle for the next generation: my kids. I wanted to role model something else for them. My father did a lot of good for me and I credit him for the good we had growing up. I am grateful for the good traits I learned from him. But I did not want to pass on co-dependency.



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« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2019, 09:13:27 AM »

It was really more survival mode- how to do the best for the kid


I can relate to this massively. My ex would wash her own clothes and the youngest. At times we would have piles of clothes lying around and I would finish work and clean the house, it was a very draining situation and this is one of the reasons I enjoyed going to work. I mean what are you supposed to do? Live in a sh1thole? Are you enabling or helping? Which one is it, it's tough.
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« Reply #15 on: March 25, 2019, 09:26:05 AM »

Notwendy.

Our childhood was pretty rough if I'm honest. My eldest brother is diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic and 1 other brother is a nasty piece of work, my other brother is similar to me. We're were all close at 1 point but I speak yo non of them now and haven't for several years.

My children see me like that to. I am the normal one and their mother is the broken one. This couldn't be farther from the truth, I think they see it like this because I have never taken anything out on them where as their mother has been very neglectful and outwardly hostile towards them. They feel like their mom doesn't love them and I find that incredibly sad.

What you said fills me with sadness because it has become apparent to me that mine and my exes union has meant that my kids have grown up in a dysfunctional family. I did not want this to happen but I cannot ignore what I see and that's why I will continue to do what I can for them. Our new home will be free from anger, that will be a good start. She sees the 3 eldest sporadically, there is no set times she sees them and I would prefer it if she had nothing to do with them until she gets help.
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« Reply #16 on: March 25, 2019, 09:46:21 AM »

The good news is that your children are still young and any work you do on your own issues will benefit all your relationships. When you role model healthy boundaries and behaviors, you see it.

I am still married but don't act the same way. I was concerned about role modeling being a doormat to my kids. They are older now and see a different role model.

Yes, they notice. They saw it all. I don't triangulate by speaking badly about their father. He has made some changes as well. I grew up with a severely BPD mother. By contrast, I would say my H is more on the level of traits. I didn't recognize this for a long time but it's a spectrum. Being on the milder end, I felt it was possible to work on it. The kids were not ever in danger of being abused. Our issues were mainly between us.

But they saw it. One thing I learned through co-dependency work is to speak mainly about myself and my feelings - not triangulate or speak about my H. My kids are old enough to understand I go to 12 step meetings. They know how I grew up. They know their father and I have been to marriage counseling. I'm not perfect and don't pretend to be. I think working on me has benefited all of us and I think your kids will benefit too. .
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« Reply #17 on: March 25, 2019, 12:44:34 PM »

99,

My two cents … fwiw …

Codependency verses doing "good deeds", "nice things for others"... in this case a pw/BPD. partner, wife, husband.

I'll smoke that down to me … Red5, and his uBPDw (separated).

So codependency is … doing what ever to ensure partner doesn't get mad, act out, and stays at base line … basically your giving yourself over … *better do the dishes, *better clean the toilet bowl, *better wash her jeep, *better buy the right birthday gift, *better not make too much racket when you get up for work, *better leave the seat down, *better not ____ or she will "get your goat" !

That is codependency to me, … in there lies "FOG" … in my first marriage, as a very extreme example, … "Jerraldien" wanted to sleep around, she wanted an open marriage, and to keep me at the same time … and she expected me to go along with it or she would divorce me (threat/codependency), basically she did not want to hide it anymore, she had been doing this the whole time behind my back, I guess her conscience was getting to her … I went along for about an hour, and then my common sense (pride/dignity) finally "booted up" … I told her no, … and sure enough, she moved out, went off to her "friends" house … left me with three little kids … so I got a lawyer, served her, and then she made a suicide attempt … wash rinse repeat … that was "codependency" … for a little while, she got me back with a suicide threat/gesture, said she would "change" … she tried for a little while, but "went right back" to her old behaviors … so the final divorce was delayed for another eleven years (codependency) … I did not want to "loose her", so I put up with a lot of crazy $hit … for what I thought was love, a marriage, a family … yeeesh!

So what's the difference in codependency and just doing "nice things" for your partner … well its like this, think of Jesus washing feet, letting someone cut in the line in front of you, … or giving the pan handler in the wheel chair at the corner of US NC highway 70 and Adrenal St. a hundred spot … or changing a lady's tire in the Harris Tweater parking lot … or buying your wife a brand new 2017 Grand Cherokee, because she is sick, and cant drive her stick shift Ultima two door coup anymore … or doing the dishes, or the laundry, cleaning up her puppy dogs, puke and poop … waiting on her, opening the door for her … going to pick up take out for her, because she doesn't like your cooking anymore … vacuuming, moping, shining the wood floors … mowing the grass, chopping wood, so she will have a fire in the fireplace … the list is endless ...

… give give give … but the key is, don't expect jack ___ back in return … just like the man in the wheel chair, the lady in the grocery store parking lot ... give and forget, … this is what it is to be in one of these borderline relationships … matter of fact, there may actually be little to no mutuality at all in the giving, give, taking, receiving relationship with your pw/BPD … well maybe sometimes … but you can bet they are taking copious notes, and it will be used against you in the next "counseling session" … and I don't mean the ones in the "T's" office, I mean the one where you sit at the breakfast bar in the kitchen, and get a "stern talking too" … for hours … projection, awfulization … blame, shame, etc etc' … in which you should not JADE, or defend in any way at all, "shields down Mr. Sulu" … and all the while make it a point to NOT recall to yourself (mindfulness) any of the "nice things" you have done for her (him) … because they don't want to hear it … may as well be talking to the cat …

The BLUF is … in most cases of BPD, … there will be no "thank you, let me rub your back" moment … and if there is, you will be reminded of that, next time you step out of line … and forget to take the trash cans to the street on Thursday morning, (true story) …

… codependency verses "good deeds" … you must separate the two … and never the "twain" shall meet.

If you give and expect nothing in return, you wont ever be disappointed.

Give with a cheerful heart it says in the good book … one things for sure, human behavior never ever disappoints … which ever way your looking at it (lens).

I guess I'm a bit "tainted" … every r/s is certainly different.

Top of the day : )

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« Reply #18 on: March 25, 2019, 02:27:23 PM »

I went along for about an hour...

That made me

What a ridiculous expectation, unbelievable.

I think that was a very good description of how the two differ. Everything on the first set of examples I did.
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« Reply #19 on: March 25, 2019, 03:52:29 PM »

i think there are often some misunderstandings, and stereotypes, when it comes to what codependency is and isnt.

codependency is not the demonizing of helping others. it isnt specific acts, or lack thereof. its not necessarily the stereotype of the "clingy guy".

its more about how we function and cope, as well as how and why we get our sense of self.

Excerpt
The Opposite of Codependency is a Well Differentiated Self

According to Bowen's Family Theory, families and other social groups tremendously affect how people think, feel, and act, and individuals vary in their susceptibility to, and dependence on how others think. These differences are based on the differences in people's levels of "differentiation of self". The less developed a person's "self," the more impact others have on his functioning and the more he tries to control, actively or passively, the functioning of others. Every human society has its well-differentiated people, poorly-differentiated people, and people at many gradations between these extremes.

The basic building blocks of a "self" are inborn, but an individual's family relationships during childhood and adolescence primarily determine how much "self" he develops. Once established, the level of "self" rarely changes unless a person makes a structured and long-term effort to change it.

A person with a well-differentiated "self" recognizes his realistic dependence on others, but he can stay calm and clear-headed enough in the face of conflict, criticism, and rejection to distinguish thinking rooted in a careful assessment of the facts from thinking clouded by emotionality. Thoughtfully acquired principles help guide decision-making about important family and social issues, making him less at the mercy of the feelings of the moment. What he decides and what he says matches what he does. He can act selflessly, but his acting in the best interests of the group is a thoughtful choice, not a response to relationship pressures. Confident in his thinking, he can either support another's view without being a disciple or reject another view without polarizing the differences. He defines himself without being pushy and deals with pressure to yield without being wishy-washy.

more on the differentiation of self:

Excerpt
The concept of Differentiation of Self is the ability to separate feelings and thoughts. Undifferentiated people can not separate feelings and thoughts; when dealing with relationships, they are flooded with feelings, and have difficulty thinking logically and basing their decisions on that. This often manifests as unrealistic needs and expectations.  Further, they have difficulty separating  their own feelings from the feelings of others.

Differentiation is described in many ways in the following points:

1. Growing in the ability to see where and how I fit into my relationship, the position I hold and the power that is and is not given to that position.

2. Growing in the ability to be fully responsible for my own life while being committed to growing closer to those I love.

3. Intentionally developing, at the same time, autonomy and intimacy. In developing autonomy I set myself towards achieving my dreams and ambitions. In developing intimacy, I allow those close to me to see and know me as I really am.

4. Being willing to say clearly who I am and who I want to be while others are trying to tell me who I am and who I should be.

5. Staying in touch with others while, and even though, there is tension and disagreement.

6. Being able to declare clearly what I need and requesting help from others without imposing my needs upon them.

7. Being able to understand what needs I can and cannot meet in my own life and in the lives of others.

8. Understanding that I am called to be distinct (separate) from others, without being distant from others.

9. Understanding that I am responsible to others but not responsible for others .

10. Growing in the ability to live from the sane, thinking and creative person I am, who can perceive possibilities and chase dreams and ambitions without hurting people in the process.

11. Growing in the ability to detect where controlling emotions and highly reactive behavior have directed my life, then, opting for better and more purposeful growth born of creative thinking.

12. Deciding never to use another person for my own ends and to be honest with myself about this when I see myself falling into such patterns.

13. Seeing my life as a whole, a complete unit, and not as compartmentalized, unrelated segments.

14. Making no heroes; taking no victims.

15. Giving up the search for the arrival of a Knight in Shining Armour who will save me from the beautiful struggles and possibilities presented in everyday living.

To differentiate is to provide a platform for maximum growth and personal development for everyone in your circle of influence. It means being able to calmly reflect on a conflicted interaction afterward, realizing your own role in it, and then choosing a different response for the future. Not to differentiate is to fuse (the failure to become a separate person) with others and to place responsibility on others (or on situations, predicaments, and hurdles) for the way in which our lives develop.

These widely accepted theory were developed by Murray Bowen, M.D. in the late 1940s and early 1950s when he was a psychiatrist at the Menninger Clinic. After his time at Menningers, he moved to the National Institute of Mental Health, then to Georgetown University Medical Center and finally established the Georgetown Family Center in Washington, D.C.

Bowen's therapy is a process of increasing one's differentiation or ability to balance automatic reactivity and subjectivity with a factual view of oneself and others.


www.bowentheoryacademy.org/6.html

www.difficultrelationships.com/2006/03/25/bowen-differentiation/

www.psychpage.com/learning/library/counseling/bowen.html
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« Reply #20 on: March 25, 2019, 11:35:02 PM »

I'm looping back a little bit but I wanted to echo Notwendy on a couple of things

Excerpt
I shifted my focus from my H to the kids. I did what I needed to do as we all had to eat, have clean laundry, etc. The kids were my reason, not my H.

I did this too...for me it was in a different form, it was attending parent/teacher conferences and school functions or field trips. I helped with the science fairs, homework, and other special projects.   My ex hated school and wouldn't participate.

Excerpt
The good news is that your children are still young and any work you do on your own issues will benefit all your relationships. When you role model healthy boundaries and behaviors, you see it.

It was only after I left my marriage that it began to dawn on me what the effects were to my son.  In my mind if I kept his drunk dad's verbal abuse directed at me then he would be okay.  It was way more complicated than that, he was witnessing verbal abuse, he was witnessing intoxicated dad, he couldn't have friends over because of drunk dad in the basement, he couldn't rely on his dad and I will add to my shame that I was alienating him from his father.

When I left my marriage my son was 16. His role during the marriage was to stay under the radar and he did, thus learning a dysfunctional way of being. He actively avoided being social.  Shortly after we moved out he started showing signs of anxiety...specifically social anxiety.  We tried to work it out ourselves but eventually he went to therapy to work through it.  That really helped him develop some skills and strategies that have helped him pretty successfully overcome his symptoms. 

In terms of drinking and codependency he is not modeling his father, he knows he has a predisposition for alcoholism so he doesn't drink.  It remains to be seen what he has learned from me.  He lived with codependent mom 16 years and he has lived the last 9 years with me independently.  My ex has also made a turn-a-round and has been sober the last 6+ years which is also setting a better example for my son.  He has seen both of his parents make positive change.

We are all doing well, much better than we were as a family unit.  Divorce is a mixed bag depending on how things go down but I know for my family it was the right choice for all of us.

I can also say that for my Partner and his daughter's their experience has been much the same...bumpier maybe but always moving in a good direction.  Unfortunately the only person that has not grown or changed in the last 8 years is my Partner's uBPDxw she is sadly still stuck.

Panda39


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« Reply #21 on: March 25, 2019, 11:59:34 PM »

Hi panda.

I am a bit worried about how everything is going to work because I work nights and the issue is that for my area I'm fairly well payed. I could leave for a lower salary but I know I would struggle financially. The little bit extra I get I want to be doing things with the kids weekends. We do have a fair few hobbies between us and we do have plans to try new things that are cost effective but I do want us to be fairly active and the cash will help. I've told them that we have all got to work together with cleaning etc, I don't know if that's the right approach but I'm open to suggestions.

As you yourself stated it dawned on me when I left that things had not been the best. I spent nearly 20yrs trying to fix and keep someone calm and happy, I was not productive it was folly. I could of spent more time with the kids and I've told them this but they seem to hold nothing against me. I think they are just trying to protect my feelings and I do hope that if there is grievances that they do open up to me.

The 3 eldest all have social anxiety, 2 are in counselling and I'm trying to encourage my daughter to go. When her mom rejected her the last time I caught her self harming. I was pretty upset that day and I have spent a lot of time with her working on her confidence. She works now and has a bf, she is fairly happy at the moment. Like myself she is scared of her mother, they are in mild communication but she refuses to see her until she gets help. 1 son has a massive amount of anger, he refuses to talk to his mom. My other boy is a lot like me, he is very quiet and withdrawn, I worry for him the most. The youngest, there appears to be nothing wrong but saying that his mom has always loved him. The others were rejected 1 by 1 as the latest was born, sad stuff.

I'm glad you have all come to a better understanding of your issues and have become happier, I hope we get to a happier place too.

Thank you.
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« Reply #22 on: March 26, 2019, 01:04:42 AM »

I am a bit worried about how everything is going to work because I work nights and the issue is that for my area I'm fairly well payed. I could leave for a lower salary but I know I would struggle financially. The little bit extra I get I want to be doing things with the kids weekends. We do have a fair few hobbies between us and we do have plans to try new things that are cost effective but I do want us to be fairly active and the cash will help. I've told them that we have all got to work together with cleaning etc, I don't know if that's the right approach but I'm open to suggestions.


I know it is cliche to say but it really is just taking it one day at a time. There is no one right or wrong way to do things it's what works for your family. You all will figure out what works for best in your situation.  Things will change overtime too, you will make new decisions based on what works, what doesn't, what you can afford, what you can't and as the kids mature.

I could of spent more time with the kids and I've told them this but they seem to hold nothing against me. I think they are just trying to protect my feelings and I do hope that if there is grievances that they do open up to me.

I think it's good that you are acknowledging where you could have done a better job, you are being honest, you might even be validating some of their feelings (even though they don't say so), you are also showing them that everyone can make a mistake and it is good to apologize when you recognize the mistake.  I did much the same with my son.  I think it is okay that they haven't said much, as they feel safer, and get more comfortable they will likely start to gradually open up.  Keep doing what you're doing you're on the right track.

I've pulled the "Lessons" information from the Co-parenting Board for you to checkout when you have a chance.  Particularly checkout Lesson 5: Raising Resilient Kids When a Parent Has BPD

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=182254.0


The 3 eldest all have social anxiety, 2 are in counselling and I'm trying to encourage my daughter to go. When her mom rejected her the last time I caught her self harming. I was pretty upset that day and I have spent a lot of time with her working on her confidence. She works now and has a bf, she is fairly happy at the moment. Like myself she is scared of her mother, they are in mild communication but she refuses to see her until she gets help. 1 son has a massive amount of anger, he refuses to talk to his mom. My other boy is a lot like me, he is very quiet and withdrawn, I worry for him the most. The youngest, there appears to be nothing wrong but saying that his mom has always loved him. The others were rejected 1 by 1 as the latest was born, sad stuff.

My Partner has gone and is still going through these types of things with his daughters.  They are young adults D22 is no contact with her mother and D18 was recently inpatient for suicidal ideation...she has a history of cutting, issues with food, diagnosed with PTSD and is low contact with her mom.  Each was treated differently by their mother and neither was healthy.  When I came on the scene D22 (then 15) was the "Golden Child" enmeshed with her mother, her confidant, care taker to both her mother and her sister and D18 (then 11) was the scapegoat blamed for things, excluded from the relationship with her sister and mother and infantilized (she still sucked her thumb, had a blankie, slept with her mother, and believed in Santa at age 11). 

D22 can be passive/agressive, and controling, will make you try and guess what she wants rather than just asking...still plays mother to her sister, but seems to be doing better overall than her sister.  Her dad has told me that he believes she received the better part of their mother's parenting.

D18 is struggling and has a much more complicated situation.  She has PTSD, has had 2 inpt psych stays when she has become overwhelmed, is highly sensitive, is a people-pleaser, has very poor self-esteem, history of cutting, issues with food etc.

Both girls have picked other dysfunctional friends/friendships...friends that are children of alcoholics, friends that are bi-polar, a friend with BPD...Both girls have had Therapy, D18 currently sees a Therapist.

We support both girls in whatever relationship or not that they want to have with their mom we don't encourage and we don't discourage we let them do what works for them.  Other wise we try to set a new example and support them when they need it.

My Partner went from Parental Alienation and false allegations of Abuse, to majority court ordered Custody, to the kids voting with their feet to move in with him full-time in 2015, to parent of a college graduate and soon to be high school graduate.  In some ways the girls struggle but in many ways both have been very successful.  The good news is that we can focus on them and all the focus doesn't go to their mother.  Because when their family was intact everyone's focus was on my Partners uBPDxw there was no room for anyone else.

Panda39
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« Reply #23 on: March 26, 2019, 10:35:04 AM »

Hi again.

Yes, I think it will be one day at a time. All I know right now is that they want to live with me and I want them to.

I was very worried to begin with that I would lose them, it was my biggest fear. I think if I would of lost them I don't think I would be here today. She tried, the smear campaign and pure hatred towards me was overwhelming. I felt and still do feel like I'm on the defensive. I think what saved me was the fact that I did do a lot of good, it was always me talking them through their issues, it was always me they could rely on. Any trips or hospital/Drs appts were done by me. They have always felt hugely unloved by their mother and they crave it. Imo they will continue to get burnt by her until they come to the realisation that it will always be this way. I struggle with it too, I wouldn't be here if I didn't. I was told very early on that they would gravitate to the more stable parent and that is why my goal from day one has been to provide a more stable environment.

I worry for them a lot because they believe that she is ill and things will be "ok" when she's better. She is ill I guess but this is who she is. Again something I struggle with myself. She will suck them in then destroy them and spit them out. This has happened to me lately and I've not even seen her, I can't imagine what it's like for them to sit in the same room and listen to her talk about how hard things are for Her. How can they move forward when she will not apologise or acknowledge her treatment of them? "It was hard for me" that's the best they have ever gotten, the portrayal of victim is more than evident. Her communications with them centres on her physical ailments. She has non? Do you see what I'm getting at? It's all about her, her idea of them having a relationship with her focuses on them giving her sympathy when they are the ones that have been hurt. I just simply don't see a way forward for them in regards to her.

It will be a struggle for sure but what can one do? The exes mother is very supportive and I know she has my back, if she can help she will. She has already offered to have them over for tea in the week and I really do appreciate it. We all struggle with it I guess, they cannot wrap their heads around the fact that 3 have been abandoned. They don't know what to say/do either for the best.

The kids do have other issues, some like the ones you listed and Yes, the golden child scenario is very real. I read all that and was just nodding away, it all resonates with me, the kids and all our issues.

It has been 18mths of pure $hit. I think in a normal break up there's ups and downs but this is something off the scale. She has never calmed down, only gotten worse and we all just literally wait with baited breath for the next thing to happen, I think this is why we struggle and will continue to do so. I think the thing we have to do, me in particular is to learn to deal with it more effectively, I simply do not know how to do that and her attempts at getting to me do not help.

One day at a time I guess.
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« Reply #24 on: March 27, 2019, 06:27:24 AM »

Your honesty will go a long way.

This is similar to my relationship with my BPD mom. It's all about her- her feelings, her victimhood. I was enlisted as her emotional caretaker since my early teens. I felt unloved. Now, I know it isn't because of me, but because of who she is.

What you can offer your children that is different is truth. We were not told BPD mom had an illness. We were expected to keep her behavior secret. She was presented to us as normal and she blamed me for her behavior. I believed it.

Your kids will have truth and you as a role model. If they need counseling, you can provide that. There is so much more known about BPD now than when I was a child. You can give your kids unconditional love. Don't underestimate the impact of stable loving adults in their lives. Even if kids with a BPD parent may struggle with some issues in their family- don't discount resiliency factors- like your parenting. Although my father enabled my mother, he was the stable presence and so were his family members. It made a difference and you can too.
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« Reply #25 on: March 27, 2019, 07:42:59 AM »

What you can offer your children that is different is truth. We were not told BPD mom had an illness. We were expected to keep her behavior secret. She was presented to us as normal and she blamed me for her behavior. I believed it.

Hey Notwendy, what would you suggest to avoid the latter part of the above occurring? What do you think was more damaging, the fact that it was normalised and kept secret, or that she blamed you for her behaviour and no one stood up for you?

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« Reply #26 on: March 27, 2019, 08:31:57 AM »

I have really enjoyed this thread.

Other users sharing has really shown me that I am not alone in my worries here but I CAN make a difference. Yes I'll probably mess up from time to time and Yes, it won't be all roses all the time but it will be BETTER.

I thank you all for your kind words
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« Reply #27 on: March 28, 2019, 05:13:45 AM »

Honestly- I think it was the great family lie- that mother is normal. From this, it made what she said believable. If she's "normal" and isn't acting that way with me, then it must be me.

It was a sort of gas lighting to present her behavior as OK. It wasn't OK. Had I done some of the things she did - I would have been punished.

The dilemma of course would have been how to discuss the situation honestly without triangulating, and did my father even know it was BPD at the time? There wasn't much information available about that and no internet. So this could also have been an impractical wish.

Once I left home, I really didn't have an idea of the extent of her issues. Later, when my father got ill, I spent some time at their home trying to help out. I then saw all these behaviors again- from the perspective of an adult, not an impressionable child and there was no convincing me it was OK.

But the "family lie" was a well kept pattern by then and my parents were invested in it.  I can understand why. Confronting her about her behavior leads her to dysregulate big time.
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« Reply #28 on: March 28, 2019, 06:19:46 AM »

Looking back, what could your father have done that would have meant that realisation that your mums behaviour was not okay would have come sooner rather than later and minimised the negative impacts on yourself?

I am conscious of parental alienation but at the same time, what would I prefer, to triangulate and save my kids from emotional burdens that aren't theirs, or not being perceived as the bad guy? I have seen first hand the damage silence does... as have you.

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« Reply #29 on: April 05, 2019, 08:04:39 AM »

I don't know if he could have done anything different at the time. He may not have even had an answer or name to what was going on- since there was so little known about BPD.

I think one of the best things if it were now-would have been to get us in counseling, with a third person who knew how to diplomatically explain it. This would take him out of the triangulation. It would have been a delicate situation as exposing my mother is considered to be a betrayal. It may also have led to us being removed from the family by social services due to her behavior. I would not have wanted to be taken away from my father.

Hind sight is always 20 20.  There was harm from the shroud of secrecy but I also had a good home- a roof over my head, education, medical care and a dad. This is possibly way better than foster care.

But as I entered young adulthood, I knew something was not right with her. It would have been a good time for someone to tell the truth. There would be no removal from the home- I was leaving for college anyway. Knowing she had a mental illness would have explained a lot- and getting me into counseling to deal with the effects would have too.

Teens have a limited view of relationships and marriage. It was so easy for me to wonder why my dad didn't divorce my mother, but I had no idea how hard divorce was too. Teens think they have all the answers and are naturally critical of their parents at that age.

It's also not just for childhood. My father was an involved grampa to my kids. They loved him. They aren't so keen about my mother. I did speak the truth to them when they were early teens. They understand what mental illness is and BPD. I think it has helped them to not be as influenced by her behavior. Yet, they are not around her as much as I was as a child. It was tough as an adult to see how my mother treated my father. I realize now that he was part of the dynamics and how complicated these relationships are. I don't judge him the way I did when I was a teen.

I really don't think there's one right way to deal with this. If you keep the family secret, the family stays intact and there are benefits to that. If the family doesn't stay intact, there are also pros and cons to that. Either way, I think a counseling situation- where the kids have a safe adult to speak to, could go a long way to helping them process what is going on.


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