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Question: Which of these characteristics have you had periodically throughout your life?  Source: Diagnostic Criteria for Codependencym Cermak, Timmen L. , Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, Vol 18(1), Jan-Mar 1986, 15-20.
Control Issues Excessive need to influence/control feelings and behavior in self and others (think carefully about this one)
Responsibility Issues Assumption of responsibility for meeting other's needs to the exclusion of acknowledging one's own needs;
Boundary Issues Anxiety and boundary distortions in situations of intimacy and separation;
Realtionship Issues Enmeshment in relationships with personality disordered, drug dependent and impulse disordered individuals
Relationship A dysfunctional primary relationship for 2+ years without seeking outside support
Three or more :  a) containment of emotions, b) depression, c) hypervigilance, d) compulsions, e) anxiety, f) excessive reliance on denial, g) substance abuse, h) physical or sexual abuse, i) stress-related medical illness

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Author Topic: SELF ASSESSMENT | Are you codependent?  (Read 11471 times)
KeepingPeace
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« Reply #60 on: May 27, 2011, 05:34:06 PM »

I felt the same way after reading that article  I have seen some of the codependent tendencies in myself, but that description of the negative characteristics behind what seems like helpful, caring behaviors was hard to read... .Like you said I can understand how a pwBPD would feel, reacting in anger and denial when they saw our judgement of them and their "flawed" character, and yet it being true, but hard for them to see and accept.

Maybe I am just in denial, but I don't feel like my "caretaking" personality is about being selfish and manipulating people... .nor do I think that the hurt felt by not being appreciated for all we do is in our heads... .  He actually DOES NOT appreciate what I do and has TOLD ME SO:P Laugh out loud (click to insert in post) 

**WARNING, VERY LONG SENTENCE>< Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)***  When you work all day, drive an hour home in bumper-to-bumper traffic, then come home and chase your toddler around the house, while cooking dinner, while your man takes a nap... .then crawl around on the floor cleaning up food everywhere after DD finishes eating, wind her down for bed and spend an hour+ convincing her to go to sleep (since he's let her sleep till 10am because he went to bed at 4am and then gave her a nap until 5pm... .), and then get hit up with "have sex with me or I'll make you miserable for days" when attempting to go to bed... .and then getting woken up 2-3 times (or more) in the night by DD, only to get up at 6am and do it all over again... .while he gets to play "stay at home dad"... .and all you get is "You have a job!" in a jealous kind of way, like its such a wonderful thing that it makes up for all this crap... .its really frustrating! And no, I don't think its all in my head... .Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)  Call me a martyr if you want, but I do what I need to do to make sure my family is taken care of... .apparently at the expense of myself... .
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Suzn
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« Reply #61 on: May 27, 2011, 05:49:43 PM »

    Yea, codependence is a bad thing. I hear the term is used losely, but I definately relate to it being defined as being dependent on someone else being dependent on you. For me, it means I gave up my original purpose in life to make someone else my purpose in life. I gave up the ability to "feel" my emotions by giving up my plan in life and allowing people to walk all over me. Friends, family or intimate relationships. Once I was able to wrap my head around what I've done to myself it's easier to see the way out. This is a process, a long one. Had to figure out when I lost my spirit, what caused it and feel all that dam pain from my past up to now.

   At this point in this process I've finally started "feeling" again. This past two weeks I've felt joy (sad that my therapist had to pinpoint that emotion FOR me) and I've felt hurt. And it's somewhat overwhelming. The hurt lasts longer, that, I don't get. Maybe it's because I haven't let myself "feel" hurt for so long. Idk. I have to tell myself this is new and it will even out, hopefully. I have my "plan" for my recovery and I will stay on track, because I do not like this and I want to be non codependent. I've had major break throughs with my mother, work and with friends so I have to be willing to follow through with the sometimes raw emotion.

   I can't sit and tell you in one sitting everything I've realized, learned, recognized, and still there's more... .I am not at the end of this process and frankly, it's probably going to be a lifelong situation. I feel like I'm always going to have to pay attention to my behavior and the behavior of others. I just have to hope it'll get easier as it becomes habit.
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“Consider how hard it is to change yourself and you'll understand what little chance you have in trying to change others.” ~Jacob M. Braude
Im done
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« Reply #62 on: May 27, 2011, 07:58:41 PM »

I was really struck by the concept of the codependent needing to define themselves through others - I'm becoming more and more aware that I don't believe that I really exist unless someone else reflects me back to myself.  So I take people's reactions to me as the substance of what I am; obviously, I am ok as long as those responses are positive, and crushed when they are negative.  I have a great deal of difficulty separating a negative external reaction from the thought "I am a bad person."

In the article that Skip posted close to the beginning of the thread, there was an interesting paragraph that echoed Penguinectomy's comment:

"Codependents lack in self-perception and can only identify who they are through that of a second person. They manifest 'who they are' only through another's eyes, thoughts, or views of them... .and without another they are unable to find their own identity. Codependents tend to latch onto partners because of this lack of being able to self-identify through themselves."


Maybe that's why we non's who are also codependents are so taken with a person who has BPD?  We NEED the BPD to mirror us?

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Salut
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« Reply #63 on: May 27, 2011, 10:06:59 PM »

I also feel that sense of not existing if someone isn't there.  When my H is out of town I relish at first because I can do what I want, eat what I want, and keep the house much cleaner.  But after a couple of days I start to feel like I'm no there.  Like in the previous couple of days I used up all that I am and there is nothing more. If I really let myself feel it instead of avoiding it, I imagine it would be a really creepy feeling.

Anyone have ideas on how to start recognizing your own codependent behavior?  For example, a friend asked me to come ton dinner tomorrow.  She know I'm having a rough time.  Iwould almost rather stay home, but said yes because I appreciate her trying to help.  Is that co dependent, or normal?
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bluecup11
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« Reply #64 on: May 28, 2011, 03:39:10 AM »

I guess I'm so frustrated with the article Skip posted because my pwBPD is a family member (two of them). I'm like - jeez, I don't WANT to be codependent, and now the article has me questioning my entire existence and I'm now feeling like a crappy person. I am really worked up about this. I've read a lot about codependency but have never before read anything that made codependents sound basically like awful narcissists.

A few months ago I made a decision about my sister that involved calling child protective services and this article has me wondering if my potentially BPD mother's accusation that I made it all up (I did NOT) has some validity, because apparently I am a codependent person who only thinks of myself?

I'm really having a very strange and strong reaction to this article, I just feel completely invalidated and wish it weren't on this site, because the tone of the article is very hostile.

I definitely take people's reactions to me as the substance of what I am, though. That's in general - I don't think I've dated anyone with BPD though I've dated a lot of guys who were emotionally unavailable to hypercritical, and in fact haven't dated at all in several years.

ugh.
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Mystic
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« Reply #65 on: May 28, 2011, 08:07:45 AM »

so I took the list of characteristics and the 20 questions on the post skip made and went through it point by point.  

It was interesting and I feel pretty good about it, because I have learned, grown and changed over the years.  

I've found that much of my difficulty throughout my life is either directly related to my parent's issues, dealing with them, and basically being made responsible for them from a very young age.  I can remember being 18, with a new baby and a $5/hr job, and my mother telling me that I was her "meal ticket".  Literally.  Between my parents and an elderly aunt, my sister and I have been inundated in a lifetime that became "all about them".  

Unfortunately, neither parent (or aunt) took any sort of look at their lives to make arrangements for or take responsibility for themselves.  They laid that square on the shoulders of me and my sister, with the expectation of having it all taken care of, from their social needs to their personal care.  Being raised as we were (our needs/feelings neglected), and having a sound sense of duty, we have complied.  

It makes sense that in r/s with SO's, things would be much the same, and I would say that with a few exceptions, they were.  My r/s with my ex husband was misery where I was responsible for everything, and he for nothing.  I believe with BPDexbf he wanted much the same, but having learned and grown, when I did stand up for myself, wanting an equal, loving partnership, it infuriated him and led to his leaving.  From what I can see, he wanted total support and care from a woman who had no feelings or needs of her own.  Rather impossible, at least for this girl.  I loved my exBPDbf deeply and gave all I could, but I did have expectations, needs and feelings and I did express them.  I don't think he liked that at all.  

Anyway, having examined it, I do see my mistakes of the past, but I do know that I have grown, learned and changed my behaviors to a point where they are much healthier.  I look back on the past and am gentle with myself because being who I was, how I was raised, I know I couldn't have done differently.  The one thing I do know is that my conscience is clear.  In my relationships I loved and gave all I could.  I was honest and trustworthy, I was loving, caring and kind.  I did not cheat, did not lie, did not betray, did not withhold.  My only wish was to love and be loved.  My error was in choosing partners who for whatever reason were not capable of loving me.  
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Mystic
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« Reply #66 on: May 28, 2011, 08:33:08 AM »

I guess I'm so frustrated with the article Skip posted because my pwBPD is a family member (two of them). I'm like - jeez, I don't WANT to be codependent, and now the article has me questioning my entire existence and I'm now feeling like a crappy person. I am really worked up about this. I've read a lot about codependency but have never before read anything that made codependents sound basically like awful narcissists.

A few months ago I made a decision about my sister that involved calling child protective services and this article has me wondering if my potentially BPD mother's accusation that I made it all up (I did NOT) has some validity, because apparently I am a codependent person who only thinks of myself?

I'm really having a very strange and strong reaction to this article, I just feel completely invalidated and wish it weren't on this site, because the tone of the article is very hostile.

I definitely take people's reactions to me as the substance of what I am, though. That's in general - I don't think I've dated anyone with BPD though I've dated a lot of guys who were emotionally unavailable to hypercritical, and in fact haven't dated at all in several years.

ugh.

Please don't let that article define you.  I found the first article skip posted as being quite hostile and demeaning myself, and find it very unproductive with regard to self analysis.  Another poster did point out that it was written by someone with seemingly no expert credentials.  The second one skip subsequently posted, with the list of characteristics and 20 questions is more thought compelling.  I went through that quite carefully and actually wound up comfortable with the outcome. 
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Suzn
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« Reply #67 on: May 28, 2011, 08:32:13 PM »



Please don't let that article define you.  I found the first article skip posted as being quite hostile and demeaning myself, and find it very unproductive with regard to self analysis.  Another poster did point out that it was written by someone with seemingly no expert credentials.  The second one skip subsequently posted, with the list of characteristics and 20 questions is more thought compelling.  I went through that quite carefully and actually wound up comfortable with the outcome. 


  Thank you so much for saying this Livia. I was thinking the same thing. I mean, I had planned on coming back in and examining who this author was later and you did that for me. I just kept remembering what my T had said about some of the things I've read (posts) in here and she told me to be careful about letting someone define or label you. I hadn't taken the time to read that article before I originally posted, read it after. I kept coming back to it and asking myself those questions. Is that really me? And yea, some of it is/was. But I have an identity, I always have. I allowed myself to change into a persona that was created for me though. I sure did. And realizing that in itself was bad enough. Left me asking myself who am I for a long time, but I've come back to myself. I realize I'm somewhat of a fragile/sensative person who IS affected by what other people think BUT I also realize that there are just plain mean people in this world and I have to deal with that. I am of sound mind according to my T. That article just sounds like someone that needs to be in an institution somewhere to me. I'm not trying to dodge reality here, I really looked at myself and my behaviors and gave it honest thought. Because, yea, that left me feeling if that's me I want to be seeing my T twice a week to fix THAT. But I do see what applies to me and what I need to keep an eye on, and for that it was good.
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damask
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« Reply #68 on: May 28, 2011, 11:41:50 PM »

Because of the tone of the first article quoted, I have trouble giving it pretty much any credence at all.  Anything that describes a condition using terms like "always" and "never" is extreme.  It is completely negative, and it sounds like the author had an axe to grind even!

The thing is, we are not all or nothing anything.  I believe it quite possible that many of us can have some co-dependant tendancies, just as we all have weaknesses in one area or another, but articles like that, however well intended they may be, are geared to 'make' people simply feel bad about themselves!
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Mystic
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« Reply #69 on: May 29, 2011, 08:29:27 AM »

I agree, folks.  

I do find terms like "Codependent" to be a bit of a "catch all" for anyone who has been involved in an abusive relationship for any length of time.  

Having been in one myself for quite a long time, I can say that things are much much more complex than a list of characteristics or questions, some of which can be very general and vague.

There are a myriad of reasons people stay in difficult, painful and abusive relationships.  

I believe first and foremost are love, commitment and hope.  However misguided they might be, however lost they might get in the quagmire and confusion of the relationship, these are not inherently bad motivations.  And anytime the abuser is kind or shows any love, care, or goodness, that hope is reinforced for the partner.  

I'll be the first to admit to having had a sense of low self worth in the past.  That was cultivated in me from infancy, and reinforced along the way by the people I have been involved with.  We do tend to seek what we know, so that makes sense.  I've learned my self worth, I'm well aware of it, even if I do have to remind myself daily.  I also have a profound sense of responsibility... .cultivated by a lifetime of being surrounded (by birth or mistaken choice) by irresponsible people.  Poorly defined boundaries?  Absolutely I have had them.  They are directly related here to issues one and two.  

I've taken a long hard look at my life.  Where I've come from, what I've experienced, who I have been with, and who I am.  

Quite honestly, I've learned my most profound errors have been in who I associated with, who I chose for partners.  And yes, they also chose me, precisely for who I am.  As for why I made those choices?  Because it was what I knew.  

I grew up with Jekyll/Hyde parents.  People I dearly loved, people who I saw wonderful qualities in, people who sadly had serious issues, who were capable of terribly bad behavior, and inflicting great harm on those closest to them.  Tragic people I loved and ached for, wished I could fix things for, wished they could see the wonderful life that was right within their reach if only for a moment they could consider anyone or anything but themselves, and who I also wished would love me and take care of me because as a child I needed to be loved and cared for.  None of those wishes were answered.  They couldn't.  They were not capable.  

As for my experience in abusive relationships... .experience that would probably have earned me the "Codependent Poster Child of the Decade" title... .

Again, they were people I dearly loved, people who I saw wonderful qualities in, people who sadly had serious issues, who were capable of terribly bad behavior, and inflicting great harm on those closest to them.  Tragic people I ached for, wished I could fix things for, wished they could see the wonderful life that was right within their reach if only for a moment they could consider anyone or anything but themselves, and who I also wished would love me and care for me as I loved and cared for them because as a human being I believe we all need to be loved and cared for.  

None of those wishes were answered.  They couldn't.  They were not capable.  

I will not feel guilty, bad, ashamed of, or defective for having loved with all I had, and given all I could.  I have a profound sense of commitment.  I believe in it.  I believe it's easy to love someone when everything is moonlight and roses, but does one withdraw love when the going gets rough?  Where is the line where tough times become too tough?  Again, when one gets intermittent positive reinforcement, things become very difficult and confusing.  

If I remain loyal, honest, faithful and loving in a committed relationship where my partner has failed in any of the above, then somehow I become defective?  I now have sick and selfish motivations?  That one bewilders me, and sadly, I think that concept heaps double harm on anyone who has been in an abusive relationship.  

But I have learned.  I've learned a few of what I believe to be the most important lessons.  

They are:  

First, to love myself at least equally to the love I give others.  That includes protecting myself from pain and abuse.  Just as I would stand strong at the gates of hell to protect my loved ones from harm, I must have that same sort of powerfully protective love for myself.  

Second, the biggest part of that protection from pain and abuse is the choice of those who I associate with, and those I choose as a partner.  

I'll never again give myself in love to a partner who shows signs of mental instability, abusiveness, addiction, lack of responsibility, lack of humanity.  

In the past I found myself in relationships with this sort of person.   It happens all the time.  As we can see on this board, there's a lot of them out there.  They're easy to fall in love with if we don't take the time to truly *know* them, and see how they live their lives.  It's easy to believe loving words and promises.  Heavens, I think everyone wants to be loved and be happy so it's a blessing to be swept up in love and hope.  Because of that we can be far too quick to dismiss a history of bad behavior or want to help someone we care deeply for and see the goodness in.  

It's very easy to believe we are in love with the good person who is somewhere deep down inside of someone who behaves terribly.  We've seen that good person before, we know and love them, so of course we believe he/she exists!  Now and then he/she comes back for a command performance, which only reinforces the belief that the love and goodness are there.  Sadly we can spend the rest of our life trying to help them, save them, care for them and trying to bring back that wonderful experience of loving and being loved.  

Wanting to love and be loved.  I don't find anything selfish or defective in this whatsoever.  It's a profound part of the human condition.  

So basically, having examined my life, and my "part" in abusive relationships, those are my conclusions.

That I need to love and protect myself as ferociously as I would my SO, my child, anyone I loved.

And

That I must be very careful in the choice of a partner.  The choice of a partner is make or break for a life.  It can be your blessing or it can be your ruin.  

I know without question that I chose poorly, not only because of how they treated me, but also because of how they've treated others.  I was not the lone recipient of their abuse.  Others were seriously mistreated by them as well, including their other partners and their children.  Their character is also reflected in their work, financial irresponsibility, problems with the law, other relationships, etc.  

So from here on in, I'll be watching very carefully.  If someone crosses my path that I observe to have mental health issues, addictions, an abusive personality, lack of responsibility, lack of humanity... .

I'll just send them on their way with a prayer.  







   

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bluecup11
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« Reply #70 on: May 31, 2011, 05:35:32 AM »

Livia, that's such a wonderful post, and it sounds like you're in a very good place. All the best to you (and everyone else here).

Excerpt
I'll be the first to admit to having had a sense of low self worth in the past.  That was cultivated in me from infancy, and reinforced along the way by the people I have been involved with.  We do tend to seek what we know, so that makes sense.  I've learned my self worth, I'm well aware of it, even if I do have to remind myself daily.  I also have a profound sense of responsibility... .cultivated by a lifetime of being surrounded (by birth or mistaken choice) by irresponsible people.  Poorly defined boundaries?  Absolutely I have had them.  They are directly related here to issues one and two.

Yep, me too. Though my pwBPD are family members, I was in emotionally abusive relationships for a long time. I didn't quite see most of them as emotionally abusive at the time, but they were. I've taken a LONG break from dating after seeing a few years ago that I'm not choosing wisely.  What you said about seeking what we know - it's so true. That was my normal.

I looked at that list of characteristics and also thought it was very good - I have a good number of them, but others don't describe me, so I'm not sure. I feel like I've kind of gone to the other extreme now where I want to walk away from everyone and have difficulty even volunteering at this point because I feel so drained by the BPDs in my life. If any good came from reading that first article (and it's still affecting my sleep!) - it's that I need to get my butt back into therapy because my boundaries and self-worth are apparently still so fragile that I don't even know if what I thought was a healthy way to handle my BPD family members is, or if it was in fact all about me.
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KeepingPeace
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« Reply #71 on: May 31, 2011, 10:58:53 AM »

This has definitely been an interesting discussion:) And has also gotten me thinking a bit about the "BPD" label and what it means.  Just as that article focuses on the negative of codependents being hopelessly self-absorbed... .a lot of information about pwBPD focuses all on the negatives as well, with a lot of "always"/"never" kind of statements... .But it seems that there are a lot of different levels of "codependence" and that you can't really generalize like "This person is codependent, therefore they will do x, y, and z... ."  Seems to me that the same can be said for pwBPD.  It's a label for a group of behaviors... .but each pwBPD behaves slightly different, even if in similar patterns.  I think a lot of what has been coming between me and my acceptance of my boyfriend is this label and the descriptions of the phases of a BPD relationship, etc... .  It's had me feeling like there's no hope. But just as each pwBPD acts a bit different, there can be deviations from the "normal" course of a relationship with them.  So I'm thinking that while reading articles and other people's stories can help me understand what he IS doing, I shouldn't be assuming that he WILL do things he hasn't, just because its what is expected.  I think its more important to understand how OUR pwBPD works, because each of them has a different collection of lovely BPD behaviors... .
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bluecup11
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« Reply #72 on: May 31, 2011, 04:31:02 PM »

I think that's true, KeepingPeace. For example, my BPDsister isn't a rager... .at least around me. I think she may be around others. But never once around me except for one email one time. With me she acts waif-like and helpless, trying to manipulate emotions to the point that the last time I talked to her on the phone she sighed and in a little girl voice told me she just "had an accident" in her clothes. She's told me of her rages toward doctor's office staff and my mother, so I do think she does, but a lot of BPDs are more outward-turning. She's more inward turning.
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NewPhoenixRising
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« Reply #73 on: June 01, 2011, 02:10:00 PM »

I think that 'all of us are codependent to some extent' reveals a full spectrum of codependency.  With on one end the person described in the first article, and a 'normal, well adjusted' person on the other end.  Each individual is only one point in that distribution.  We are all unique in the collection of behaviors we encompass.

I think it becomes unhealthy when someone takes an inordinate amount of responsibility for another person and it is not being given as a gift. There are exceptions to this.  Someone may not be able to do something for themselves*  Of course, the real measure is in how we feel about it.  :)o we still feel like we are giving our efforts as a gift of love? with no indebtedness?  or do we feel like this person is incurring an emotional indebtedness to us ?  If the give and take has reached the point where you are feeling resentful, angry, abused, etc. because you are giving more than the other person in this relationship, it is time to pull back.
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gh444
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« Reply #74 on: June 23, 2011, 01:39:36 AM »

Hi,

In order to get a grip on my own personal issues and getting a better understanding of why I stayed in an abusive situation for so long, I was thinking I'd prepare a list of what was keeping me there and trying to answer what needs were in me that were in play. Here goes:

What needs were met, partly met or did I believe were met in my BPD relationship?

The need for:



  • plentiful, exciting, uninhibited amounts of sex – this was fulfilling the need to lose myself, avoidance


  • the illusion of being the one in control – this meant no need for fear of abandonment


  • the belief this person would never leave me – as she was unable to leave, so no abandonment fears needed


  • complete distraction -  someone to fill my time – preventing me to think about any other stuff that I might need to deal with, avoidance


  • the pedestal – getting from her what I didn't believe in myself – self worth


  • rejuvenation – feeling young again, with the possibility of children, a happy home – getting a second chance means I get absolution from past mistakes– self worth


  • intimacy without having to commit – as I realized she was not going to be able to commit this allayed my own fears to commit – avoidance and self worth


  • the entanglement leading to self discovery – identity issues – self worth


  • being able to be the rescuer – the belief that I was the only one able to help – self worth


  • being able to be the victim – by giving and getting nothing in return – I affirmed myself being self sacrificing and special – codependent tendencies here -  self worth


  • a feeling of (false) safety, withdrawal into self, not letting others get close enough to hurt, feeling in control or feeling able to manipulate by playing the victim – detachment, avoidance




Plenty of reasons to stay in the relationship as long as I did... .and plenty of reasons I should work on myself and get these issues within myself resolved. Looking at the list above I need to work on: improving my self worth, my fear of abandonment and any avoidance issues. As I explore this more and more, I'm sure more issues will come to the surface.

Any comments are more than welcome... .

Cheers,

gh444
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« Reply #75 on: June 23, 2011, 06:07:49 AM »

As a follow up to the previous list I made two more:


And... .what did I get instead of having my needs met:

Sex forced on me (manipulation/rape) to the point of exhaustion

Escalating violence during sex (lack of boundaries)

Humiliation about sex (derisive comments on performance or physical attributes)

Disassociation during sex and crying spells (her and me both)

Unloving sex – to the point of cruelty

Sleep deprivation (caused by endless discussions, ranting and raging)

Accusations of manipulation and control

Accusations of being insane

Accusations of being violent and untrustworthy

Accusations of being unable to love

Threats of violence or self harm

Threats of suicide

Threats of calling the police on me

Threats of disclosing anything shared in confidence to others

Total lack of privacy (followed into the bathroom)

Reading emails, phone messages, etc and accusations of infidelity

Not being allowed to leave the room/house when I chose to

Not leaving the room/house when I wanted her to

Preventing me to leave by hiding or taking keys

Following me anywhere even when asked not to

Constant unannounced and uninitiated visits

Saying she will only visit for half an hour and then staying for hours on end

Hitting me

Lying to me

Revising the past and trying to convince me I remembered it wrong

Putting words in my mouth

Reenacting past sexual abuse scenes

Forcing me to become an abuser, throw things, threaten and violent towards her

Taunting me to the point of anger, rage and violence

Ignoring requests to talk about stuff later

Laughing at my behavior in the company of others

Taunting me about her having sex with others

Telling me the way I love is not good enough, as it isn't the way she loves

Having intimate details shared come back to be used against me

Tailoring my behavior towards treating her like a whore, to be an abuser and then accusing me of becoming an abuser, that I treat her like a whore

Making me doubt my own sanity

Making me doubt anything she says

Telling me she's pregnant when she's not

Telling me she had aborted a child of mine when she did not

Telling me she has breast cancer when she has not

Telling me she has a VD when she has not and I was the one to give it to her

Providing me with a cat and then when I and my son become attached, take it away and then downplay that as a misunderstanding

Going into therapy to keep me enmeshed rather than to heal

Send me naked pictures of herself or texts with sexual references

Send me constant messages with varying content just to see if I respond

Use others against me to keep me engaged

Triangulate with others

Accuse me of being gay, sadistic or impotent

Invite me to share sex partners

Invite me to watch porn

Ridicule me for watching porn

Ignore any request for respecting NC

Ignore any possible closure talks and simply repeat the pattern

Ignore any requests for “being friends” and move the sign posts

Telling me I am the problem, because after I give in all I do is run away again

Telling me I will never be able to leave her as I will always return

Telling me I will never be able to leave her as she will always return

Telling me I should be grateful a young and attractive woman would be interested in little old me

Telling me I will never find anyone else who will love me like she can

Telling me I will be unable to forget her

Confusing the hell out of me with circular arguments and changing the subject unexpectedly

Confusing me with a constant barrage of information and or questions

Making me disclose information I don't want to share

Making me share time when I did not want to

Making me Cry, rant and rage

Making me feel empty inside

Making me too exhausted to spend time with my son

Making me lose patience with my son and criticize me for it

Making me feel ashamed

Making me feel I hate myself

Making me feel my hatred for myself was justified

Making me feel like a loser

Making me feel hopeless and suicidal

Making me beg for mercy

Making me beg for more



There must be a silver lining... .right? So what good did it do me?

I learned:

To examine myself truly and honestly

to recognize I have issues related to intimacy, avoidance and self worth

(through mirroring) that I am actually a beautiful person

I actually have more patience, inner strength and endurance than I ever thought I did

I am a care taker/fixer and I need new skills

I am a compassionate and loving person at heart

I need to work on maintaining healthy boundaries

That my inner child is hurting from my past

I can set my own direction in life and affect the outcome

I want to love and live my life to the fullest

I have a capacity for love greater than imagined

What is really important to me – my loved ones

I'm grey, rather than black or white

I am capable of forgiving myself and moving on

What the negatives are that I do not need in my life

What the positives are that I want in my life

I need to look within and feel love for myself

I need to lighten up and not take everything too seriously

I have empathy and more than I imagined

I was wrong about many of my conceptions about myself

I can still learn and grow and be who I want to be, towards myself and others



Thanks for letting me share all this.

Cheers,

gh444

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prayingforgrace
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« Reply #76 on: June 23, 2011, 08:22:20 AM »

gh444 - those were very insightful lists - good for you!  I find it so hard to step back sometimes and truly examine the situation - I give you credit for having the courage to look at it from all angles, see the good/bad/ugly and come away with all of those as well. 

Congratulations on reaching that level of self-discovery - I'm attempting that climb right now myself.

Thanks for sharing yours... .it gave me hope!
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« Reply #77 on: July 12, 2011, 11:30:33 AM »

Can anyone recommend support groups that would be helpful for a recovering non? I know I have co-dependence issues, and I'm pretty sure there are some groups that meet locally for that, but are there others as well? Appreciate your help.

htl67
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« Reply #78 on: July 12, 2011, 11:58:46 AM »

hey htl, try this: www.coda.org/

i would love to find a support group for nons, but i don't feel my issue is codependency. i do deal with anxiety, but i would like to meet other nons and talk in person the way we do on this board. does anyone know if things like that exist?
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« Reply #79 on: July 15, 2011, 11:26:17 AM »

that would be awesome. I cant even find an active online community for Codepence recovery. I am doing the Codepenent no more work book though.
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« Reply #80 on: September 18, 2011, 08:14:51 PM »

Thank you for bumping this
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« Reply #81 on: September 19, 2011, 01:30:41 PM »

Codependancy:

"An emotional, psychological and behavioural condition that develops as a result of an individual's prolonged exposure to, and practice of, a set of rules-rules which prevent the open expressions of feelings as well as the direct discussion of personal and interpersonal problems"

Robert Stubby

Co-Dependency, An Emerging Issue.

For me co-dependency meant that I was a caretaker. I was not a role that I wanted but I was asked by my uBPDw to protect and shelter her from her abusive and controlling father shortly after we met.

I soon began to realise it would mean more than one act of "kindness". It involved be constantly available to support, protect, heal, help and  feed my uBPDw. There were time when she would function normally, going to work, socialising with colleagues family occasions.

I remember the messages from her family "take good care of my daughter, make sure you mind my sister" etc... ,

Over time she became less able to do things for herself. She could not work and complained bitterly as to how lucky I was. She could not cope with our children either when they were babies or when they became older. We had a full time nanny to help out.

This left my wife with nothing to do, nothing to feel good about herself.

I can see now that caretaking was enabling to her to do less and less. It kept her small and prevented her personal growth. Added to this there developed a level of enmeshment which felt comforting but in reality was so unhealthy for both of us.

I gradually took on more and more out of FOG until such time I became overwhelmed and could do not more. What was being  asked of me was becoming ridiculous and beyond reason.  I started to look to my own needs and to look after myself for the first time in years.

I did not know about BPD and my attempts to break free from our codependency would have been perceived as invalidation to my uBPDw.


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« Reply #82 on: September 19, 2011, 01:31:22 PM »

All of the above characteristics, right here.

I hear the argument that codependency has sort of become psychobabble, but what it really describes in my mind are behaviour patterns, usually formed from trauma.  Sort of like PTSD? Sure, maybe.  In my mind, all 'illness' is linked, so to choose PTSD, NPD, codependcy, etc as labels for myself would be a waste of time.  Better to address the illness behaviour.

It's weird how when I first took this type of quiz, my score was actually LOWER because I was so in denial of just how controlling I was.

I believe my patterns come from some narcissistic behaviour on my parents part (emphasizing what I DID, not who I WAS), as well as a lot of rejection/abandonment type trauma which led me to believe that I had to earn the right to be around people by doing things, not by being myself.  As well, I was sexually abused as a child, which when in certain contexts, can further emphasizing 'doing' and how we have to please other people in order to have worth as a person.

I'm slowly moving past codependency, and the thing that helps most, oddly enough, is the fact that I am still living with my uBPDexgf.  Now that the romantic relationship is dead, I have to come to terms with the emotional seperation, with being just ME. It's been a year, and I am finally starting to define myself, know my boundaries, and feel my feelings again.
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« Reply #83 on: September 19, 2011, 01:49:52 PM »

Thanks for this thread Skip,

I am severely codependent.  I have discovered I have many other addictions as well.  The concept of self-awareness with an open mind has only recently made me aware of this.

I no longer blame my stbxuBPDgf for our r/s issues as my role is just as big as her role.

She is angry with me for doing my self awareness.  For finding out what isn't working for me, and for taking actions necessary to "fix" me.  But that is her choice, not mine.  I choose my health, mentally, physically, and spiritually.

I am aware my personality "faults" did come as a child in an alchoholic family and then compounded by being sexually abused by a priest.  I am ok with that being part of my past and am now working hard to eliminate the effects of it in my present.  My issues made my r/s with my uBPDgf an easy thing to get into and become enamoured with.  I won't go so far as saying she targeted me,  I prefer to think of it as we targeted each other, unknowingly trying to fill the voids in our lives.

I plan to fix my voids in a healthy way.  I hope she does the same, but that is her choice.

Regarding discussion about copendency being real, or just a "fad", I think that can be true for any title (including BPD).  I think what is important to recognize is that if life isn't working for you, then its up to you to change it.
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« Reply #84 on: September 19, 2011, 02:41:22 PM »

Hi Skip,

    My results have been odd.

    From the clinical poll, everything was yes except the controlling.

    From the 20 question test, I only scored a 7, and two of those may be related to dating a BPD.

    I suspect that the 20 question test measures something different than the clinical poll - it seems to focus more on control and self-worth issues.

     I believe that if someone did a test for emotional repression, lack of relationship models, being non-confrontational, and weak boundaries, I'd score higher. I tend to prefer tests that segregate into distinct categories - they provide more information.

     I don't particularly blame my BPDw for our relationship issues.  That said, I am seeing, more and more, that there are a lot of issues that I need to work on regarding the R/S.  My prognosis is that working on those issues will be a dealbreaker for her.  Honestly, she's about 85% waif and 15% witch - and even no longer catering to the witch end is an issue for her.  Unfortunately, I plan to stop catering to waif-like behaviors pretty shortly, and she will most likely want a divorce at that point... .But, I could be wrong - BPDw is a pretty surprising woman sometimes.

      I think there's a broad landscape of differing traits. Most trait combinations are sort of evenly distributed - natural social forces prevent people from developing highly nonfunctional mentalities.  I believe that there are certain combinations of traits that tend to be more strongly self-reinforcing than societal forces and that those clusters result in mental illness.  Depression pretty clearly falls in this category.  Probably BPD also.  OTOH, there are some illnesses that society doesn't really fight and which are mildly self-reinforcing - this is actually where I'd put codependence. Meh, I could easily be wrong.

--Argyle
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« Reply #85 on: September 19, 2011, 03:47:47 PM »

To what extent do our tendencies, as codependent nons, perpetuate the dysfunction in the relationship?

I was talking about this with the ex the other day (she still surprises me with her perspective sometimes).  I told her that I think her outbursts push people towards abandoning her, which then feeds her fear of abandonment, which brings her full circle.  She did agree to this in the best way she could, and then mentioned that I perpetuate the cycle too.  Every time I don't keep up a boundary, every time I fall back into enmeshment, every time I reward bad behaviour, every time I break one of HER boundaries with my need to control, or my need to feel acknowledged all the time, I am continuing the circle and keeping us both in trouble.
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« Reply #86 on: September 19, 2011, 04:13:04 PM »

Indeed, I am strongly codependent and have been for many years.  I do have my most recent experience with my uBPD ex-bf to thank for opening my eyes to how serious an issue it is for me.   

I believe that the root of my codependency is with my FOO and my dysfunctional, uNPD/BPD mother who conditioned me to walk on eggshells from a rather young age (and my dad, who enabled her).   I honestly see myself having learned "his" role in the family dynamic and somehow figured out that this is the way to be in a relationship with a "complicated" partner.

I was talking about this with my younger sister recently, how odd it seemed that I took on a mothering role to my younger siblings without even giving it a second thought.

I have spent a good deal of my adult life getting involved with men who should have been capable of being emotionally mature grownups, and had I any good sense of setting and maintaining boundaries, I would have walked away from these individuals instead of getting involved.  I am certain that it was my astonishing lack of self-esteem, and a feeling that "I can't possibly attract anyone nice"  (because this is all I've ever experienced)

In other words, this behavior for me has been as conditioned as knowing what time to eat, how to put on socks and shoes, etc. 

The gift of awareness has been both a blessing and a curse.   It's going to be a struggle to truly forgive myself for jumping back into the metaphorical cookpot time and time again.  However, I really feel that at this point in my life I can actually identify boundaries: 

":)o not interrupt me when I am speaking!"

"I will not have a conversation with you about [this subject] again because the last x times we discussed this we did not resolve the issue and it seems we just cannot agree"

and so on.

Heck, I've even been able to do this with my mom, and for decades I've been absolutely terrified of standing up to her  (I was terrified hearing these words coming out of my mouth - but I did it).

I have a long way to go in my recovery, but taking the first step and admitting my codependency - and learning to start "letting go and letting G*d" - while it feels like learning to walk all over again - gives me hope (and scares me at the same time).
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« Reply #87 on: September 19, 2011, 07:12:08 PM »

Responsibility Issues Assumption of responsibility for meeting other's needs to the exclusion of acknowledging one's own needs.

Over the last 15 years I have had 5 what I would call significant r/s. The most notable common thread with all of them has been expending energy on meeting their needs and completely relinquishing my own. Eventually I would get fed up and resentful and start bucking up saying "I too have needs" - as soon as this would happen they would leave.

Interestingly I had the silent child syndrome (kid of an alcoholic parent) - so as an adult I am still operating in the same way. I seek these types of men (BPD, NPD or BPD traits) to gain the approval I never received as a child. Strangely all these men are emotionally unavailable to begin with - r/s goes full circle - self fulfilling prophecy!

Yes to all the below:

2. Feel responsible for another person if they come to you with a problem?

3. Feel bad when you can’t help another person with a problem?

4. Feel guilty saying, “No?”

6. Find it difficult to feel happy on your own?

8. Forego your own interests because you’re worried about what someone else is or isn’t doing?

10. Feel uncomfortable when being offered praise or compliments?

11. Tend to be very hard on yourself?

12. Struggle to nurture yourself with treats?

14. Tend to seek love with dysfunctional partners?

21. Say what you think other people will be comfortable hearing?

23. Stay fiercely attached to people and situations even when you know you’re being damaged?

Blurb: And how true it is! Even though you do have self-awareness you still may have trouble setting boundaries and defining your goals. There is a need for you to risk ‘rocking the boat’ and learning to be more comfortable with your own company and beliefs. It would be helpful for you to examine and work on the areas in your life where you may be handing your power over.

I had very few 'permissions' (things I could do for myself without parental involvement) as a child - 'rocking the boat' does not come naturally. I live in the tyranny of shoulds - All things should go smoothly

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« Reply #88 on: September 20, 2011, 12:15:56 PM »

Co-dependance really is an over used term in our society.  That's not to say there isn't something there, I think there is, for sure.  Really, we are talking about dependence... .but dependence in itself is not necessarily unhealthy so that is why this can get so confusing.  This is related to attachment, too.   From another post, there was  link to a article on attachment styles.  It points out that people do need people, we are in some ways, dependent on others... .and when those others are healthy and needs are met... .we actually are stronger and more capable and happy in the world BECAUSE of our healthy dependence.   Maybe we should just get rid of the term codependent and say Healthy Dependence or Unhealthy Dependence.


When we feel we can't be happy without a person who is abusive or toxic toward us, or have grown addicted to the juice of a relationship that as it's core dynamic is abusive or toxic... .to me, ... .that is Unhealthy Dependence.  If I lost this person it would hurt, but also, it would be more like withdrawing from an addiction... .because the abuse would create a type of trauma bonding, an unhealthy 'attachment' that is very strong even though it's not 'good for me'.  This type of relationship is not enhancing happiness or well being or personal growth... .indeed it's stickiness come from the glue of fear and trauma mixed in with chemistry and sexuality.  Loss would be on the top of my mind all the time, because the bond is obviously fragile and brittle... .this keeps me in a constant state of fearful arousal that is both awful and compelling.  This is why it is addicting.  This person leaves me a lot, or I have to leave them a lot, then we recycle a lot... .cementing the whole toxic mess.  

When we feel happy and more alive and more capable because of and through our dynamic associations with healthy loving people, that is Healthy Dependence. I may extend myself for this person... .but I am not asked or feel required to move into the world of boundary violations... .that is not the kind of sacrafices that are expected.  If I lost a person in my life who was a healthy loving partner that made me feel even more capable and secure in the world, I would of course grieve their loss and it would be terribly hard.  Likely I would not have to grieve their loss unless some kind of unplanned tragedy struck... .because by definition... .the relationship would be secure... .I wouldn't be in a constant state of fear or alarm over it's loss.

In the worst part of my relationship... .I was trauma bonded.

In most of my other relationship... .I was not trauma bonded... .and I didn't look very codependent.

The dynamic of constantly doing for others... .at the expense of yourself.  I don't know... .I don't think I feel compelled to constantly do for others.  I get tired and at times I have to just say no.  And I will say no.

I am interested in psychology and human behavior. I am a good listener.  I have always liked helping people with their problems, that is sort of my talent.  I turned it into a profession because I was good at it, and in the profession... .you cannot over extend yourself, you have to have good boundaries.  When I was younger, I overextended myself in helping others, but I learned as I grew to  have better boundaries and take better care of myself.

Boundaries will always be something I have to be on top of.  In my family growing up... .if I felt like I was uncomfortable, had heard enough, or that my boundaries were being crossed... .esp. with my father... .I NEVER spoke up about it.  NEVER. EVER.  I felt as a kid that my access to my father's love was only tentative and fragile, based on my being a good sport and going along with the program... .and the way to get whatever love attention I craved from my father... .was to NOT HAVE ANY NEEDS for myself, but to listen and be supportive of HIM and his needs.  I don't think that was true to that degree with other adults in my life, but with my father... .it was all about him.  The underlying feel was that if I ever had a need or made it about me... .I'd loose him.  This plays out in my intimate relationships with men and it's something I will probably always have to work on and be aware of. This got triggered and tapped into during my relationship with my ex who had BPD, for sure.  It gets tapped into probably in any of my love relationships with men... .but not like it did IN THIS particular relationship.  This relationship was the mother load of old childhood FOO sh** coming to the surface... .that is for sure.

I checked off the 'controlling' option from the original list. I don't think in most relationships I come off as terribly controlling at all.  In my relationship with my ex pwBPD... .yes I was controlling.  Just the process of constantly having to know, discuss, and monitor my own boundaries... .had a controlling feel to it. I learned not to use my boundaries to control him... .but even still, being on alert for boundary violations, having to discuss boundaries, having to act on your boundaries all the time... .I didn't have to do that all the time in other relationships, because, in other relationships I didn't feel like my boundaries were constantly being tested. In this relationship they were.  I was more controlling... .I had to even exert more control over myself than I ever had to before in my life... .I had to think and work and plan ... .even for myself, in ways I didn't in other relationships.  And when I would tell him... .you can see other women, you just can't extract a committed relationship from me while you are doing that... .I was in a sense being controlling, even if it was taking control of my own life... .and from his perspective... .because I was on top of my own values and needs... .it felt to him like I was controlling... .and in a way... .I was... .it may have been of me, but it was still control, and I still had to deploy control in a manner I didn't have to when I was in less challenging relationships. 



 
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« Reply #89 on: September 20, 2011, 12:31:09 PM »

Yes and it was a hard pill to swallow for me.I started treatment for it.  
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