Author Topic: FACING CODEPENDENCE, What it is, Where it comes from, How it Sabotages our lives  (Read 54 times)

lighter

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By Pia Mellody



OK, some surprising things I'm taking away from this book.

Pia Mellody was experiencing huge people pleasing behaviors, and the resulting rage and frustration that goes along with never pleasing everyone, with feeling unappreciated, feeling fearful, feeling inadequate and not doing everything perfectly as a wife, mother, nurse, and social creature living in a world she felt was responsible for her feelings of being good enough.

 She felt resentment, and her anger kept building until she couldn't go to meetings at the Meadows Treatment facility for Addictiuon, where she worked.  The anger came out of the blue, and scared her, and the people around her.  The anger kept growing, and she didn't understand it.  She wanted to understand it.

When she sought treatment and help, the professionals just blinked at her, like she had three heads, and was crazy  (I'm paraphrasing everything here) she finally realized she'd have to figure it out on her own.  She was instructed to figure it out on her own.  It was amazing she was IN a treatment facility where she had access to people suffering with many similar symptoms, child abuse in particular. 

Through her work at the Meadows she began to understand the term "abuse" was broader than overt physical and sexual abuse.  She included intellectual, emotional,and spiritual forms, and includes "any experience in childhood (birth to age 17) that is less than nurturing."

She did much of the work to identify Codependence, it's causes, and boundary work to cure it.

Wow, think about that.   It changes the conversation for me, certainly, to think about "abuse" in terms of ANY experience that's less than nurturing.  In my own childhood, and as a mother. 

I think this book would have been helpful in my twenties, and maybe teens.  I wish I could have internalized it when I was in grade school, honestly. 



The journey continues.

Lighter




lighter

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Tupp:

This resonated with me today, and I wanted to know what you think about Pia's definition of frustration at injustice against us.   The injustice robs of our self esteem.

It becomes anger when we can't resolve it.  An endless anger around a historical injustice perpetrated against us. 

The anger is meant to restore the loss of self esteem, but of course, can't do that.

What say you?  Does that make sense for you?

Lighter 

Twoapenny

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Tupp:

This resonated with me today, and I wanted to know what you think about Pia's definition of frustration at injustice against us.   The injustice robs of our self esteem.

It becomes anger when we can't resolve it.  An endless anger around a historical injustice perpetrated against us. 

The anger is meant to restore the loss of self esteem, but of course, can't do that.

What say you?  Does that make sense for you?

Lighter

Lighter, that makes a lot of sense to me, and is something that I struggle with daily.  Not just anger (and the anger seems to be reducing in me at the moment) but also frustration, resentment and a sense of being caught up in a game where the rules keep changing and/or has rules that other people don't abide by.  I definitely don't feel that the anger restores self esteem, I think for me it probably does the opposite?  But yes, I feel there is a lot of injustice, and I feel that we live in a society where deceitful, unethical people are more richly rewarded and, bizarrely (in my eyes) more highly regarded than honest people who just want a quiet, happy life and don't feel the need to destroy things in order to achieve that.  But yes, I do think the anger I feel is often because of situations that can never be resolved, no matter what happens now.  They're situations that should never have occurred in the first place and I think that makes me angry?  Is that how you feel? xx

Twoapenny

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Something else just came up for me, Lighter, which I thought I'd share.  I was thinking this morning about how difficult I find it to relax and switch off - even when doing yoga or meditating, the hypervigilence means I've got one eye open and I can't really get deep into it.  And that made me think about being open to love, and being loved - and I realised I can't be, because love, to me, is always associated with abuse and being hurt.  And I think it's another kind of hypervigilence - there's just a barrier there that keeps people at arms length and pushes people away because sooner or later, whoever is in my life does something that hurts me.  I find that hard to cope with and it makes me feel angry, because I know a lot of it is old stuff that I can't change and, despite, twenty odd years of therapy and working on it, it still hurts.  That makes me feel angry and sad, I guess.  Not sure if it connects at all to what you're reading at the minute but thought I would mention it as it came up after I read your post xx

lighter

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Tupp:  You're right on track, and I have lots to say about your posts.

There's an urgency to get DD17 ready for first day of school next week, see my T, and catch a flight to the island with new sheets for the Q and K bedrooms.... as of yesterday I learned the brand new expensive sheets all have rust stains from the pipes... I think? 

So, it's crazy days around here with all the shelves picked over for college dorm rooms AND I'm conflicted about what to pick, and schlep... it's all so difficult.  I can't bear to get it wrong, and now we know our pipes must have flecks of rust that flow into the wash machine, so no more doing sheets at the house.  HUGE PITA, what next?

Will just have to see, but in the meantime, I'm so identifying with your posts, and have stuff I'm learning from Pia Mellody.... I really really really suggest her videos on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tk3a8n1uB1w
It's great to put on while you're doing the wash, or cleaning.

Will post later: )

Lighter

Twoapenny

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Oh, Lighter, that is a pain!  Hope you get it all sorted.  Is the pipe work very old?  I guess there are so many things that can cause problems and you don't always find out about them until the problem happens!  Hope things get sorted soon and that DD enjoys her first day back xx

sKePTiKal

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Any more take-aways from the book Lighter? I'm interested what you discover, because I would expect I have some reflexes this way... and I'm trying to spot them, before they become a problem, and do something DIFFERENT.

Big sigh... I'm kinda thinking that means accepting that I'm gonna be vulnerable, will HAVE to trust in the other until I am shown reason NOT TO, and communicate more with those "I" statements that Hops has to remind me of... in the process.
Success is never final, failure is never fatal.

lighter

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 One thing I learned was Codependents and and are drawn to each other.  I recognized my marriage....just overtly felt that truth.

At the same time, I see DF17 in what appears to be a classic N+Codep situation.  I sort of think she understands it, but she's indignant just now.  Just like I was when someone tried to spell it out for me.

Codependancy is mainstream.  Almost everyone suffers with it.  It's not just parents of addicts, which is what I thought it was.

It's common, particularly for women.  Watch one of the videos, which are old fashioned, SO packed with information.

This woman did some ground-breaking work, and I think we should teach this stuff in grade school and hs!

Tupp:
Yes the pipes are old, this is also an island.  Lord knows who goes into the eater, and what pipes it goes through.

Update.  I'm packed, and it was a lot of work, but much less fretting.  I made choices....didn't have to be perfect.  Usually I experience huge angst, and sweating, and struggle, but not this time.

I'm trying to be live in the eye of the storm.  Home is inside me.

I ask myself what do I need....or try to more often.

Must catch a plane.  Will text more during 12 hour layover.

Lighter


Garbanzo

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Went to a Codependents anon meeting or something like that MANY years ago. I only went once. Can't believe that I went when I was so young, I think one therapist used the word codependent on me when I was still in my early 20's that's what prompted me to go.

When I was cleaning out papers I found their manifesto a few days ago actually. I guess i kept it because it seemed like decent advice for anybody but I never look at it, went back in the box again.

Hopalong

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I found Pia Mellody's theories really exciting when I first encountered them in the 70s and still do. I'm glad you've been talking about them, Lighter, as they're coming back to me.

M is codependent and in my past, I was. I find myself taking a lot of steps to resist what I feel is his unconscious pull toward enmeshment. I do have sensitive radar for it, so if I'm not anxious but just ploddingly good at boundaries and retreat, I think we'll be okay.

For example, I stopped taking his late-evening phone calls, as I began to feel I was responsible for soothing him to relax for the night. And I just generally don't need as constant messaging and reconnecting as he does. I'm happy to have my every-other-day-off kind of pattern we've lapsed into.

If we continue as we are, though, I'll need to get used to DAILY companionship, and learning how to do that without codependent behaviors ruling the roost will be a challenge, I think.

Thanks for the reminder to revisit this stuff!

Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

Garbanzo

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Sigh, so would enmeshment be the same as non individuated.

Hopalong

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I think so, G...
the words I ponder when I get the red alert about codependence are things like fusion, merging, that kind of feeling.

Sometimes romance goes that way for those vulnerable to codependency, losing the sense of self. For me, the CoD red alert particularly is triggered by a sense that the other is offloading self-soothing onto me. IOW, do you get appealed to to help them manage overwhelming emotions, positive or negative? Do you suddenly feel that you're tending a child?

I have stronger boundaries and willingness to say No than I had when I was younger, so I'm not terrified of it now. But in the day, I'd say my codependency poisoned my chances for healthy relationships over and over. I'd get so preoccupied with someone else's needs that I'd totally sacrifice my own.

Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

Twoapenny

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I think so, G...
the words I ponder when I get the red alert about codependence are things like fusion, merging, that kind of feeling.

Sometimes romance goes that way for those vulnerable to codependency, losing the sense of self. For me, the CoD red alert particularly is triggered by a sense that the other is offloading self-soothing onto me. IOW, do you get appealed to to help them manage overwhelming emotions, positive or negative? Do you suddenly feel that you're tending a child?

I have stronger boundaries and willingness to say No than I had when I was younger, so I'm not terrified of it now. But in the day, I'd say my codependency poisoned my chances for healthy relationships over and over. I'd get so preoccupied with someone else's needs that I'd totally sacrifice my own.

Hops

That's pretty much the same for me, Hops, all of my relationships over the years, platonic or romantic (and even work related, to a certain extent) have been bound in me doing for someone else.  I think it's why I've struggled so much, because once I put a boundary in place the person vanishes and I find that rejection of 'me as I am rather than me who can run around after you' really hard to cope with.  I think it can be hard to get a balance - helping others out is an intrinsic part of being human, I feel.  But we do need to be careful who we help, how often and what we do - and perhaps it's what we do that's the most important part?  As you say, feeling like you need to parent someone is exhausting and there is a line between supporting and enabling, loving closeness and suffocating closeness and all those other things.  It's a balancing rope for us all to walk on! We're doing okay though, I think? xx

sKePTiKal

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Hops you said that very well. And Tupps is right about how hard it is find that line between caring and being empathetic - and being co-dependent instead.

I guess from where I sit at the moment, I don't want to avoid ALL situations where I'm listening to someone else's problem - Buck, for instance - and I'm being asked to care, and even maybe help defuse some intense feelings through conversation or suggest solutions. It helps a great deal, that he does the same for me too when I need it. So that's more give & take, than co-dependency, is what I'm currently thinking.

Now, if it's something that only occurs one way, say me to him and it's happening on almost a daily basis... then, that fits what I think I understand about co-dependency. Especially when that activity seems to be a primary condition for the relationship to exist or continue.

Enmeshment, I think I have to revisit definitions and examples. For the time being, my understanding is that if I no longer have my own space/identity within the relationship... then we could be said to be enmeshed. This happens a good bit in a co-dependent relationship, as I understand it, but it seems to be two separate things altogether. And then, there's the whole "two into one" or creating an "us"... which technically speaking is a lessor degree of enmeshment, but is also the lifeblood of having a relationship... and again there has to be a line somewhere between what's healthy and positive; versus something that's decidedly not good for one or both people.

It sure seems like to avoid co-dependency and associated ills, one almost has let go any romanticism. And that can't possibly be "right".

If all that's clear as mud (not you, mud!) that's because I really question my understanding of definitions, diagnosis of the issue and criteria for same, and whether or not the whole "issue" can be over-simplified and "one size fits all" INaccurately. Perhaps what is co-dependent for one person, isn't for another in a different situation. THEN, I need to know what the difference is... and why.
Success is never final, failure is never fatal.

Hopalong

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Quote
It sure seems like to avoid co-dependency and associated ills, one almost has let go any romanticism. And that can't possibly be "right".

Amber, I feel okay with occasional deep declarations of very deep feeling and/or commitment, because the romantic intensity fits that moment. Beyond that though, I prefer what I might call "light romance." I'd like it more often to be on a lighter level because if there's a kind of intense declaration daily, or always throbbing in the background, I hear the CoD sirens going off in me.

M is very prone to constant intensity, hyperbole about his feelings, hyper-romanticism and grandiose extreme declarations. I don't blame him for it (it's natural to his personality) but it's not a good guidepost for me. I tune in to what he does more than what he says, because he's so over-the-top verbally that I almost have to automatically "dilute" some of what he's saying.

I don't want to be the ultimate cosmically star-crossed lovers, though I'm loving having him to love and feeling loved back. We're heading into the more pragmatic planning period of how to merge our lives, and I think that helps too, get us more into reality-love.

He doesn't buy me flowers or do many traditionally romantic things (poor guy tried to buy me pearls, remember?). But he will unexpectedly send me a goofy dog greeting card. I admired his summer shirt (collarless, flax) a lot the other day and he ordered me two in my own size. THAT is amazing, for me. And the meals he cooks? They feels like love! Tonight it was scallops and shrimp with bok choy, broccolini, mushrooms, peppers, onions...loads of vegs because he knows I crave them, and brown rice, same. Plus a peach and rhubard compote. Drooool.

I'm definitely codependent about his cooking.

Fatly,
Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."