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Post Info TOPIC: Book Study: Codependent No More - Chapter 2


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Book Study: Codependent No More - Chapter 2
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Chapter 2: Other Stories

There are many different types of codependents and the first story is of Gerald.  Successful in school, socially, and in business, Gerald seemed to be horrible at relationships.  Shortly after college he married Rita and stayed married to her for 13 years despite the fact she didn't treat him well, was not available to him emotionally, and was hostile.  Gerald found out at the end of the marriage she was also unfaithful and involved in drugs and alcohol.

Gerald very soon after got involved with another version of Rita, but this one was a pass-out daily alcoholic.  His life consisted of trying to save her.  After terminating that relationship, he was soon in a relationship with another addict trying to save her.  In counseling Gerald admitted though he was not an alcoholic his brother was and his Dad may have been.  In the beginning of counseling, Gerald decided he was codependent.  But after a few sessions and some of his anger subsided, he decided he just had bad luck.  Is it just bad luck?

Patty was a nurse who decided to stay home to raise 3 children, the youngest had cerebal palsy.  She was a "caretaker" in all fronts of her life.  Before her children she was outgoing and had a good social life.  After her children she lost all interest in her life and hated her daily routine.  She maintained few friends and put on weight.  When she did make efforts to change her routine it was usually in the form of helping others which led to more resentments. 

Everyone seemed to think that Patty had it all together and was always in control.  But inside she was falling apart, suffering from depression for years.  "Lately I've been thinking about suicide.  Of course," she added, "I'd never actually kill myself.  Too many poeple need me.  Too many people depend on me.  I'd be letting them down.  But I'm worried.  I'm scared."  She admitted that her husband drank a lot before their marriage, but stopped cold turkey.  When he was drunk he was crazy, but when he was sober he was mean and angry.  "I don't know what's happened to him.  He's not the man I married.  What's even more frightenting is I don't know what's happening to me or who I am."  It was also revealed that Patty's father entered recovery when she was in high school and remained sober.  Prior to that, his drinking drastically affected the family.  Patty and her husband both got into recovery and her life began to improve.

Those who seek help for their issues are not the only ones who suffer from codependency, even those who counsel others can get lost in the behaviors.  Randell is such a counselor.  As a recoverying alcoholic from a family of alcoholics, Randell spent all of his  free time working about other alcholics and the problems that surround them.  His life became unmanagable.  "For many years, Randell believed his duty was to worry about people and get involved in their problems.  He called his behavior kindness, concern, love, and, sometimes, righteous indignation.  Now, after getting help for his problem, he calls it codependency."

The next story is about Marlyss who is the wife of a recovering alcoholic and mother of five.  Her entire life is about taking care of her family.  This is her sole purpose and she does not take care of herself.  She is angry and feels unappreciated, but she does everything she does based on guilt. 

Another mother, Alissa, is not affected by someone's alcohol or drug abuse, but her son's behavior.  He has gotten completely out of control and she is letting it run and ruin her life.  Trying every possible way to control him and lost control of herself.

Next is a wife, Sheryl, who is married to a sex addict.  She notices she was lost in her codependency when she went after him with a knife.  It was at that point that she realized perhaps SHE needed some help.  She had almost stopped doing everything in her life to be able to monitor him for the slightest slip.  Her husband got into recovery and so did Sheryl.

On the less intense side, there is Kristin - married with two children - with no alcoholism or addiction in her life.  Kirstin's issues was taking on other's emotions and in turn trying to control them.  She feels responsible for everyone's feelings in her life.  If they are good feelings then she is happy, if they are bad feelings she feels guilty and responsible and needs to make them feel better. 

Melody chose the previous examples to demonstrate the complexity of Codpendency.  Some people are not affected that badly and some can be very extreme.  The common thread between us is how we react to others and how it is causing us pain.

Activities:

1.  Did you identify with any people in this chapter?  What heped you think of yourself?  Which relationships did it bring to mind?  Why?
2.  You might find it helpful to buy a large notebook and record your responses to these activities.  You can also write down other thoughts and feelings you have as you read this book.



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Hi,
As written above ---("For many years, Randell believed his duty was to worry about people and get involved in their problems. He called his behavior kindness, concern, love, and, sometimes, righteous indignation. Now, after getting help for his problem, he calls it codependency.")
What an eye opener for me.
I used to "absorb " other peoples emotional problems. It were as if I believed I could take they're pain away if I were willing to feel them myself. I believed if I "carried each others burdens" I was helping. The promises of recovery were happening to me , yet I constantly felt bad.
It shocked me when I found out I was Addicted to all the different natural body chemicals that all these powerful emotions created.
I would be feeling decent, I would find someone with some wild fear, I would absorb this fear as my own, they would feel better I was left full of the wild fear. All the while believing I was doing the right thing. I was tough enough to handle it. It was how it was supposed to be. It did not matter what emotions I picked up, a new set of body drugs were released. Love, (lust), jealously, self pity,hatred, fear------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
did not matter, I was strung out those naturally occurring endorphins and adrenalin's. Everything I felt as a kid in the home, familiar
high levels. Toxic levels. That is all I knew.
Make others feel better no matter the cost to myself.
All this going on as I proceeded in recovery from booze and dope. People flocked to me to be healed. I welcomed them. They left better, I stayed very broken on a subconscious level.
25 Years into recovery I had my codependent bottom. To intense to describe here. I picked up the book ,( again ) we are studying
Codependent no more. Once again I found HOPE. Once again I felt maybe this will work for me. Once again I could see a flicker of light.
That was 7 years ago.
It got better, way better. Life saving better.
Nobody comes to be healed today. I learned some new ways to live. I am learning as I type today.
I cannot fix anybody, I cannot survive absorbing others emotional problems, I cannot survive all those body drugs at those high levels.
I do not want to be addicted to my own self invited crisis.
Enough of that.
Wayne


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I find my codependency comes in all different flavors and they are not all bad.  I can identify with each of these stories.  Being of service to, giving, and loving others is a WONDERFUL part of life and key to my happiness.  It is when these things start to hurt me or others that codependency takes on the negative connotation it engenders.  When I start to try to control and lose control of myself I need to pause and take a look at my motives, feelings, expectations and actions and correct my course.



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Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you.   ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. ~St. Francis of Assisi



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Willing, I have been reading and reading this morning and thinking to myself that we are supposed to care, give, & be of service to others. My mind kept yelling how can that be codependent? Well, as HP would have it, you answered my question in a few short words. Now I have a "boundary" to go by and that helps me keep moving through this work.

That was an old post but I guess I wasn't ready to see it until today so thanks for putting it there way back in Sept.

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biggrin  Yay!



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Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you.   ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. ~St. Francis of Assisi



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I just picked up this book and am on Chapter 10 now.  I just read half of it last week, so I am trying to absorb it all.  I can and can't relate and I am trying to identify with parts of it, while I am not the codependent housewife.  I am the married guys of a drug addicted wife, who recently sobered up.  Now that I find myself not focusing as much on her addcition and the first it caused, I am finding myself angry, frustrated and resentful.  Unfortunately, now that my wife is sober she is not only very sensitive to everything, she now is sober enought to point out every flaw I have.  I have recently discovered that I have my own "relapse" or awakening now being the codedependent.  It took me meeting new couples in our couples counceling to tell me that it's OK to not get angry about the situation.  It's very hard when no matter what I do, I can' do it right, say it right, make her look bad in her eyes (rightfully so from her view). 

 

I just found about this painkiller addiction hers in it's fullest in Sept last year.  She hid it for two years and not until she drained every penny and credit card we had, did she come clean.  She tried to get help in an out-patient program at first.  It failed, she relapsed and bought thousands more in drugs.  Then, we finally got her into a 30 in-patient rehab in a halfway house.  So, that finally helped.  Now that the fire is out, I (we) are left to pick up the pieces.  We have a 3 and 4 year old.



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Great reading even now!!!

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I identify mostly with Marlyss. I don't have children but have done things for years and years for people on both sides of my family. I pretty much burnt out and said no to completing a project when the rules changed and I was being treated like a slave (not asked to do a project, being told to do a project). Since then I've been watching what is really going on and feeling great guilt for saying no. I've seen lying, manipulation, and a total lack of respect for me, my property and my family. I let this happen because I'm afraid that I'm so unlovable and or invaluable that unless I comply the siblings will not love me and abandon me. This is a pattern that played out before in my life. This gives my siblings great power over me. Power that I feel I need to take back. But power I feel guilty for using.

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I have been taking small yet steady steps in this department. It's easy to distinguish from the support that I receive when I make efforts to be self loving, who my real friends are. It's been important for me to let go of the need for approval from selfish and unconscious people.

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I'm not sure what self loving means. I have read it means love and accept myself. Treat myself with respect. Is that what you mean?



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That feeling I get when I talk to one of my best friends who I admire so much ... I get it about myself now too.  Tempering that with humility but removing the self doubt and loathing.  I am amazing, truly.  And so are you and every other person on this planet, truly amazing.  Each of us has so much potential to be anything we wish and be part of something spectacular on a global level.  Accepting my mistakes and every other part of myself - truly - stop beating myself up and judging and moving through life in fear.  When I stop doing that to myself, I stop doing it with others and I find peace.

That overwhelming love I have for my daughter, I have for myself.  Again, once I do that for myself, I can do it for others.  I wrote a pretty heavy post last night and the whole premise, whether clear or not , was just that.  Being able to be alone and let go, look at myself in the mirror, literally love myself, be who I want to be and accept my desires, look myself in the eyes without fear or shame, and then I can do that with others.  To just be free, it starts with me.

Thank you for being here, Oaktwig.  I am really enjoying your shares.



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Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you.   ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. ~St. Francis of Assisi



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Miao and willing, I have probably read your last two posts here four times in the last several hours. Then I went and read willing's post on Acceptance and came back here. Your answers are clean and clear. Every time I read them something kind of went - "oh!". Step 2 is clearer now.



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Bump for Wondergirl.



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Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you.   ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. ~St. Francis of Assisi

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