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Codependency & Loving Too Much

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OwningItNow posted 6/8/2017 20:26 PM

Lodestar, I can relate to the desire to be liked, but it still sounds Coda. Codependents are perfectionists, overachievers, agreeable, and they very much want to be liked.

So you say your H pulls his weight, but then you say that you do not feel he does enough post-A? For example, he does not initiate? I mean, you are frustrated with R, correct?

So then, is he truly like an equal, truly just as giving and agreeable as you? If so, what explains his cheating? What made that ok to him? Doesn't sound equal to me.

In therapy speak, water seeks its own level. If you indeed have low self-esteem or are codependent, he would have to be the yin to your yang. He would have to be a bit selfish or full of himself or more of a taker if you are a giver, because unhealthy finds a home with unhealthy. So how does that truly jive with you guys as equals? In your desire to be agreeable and liked, might you be giving him more credit than he deserves?

I thought my H was a great guy for many years and did not know why I was so depressed. A therapist once challenged that notion, so I didn't go back to her. I was not ready to see my H honestly. My family FOO was always that I was demanding, difficult, and a problem child--even though I was straight As, never in trouble, a hard worker and a great mom. They played that angle with my H too, telling him he was "awesome, and Owning is so difficult!" so I had no support from them. Ever. It took a new IC for me to realize that I was protecting my H, unwilling to admit that he helped like a good child, not like a partner. And I needed a partner. Once I stopped protecting him and my mom, my depression lifted. The truth set me free, honestly.

Lodestar posted 6/8/2017 23:42 PM

Owning, I agree that there are some characteristics that fit. When I was going through the lists, quite a bit of it struck home.

Yet, a part of me thinks it is quite 'normal'. Normal for moms to cook and plan outings and be 'responsible'. There are things I never forced my H to do as I knew how much he disliked them - going grocery shopping for example. But it was never a problem for me as I actually enjoyed it. The same with planning trips. I always took responsibility for planning any trips we went on. But that's because I truly love to travel. Above all else. And we have travelled extensively. And I have never minded doing the planning. I sometimes dreamed we could do all this together, that it would be like a shared passion. But I realised I cannot force someone to share my passion for travel planning. He loves travelling, but hates the preparation (looking up places to go, how to get from a to b, booking and comparing hotels, etc). This is my thing. So I decided early on not to demand those things of him.

As for post-A, I agree that it is me who has taken initiative. And I have tried to stop now. But the thing is that due to language skills he is just not able to read or participate in SI, etc. Add to that people's different problem solving tactics. I am a reader, an analyser. He is a runner, an escaper. I have realised I can make him do a number of things, but it doesn't really mean much if it is forced. And if he doesn't really take in what he has read. I honestly think he just does not know what to do. He has never really dealt with his emotions. Never truly expressed them. Never analysed them. He discussed that with his IC, who explained that it all takes time and he cannot assume to be able to do everything he never has in just a few weeks. They are working on that.

I think I have partially adopted the view that I should stop leading the R to see what his idea of R is. I should stop leading to let him lead us where and how he wants to see if it suits me. But it is hard. Hard to trust him that he will go in the right direction. Hard to trust him that he can do that without my 'help'. It's hard matching it with the therapists' and also SI's view that you need to be clear in telling them what you need and want. How do you stay away while still telling them what you need?

I have said I need him to share his thoughts with me. To take initiative. To listen without getting defensive. To think and analyse outside IC as well. To show me that he thinks of me. That he puts me first. To do the work himself. But these are mostly very vague 'demands' and he still struggles with the 'how' or doing those things.

So I am sitting and waiting. And making an IC appointment for myself.

OwningItNow posted 6/9/2017 07:02 AM

But it is hard. Hard to trust him that he will go in the right direction. Hard to trust him that he can do that without my 'help'.

omg, yes. It is very hard to give up the control and to face people as they are, which has been quite disappointing to me. Turns out I was accepting very little from most people I know, and it hurt to see that. BUT as I worked on me, I realized that it had nothing to do with my worth; they are selfish with everyone! It was never about me and I didn't let it be.

You are younger than me, but your marital dynamic is very similar. It is tempting to let things continue just to keep the peace and get through life, but eventually a giver (codependent) and taker (selfish, narcissist, conflict avoidant, or abuser) will face a crisis. Why?

1. The giver becomes too exhausted, depressed, or stressed. Or maybe they get sick. But the giving stops.
2. Or the taker uses their avoidance methods to start an A, develop an addiction, or become a workaholic. They simply over-take and cause pain.

The giver implodes
Or the taker explodes.

This is where you are at, the crisis.

There is really only one path for you at this exact moment: turn your efforts to understanding, healing, and loving yourself. Do not think about your H or the marriage for now. Be selfish. Any extra energy is for you and your kids only!

If you want to research, research your own thoughts and issues, needs and insecurities.
If you want to read, read about healing yourself or loving yourself, working through abandonment or being happy on your own.
If you want to plan something, do it for you and the kids, for an hour or a day.
Focus. On. You.

If you can't, if you say that you SO enjoy family time, if you say you enjoy being with your H, my answer would be, "Why does it have to be either/or? Why is it so hard for you to enjoy time spent on you and with you? What is wrong with this time in your life being about you?" If it feels awkward? Anything uncomfortable for us is a place to shine a light! We need to see why we are uncomfortable!

There is no downside to putting the focus on you for a while and taking the pressure off your M and your H. As everyone says here at SI, we heal ourselves. So work on that.

realitybites posted 6/10/2017 08:00 AM

I thought my H was a great guy for many years and did not know why I was so depressed. A therapist once challenged that notion, so I didn't go back to her. I was not ready to see my H honestly. My family FOO was always that I was demanding, difficult, and a problem child--even though I was straight As, never in trouble, a hard worker and a great mom. They played that angle with my H too, telling him he was "awesome, and Owning is so difficult!" so I had no support from them. Ever. It took a new IC for me to realize that I was protecting my H, unwilling to admit that he helped like a good child, not like a partner. And I needed a partner. Once I stopped protecting him and my mom, my depression lifted. The truth set me free, honestly.

So many really good posts lately, I highlighted just part of the above as this was SO me as well! I can remember my IC at the time saying something similar, pointing out to me that I might want to see my H in a different light then what I thought he was, like the above poster I just did not want to hear it, I thought "this guy does not know us at all" and I had a very hard time accepting what he was saying. I felt I was there about JUST the A and I needed some help for us to "move on" from it. When I think back on it now I understand how really weird that whole line of thinking is because I now realize that someone who is having an A is really just a person who has many other issues and the A is just the tip of the iceberg. All of his actions that lead up to him thinking the A was OK is what I needed to accept and see, not just the A.

And yes, I too protected my H too much. I wanted him to be a great guy, I wanted him to be a good dad, I wanted him to love his life with us and with his family. But every time he did something selfish, just for him and about him, it ate away at my sense of safety. That one is hard to accept as well, because we are working so hard to control everything, make it nice, make it easier that we don't see that we are setting ourselves up for failure with a partner who is selfish and conflict avoidant.

Every time you say that your H "just can't do it, or it is easier for you then him, or hard for him to understand" are huge red flags that your relationship is very imbalanced. And believe it or not, with how smart I know you probably are, he has slowly set this whole thing up for you to do it all and so that he does not have to....he KNOWS he is not good enough, he KNOWS that he might look bad if he tries to do what you do, so it is EASIER for him if you do it and then he goes along for the ride.

I also agree with the other poster that it ends in an implosion, whether it is the BS that freaks out and has anger issues or is just exhausted or a WS who decides that they deserve an A (oh while still staying in the marriage where the BS does everything to make a cushy life) because you are not a fun person any more. Crisis mode.

There is so much more to an A then what we first want to see or accept. Absolutely the A is the fault of the WS and if they want to stay in the marriage they need to work on why they felt it was OK to do this to the person they profess to love. However on the flip side you have a BS who is shocked, hurt, confused, has been the very best at taking care of the home and the kids and the bills and yet has protected a WS who did not deserve it and it led to the marriage imploding.

MissesJai posted 6/12/2017 10:28 AM

In therapy speak, water seeks its own level. If you indeed have low self-esteem or are codependent, he would have to be the yin to your yang. He would have to be a bit selfish or full of himself or more of a taker if you are a giver, because unhealthy finds a home with unhealthy. So how does that truly jive with you guys as equals? In your desire to be agreeable and liked, might you be giving him more credit than he deserves?
I can say without question that this was true for me and STBX. Once I started getting healthy, everything began to change.
I thought my H was a great guy for many years and did not know why I was so depressed. A therapist once challenged that notion, so I didn't go back to her. I was not ready to see my H honestly. My family FOO was always that I was demanding, difficult, and a problem child--even though I was straight As, never in trouble, a hard worker and a great mom. They played that angle with my H too, telling him he was "awesome, and Owning is so difficult!" so I had no support from them. Ever. It took a new IC for me to realize that I was protecting my H, unwilling to admit that he helped like a good child, not like a partner. And I needed a partner. Once I stopped protecting him and my mom, my depression lifted. The truth set me free, honestly.
OMG I am over here nodding like crazy at this!!!! This is so spot on...

tessthemess posted 6/25/2017 23:19 PM

I've been home less than a week now. Daily, I catch myself worrying about making him comfortable. Not at a detriment to me, but sometimes it's sacrificial. I'm seeking out an IC for myself, this scares me. How is it so ingrained?! I am handling conflict better than ever before but conceding day to day normalcy, letting him make the decisions... I will be the ruin of me.

delilah2016 posted 6/27/2017 07:51 AM

Tess,

A good book I can recommend is Loving the Self Affirmations by Lisa A Romano. It has 60 short daily reflections to keep on track taking care of yourself first.

One of my favorites is Day 1

Codependents don't feel comfortable telling the truth. Because we have been programmed to worry more about others than ourselves, we often deny self and in doing so, lie to ourselves and others about who we are and what we need. Today I will practice being honest--at least with myself. I will not allow myself to say yes when I mean no or no when I mean yes. I can tell the truth--I can nurture self--I can be good to me. I am worthy--I am good--I am enough.

theakronborg posted 6/29/2017 14:57 PM

A friend suggested I may be Co-D. I do see myself as Owning it describes:

perfectionists, overachievers, agreeable, and they very much want to be liked.
But I think I recoil a bit from the "label" because I have some preconceived
(negative) notions about it. After doing some reading, I can see I may have been coda in the past, but at least in the M, I have stopped, especially since dday.

Anyway, I remember a few months ago WH suggested that he may be Coda. Again, I recoiled, because of preconceptions. I thought, I am too kind and empathetic for anyone to be codependent on. I am not alcoholic, abusive, controlling. Then today I read a very interesting blog post that gave a very different perspective about codependents. This in particular sounded so much like WH:

A codependent person—although it may appear that they are over-conscious and over-aware of others—in reality are only conscious of their own role in other's lives and not with the actual other person themselves. They only need to pre-occupy themselves with other's emotional well-being and feelings to see what their own status is to that other person, and how they fit in that person's life. Although the experts seem to claim that a codependent person is overly involved in other's moods, feelings, and emotional being, they actually are more astute to another's moods, feelings, and emotions only when it directly relates back to themselves so that they may analyze the role they play in that person's life. Many codependents have an intense need for acceptance and validation of who they are. They can be more selfish and self-involved then fiercely independent people are, as they are so engrossed in the role they play in other people's lives that they become obsessed with others' moods and well-being only as it relates to themselves.

It sounds a little like "blame the victim" but OTOH, it also describes WH very well.

ETA: This made me do some more looking. I found the CODA "patterns and characteristics" pdf, and I couldn't believe how many of them fit WH. Yet, most of the literature on coda links co-d to a relationship with a very unhealthy person. It is crazy-making to me. Like my self-esteem isn't already low, not I'm worried that I'm really a horrible person?

Assuming I'm not actually a horrible person and that coda is part of WH's brokenness, is there anything I can do about it (or is that co-d???)

[This message edited by theakronborg at 4:00 PM, June 29th (Thursday)]

onlytime posted 7/2/2017 07:55 AM

@theakronborg

You talked about "labels" and preconceived notions, and I get that it's hard not to recoil when we first hear words like "codependent" or "emotional manipulator" or whatever. I've done it myself in the past.

One thing I've learned over the past few years is that if we just accept all of the negative preconceived notions that come with the "labels" then of course we will beat ourselves up, but, if we use those "labels" as opportunities to learn and grow, great healing and transformation can occur.

I believe it was in the original Codependency thread that I discussed how FWH and I had each been both codependent and emotionally manipulative at various points in our M. When he was in the midst of his alcoholism I was intensely codependent, and when my BPD/C-PTSD were unmanaged or I was deep into my gambling addiction, he was codependent. It was quite the dance.

It was learning about the "labels" - the codependency, the addictions and the mental health issues - that allowed healing to occur. It was really looking at the dynamics, the behaviors, and at the roots of it all that helped to bring about transformation.

Facing all of those "labels" can be hard at first, and we often slip backward with shame before we can move forward, but, if we can learn to be compassionate with ourselves, to accept that we are human and imperfect, and if we can be honest with ourselves, we have such incredible opportunities for growth and healing to occur.

most of the literature on coda links co-d to a relationship with a very unhealthy person. It is crazy-making to me. Like my self-esteem isn't already low, not I'm worried that I'm really a horrible person?

Are your own feelings about yourself affecting your perception? What if you read the literature from a different perspective?


sunwillrise posted 7/10/2017 14:22 PM

I am sadly a MH. I just started reading all this information on Co-dependency. Which scares me because it fits me to a tee. I went for my first IC session today and the woman put so many more thoughts in my head that I just can't deal right now. I need help but don't know where to go. I feel like things are dark and are never going to get better. The hurt never goes away and some days I am just to tired to fight through it.

onlytime posted 7/10/2017 16:18 PM

@sunwillrise

I understand it can be pretty hard to start facing things about ourselves. It's pretty scary actually, and can be overwhelming if we let it. So I hope you will take a deep breath and try to be patient and compassionate with yourself.

What in particular scares you about codependency?

What things discussed in IC do you feel you can't deal with?

I understand the hurt and the darkness very well. Because of my mental illnesses I have fought against those feelings for most of my life. I promise you the darkness and hurt will NOT last forever. It seems like it right now, but it will get better with time and healing.

You are not alone.

sunwillrise posted 7/10/2017 16:45 PM

My situation is unusual. Being a MH sucks because it hurts every which way. But this therapist began to put thoughts in my head that were never there before. My H is a MH too now. but he travels and cant find work here. He can be gone for months at a time. She said he probably does it because he is a work a holic and prefers that. Then she said men have needs and statistics show he probably is fufulling those needs when he is away. I get statistics but she doesnt know him. She even said maybe he is sabbotoging interviews. I left there with my head spinning. I dont know what to think now. I just never thought he would ever do those things.

sunwillrise posted 7/10/2017 20:01 PM

And thank you for the kind words. You sound like you have become stronger. I hope I get there someday.

realitybites posted 7/12/2017 07:52 AM

Its very hard when one first goes to IC, if you get a good one then they have a way of making those difficult times a little easier to absorb into our brains.

So I don't know this IC, I would suggest going maybe 1 or 2 more times to see if it starts to help, I would also let this person know how you felt afterwards, if they can explain it and help you then that is good. If this continues and you don't get any help then it would be time to change to another IC.

The fear so many have of going to IC is hearing what we deep down inside don't want to hear. I personally feel finding a good IC is like finding a great doctor, working on yourself is a good thing, whether you are Co-Dep a little or a lot or what habits lead us to do what we do it will make you a much better person going forward.

Take what works here and leave the rest, keep posting and keep reading. It is a lot to take in all at once. Small baby steps.

Merida posted 7/30/2017 04:54 AM

yes I have had to swap a few ICs along this journey. I have found benefit from selecting a therapist and/or coach sometimes based on tools and skills I wanted to learn and therefore were not always embodied in one therapist. To be fair, processing through infidelity and recovery work is first the whole heal from the shattering trauma surrounding the discovery of the betrayal. Then after support and stability through EMDR etc. I got to the internal work and how to truly heal so I won't continue to have a "bad picker". I have to learn to trust myself again and that is hard for me as so much of reality wasn't "what I thought" it was and than had to juggle raising kids to be emotionally integrated and healthy in the aftermath alongside raising my own awareness and changing habits etc.

So as I am now working to "walk without crutches" after said horrific trauma is years out from D-day (although in some ways ongoing but that is for another day), I hope this .pdf is readable. If not I can probably cut and paste all pages as posts so please let me know

IMO, the heart of co-D is pointing the finger out at the world as a victim and not back at the real basis for creating change

And since we cannot ever force someone else to do what we want them to do for us, why would I drive myself mad with a victim mindset?

Yep I was broken by this mess. I want to heal so that work is on me to do. I am open to pain that leads to growth and positive change since suffering is optional. I don't mind sore muscles if at the end of the day I am stronger as a result

so the author is Katherine Woodward Thomas

"Evolving Beyond Your Source Fractures"

http://api.ning.com/files/yuRuDW9tOZLTT3eJrCU7rm3sxMpwMGRBXWOdGmbJzXMxgwO17fyjmHjXle9qC5T9DeiRQ25*jN43b2NI-jyzGQvW1nne*0k-/2017CUCTSourceFractureStoryMatrix170711c.pdf

delilah2016 posted 8/11/2017 05:46 AM

I need a new IC QUICK!! Mine moved offices but I was doing better for a while, so I though i'd be ok.....I'm slipping and it's coming on fast and furious!

There is an issues at work that has NOTHING to do with me, but I'm the only "take charge aka co-dependent aka people pleaser" that cares enough to take it over, but I've already done this with so many issues (taking more than my share of the responsibility) that I CAN'T do it anymore.

I'm taking the day off (to avoid the event that I refuse to take responsibility for) but my fWH, with narc tendencies, works from home on Fridays and if I tell him, it will be all about him and he will not give me a minute peace all day.

Sooooo, fWH things I'm going to work, but really I'm going to an awesome donut shop, to a lake with my stack of books on narc mothers and codependency. Then I'm going to see Girls Trip, then back to the lake to read some more, then I will come home after a "hard" day at work.

I'm such a liar and avoider. Get me an IC quick!!!!

PS. I'm really ok, but I see these things in me now that definitely need to be fixed and it's awful that for so many years, I thought I was "normal"???? YIKES!

[This message edited by delilah2016 at 5:50 AM, August 11th (Friday)]

happyplace posted 8/17/2017 15:37 PM

Any advice on a codependent that is so damaged and is afraid to say no to anything? Even sexually I feel like I'll do whatever he wants so I am " better" than her? I'm so so damaged. I can see it now but all I do is continue to spiral!! I wish I was stronger

MovingToHealing posted 8/23/2017 17:03 PM

I am slowly learning that there was a lot of codependency in my marriage. I would never have even considered it, but my IC has been gently pushing. Pushing me to reevaluate who my WH really was during our marriage, how I acted with regards to him, etc.

I always knew my WH had problems. He's been dysthymic (chronically depressed) with severe depressive episodes since puberty. It made him hard to live with at times, but I always thought of us as a team fighting the darkness within him. Now I'm seeing that it was really just me fighting it. It was me always trying to smooth the way for him, doing my best to keep disappointments from his life, because I knew they could set off a depressive episode. It was horrible to see him feeling hopeless all the time, so I would fix whatever I actually could control in our lives. If he lost his job, I'd update his resume and start applying to jobs in his name (because I knew he would be disappointed if he didn't get the job, would feel down about the number of jobs he had to apply to, etc. I recognize how messed up this is now).

When we finally found a counselor who was truly interested in helping him solve his depression, who got him an appointment with a nationally-renowed psychiatrist who deals with complicated case, who got him into an experimental study at a university one state away, he shut down and refused to try anything else. We were finally getting some answers, finally making headway into defeating the beast that had drained the life from him for so many years, and he ran. Ran into the arms of a damaged teenage coworker who lives with her grandmother, without a single glance back (claiming, btw, that his depression is magically cured by being with her, HAHAHAHAHA). My life has been so tied up by, so DEFINED by his depression for so long. 10 years of marriage, 12 since we started dating in high school.

We were each other's first boyfriend/girlfriend, first kiss, first everything. I let my life get so wrapped around him, and helping him, that I didn't realize how dysfunctional we were in a lot of ways. I know we were best friends. I don't doubt that he loved me. We faced some very hard times together. He always had such empathy and compassion for anyone hurting (more than me, actually, heh). It is hard to imagine that the man he was, the man I always thought he was, could have simply thrown us (we have a 2 year old daughter) to the curb. Now I'm seeing that his MO has always been to run. Fail a college class? Withdrawal from them all. Not making a quota at work? Quit during lunch break. First anti-depressant doesn't work? Refuse to try any more. And I... I always supported him. Even when I thought it was the wrong move. Sometimes I would push a little, but really, I was just trying to smooth things out.

Sorry this was so long and rambling, I'm just thinking through a lot. Right now my focus is mostly on fixing my incorrect image of my husband, but I'm also doing some reading on codependency, because I think I'm going to need a true image of myself to see either of us correctly.

waitingwife posted 9/5/2017 10:21 AM

I have been struggling with codependency recovery for a year or so now. Reading a lot about it and slowly getting more self esteem and bravery to speak the truth, set boundaries, say no. Every time I need to communicate to my husband (BS) I am filled with so much fear, and generally he goes straight to defensiveness and victimhood and he doesn't really listen to me.

We are so far from D-Day but he still triggers daily, or distances himself for a few days at a time. I am so sensitive to his moods that I develop so much anxiety about how to deal with it. He says I don't see how hard he works to control his anger. But I feel he will never trust me again, and I'm not sure I can emotionally trust him. He refuses individual counseling and we make limited progress in MC once every three weeks. He said he would agree to IC for the past year but has never done it. I even gave an ultimatum that I would leave him unless he went to IC and now don't yet have the strength to follow through with it.

I alternate in my mind between figuring out whether he is still emotionally abusing me (passive-aggression, veiled insults, general button pushing and passivity) or whether I am "over-sensitive" and as he says "just want to be mad at him". It's insanity. :( I so identify with you, lodestar on all the things you mentioned.

Working on being patient with myself, I am doing the right things and need to give myself time to continue to express my needs, in a sense give up on him meeting them, and get the courage to do what I need to do in my heart without trying to control him.

realitybites posted 10/1/2017 07:57 AM

Now I'm seeing that it was really just me fighting it. It was me always trying to smooth the way for him, doing my best to keep disappointments from his life, because I knew they could set off a depressive episode. It was horrible to see him feeling hopeless all the time, so I would fix whatever I actually could control in our lives.

When infidelity happens in our lives it is such a shit storm of huge sweeping emotions and it takes a super human effort to finally sit down and start to find a way to help ourselves. But to help ourselves we have to sit down with some very hard and scary thoughts.

Let me first very strongly say that infidelity is NOT your fault, at all. However, part of learning to GET OUT of infidelity is learning how a BS "might" have been enabling a WS to stay very selfish and immature and NOT learn to take responsibility for their own issues.

Let me also say that part of the Co-Dep problem is we are attracted to someone who seems to need us, my WS is the KING of this.... he would tell me how "It was easier if I took care of something, whatever it was we needed to have taken care of, because I was smarter, or I could do it faster or it was easier for me." I would take it as a complement at first, I would also do it as a loving gesture as I wanted to "help" however I could, I mean isn't that what loving someone is all about? You help someone when they are down or they ask for help.

However I never knew that it would go on for the rest of our relationship, so when you love someone you just keep doing things, but like water torture it now gets to be too much, you can feel it, you don't like it, you try to get them now to take on their own responsibilities, BUT now add in the anger and the defensiveness if you now start to push back a little and NOT do things for them... you are tired, you now probably have kids at this point, you are running on all cylinders and exhausted.... and then they decide that you deserve to be punished, they want attention from someone else, they blame you that you did not give them enough attention and they have an Affair. All while blaming you and saying you don't do enough so you find yourself rushing around trying to be a much better partner for them, you kill yourself to make them see that you can love them enough...you are SO sorry and they make you believe that it is YOUR fault.

And you stay with them because you think you love them, I mean you have done everything for them and the family and the home and you so badly don't want to give it up.

If any of this sounds familiar then you are a Co-Dep. I had to realize I was one. A very capable, successful, hard working wonderful woman....except for who I chose to love. I give WAY too much and allowed him to hide behind what I could do for him, he slowly trained me to be this way and I thought it was how you loved someone. I did not know any better, I was a good person and I believed in marriage and my family.

It was and is a painful pill to swallow.

The A is not your fault, however the marriage you now live in and the give and take aspect of it has to change. Both partners would have to change and to get a WS to work on themselves and to see what they have done is very difficult to do. They won't like it that you start speaking up for yourself or you learn to say NO. They liked having you there to do everything, to take you for granted, so it is not an easy dynamic to change.

[This message edited by realitybites at 8:05 AM, October 1st (Sunday)]

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