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Codependency & Loving Too Much

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onlytime posted 3/25/2017 10:05 AM

how is everyone doing?

It's funny (but not in a haha kind of way), I pushed to get this thread into the ICR forum, posted all the stuff from the thread in General and then pretty much bailed.

I have followed the posts here, I keep wanting to respond, but then I can't find my words. It's like my brain just freezes.

BetterFuture13 thinks I have been trying so hard to get better that I have overloaded myself with information and overwhelmed my brain. I think he may be right.

I feel like I overcame my codependency with him, but it is still very much a part of my relationships with my adult children. Still work to be done there. I am starting to say no to some things now, but it is hard.

I will be back to expand on things in a bit.

OwningItNow posted 3/25/2017 18:03 PM

Hello, I was officially introduced to my codependency by my first therapist . . . 25 years ago! Yep, I am still codependent. I have been recovering with different people and in different ways over all that time. It has not been linear at all.

My H also seems codependent, and as we talked recently, I asked him a few questions about himself. He could not answer them, so I will ask you.

Is it possible to be both codependent and narcissistic, alternating between giving too much in certain ways or with certain people and then thinking and behaving selfishly at other times and with other people because you are 'owed'?

I feel that this is my H's personality, and I asked him if he agreed. He wasn't sure. Is this a real phenomenon or possibility, or can you not truly be both? Does anyone else know someone with this type of personality where they cannot do enough for you but only because they want certain things for themselves? Or are selfish at times by not caring about this issue or taking advantage in that way, but then in another area they can be very helpful, especially if they feel you are actually upset? My H has two settings: selfish, oblivious ass (65%) or "OMG, let me help you!" nice guy (35%). Is this just a classic case of manipulation and not real codependency at all? Or is it actually a real codependency issue? Is he ONLY selfish because he has no clue how to genuinely get his needs met?

I am drowning in my codependency by just writing this out and analyzing him to death. Let me tell you, he never thought about our conversation again after the other day, so how codependent can be be? Nobody is as codependent as me, so I am not a good judge.

Thank you!

onlytime posted 3/25/2017 19:43 PM

Is this a real phenomenon or possibility, or can you not truly be both?

Yes, it is possible.

I have a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder, which is classified as one of the "emotional manipulator" disorders in the "Human Magnet Syndrome" book, but I also have a lengthy history of codependency as well.

I am still trying to figure out the root of both for myself.

My FWH has been both at various points throughout our M too.

MissesJai posted 3/25/2017 22:41 PM

Nobody is as codependent as me
wanna bet??

tessthemess posted 3/25/2017 22:57 PM

OMG. Onlytime, the post you made about the human magnet syndrome. I see it now. 3 of the last four relationships including to my current WH. He is the emotional manipulator, I am the codependent. Recently as a result of the A I am reneging on my role and today it caused a huge rift with him. He actually began begging me to listen to him defending a negative reaction and I wasn't going to let him yell at me. Every time he tried I went to the car. He knows I'm not feeling the marriage so strongly right now, I think this was partially the cause of his mood today. Thankfully some alcohol and a nice visit with friends diffused the situation.

I don't know if we really are going to last, if he can't become healthier with his emotions.

tessthemess posted 3/26/2017 12:47 PM

These are my thoughts today:

Codependents love too much. Give too much, but then feel resentful and indignant and the emotions wane but the behaviors persist. Then the emotional manipulator manipulates and the emotions rise again and the cycle persists until one of us gets off.

We have always viewed ourselves as generous, virtuous, loving, abused, victimized. But we allowed ourselves to be in that situation. We verbally may have not agreed and mentally but in a way we consented to the abuse by not setting up boundaries. If it is consented how can we be truly victims of abuse? Did our behavior not make us abusers to ourself? Or even to the emotional manipulator who might have felt obligated to stay out of guilt (because he/she is so nice) but felt resentment and anger?

The more I learn about codependency the more I relinquish the belief that he was worse than I was. The more I accept responsibility for my role. And the more I agree that even though my behaviors demonstrated the act of love it wasn't loving, and I was just as manipulative. I would remember crying in my bedroom wishing for a way out, but then taking a deep breath and thinking "no. You can fix this. Apologize and take it because it will make him calm down. Give him a blowjob and make him his favorite dinner. Things will be calmer and then he will apologize for his shitty behavior. "

That's manipulation too. I wasn't forced to act that way. I acted that way because I knew how he would react to it. I knew he'd feel bad about how he behaved after. I acted loving to get a result, not because I loved him. And it is subversive. I come out looking better. He can be labeled an asshole. And I get to be seen as the wonderful wife.

I'm behaving differently now and it's hard on him. He is also behaving differently but he doesn't understand how I behaved wrong. He just sees how he did. What he did was obvious. He cheated. He yelled. He called me names. But when I voice what I am guilty of he doesn't really get it. He knows I wasn't the sweet person but he also doesn't know how to explain it, and he gets offended when I say I was codependent because he thinks it paints him in a negative way.

And part of me wants to keep my realizations secret from him, because I don't want him to use it against me in the future.

But the truth is there might not be a future. And while codependent I refused to let that be an option. Now I express options. And personal responsibility. And I am trying hard to not manipulate when I see him slipping into his old role. I won't coddle him to health again. He cried in hopelessness last night but I did not change my position. I said and repeated that I will be open to talk when he talks to me respectfully.
This morning I asked if he wanted to talk. He declined and said that wouldn't work out for him. I told him I was sorry he felt that way but so long as he speaks respectfully I would absolutely love to listen.
We have MC tomorrow. I suspect it will be helpful, especially if he continues to feel this way. This is not manipulation from me. This for the first time is an honest demonstration of care. For both of us.

[This message edited by tessthemess at 1:08 PM, March 26th (Sunday)]

OwningItNow posted 3/26/2017 12:56 PM

I would remember crying in my bedroom wishing for a way out, but then taking a deep breath and thinking "no. You can fix this. Apologize and take it because it will make him calm down. Give him a blowjob and make him his favorite dinner. Things will be calmer and then he will apologize for his shitty behavior."

That sums up my entire marriage. I never had to take the same crap as you; my husband dished out different crap (forgetfulness, irresponsibility, bills not paid, chores not done, money not earned). But I pushed my own emotions down and made nice to keep the happy family intact. Until I was depressed and suicidal and literally unable to function.

My inability to live authentically makes me just as responsible for the state of the marriage as his inability to stop being so self-serving. Why would he protect me if I refused to protect myself? I left the front door wide open and whistled for the boogeymen in my life to "Come on in!"

dass posted 3/26/2017 15:23 PM

I love what ONLYTIME posted here, copied and pasted to word and printed off. Good stuff, true stuff. Guess I have some deep thinking to do.

Always thought of myself as independent, as does everyone around me. Most people describe me as the salt of the earth, genuine, sincere, having grace and loves unconditionally.

However with my childhood history, and many of these characteristics, it appears I do love too much and am - in reality - co-dependent and desperate to have a normal loving relationship.

Amazing. I learned something after 60.

OwningItNow posted 3/26/2017 22:37 PM

dass, codependent people are frequently capable, strong people who love to take care of things and help people out. People love us!

What are we not good at?
Saying No.
Being selfish when it's best for us.
Realizing we are being manipulated.
Drawing boundaries with others.
Letting people down.
Taking care of ourselves.
Saving energy for ourselves.
Protecting ourselves from users.
Not feeling guilty about literally everything.
Choosing healthy partners.
Accepting help.
Saving energy for ourselves.
Just being.

Others don't see the damage we do because we do it to ourselves.

Saddad44 posted 3/26/2017 23:04 PM

After reading the lists at the top of this thread, it basically describes me to a T. Ugh.

How do you overcome this, particularly in a long term marriage that was toxic from the start. I feel stuck. Pressured from my parents and others to 'stick it out.' All I want to do is run.

I am horrified of two basic things:

1. Dying along, being unlovable by anyone else
2. Raising my kid in a broken home

I am so damn lost. To the point of (as described in this thread) taking medicine I probably don't need to numb myself (xanax and klonopin) from the pain.

I did read a lot about this after I found it. Most subject material appears to be geared towards women. I guess men are less likely to suffer from this. But obviously it happens. That list is scarily accurate about me. Always has been. Giving friends money, free places to stay, helping people to a fault, and so on.

Where do I start? I have been this way my entire life and don't k ow how to change. I have jumped from relationship to relationship before getting married. Now after we had our 'incident' of both cheating - I'm lost.


tessthemess posted 3/27/2017 16:16 PM

He is having a hard time with my newfound methods. Last night he tried to use my line "own your shit" against me in a bullshit example (we were playing the iPad game Hearthstone and I pressed Play instead of challenging him, which connected me to a random user and I signed out of the game for a minute so I could get to playing with him instead of conceding defeat) and he accused me of not taking responsibility for my mistake. Then branched it into a bigger picture issue of this being an issue with me as well, and then said "one day you'll realize what you are doing to me and you'll apologize SO hard". Beyond the fact that this was so trivial and also not relevant to consequences because my consequence was that I couldn't play the game for a minute, and that he always argues timing as an issue when I want to discuss things with him and that this issue was introduced in the midst of us playing a stupid iPad app, but that he assumed that I was doing something to him by being assertive and having boundaries.

So anyway, I asserted my boundary with that. Consequences? I stopped playing the game with him. I left the room and took a shower to cool off. He lost his shit and said how dare I leave when he is trying to voice a concern, look what I'm doing to us. I didn't engage, took deep breaths, took my shower. We have our MC appointment in 45 minutes and I'm going to address it there. I am done with him blaming me for his reactions. He owns them. I can only own mine.

This morning he woke me up and told me I sleep like an angel. His entire demeanor was loving. More manipulation. Trying to rug sweep. I'm through with pretending that this is okay. It's okay when I'm respected. Not just because I want to move on. I don't want to move on anymore. I want a real healthy relationship and this is not it.

I take partial responsibility for that, because this toxicity has persisted for over a decade and now it's the only thing we know, but I am working to correct it and it will take some effort. But he will need to accept that I'm no longer willing to accept it and his education into a healthy marriage will not be easy on him. He is too used to the balance being in his favour and being allowed to be disrespectful. I know he is capable of being a good, sweet man. I take responsibility for influencing this negative personality.

ChamomileTea posted 3/27/2017 18:08 PM


Where do I start? I have been this way my entire life and don't k ow how to change. I have jumped from relationship to relationship before getting married. Now after we had our 'incident' of both cheating - I'm lost.

You might add a copy of No More Mr. Nice Guy by Robert Glover to your reading list. It really does kind of deal with the same issues and it seems a bit more targeted toward men.

If memory serves, there's a free pdf download searchable on the internet. Not sure about that though. I ordered mine for the kindle app.

The concepts are very similar to Melody Beattie's Codependent No More, both books emphasize establishing boundaries and self development.

OwningItNow posted 3/27/2017 18:57 PM

tessthemess, is your WH a narcissist? Because that is 100% the behavior of a narcissist. Codependents with narcissists are like peanut butter with jelly. I have been with two NPDs and two others who were strongly narcissistic (my H).

You can find your center and control you and be level. You CAN! But with narcissists, they will never learn and never stop acting this way. Can you tolerate that? There is no "he gets it" with a narcissist, and honestly, they get sick of YOU acting healthy! They lash out! And they discard and move on.

Are you prepared for this?
You will be better off, but that does not mean you're ready.

tessthemess posted 3/27/2017 21:25 PM

Owningitnow: I don't think he has NPD. I do think he has narcissistic tendencies. He is pretty self deprecating in his non family life and he has been quite remorseful regarding the A itself. But our unhealthy relationship pre affair lent itself to himself feeling he was better than me and I think there are residual elements of that still.

I am willing to walk away from the marriage if he does not change by the fall or if he crosses one too many boundaries before that. I am willing to lose this marriage and I never was before. A healthy relationship is more worth it to me than an intact family. But I'm still currently willing to see if he can improve. He has made changes since the A which are encouraging. His relationship to our children is a huge change and he nags me very little now. I take more for me now too. Our dynamic has shifted believe it ornot. But it's still not balanced. I'm keeping tabs though. Every time he pulls something I detach more, my boundaries stiffen. I don't take the shit. I sleep in another room. This is new for him. So we will see whether he gets it soon or whether he let's it blow up on him. Because we both deserve a healthy relationship and it might just be that we can't have it together.

delilah2016 posted 4/14/2017 16:56 PM

Went to the doctor today and realized two more situations that show how much my codependency affects me.

1. While I'm driving I always thinking about the people behind me. I'm a pretty defensive driver and when someone is behind me, I'm always thinking about if they're mad at me for not pulling out sooner or are they mad at me for whatever I'm doing.

2. I have some health issues and when I go to the doctor I feel bad for the doctor that I'm not taking better care of myself. I feel because he has to give me bad news. I had a knee problem that he warned me about and when it happened I felt horrible for him that what he predicted came true and he had to tell me.

Those may not make sense, but to get to the point, I even care more about what strangers and people I pay think of me......

OwningItNow posted 4/15/2017 11:48 AM


I always, always, always consider how my actions impact other people--drivers, doctors, cashiers, clerks, waitresses, parents, teachers, coaches, neighbors, etc.

I try to act responsibly wherever others are concerned.
I . . .
drive the speed of traffic or move over.
show up to appointments on time.
do not cancel appointments.
pay my bills on time.
have patience.
offer to let others go next.
smile at people.
do not ask for food to be made in a special way.
clean up after myself.
keep my children quiet and force good manners.

Where do I draw the line from respectful to denying my own self?

I do not correct people when they get my name wrong.
I cover for other people's mistakes.
I do not set people straight when they are rude to me.
I let friends go on and on about their own problems.
I do not confront people.

This stuff is all WRONG! I should not be doing this.
It shows I have a long way to go even though I am better.

Lovingagain posted 4/26/2017 10:23 AM

Codependents love too much. Give too much, but then feel resentful and indignant and the emotions wane but the behaviors persist. Then the emotional manipulator manipulates and the emotions rise again and the cycle persists until one of us gets off.

This is it! I am codependent! I always knew I was in my marriage (7 children and 24 years later) I broke the cycle and now 5 years divorced really thought I was in a healthy place...until I met a man and it started seeping out again. I loved him so much that I was willing to compromise my own mental health. I started to apologize for things I thought were insignificant. Sigh...its tough, but I'm getting off this Ferris wheel!

Time2StartLiving posted 4/26/2017 13:51 PM

Thanks for this thread! So much needed information and I've now got the Beattie book and WWLTM, which I never would have purchased if not for reading about it here. I didn't think it applied to me, ha!

Saddad44, I have those same two fears. I'm trying to work on #1, though this has been a lifelong issue for me. I think I'm finally, almost at a place where I feel like I'd rather be alone for the rest of my life than continue in this marriage - or at least I can now see that as something I could consider. I'm going through the steps in WWLTM and I guess I'll see how it goes.

#2 sucks any way you look at it.

And finally, WWLTM notwithstanding, I could not get through this without Xanax. I'd be up all night, every night, and sleep really does help. I'm also strongly considering Wellbutrin.

MissesJai posted 5/2/2017 15:09 PM

hey all. checking in..... I know this is hard work.

delilah2016 posted 5/2/2017 18:30 PM

More work for me today. I'm definitely much more aware of my codependent ways. It is staff appreciation week and I can't bring myself to go to the lounge and get treats until after everyone else has theirs.

I got super depressed when I thought back over the years about how I can't get my "stuff" first. A coworker came back with enough "treats" for 4 people and I couldn't bring myself to get one treat for myself. I took the time today to really think about why I can't go until everyone else has theirs. I don't think I deserve it. The leftovers are fine for me. I don't care what I get, so others can go first. I don't want to take what someone else might want, so I can have whatever is left. My needs and wants aren't as important as everyone elses.

The more I thought about it, the more depressed I got, I almost started to cry at work.....

Then I went to my 2nd job where I'm "helping out" with a job that no one else wants to do.....because I do everything that no one else wants to do. Anyway, I was helping and doing for others and my depression started to lift. Then I'm thinking, holy shit, I don't want to be here, I am making good money doing this job that no one else wants to do, but my depression lifting because I'm helping others is messed up!!!

I'm really hoping that being aware of my f-ed up thinking means I'm on my way to healing. I sure hope so!!! Yippee????

[This message edited by delilah2016 at 6:33 PM, May 2nd (Tuesday)]

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