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Subject: Please define co - dependency rss

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Kev.
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Hi,
I'd like to read a functional laymen usable definition of co-dependency please.
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I see you...
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A group of people who are psychologically unable to function without each other.
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Cpl. Fields
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According to Wikipedia, "a tendency to behave in overly passive or excessively caretaking ways that negatively impact one's relationships and quality of life. It also often involves placing a lower priority on one's own needs, while being excessively preoccupied with the needs of others."

That sounds a lot like "parenthood" to me.
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Rusty McFisticuffs
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hipshot wrote:
I'd like to read a functional laymen usable definition of co-dependency please.

That would be like, if one person "needs" another to look up some trivial shit for them, and that second person "needs" the first to post the request so that they can give a snarky reply which doesn't really address it.
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Avri Balofsky
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Adults diapers, big enough for 2.
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Oh, so you actually think about what you are saying?
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Reish Galuta wrote:
Adults diapers, big enough for 2.


Wow, that's kind of a stretch.
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Avri Balofsky
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Lord_Prussian wrote:
Reish Galuta wrote:
Adults diapers, big enough for 2.


Wow, that's kind of a stretch.


It was a loaded question.
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Kev.
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kuhrusty wrote:
hipshot wrote:
I'd like to read a functional laymen usable definition of co-dependency please.

That would be like, if one person "needs" another to look up some trivial shit for them, and that second person "needs" the first to post the request so that they can give a snarky reply which doesn't really address it.


That works for me, you just need to work on being more snarky, since this sucked ass. But carry on with your bad self.

If I wanted a wiki entry I would have asked for it.

I was looking for personal experiences - yours a F$%ing awesome example.
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Lynette
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Ok, having grown up in an alcoholic household (Step-father) with my mother being the co-dependent I have some things I could say that are not particularly bookish.

I was briefly the unknowing co-dependent for my drug addict brother. But once I paid for him to go to rehab once and he went back into drug use and was unwilling to go into rehab again I kicked him out of my home. I wasn't willing to be actively co-dependent for him.

I am also currently the enabling half of a "co-dependent" partnership for my now mentally ill mother who has gone over to being abusive toward me, especially after my Step-Father's death.

So have lived under it, gotten out of it and am now in it.

I would say my best working lay person definition of an enabling co-dependent is that some your actions enable them to not suffer the full brunt of the effects from their bad choices.

The major problem with "co-dependency" as an unhealthy dynamic is that it utilizes many of the same paths ways that healthy relationships do but perverts them into unhealthy things.

For example a few weeks back my room-mate got the flu. While he was sick I made him soup, went shopping to buy him things he needed and many other small "care taking" kinds of tasks. Once he was back to normal health we went back to our more normal pattern of courtesy (offering to get one another some tea if going into the kitchen for some oneself etc) but our healthy relationship doesn't include either of us "waiting" routinely on the other. When I have been sick he waited on me, but when I got well he stopped.

While in an unhealthy contrast, my mother expects me to wait on her often. Now she really does have some physical disabilities in addition to her mental illness, so SOME waiting on her is healthy and helpful. But she demands it to a point that is unhealthy for her. If I don't wait on her she can go days without eating healthy or taking her medications. Which as a diabetic can make her sicker and eventually make her genuinely even more incapacitated. However my waiting on her can also add to her decline since more than once her muscles have started to atrophy.

Finding the right balance is virtually impossible because our relationship is unhealthy and co-dependent. I think in large part because she isn't willing to take ownership of her mental illness in this regard combined with our joint "co-dependence" unhealthy relationship patterns from the living with an alcoholic years.

My Councillor thinks I am in a catch-22 as long as I am not willing to abandon my mother entirely. Which my councilor isn't advocating and she is trying to help me find other ways to work around that I can live with. But having been raised to be an enabler in an alcoholic home it is really really hard to both identify and then STAND FIRM in healthy balance choices with somebody who knows all my buttons and how to manipulate and/or punish me. If she was a substance abuser I could do the tough love thing. But it is harder when it is genuine illness combination that has no easy answers. It feels like abandoning somebody with cancer. However in my case it would be somebody with cancer who wont follow all the treatments prescribed which means she will keep living but not ever actually get better.

Any other ways I can help?

I personally didn't find ALANON to be all that helpful the few times I tried it but then nobody in my life was working on recovery.

So I have always been in a survival level position with people who are not really even trying to get better. Which for the most part boils down to endure or abandon. You cannot force them to try to get better in those cases. All you can do it stop helping them avoid the consequences from being ill.

However if your wife is actually trying to get better it is imperative you find some balance between healthy normal helping and enabling. You will never get it 100% right, but it is impossible for people to remain addicts without somebody or a group of somebodies to help them hold life together. Your refusing to be one of those people can help her learn healthy life patterns IF she is genuinely trying to get well.

Just a note of encouragement. I do know several people who have been living a "recovering" life for decades who have become "weller than well". Aka... they did learn how to overcome their addictions and daily live a balanced normal life. Which requires more coping skills and a more examined life than most of us have to have to function. So it can be done!!


It doesn't have to be an inescapable trap.


Good luck to you and your wife.

Feel free to ask me questions here or in a private GM.
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Tom McPhee
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It's an ill defined phraseology, I THINK, first coined by Eric Berne in Games people play, a fine book by the way, that gave rise to a school of interpersonal psychotherapy called 'transactional analysis' which in a nutshell looks at how two humans interact with one another and relate to one another. The book is well worth a look.

My take on it is that in a sense we are ALL co-dependent on one another to greater and lesser and more and less pathological degrees. The classic example I use when explaining co-dependency to students is the following:

Imagine a husband and wife. Husband goes out drinking and leaves wife alone at home. She feels useless, hopeless and unattractive and becomes 'depressed', eliciting a care response in her husband ---> husband then stops going out drinking but wife will not relinquish her 'role' as being 'depressed' because to do so would risk losing her husband. Over time husband comes to identify himself as the 'heroic martyr' giving up his freedom to care for his 'sick' wife. She remains dependent on him for his 'care', he becomes dependent on her for his sense of self worth and value, and now that he hasn't been out with his buddies drinking for five years- she's the only one he's got. They are now firmly entrenched in co-dependence. They are forever entwined and entangled together, supporting one another's unhealthy attitudes and behaviours.
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Josh
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kuhrusty wrote:
hipshot wrote:
I'd like to read a functional laymen usable definition of co-dependency please.

That would be like, if one person "needs" another to look up some trivial shit for them, and that second person "needs" the first to post the request so that they can give a snarky reply which doesn't really address it.
If not for the superfluous commas this would have been a perfect MisterCranky post, but as it stands now you should hang your head in shame.
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Josh
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I hereby give Josh Adelson permission to kick me in the dick for using such stilted phraseology as "as it stands now.". Dammit I suck.
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The Steak Fairy
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What the hell? I gave him a quarter for that line. I applauded! I would leap to his defense, but I'm too exhausted from shaking with the anticipation of getting to kick somebody in the balls. Am I allowed a substitution? There's this other guy I've got in mind from some other thread....
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Kev.
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Lynette, Thanks for the thoughtful response.
Your comments provide some useful insight and real world examples.

I think I broke the 'enabling co dependance' chain based on those frames of reference fairly firmly some months back. I've since allowed my wife to re enter the family circle. It is however like having a stranger in the house sometimes as I wonder who she really is, was and is becoming.

The ALANON platitudes, and rituals are annoying. I'm attempting to look past that and identify a means to develop what they call a recovery program for my self. It seems to me that ALANON is more about looking after yourself than anything else. By that I mean finding 'serenity' in the relationship with the substance abuser.

Not sure how I feel about that in general.

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J
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MisterCranky wrote:
...getting to kick somebody in the balls.

Sorry, dick only. You must avoid the balls.
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The Steak Fairy
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jarredscott78 wrote:

Sorry, dick only. You must avoid the balls.


Look man, you interpret the rules your way, I'll interpret them mine!
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This Guy
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I kinda grew up in AA. I remember going to meetings and talking with the most amazing people. Alanon was a snooze fest in comparison. The meetings with the users are where it's at. Either way, you're in for a potential lifetime of catch phrases, mantras, and platitudes.

But it beats the hell out of the alternative.
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Kev.
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Aetheros wrote:
I kinda grew up in AA. I remember going to meetings and talking with the most amazing people. Alanon was a snooze fest in comparison. The meetings with the users are where it's at. Either way, you're in for a potential lifetime of catch phrases, mantras, and platitudes.

But it beats the hell out of the alternative.

LOL....I think.ninja
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Lynette
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hipshot wrote:
Lynette, Thanks for the thoughtful response.
Your comments provide some useful insight and real world examples.

I think I broke the 'enabling co dependance' chain based on those frames of reference fairly firmly some months back. I've since allowed my wife to re enter the family circle. It is however like having a stranger in the house sometimes as I wonder who she really is, was and is becoming.


That sounds like good progress. I would also suggest you learn about the children roles in a co-dependent household.
Here are some starter links but they are not "enough" knowledge.

http://alcoholselfhelpnews.wordpress.com/2007/04/06/alcoholi...

And/or [url] http://www.thechildrensplaceprogram.org/indentified_roles_of... [/url]

Even the kids who look like they are doing ok can be be playing roles that can affect them later in life if they are not aware of what they are doing.

I was/am the family Hero ... aka the one most likely to grow up and marry an addict. I avoided this to some extent by remaining the hero for my screwed up family and never marrying. Some things I have been able to break away from and over come. Some things I haven't.

Knowing how to identify what roles your kids may have been playing may help you keep them from becoming entrenched in unconscious unhealthy patterns.

As for your wife... in some ways she is a stranger, but in many ways she is who she was. She can become what she chooses with help.

Quote:

The ALANON platitudes, and rituals are annoying. I'm attempting to look past that and identify a means to develop what they call a recovery program for my self. It seems to me that ALANON is more about looking after yourself than anything else. By that I mean finding 'serenity' in the relationship with the substance abuser.

Not sure how I feel about that in general.



Is shouldn't be serenity with the substance abuser necessarily. It should be serenity to fight the battle and determination to make healthy choices. Which may mean ending the intimacy of the relationship with the substance abuser if they do not stay in recovery.

Be aware... the focus on looking after yourself that can grow out of ALANON and other support groups is a reaction that grows from the reality that most enablers are TOO self sacrificing. They ignore self care to the point of self destruction.

However if you have not gone down that path and lost your ability take care of yourself while taking care of your family ... the constant hammer to take care of your self first at all costs is not only unneeded it can lead into an opposite and just as damaging kind of error and unhealthy life style/family dynamic. One where you become like the abuser, almost totally self absorbed and manipulative of those around you, but just without drugs as an excuse.

Balance is the goal. Care for yourself AND others has to be achieved.

Again, best wishes. I will add you to my prayers.
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This Guy
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hipshot wrote:
Aetheros wrote:
I kinda grew up in AA. I remember going to meetings and talking with the most amazing people. Alanon was a snooze fest in comparison. The meetings with the users are where it's at. Either way, you're in for a potential lifetime of catch phrases, mantras, and platitudes.

But it beats the hell out of the alternative.

LOL....I think.ninja


I had an alcoholic mom, step-dad, and sister, and would go to meetings with them. So I really did grow up in AA, by dint of that and having their social almost entirely composed of fellow alcoholics, sober and juiced alike. My mom became a sort of mother hen, so we were a whole family of support
For people getting sober. As nerdy/geeky a family as we were, it was a place where people could feel normal, and I don't have a single bad memory of any of the people who drifted through our lives via AA.

I shudder to think about how much secondhand smoke I took in there, though. I probably had a contact buzz from all the coffee fumes in the room, too.
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