This topic contains 8 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Braelynn 2 days, 13 hours ago.

  • Author
  • #108283

    I’ve been thinking about codependency and trying to think of a way to explain it a little better because I think we hear the word and we kinda get it but maybe not so much. So I thought I’d write something about it here….see if this clicks with any of you?

    Codependency is a really harmful little thing we do. Upon choosing our mate, which we do, just like they choose us – we somehow assign their happiness and wellbeing to “us”, it’s our responsibility. So here we are giving ourselves a kind of godlike power that we just don’t have. They are ever so glad to let us assume that position however. So once that is in place in us, guess what? Every time it is clear that “they aren’t happy about something, that we displease them in some way, that their feelings are hurt, or they are failing at something, etc., then – it’s our fault, right? Because of course it is. We have happily taken on that responsibility to not let this happen. So we go above and beyond trying to be their everything, their savior, their this, their that and when they get angry or upset – well, we are failing in our job, right? It was never ours in the first place! That is codependency in a nutshell.

    When we leave them and should be all happy and everything, we still deal with (especially right afterwards) this insane feeling of failure but this is the “reason why” we feel that way. We failed. That’s how we feel. It’s like saying how come I was never good enough, how come he couldn’t love me like I loved him, how come he’s not grateful for everything I did for him, how come no matter what I did it never worked? It would be like taking a job out in life and being sooo under qualified for it that it was ridiculous, and there would be no chance of you succeeding in it. But for whatever reason, you thought you could be a doctor and yet you had no training whatsoever at being a doctor, but they hired you anyways and off you went. Of course you failed miserably but you tried tried tried to fix them, heal them because in your mind – you – had the power and skills to do so and they were “your” responsibility. It’s exactly like that – being in a relationship where you are codependent with another.

    We don’t have those godlike powers. Each person is responsible for themselves and it’s not reciprocal with someone who is abusive and predatory. They are happy as a pig in mud to allow you to assume this kind of position. And loving it when you start having all these feelings of failure, misery, depression. This………should never be a job we sign up for so we have to quit the job. In our heads, in our thoughts, in our choices, in our patterns of thinking and being. We have to turn in our notice and quit before we are fired, before we do more damage to ourselves. There are times in life when quitting something like this isn’t a bad thing. We didn’t fail because this position was set up for failure from the very beginning.

  • #108294
     Wants To Help 

    And the thing that alarms me is when I see women start dating men who already have issues, but believe that with their love and understanding they can help him overcome them.

    One lady met a man online and he told her he’d just come out of prison and had nowhere to live. (This is a red flag by the way!) He’d moved in with her within a week! (Red flag.) She thought she could help him overcome the drug addiction she then found out he’d got (another red flag), then when he seriously assaulted her (red flag) she didn’t want to pursue any charges because she loved him and he was just ‘misunderstood.’

    He was a monster. He’d got a history of serious assaults on many other women. She had a full Clare’s Law disclosure but still believed that she would be the one to change him and “make him better.” She didn’t succeed. Eventually she got a Restraining Order.

    Just like we can’t be responsible for someone else’s happiness, we should not rely on a man to make us happy either – it really does have to come from within.

    When our self esteem is low, our confidence is down, we feel insecure about our looks or weight or age, think we’ll never meet anyone again, we start to lower our standards. We accept someone who shows they are interested in us and we’ll ‘make do’ with them, even though we may not actually be attracted to them or have anything in common with them. Relationships that start like this are not healthy, we are relying on this person to make us feel good. We weren’t feeling good about ourselves before we met them but they made us feel good because they showed an interest. That feeling was just a quick fix, it wasn’t real. We didn’t feel good about ourselves, and if we’re not feeling good about ourselves then we shouldn’t be looking to date. Yet we get into ‘rebound’ relationships and then these go wrong too, so we start to get even more insecure and think we must be doing something so wrong to keep having all of these failed relationships.

    We need to take time out and work on ourselves, find ourselves again – who we are and what we want. What are we looking for in a relationship? What are our standards? What do we expect to get from it? What are we prepared to give to it?

    A healthy relationship is two people who are individuals who come together equally and retain their individuality. They remain independent together, they support each other but do not take advantage. Neither should take over each other’s life, life together is shared, not owned. Taking on someone who has already got ‘issues’ is going to be doom and gloom. People need to get their sh*t together before embarking on a new relationship, not take it in to the new relationship and expect someone else to get it together for them.

  • #108298

    Very true! I like Kahlil Gibran’s writing on Marriage. It says it all quite nicely…He’s not talking about codependency here, he’s talking about 2 wholes coming together, not 2 halves.

    Let there be spaces in your togetherness,
    And let the winds of the heavens dance
    between you.

    Love one another, but make not a bond
    of love:
    Let it rather be a moving sea between
    the shores of your souls.
    Fill each other’s cup but drink not from
    one cup.
    Give one another of your bread but eat
    not from the same loaf.
    Sing and dance together and be joyous,
    but let each one of you be alone,
    Even as the strings of a lute are alone
    though they quiver with the same music.

    Give your hearts, but not into each
    other’s keeping.
    For only the hand of Life can contain
    your hearts.
    And stand together yet not too near
    For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
    And the oak tree and the cypress grow
    not in each other’s shadow.

  • #108303

    This all makes total sense.. thanks for the food for thought x

  • #108314

    This really rang true for me. I spent many years of my life believing I would be the one to help him, that I would do anything to help him when hed been abandoned by everyone else (in hindsight I can see that it was more that he abandoned them). This particularly stood out:

    It’s like saying how come I was never good enough, how come he couldn’t love me like I loved him, how come he’s not grateful for everything I did for him, how come no matter what I did it never worked?

    And honestly I still sometimes have those thoughts. I’m hoping as time goes on these will get less, I dont think I have properly understood codenpendency. I think I believed because I’m quite “independent” in my day to day life, and i dont tend to rely on others very much I thought it didnt apply to me.. but what you just described definitely does. Thank you for opening my eyes to more things I can educate myself on xx

    • #108315

      Lol I’ll get the hang of those block quotes one day!

  • #108322

    Yes, and once you get the hang of it, put the key in the lock, the gears in your head start going “click”. Wonderful sound! It’s such a mystery to people the whole codependency thing and I’m not sure why. I think it’s not explained well enough or not talked enough about, not sure. But I just wanted to drill down and down and come up with something that explained it better.

    We didn’t need to run harder faster better because it was all set up for failure from the very beginning, so was never a race we could ever win. We didn’t know that. But they did. Or, they are just doing what predators do and not thinking that much about anything. They want what they want and do what comes natural.

    I couldn’t care less how they think except to study them enough to know what’s what and avoid them. After that, done giving them my energy. I think, too, that if we are raised in a family where we have to be that person because of abuse or neglect or just bad dysfunction then we learn how to be codependent early and that template is in place and our predators know it, see it, recognize it and we slide right into playing that part again.

    So we do have to change our pattern of thinking, it won’t change itself. It’s a deliberate and willful move on our part. We have to stop those gears from turning and tear up that old template and replace it with new thinking and new patterns. We can only bang our head against the wall so long until we have to step back and go – that’s not working, is it? LOL!

    No, no, you can’t get a correct answer asking an illicit question. Just won’t work. The why you weren’t good enough or didn’t do enough is a bad question right off the start here. So don’t ask it anymore. It was never ever about that or anything like it. So look at the monster in the closet and say – I see you. I’m dragging you out by your scrawny little head hairs and putting you on display and telling you once and for all this isn’t happening anymore. Done with it, done with you and done with listening to total insanity in my own head. It’s not my thinking, it’s someone else’s I’ve adopted and not having it anymore. Cleaning house and OUT you go! Hope the landing on your head hurt, I really do.

    We take care of No. 1 now and we look for people who are a “whole” person as well going forward. If we can compliment each other, then fine but no more of – ohhh, I have to fix this person or heal them or whatever in order to establish my own self worth and self identity. You actually need to establish that one on your own during your healing time before you ever are in the market for another man because the absence of that is what led you here in the first place and there are reasons for that one. We all can get stunted in a natural normal process in childhood when we should have been able to establish good self esteem and identity. For some of us, that doesn’t happen so as an adult we have to allow heartache times and traumas to lead us back to that point so we can attend to it. That’s what earthquakes in life are largely for… we can grow. So don’t hate them entirely. To do so, would mean you continue to be more and more crippled. No pain, no gain. That’s actually very true. If you don’t take care of No. 1 then you are no good to anyone and will always end up in a place of disaster, misery, confusion and fear. We can be our own best friend here and we need to be – that.

    • #108323

      Thank you ❤ I find your approach so refreshing. I want to have that kind of strength too, I’m inspired. X

  • #108327

    I’m glad! Sometimes I think my approach is too harsh or blunt sometimes but to me, some listen and get what one person says and for another it doesn’t work. We have so many voices here and different approaches and it takes that, it really does. I respect so many others here who are very very good at what they do and have to say and together we put out one voice really that says – we care about you. We know the path well and we will do all we can to lift you up, set you straight and get you in the clear so you can grow, heal and thrive!!!

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.


© 2015 Women's Aid Federation of England – Women’s Aid is a company limited by guarantee registered in England No: 3171880.

Women’s Aid is a registered charity in England No. 1054154

Terms & conditionsPrivacy & cookie policySite mapProtect yourself onlineMedia │ Jobs

Log in with your credentials


Forgot your details?

Create Account