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In our first session, we reviewed symptoms of codependency. I think those lists of symptoms on the different web pages paint a detailed image of what codependent behaviors are like. There's been some good sharing on the discussion forum in response as well. Let's keep that up; it really helps to see how we identify with these issues.

What I suggest we do for our second session is that we begin to work Step One. See the first part of Chapter 3 in "Freedom from Codependency."

Working Step One in any recovery program has three main emphases:
1. Acknowledging powerlessness.
- go over the list of symptoms again with this in mind;
- do you choose to do the ones you checked, or do they happen automatically?
2. Acknowledging unmanagebility
- go over http://www.drirene.com/codepend1.htm
- how have the behaviors you checked made your life unmanageable?
3. Acknowledge your inability to control other people (or person, situation) in light of the above.
4. Begin to practice abstinence from codependent behaviors.

The issue of abstinence is a most difficult one in codependency recovery. In alcoholism, it's clear: either you're drinking or not. Same with gambling, overeating and lots of other addictions. Because we continue to have to relate with people while recovering from codependency, the challenge of abstinence is especially difficult.

Unto this end, I suggest a few guidelines:
1. Before doing something to "help" or "check up on" another, ask yourself if this is really necessary, and whether you're doing it for the other or yourself?
2. Let the other do for him/herself what they can without your help. I'm not saying we shouldn't help with what they cannot do, but let's be sure we know what that is. Ask yourself this question, "Can s/he do it without me?" If the answer is yes, then let them. If you go "yes, but . . ." it's probably a codependent inclination.
3. Let the other have his/her consequences, especially if they're not life-threatening.

In short, the slogan for abstinence might be summarized as "Back off, back off, back off." It's not uncaring to do so; it's giving the other a chance to use their own freedom and inner resources to grow, and it's moving your focus back to your life instead of another's.

- - -

Questions, clarifications and sharing . . .?
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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In short, the slogan for abstinence might be summarized as "Back off, back off, back off." It's not uncaring to do so; it's giving the other a chance to use their own freedom and inner resources to grow, and it's moving your focus back to your life instead of another's.

We're in familiar territory again. Eeker

I guess you could say that I've had a codependent relationship with my son, who is now 20 years old. When he hit junior high school I had to make a conscious effort to back off. I had to start with little things.....like gym clothes and lunch tickets. Once I realized that the world did indeed go on, even if my son forgot his gym clothes or lost his lunch ticket it was easier to back off in lots of other areas.

But what helped me most was when he left home. It's much easier to back off when the person your are codependent on is living 80 miles away!
It was the best thing that could have happened for either of us.

Our son's been gone for two years now, living in his own apartment. I've only done his laundry maybe three times in those two years. He's fixed a flat tire on the side of I-44 without me. He's replaced his lost ATM card without me. He's gone to court for a speeding ticket without me. He's paid his water and electric bills. And he even keeps his apartment relatively clean and tidy. And he's earned 48 college hours without me. He doesn't come home all that much. Not because he doesn't love us or because we don't love him, but because he has established a life for himself in St. Louis. And as Phil said, it's allowed me to move my focus back to my own life. When he DOES come home (he's coming home today) I can only marvel at what a grown up he's become.....in spite of me! Wink
 
Posts: 172 | Location: Missouri | Registered: 10 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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That's familiar territory for me too, AnneD, and I was thinking about it yesterday and today, especially in light of the conference. Our daughter will be 19 in November, and has been more or less out on her own for the past year/year and a half, with plans to move to New York in November so she can take dance classes and be in the kind of environment she loves. She's been doing more or less okay most of the time on her own, though some of her choices make us want to wring her neck. For example, yesterday she called to say that her car had been broken into (a huge Ford Explorer she just had to buy, 'cause she was tired of driving the stick shift she'd just had to buy, because she was tired of the old car she'd inheritied from us). Anyway, since some of the Explorer's windows had been broken, so it needed to be fixed, so she decided to drive the stick shift, which isn't insured because she is going to sell it, but hasn't yet. So what does she do? She parks the stick shift in a place she's not supposed to, and it gets towed. She said the Explorer was getting fixed yesterday, and of course she had to pay to get the stick shift out. Fortunately, I was at work when she called, and my husband just reminded her of the consequences of driving a car that's not covered by insurance. But it's all I can do, as a mom who also happens to work for the Department of Motor Vehicles, to keep from calling her and getting on her case. But I keep reminding myself that it's her life, and she needs to make her own choices and mistakes and hopefully learn from them. I'm reminded of a line that the mom in MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING: "I gave you life so you could live it." So I'm trying to back off and let Jenn experience the consequences of her actions, even if it means losing her license or her car(s) or going to jail or being sued or whatever. Not easy, but I'm learning. After all, I've got my life to live, and that's something that I DO have control over and which keeps me busy enough.
 
Posts: 46 | Location: Sacramento, CA | Registered: 14 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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As I looked over this list of codependent behaviors last night, the attitudes toward anger jumped out at me: Are afraid of their own anger. Are frightened of other people's anger. Think people will go away if anger enters the picture. Feel controlled by other people's anger. And yes, to a certain extent I repress my angry feelings, not to myself, but toward others. I can articulate quite well to myself why I'm angry, but if I share that with the other person and they seem to discount it or think my angry feelings are inappropriate, I'll often discount my feelings too and be embarrassed by them. I see that I need to learn to let other people think what they think about my anger when I choose to express it, and to not feel the need to only allow myself to feel emotions that are acceptable to others. Their opinions of my thoughts and feelings aren't my problem. It was interesting to see that in myself.
 
Posts: 46 | Location: Sacramento, CA | Registered: 14 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I just started the course and what I am encountering now as I go through backing off, backing off, backing off is PAIN PAIN PAIN.
Some intense emotional pain. Is this normal?
What is it? Any advice on how to deal with it?
 
Posts: 2 | Registered: 23 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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That's what always happens whenever we give up any addictive involvement . . . our pain becomes more available to us.

Can you make a list of what hurts? Let yourself be present to the pain and hold yourself before God in this way. Simply acknowledging to yourself before God what the pain is about and how it feels can be helpul. And see if you can stay in the present moment, simply doing what you're doing, not letting your mind terriblize your situation by projecting doom and gloom into your future.

Keep in touch and let us know how it goes. This group has been inactive for awhile, but perhaps someone will check in and give you some feedback as well.
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks for the response, I just discovered it now...
The pain has been getting better over the last week or so- I was mainly feeling the pain of being alone (which I tried to avoid by co-dependent relationships). I also encountered physical difficulties, just like when you come off an addiction (cold turkey) like nervousness, shaking, not able to concentrate, no appetite etc. It was really intense for a week or so and then started to get better. Is that normal, too?
Yes, I have been acknowledging the pain before God and thanks for the tip in regards to staying in the moment- that is helpful, cause I was feeling a sense of hopelessness and despair in regards to the future.
I am still in touch with the person I have this co-dependent issue with and we see each other once in a while, not as much as we used to and we are very aware of both our issues and pursue help each one individually and stay out of each others "issues"...
Is there real hope that relationships CAN change and become healthy even though they have been co-dependent? Is it part of the illusion and deception to hope for that?
I know, God is asking me to let go of any expectations, dreams etc. in regards to this because I need to refocus on Him being my source. So I want to see my life re-centered on God totally. So now He is showing me a lot of things that hinder my relationship to Him to even discover Him as my source.
 
Posts: 2 | Registered: 23 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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ID, I think one can move from a codependent to a healthy relationship, especially if one is working a recovery process. If both partners are, the chances are all the better. The key is to learn what healthy boundaries are, and to live within your boundaries. That's not easy, of course.

Good for you to re-center your life in God. The Second and Third Steps are focused directly on thisw shift. Keep us informed of your journey.

Phil
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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What if one of the persons that we've been trying to control is God (all 3 Persons!)?

Can there be an unhealthy 'clinging' to God?

How do we have a healthy distance in our relationship with Him?
 
Posts: 2 | Registered: 09 December 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hi Russell. Welcome to the forum.

I think many people do try to control God, mostly by "deal-making" in their prayers: "You do this for me, Lord, and I'll do this for You." Doesn't work very well, however, does it?

We do have our boundaries with God, if that's what you're getting at, and it entails letting God be God and not trying to play God. It also means doing what we must do without expecting God to do for us what we can and ought to do for ourselves. In everything, however, we hold ourselves open to relating with God, and receiving guidance and support from God.

Am I addressing your concern, here?
 
Posts: 3605 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Phil, thanks for the welcome to the forum. I'm new to this and wasn't sure if this was the right place to post, but this is where I am in your book 'Freedom from Codependency'.

#6 in Appendix Two (p. 92) talks about seeing others as an extension of ourselves and losing boundaries. I think that's what I'm talking about. I know that we want to see ourselves in Christ and know that he is in us, but there is still a self to see in him, and a self in which he dwells. And there is a healthy distance/distinction between our self and Him, correct?

(I think this relates to the relationship between the Father and the Son who dwell in each other while not losing their identity, although the threads on the Trinity might be the place to search that out.)
 
Posts: 2 | Registered: 09 December 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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