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Forum > Miscellaneous > Survivors of co-dependency ( Moderated by Deepika, EleanorSews, CynthiaSue)

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Survivors of co-dependency
Hard topic -- please share your healing strategies
Vintage Joan
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Vintage Joan
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Date: 9/5/12 6:34 PM

This is hard to write, but after a brief but intense visit from one of my adult kids yesterday, I'm realizing how much my own unresolved self-esteem issues over the years have affected my kids. Or at least one of them.

I had low self-esteem for many years, and still struggle with it. One of my parents, although very dear to me, disregarded my boundaries in many ways. I grew up a combination of a dependent people-pleaser (e.g. always looking for consensus, never thinking anyone found my own opinion valuable) and a rebel. Not bitter, and pretty normal on the outside, but definitely lacking confidence.

I married someone I thought was the opposite of this co-dependent parent, but instead he turned out to be the destructive flip side. Almost everything that was good and healthy about my co-dependent parent, he was the opposite.

...Perhaps that registers with someone out there.

I've been on my own for ages, and raised both my kids. I fought hard not to step on their boundaries, but for a long time I still let people walk all over my own boundaries. I didn't really begin to recover my self-esteem until quite a bit later.

I thought I was doing a reasonably good job of parenting, but now I think that my low self-esteem hurt my children in some ways. I was in some ways their rock, but often more like sand.

I can't fix this, but I've had my eyes opened. A parent's low self-esteem can hurt the children. My co-dependent parent in some ways had low self-esteem, which got transferred to me, and then some. Then I carried my low self-esteem into a marriage that was full of strife, and I put it on my shoulders to "fix" the marriage, but things just got worse.

Why am I mentioning this now? Not to blame people with low self-esteem, but to say that people with low self-esteem need to find a way to heal and take care of themselves. The negative things we pass down about ourselves through our self-neglect can affect those we love. If we're neglecting ourselves, it will show in some ways -- maybe rarely fixing up our living space, maybe not feeling confident enough to get a fulfilling job, maybe not feeling strong enough to say "No" to people who hurt us.

If some of you have survived co-dependency and/or have rebuilt relationships damaged by co-dependency, please share your stories. I could use a bit of inspiration right now.

Thanks.


P.S. Edited to add: I didn't realize not everyone knew the term "co-dependent." I've explained this term in a later post here, but I'm sorry about the confusion this seems to have caused some people.


-- Edited on 9/6/12 7:50 AM --

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my shield and my very great reward ~ Gen. 15:1

Rosews13
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Date: 9/5/12 7:24 PM

Just a quick note......We all have stuff in our lives, some more than others, but for the most part I think we all do the best we can at the moment with what we have to work with, especially when raising our kids. Introspection and help may come too late for some and change may or may not ever happen and damage may or may not ever be repaired, but we have to forgive ourselves for that which we did not intend to mess up. Our parents did not intend to mess us up either, but times change, and even though we might have improved upon our parents' child rearing methods, we did things which we now look upon as wrong or damaging. WE ARE ALL IN THE SAME BOAT and it's part of life's journey and will always be on our minds, that we wish we had done better. My grown girls and I talk about this all the time and thankfully they have sought counseling to help them deal with the "combo" of their father's and my traits that have made life hard for them. They are seeking help so as not to pass on the stuff that should be left behind. Life is hard and we have to be gentle with ourselves and just do the best we can TODAY! Good luck and be good to yourself. Put one foot in front of the other every day and know that you have done the best you could with what you had and the rest is up to God. Let go and let God!

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Date: 9/5/12 8:14 PM

Joan

I agree with Rose that we all carry some damage, and we all never quite measure up to the ideal...especially in parenting or nurturing another. It's okay though because that is what makes us all human and compassionate and understanding.

Be easy and gentle with yourselves, everyone :-)

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Vintage Joan
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Date: 9/5/12 10:03 PM

Thanks -- I really appreciate this positive feedback. Working through these things is a process, so I do take encouragement from the fact that a dialogue (even a difficult one) has started with my adult child.

Part of the reason I posted this was because I'm finally realizing how unhealthy it is to think "Oh, it's just me, I don't matter" and to act on that. The other extreme is also unhealthy (narcissism), but all of us matter. We don't matter MORE than other people, but we all matter.

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my shield and my very great reward ~ Gen. 15:1

Annie- oh
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Date: 9/5/12 10:10 PM

Joan, it must have taken a lot of courage to write this. Whatever you do now, you have taken the first and hardest steps in addressing the next step.

Putting it out there,then hearing these 2 supportive responses, are really giving you a great start.

Well, I've been there, done that, mother and ex both, so I know we are strong women out there, congratulations, Joan, your strength is to be admired.

------
I try all things. I achieve what I can. "Moby Dick"

We stand here confronted by insurmountable opportinities. Pogo

jadamo00
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Date: 9/5/12 10:29 PM

Your issues gave your kids weaknesses and strengths -- hopefully, they will do their best with both. Keep working on getting yourself better. Everything else flows from that.

Wishing for good things for your daughter.

j.










-- Edited on 9/8/12 7:59 PM --

Vintage Joan
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In reply to jadamo00 <<
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Date: 9/5/12 11:17 PM

Quote:
Was a time -- I thought I'd never smile again.

Me too. Long time ago.

I'm so glad you're not in those times anymore.

I'm not feeling like I'm falling apart -- I was just thrown a bit. I may not be a rock, but I now live on a Rock.

Still, I wish someone had told me years ago that one of the kindest things a mother can do for her kids is to be kind to herself.


-- Edited on 9/5/12 11:18 PM --

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my shield and my very great reward ~ Gen. 15:1

Vintage Joan
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In reply to Annie- oh <<
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Date: 9/5/12 11:24 PM

Quote:
Well, I've been there, done that, mother and ex both, so I know we are strong women out there, congratulations, Joan, your strength is to be admired.

Thanks -- so is yours. There are so many women out there who have carried things they never would have chosen to carry, but they just plod on.

------
my shield and my very great reward ~ Gen. 15:1

Vintage Joan
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In reply to jadamo00 <<
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Date: 9/5/12 11:40 PM

Just want to clarify, I was talking about co-dependency, i.e. an unhealthy relationship where one person steps on another's boundaries -- and the other person allows it. I wasn't talking about physical dependencies. (Although I can see how people sometimes have both going on.) My heart goes out out to anyone who is struggling with these issues. Mercifully, I've never been down that route.

Here's a good book I read years ago about co-dependency -- very helpful.


-- Edited on 9/22/12 10:55 AM --

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my shield and my very great reward ~ Gen. 15:1

a7yrstitch
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In reply to Vintage Joan <<
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Date: 9/6/12 1:20 AM

Ahh, VJ, I was so fortunate to have received help very early on.
HELP.....get help. Be selective about the provider, but run faster than the fastest sewing machine for help.

When you get just the right amount of the right kind of help and you have time to heal, I would wish for you a new definition; not as a survivor but as yourself.

Do not disparage your ongoing role as a parent of mature offspring. You have an opportunity, right now, to show them one path they can take if they identify a barrier in their lives. More positively, think of it as setting an example that we are constantly evolving. We can continue to evolve, we don't have to stagnant at a set number on the gauge when so very much time is left in our adult lives.

They are still watching and paying attention. What you do for yourself right now can have a very positive effect on them when they face their own challenges.

The balance of the post has been edited since the OP has read it,

-- Edited on 9/6/12 10:28 AM --

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I have no idea what Apple thought I was saying so be a Peach and credit anything bizarre to auto correct.

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