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Shedding Codependency
By beatinsomnia
1/6/2010 10:57:09 AM
Hi. I'm here to open a discussion with others who may share my feelings or who have learned lessons they can share. I hope to tackle some currently unsolved problems in my life by using this blog as a form of journaling.

About Me: I'm a 32 year old female living in Utah, USA. Born and raised in the LDS Faith. I am endowed and was sealed in the temple to my wonderful husband. We have been happily married for 10 years. I have two beautiful daughters. I also have a purebred ragdoll kitty. I am a stay-at-home mom. I enjoy singing, reading, doing family history, being in nature, writing poetry, learning, cooking for my sweetheart, exercising, and building friendships and relationships.

Anyone still reading this, I will now interject that I won't be publishing mean comments - I'm hoping to have this be a peaceful place for my thoughts.

A few of my currently unsolved problems that I'll be blogging about are:

1. Why have I been unable to shed the habit of wanting and looking for my parents' approval; even though I am now an adult? How can I conquer this bad habit and replace it with only seeking my Father in Heaven's approval?

2. What leftover habits of codependency am I continuing to carry with me? How can I shed these remnant patterns?

3. I don't know myself as fully as I want. I am struggling to know my own mind vs. what I assume is expected, or desired of me.

Examples of the first problem are without number, but a few from this past week: I wrote a post to my public blog that keeps me in touch with my family around the states and suddenly wondered what my dad would think of a differing view from his I had stated. I had the reoccurring thought that my parents might judge or misunderstand me if we choose to only have 2 children (which is still up for debate.) I worried again that as my parents adjust to their recent move into a tiny apartment with my Grandmother that they would resent me for not struggling financially as they have. Then I felt guilty for thinking they were capable of resentment.

Examples of the second problem continue to pop up grievously at random: This week, I sought control over my 5 year old's temper tantrum with threats, felt like a failure as a mother, and after making peace with her, felt obsessed with worry that our relationship would never be as 'close' as mine was with my mom. Then I realized that maybe my memory of a 'perfect' relationship is a side-effect of the real problem? Then I worry that I'll pass these 'problems' on to my own children.

Finally, examples of the third problem are seen in the unrest I feel about my life. I am satisfied with my marriage, I know I am striving in my parenting, I also work hard at my other relationships and roles, but I don't know what I want to do/be when it comes to my own personal interests and goals. I feel unsettled, at times even lost when I have downtime so I fill it up with ...fillers = 'should' do's or distractions.

Before anyone out there starts to diagnose me, yes, I do struggle with depression. I realize from my own study in receiving my BA from BYU in Marriage, Family & Human Development that my unsolved problems are common in children of dysfunctional families. I've had several therapists in the past 5 years and have learned and grown a lot with my current therapist of over a year. I also am benefiting from a daily tablet of 20 mg. of Citalopram. I try to exercise 6 days/week, but average out about 4-5. I still suffer from insomnia that started during my college years and it has waxed and waned ever since. I feel I did recover from my post-partum depression after my first baby and am managing so much better now than I was for a while after my brother's death in February of 2007.

Some other things that can add to your background of my life and dysfunction: My parents were distributors of Amway for over 15 years, my father seems to have some form of mental illness which could be borderline personality disorder (a former doctor told my mom he thinks my dad has suffered with bi-polar disorder and when untreated for years can turn to borderline personality disorder), I believe he is/was addicted to having his own business regardless of his lack of education and financial understanding, my mom was married at 18 and had me at 20, and I have 6 other siblings, and finally; we were on Church Assistance off and on throughout my childhood. We lived a relatively meager lifestyle, though I wouldn't say we were poor. There was definitely childhood memories of being the recipients of Christmas drop-offs, as well as the ever present need to dress well and to go to friends' homes instead of having them over in case they saw the lack of furniture and disrepair of my own house.

With all this said, I feel very blessed with my husband and daughters, our home, my relationships with my siblings, dear friends, as well as my relationship with my Savior. I am thankful for my close proximity to so many temples and feel without the Gospel in my life, my story would be a bleak one for sure.

There you have my introduction. Feel free to say hello.

Comments:

Welcome to the site!    
"Although the majority of the people who blog here are addicted to porn, I think a lot of us can relate to feeling depressed. Personally, I think there's a definite connection between depression, insomnia, OCD, and addiction (although some people here love to blast me when I discuss the roots of my addiction).

Anyway though, I'm currently a BYU student who has loads of problems with feeling depressed and not being able to sleep more than two or three hours at a time (if I sleep at all). This is a blessing in a way, since it helps me study longer than most people can; however, depression and insomnia are no fun at all.

I'm not trying to imply that I have the same level of depression as you do, I just want you to know that I can relate to some degree. You might find it helpful to leave little encouraging posts for all the suffering people who blog here. I know it makes me happy to try to lift up the other people on the site.

It's cool that you basically just did a brief fourth step inventory. Did you intend to do that? Are you working the steps? Either way, I hope you do well overcoming your weaknesses and tendencies. I wish you the best of luck!"
posted at 13:42:38 on January 7, 2010 by ETTE
Welcome    
"Glad to have you on the site, I think you'll find many members here who struggle with codependency along with other addictions. I've found quite a bit of benefit from blogging here. Sometimes I post publicly and receive comments from others, sometimes I write private blog posts just to express my feelings in some fashion. There's a lot of power in writing, which is why it's one of the foundations of the LDS 12-step program. If you feel so inclined, I recommend reading through the manual and doing the writing exercises that you feel are relevant to you.

It sounds like--on the surface at least--you have a great life, but you feel that something is still missing. I often feel the same way, having recently gone through a mid-life crisis of sorts (don't know if that's really what it was, but it's the best label I can come up with). I started searching anywhere for anything that would make life more bearable, more interesting, and more fulfilling. On the outside my life is exactly what it should be, but I'm constantly longing for change. I've sought escapes in staying busy, pursuing careers and hobbies, and even in addictions (not proud of that one). The gospel has helped a lot and allowed me to keep my life mostly on track. This web site and the LDS 12-step program are helping too.

I recently wrote a journal entry where I tried to identify the root cause of my dissatisfaction. The best answer I could come up with was that I was searching for the joy that I felt before I came to this world. Of course, I would think everyone would be searching for that same joy--but perhaps they don't realize it. Temporary solutions that ease the pain of life for a time are everywhere, but I'm looking for a more permanent satisfaction. I believe it is possible to be happy in this life--it is, after all, the purpose of existence. But it takes effort, faith, and ultimately the atonement of Christ to make it happen.

One of the statements you made in your post struck a chord with me: "I don't know what I want to do/be when it comes to my own personal interests and goals". It sounds like you are defining yourself by your roles and relationships, not by who you really are. My wife struggles with this too. It seems like she's been serving and supporting others for so long that she's forgotten who she is.

I'm not an expert on codependency, but as a young man I was involved in a codependent relationship. I had a strong need to be validated and found some of what I was looking for in that relationship. I took my questions -- "Am I a good person? Do I have what it takes to succeed in life? Am I worthy of love?" and gave them to the girl I was dating. But no human being can answer these questions satisfactorily, because humans and relationships are changeable. Even though I've been in a stable relationship for nearly 14 years now, I can't even take those questions to my spouse. The only unchangeable thing in this world is God, and that's where I should have taken those questions instead of to a romantic partner or to my parents.

By posting on this site you've taken a commendable step towards improving your life. We're here to support you and wish you success and happiness along the way!"
posted at 18:14:04 on January 8, 2010 by finallyfree
Validation    
"Just a brief comment: I think we all need validation, and I don't think that's a bad thing. Of course, as has been noted, we should base our self-esteem around what God truly thinks of us, not what others think of us, and not what we might think God thinks of us. As most Christians believe, God loves us unconditionally.

But perhaps we can learn to create more joy in life--for ourselves and others--by remembering to validate others. If you have 16 minutes, this is a great video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cbk980jV7Ao"
posted at 22:06:16 on January 9, 2010 by BeClean
How are you going?    
"I know your post was a few weeks ago. I have found a book that helped my learn about myself and the way I reacted to people. It help me stop wanting acceptance from my wife for every little think. It is called the 5 Love Languages by Gary Champion. I wanted to see how you were going with everything. I have completed the AR course and the material and feel to go over it again. I have created a website www.wix.com/Another_Dad/arp it my way of starting to do step 12."
posted at 10:01:41 on June 25, 2010 by Another_Dad
Paralell Universe    
"DearBeatinsomnia, thank you for sharing. I only have a few minutes but will visit you again. Your post reminds me so much of my own path. My Co-dependency and Enabling behaviors and my constant need for approval from a father who I now know is incapable of validating me have been a source of great sorrow and despair. BAGGAGE that I now refuse to carry around with me. I love the LDS AR program. I have been through it about 4 times now and I want to be a facilitator.

I believe that this forum in itself has healing power. So I hope that you will allow me to comment and sometimes lament about these things. Will write more soon.
migail3"
posted at 07:33:20 on July 21, 2010 by migail3


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"In recent years, as I have sung the hymns of the Atonement, it has been with an especially full heart—and also with full voice, when I can continue to sing—lines such as “How great thou art,” “I scarce can take it in,” “To rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine,” “I stand all amazed,” and “Oh, it is wonderful!”"

— Neal A. Maxwell

General Conference May 1987