Between the contacts you can make for sponsorship through the CoDA website, the meetings you can do online there, MB's book, CoDA's own big blue book, and such as you may be able to glean from the information at the links below, you should be able to make plenty of headway. It's all about progress, not perfection, so one has to accept slips here and there. But over time, the big ones, at least, become pretty rare if one continues to learn and practice. (Went to my first CoDA meeting in 1990. Have read all these books and more since then.)
"Is Codependency a Common Cultural Curse?" in ProcessFiend's extensive and link-loaded reply to the OP on this thread
Facing the Facts about Sex, Love & Romance in Our Time in ProcessFiend's two replies to the OP on that thread. (Be sure to click on all the links therein to get the complete picture. By the time you're done diving into all the rabbit holes, I'm pretty sure you'll know many things most people will go to their graves without understanding.)
I went to Codependents Anonymous book studies for about 10 years. We read the CoDA blue book and CNM, of course. And the we got into many of these. As a result, most of the regulars at those book studies now have "masters' degrees" in recovery from codependency and make excellent CoDA sponsors for newcomers to the fellowship.
CoDA meetings and CoDA's "big blue book"
ACA meetings and ACA's "big red book"
May I suggest some reading and a pair of support systems for eventual recovery?
The Awful Cult of Two
Books for the Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents
The Malignant Narcissistic vs. Needy Codependent Polarity
As well as these for the long run:
Resolving Causes & Effects
DIS-Identifying with Learned Helplessness & the Victim Identity (see also not-moses's answers to a replier's questions there)
A Summary of Recovery Activities
> Every time there's a vague indication they are sad about something I blossom. I console, I advise, I keep checking in, I shower with more gifts.
Probably worth looking into:
The Karpman Drama Triangle
How do I fix my FIX?
Should we try to Rescue those who Don't Really Want to Be?
Are You Addicted to Fixing and Rescuing Others? (includes a link to the Pair-A-Docks article below)
Better Books on Codependency and Related Topics
I just ordered a few books recommended by other posters on here: Co-Dependents Anonymous https://www.amazon.com/dp/0964710501/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_D078Cb9ATSD9F
So, I’m on the same wavelength. Best wishes to you, on your journey.
I had the same problem for decades. I still have "riders on my mental school bus" who do so. But they don't get to drive the bus anymore. Here's how I got from there to here:
Continual review of the Patterns & Characteristics of Codependence on the Codependents Anonymous website so that I know exactly where me "buttons" are
Clearly understanding the Five Relationship Styles
Practicing a consciousness raiser / thought questioner / emotion digester like the 10 StEPs of Emotion Processing so that I am able to continue to sense what is actually going on and intuitively know what to do about it
Staying aware of where I am on other people's Karpman Drama Triangles
While one can look into such as Setting Better Personal Boundaries and boundary expert Pia Mellody's take on it, my personal experience after 29 years of studying the matter is that boundary setting comes naturally from looking deeply into how one's mind has been conditioned, in-doctrine-ated, instructed, socialized, habituated, and normalized to being the Victim on other people's Karpman Drama Triangles.
It didn't hurt to go to CoDA meetings, read CoDA's "big blue book," work their 12 Steps, and dig into the Better Books on Codependency and Related Topics, either.
Once I did that and started into DIS-Identifying with Learned Helplessness & the Victim Identity (see also not-moses's answers to a replier's questions there), boundary setting became more and more "automatic."
> ...my therapist thinks it's likely I have more repressed memories given my symptoms.
That's certainly possible, but everything you've recalled thus far would be sufficient to confuse the bejesus out of a child's mind and induce Karpman Drama Triangles of boundary-diffused codependency in future intimate relationships, as well as make many (most?) children believe they were responsible to take care of mother's (and intimate other's) emotions.
May I make some suggestions?
Concentrate on what you do know for the time being by getting into the following:
CoDA meetings and CoDA's "big blue book," as well as ACA meetings and ACA's "big red book"
...especially if you relate to The Patterns & Characteristics of Codependence on the Codependents Anonymous website and/or The ACA Laundry List.
Books for the Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents. and...
Better Books on Codependency and Related Topics.
I've no actual I idea if I am barking up the right tree on the following, but some therapists are given to asserting truly egregious child sexual abuse when there may or may NOT have been any. Many children who grew up in circumstances like those you described were CSA victims. Some, however, were not. One will have to be open-minded to all possibilities, therapists very much included. But forcing survivors to try to remember the events of childhood is NOT recommended by the APA or any of the experts listed in the first paragraph of this earlier post.
Victims of CSA are so often trapped in a conflict between wanting get free of the downline upshots (like anxiety and paranoid distrust) but -- because of their paranoia & distrust of anyone but those they can control (like their children) -- refusing to get professional help and running around in circles of Learned Helplessness & Victim Identity with spouses and children who then develop cases of it themselves on the survivor's Karpman Drama Triangle. (This is my dear multiply molested cousin, and the upshots of it have been truly horrible for her two children.)
While it's true that the survivor is not responsible for her illness, she -- and she alone -- is responsible for her recovery from it. But enabling her to avoid that by staying on her Drama Triangle as her "rescuer" -- which helps her to continue to see herself as "the helpless victim" -- can reliably be expected to prevent her from so doing.
You may need to get into some CoDA meetings and CoDA's "big blue book" to find some support, as well as conceptual empowerment. And because of how your father was instrumental in her repetition of the original trauma, some ACA meetings and ACA's "big red book," as well.
Hmm. Well. Let's try two approaches:
One is what seems to be the upshot of having been conditioned, instructed, socialized, habituated, and normalized to experiencing shame when revealing yourself to others.
The other, for somewhat similar reasons -- like having been conditioned, instructed, socialized, habituated, and normalized to psychological boundary diffusion or disruption -- may be (we do not diagnose here) this stuff which can lead to excessive concern with others' approval.
For the former, may I suggest reading the following?
Books on Shame & Recovery Therefrom
Recovering from Shame
And for the latter...
Better Books on Codependency and Related Topics, as well as...
A codependent losing a relationship is pretty much like a drug addict in withdrawal. Pretty much every emotion the drug was masking off from awareness is now In Your Face. (Feh.) But... I can tell you that by going to CoDA meetings, getting a sponsor and CoDA's "big blue book," and then working the 12 Steps of CoDA with that sponsor -- as well as using this stuff in CoDA's Steps 10 & 11 -- I rarely get into such dependencies anymore, nor have to suffer such extreme withdrawal when they end.
It took a while to get from where I was (& where it sounds like you are right now) to where I am now -- which is not quite "Emotionally Bulletproof?" (in my reply on this thread) -- but I just kept at it, and here I am. You can do it too, if you move from stage three into stage four of the five stages of therapeutic recovery and buckle your seatbelt.
Trying to manage codependency all by oneself is about like trying to empty the water out of the "Titanic" with a Starbucks cup. So... may I suggest some help:
The lyrics while listening to Alanis Morrissette's "Precious Illusions," and "Death of Cinderella" just to see what comes up in your mind
Associating Abuse with Safety & Security
Why We Get so Desperate for Connection (in not-moses's replies to the OP on that thread)
The Patterns & Characteristics of Codependence on the Codependents Anonymous website so that you know exactly where your "buttons" are
Facing the Facts about Sex, Love & Romance in Our Time in ProcessFiend's replies to the OP on that thread. (Be sure to click on all the links therein to get the complete picture.)
Suggested reading while observing your mental and emotional reactions to the concepts therein: Facing the Facts about Sex, Love & Romance in Our Time in ProcessFiend's replies to the OP on that thread. (Be sure to click on all the links therein to get the complete picture.)
And if you have strong reactions...
CoDA meetings and CoDA's "big blue book," looking for a sponsor and then working their 12 Steps (there are meetings online, btw; use their website to find them).
Hmm. I may be wrong, but since it sounds like you're way into stage two of the five stages of therapeutic recovery on the verge of hitting stage three, may I suggest some reading?
Kubler-Ross's five stages of grief processing
Practicing a consciousness raiser / thought questioner / emotion digester like the 10 StEPs of Emotion Processing so that one is able to continue to sense what is actually going on and intuitively know what to do about it
Sternberg's Nine Kinds of Love to see (with those 10 StEPs) where one actually is in those kinds vs. where one would like to be
"Love is being with what IS in relationship."
May I suggest starting with "HOW," the 5 Stages & the 10 StEPs in u/ProcessFiend's reply to the OP on that thread because you're already well into that process? And then examining that material at the links below in the manner described at the link above? (Just let the ideas through the door without trying to do anything about them.)
Understand the Drama Triangle... (NOT diagnosing, just saying that many (most?) CoDep's have a few abuse-installed BPD traits... which often becomes obvious reading this article.)
CoDA meetings and CoDA's "big blue book
Understand the Drama Triangle... (NOT diagnosing, just saying that many (most?) CoDep's have a few abuse-installed BPD traits... which often becomes obvious either reading this article or attending as many CoDA meetings as I have since 1990.)
Melody Beattie's books are fine starting points for minds new to the topic. CoDA's "big blue book is also a good place to start. Once one has sufficient grounding, books like these usually become edifying and useful.
Will I ever Get Over being Codependent? in not-moses's reply to the OP on that reddit thread.
> how can I be sure if this is a codependent thing?
See what you think after reading this and the material at the links there: Facing the Facts about Sex, Love & Romance in Our Time in ProcessFiend's reply to the OP on that thread. (Be sure to click on all the links therein to get the complete picture.)
> what can I do to help myself?
Here are some suggested activities: