Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself

Author: Melody Beattie
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by Derparita   2018-03-19

I have a book I'd like you to read. It's called Codependent No More by Melody Beattie. It was suggested to me by my ex's therapist, when I joined him in a therapy session and ended up sobbing. It helped me see things from a different perspective and gave me strength I didn't know I had. The book drastically improved my life and it only took a few days to read. Here it is on Amazon . I was skeptical at first because:

1) I had never read a self-help book before and had honestly zero faith that it would help anything.

and,

2) The cover of the book made me defensive because it says something about controlling others.

But, read it. It all makes sense once you get into it, and I really think your situation will hugely improve if you do. It's just a book, so worst case scenario, you don't gain anything from it but another book to add to the list of books you've read. Best case scenario, your life is changed for the better.

Here it is on Overdrive, you can see if it is available at your local library or even in e-book form.

Edit Actually, I found the e-book online for free (actually it is a free 4-title bundle of her books, but it includes the one I am recommending) so I downloaded it to my Dropbox account. I'll PM you the link so you can just click the link and read it. If anyone else wants to read the book, PM me and I'll send you the link too.

by disbelief12   2018-03-19

Your mom is too involved in your personal business.

Full stop.

There is so much about your post that raises red flags, and I totally understand that you have a hard time seeing them. But really -- your mom is allowed to feel disappointed that you made a few mistakes (which are yours to make, btw -- it's your life), but she has gone off the deep end. It is entirely inappropriate for her to come at you in the way you describe. About your decisions, about your new partner, and about your choice of career. NONE OF THIS is appropriate.

My Nmom (and yours too, it seems) had a narrative about me, and she derived a lot of satisfaction from pressuring me to stay in that box. One step outside that box and the gloves would come off. Normal parents don't behave like this. They see their children as separate people. They want to see them make good choices, sure, but they don't shit all over your choices in an effort to make you conform to some narrative.

I see a lot of myself in your post -- I am long married to a (good) person who my Nmom always disparaged. I too have written about interactions with my Nmom in which I have been overly generous with how she is behaving toward me (as you are doing in this story -- her behavior is actually abhorrent and she owes you a massive apology). I second all of the recommendations for therapy because it will help you recalibrate your sense of normalcy in a parent-child relationship (and adult child at that). I would also encourage you to take break from talking to her if she can't treat you with respect, or at the very least, not bring up this topic ever again. You deserve that much. (You actually deserve much more, but this is the bare minimum.)

I wish you all the best. I think you may also benefit from reading about codependence -- Codependent No More is a good place to start. It's focused on codependence as it relates to alcoholism, but generalizes easily to the dynamic between ACoNs and their N(s).

by VirginiaStepMonster   2017-12-06

While I could understand a partner's reluctance to want to be in a relationship that still involved their ex, this particular partner also accused you of being out "looking single" while having dinner with your son.

Your fiancé is not a reasonable person. He manipulates you, guilts you, screams at you. And he talks about you negatively behind your back. Please take a look at the links I posted on your prior submission:

>1. Have a look at this chart and see where your relationship falls into it.

>2. Check out CoDA and see if there are any groups in your area. If you are in a large metropolitan area, there will probably be a few. Often times you'll find CoDA groups using the same facilities as AA and NA groups.

>3. Check out Codependent No More and The Language of Letting Go by author Melody Beattie. These books were instrumental in helping me to recognize my own issues and codependency in a very abusive relationship.

by VirginiaStepMonster   2017-12-06

Hi there, not the person you replied to, but I wanted to give you a couple of links.

  1. Have a look at this chart and see where your relationship falls into it.

  2. Check out CoDA and see if there are any groups in your area. If you are in a large metropolitan area, there will probably be a few. Often times you'll find CoDA groups using the same facilities as AA and NA groups.

  3. Check out Codependent No More and The Language of Letting Go by author Melody Beattie. These books were instrumental in helping me to recognize my own issues and codependency in a very abusive relationship.

by otitropanit   2017-12-06

Sounds like you have a really good grasp on healthy boundaries for you and your family. Stick with those.

The trouble with those boundaries is that addicts and people that enable addicts or who are codependent (sometimes that is one and the same) do NOT like boundaries because they are inconvenient to what they are trying to accomplish..

In an addict's world (an addict who is not working a recovery/sobriety program), everything must revolve around them and getting their drug of choice. In an enablers world, everything must revolve around the addict because if everything is just perfect, the addict will suddenly be healthy and normal again!, or at least that's what the codependent person thinks.

If you haven't ever struggled with being codependent, I cannot reiterate that last sentence enough. They feel powerless but with a strong desire to fix this person, so they cling to the hope that by fixating on all of the details and variables surrounding the addict, they can somehow make the addict better.

People spend their life living this way. It took me about 3 years to finally understand that nothing I did, no variables or circumstances I controlled or enabled would make my addict (now ex) sober and staying sober. I went to meetings where people were decades into marriage and still struggling with this idea.

This got long, but I wanted to explain WHY your parents and her husband are so mad and will continue to be so mad at you when you stick to your boundaries: you aren't holding all of the pieces in all of the right places and at the right angles and so now your sister's recovery might not work!, according to them.

STICK WITH YOUR BOUNDARIES. The thing about protecting your family and yourself from really unhealthy behavior is that it might upset people. The good news is that they can feel any way they like, and you are not responsible.

If you haven't, check out these two books: Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself and Boundaries Updated and Expanded Edition: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life . Sounds like your parents/her husband need them, but it will be good for you to read and have talking points from them. Those two books were lifesavers for me.

by donniedarko76   2017-12-06

It sounds like your husband is an alcoholic and used the message of grace to resume drinking . Alcoholics can be very abusive and sinful. Alcohol will eventually make him miserable and completely destroy him. I know first hand. I wouldn't envy him.

I'm sorry you lost relationship but it's better for your kids and you if he's not around. I would urge you get counseling or at least reading Melodie Beattie's Codependent No More . It's a book about taking care of yourself and dealing with people like your ex-husband. God loves you and will help you through this. Keep going to church and talk to your pastor.

by otitropanit   2017-12-06

This sounds a lot like triangulation, where he is keeping you hanging on by a thread, but second place behind his gf, but expecting from you what he can't and won't give in return: that you be at his beckon call.

It's pretty typical. And it's pretty typical on the receiving end to feel hurt. That's kind of the point.

Check out this book: Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself . It will be a solid start.

by greychuck   2017-12-06

Highly recommend Codependent No More if you have never read it, great book for the non-addicted partner in a relationship harmed by addiction.

Highly recommend Al-anon.

These resources are a starting point to help you take back some control of the only thing you can control: your own decisions. You know how you want him to stop making excuses and attack his addiction with real treatment? You need to do the same, attack your acceptance of this and your coping strategies that seek to pick up the slack, enable, smooth things over, negotiate, etc.

You owe it to your child and yourself to work on these issues regardless of what he does. You can't negotiate him into change, you can't force him to change, you can't control things enough to make him change, you can't make change easy enough to where he magically changes. The only thing you can control is you, and that's scary and hard enough.

by seeds_of_change_TA   2017-08-19

yep, that's called codependency. It's okay, I'd much rather be codependent than cluster B! But you need to address it. I firmly believe that we can't be all that healthy to put up with someone with BPD for any length of time.

Here is a great resource to get you started: Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself

by need_CF_advice   2017-08-19

> The problem is my STBX is a great guy when sober

Famous last words. Millions of us have been there. I've been there. If only he would stop drinking so much, our life could be so beautiful...

I made excuse after excuse after excuse for years. He became really good at making me feel sorry for him, buying him more time. I hung on to every little shred of hope. "He only drank 3 nights this week!" and I'd set myself up to be disappointed yet again when he got HAMMERED 6 nights in a row the next week.

Life with an alcoholic is depressing, chaotic, unpredictable, miserable. It will not get better. And the worst part is that children growing up with an alcoholic parent end up with all kinds of emotional problems (I know this from personal experience as well).

Check out r/alanon for some help. Also the following books were extremely helpful for me:

Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself - This is great for learning how to distance yourself from the alcoholic's destructive behavior when you're unwilling / unable to remove yourself from them. While I was still with my STBX, it helped me learn how to detach from his behavior in a loving way.

How to Break Your Addiction to a Person: When--and Why--Love Doesn't Work - This book helped me evaluate why I wanted to be with someone who made my life so miserable. It guides you to take a look at your relationship and help you decide if it's worth keeping it alive. It does NOT encourage you to leave your spouse; rather it helps you weight the pros and cons of leaving or staying, and helps you make an informed decision that you can be comfortable with.