Post by Susan Peabody on Mar 23, 2013 12:02:30 GMT -8
From Lovely June when asked the difference between codependency and love addiction.
The key feature of Co-dependents is that they care for others, not out of a sense of altruism, but rather because they hope to control the other person, because they depend on that other person as their lifeline. The key feature of a love addict, on the other hand, is to obsess over someone and call it love. Both a co-dependent and a love addict have over-lapping traits. Both act out so as to avoid their own lives and focusing on their own problems. If you can learn not the symptoms of these personality dis-orders, but rather the root cause, then it doesn't matter which meeting you attend. You should learn the same essential lesson in both meetings!
How does guilt play into caretaking? I sense for myself that I engage in caretaking out of a feeling of duty/obligation and guilt. May also be control issues but I can't see or feel that as clearly as the guilt right now.
I think guilt is one of many motivators that propels us to take action to do something. I think guilt is learned, and can be both good and bad. I think it can be good when it motivates us to take right action even though we do not want to (we may feel guilty for eating too many cookies, so the next day we cut back; or may feel guilt and shame for having an affair and so this propels us to end an affair). But guilt can also hold us back too… when we feel a duty or an obligation to take care of someone who should in all respects, be able to take care of themselves. For example, for many years I was married to a classic avoidant. Not only did he avoid me, he avoided all his responsibilities except go to work and make money (and sometimes he even avoided that). It put me in the guilt-ridden, obligatory position of taking care of the household, the children and even him. By and large, I did this because the house wasn't going to run itself. SOmebody had to do it, and because I felt sorry for him. Poor guy didn't know how to cook or clean or whatever…. It also made me resent him and boil over with anger that I had to do all the work.
I do not know your situation, but in recovery, we strive to take care of ourselves and our children (and some of us take care of elderly parents or friends who cannot take care of themselves). And we work to find partners and relationships with others who can take care of themselves. That means no caretaking of grown-ups who are perfectly capable of doing things for themselves. This is not conducive to healthy living. And the guilt that motivates you to stay and care for a person in this kind of situation doesn't help you and it doesn't help them. If you are talking about someone who cannot take care of themselves and you feel a sense of guilt or duty, we need to dig a little deeper. Is this person your responsibility? Is it a child? An elderly person? Or is it someone you love who is not responding to you the way you'd like him or her to respond?
Unless you want to share more details I can't really offer more guidance.
Thanks for you insights. I was referring to my ex who I felt too responsible for especially emotionally (not financially)and for quite a long time. She ended up having an affair and leaving for someone who was willing to take even more care of her and rescue her financially and emotionally. I feel some relief with her being gone and not having that stress and pressure now, but on the flip side there is a part of me that is pretty upset that who I am and what I did give was not enough....feelings of inadequacy because of the ugly way it ended and affair and I was completed discarded and treated like our whole relationshp was meaningless to her. We were together over 3 years. Still trying to heal and taking off my own super hero cape so I don't relive this horrible experience. I am in therapy and attending Coda every week. I still hurt a lot and know I'm grieving. My ex got married within 4 months after our split and got pregnant on their honeymoon and it was not an accident as she is a lesbian who married another woman. I find it hard not to take it all personally....I'm trying and working on myself each day.
Post by LovelyJune on Jan 13, 2014 14:25:42 GMT -8
Ugh. If it makes you feel any better, your ex sounds a wreck. I'm not sure having an affair, being needy, getting married on the fly and then getting pregnant soon after are signs of a healthy person. So…try to strengthen your thinking. Say: WHeph! I dodged a bullet! You may not see it now but in time you will. I PROMISE! Opportunity is often disguised as loss.
In the meantime, yes! stick with CODA and therapy and anything else you need. Recovery takes a while, and it's difficult, but it's not nearly as difficult or painful as being in a bad relationship. Keep posting! Don't give up on yourself.
LovelyJune, Thanks so much for your support. I do often feel like I dodged a bullet and so many people have said the exact words. It is just a slow process. I go back and forth between feeling relief and despair. I know I'm still grieving this loss. My abandonment wounds need to be healed....I think it will take time but I am hoping to have more clarity and be able to make better choices of relationships in the future. I really don't know any people who have gone through "Love addiction" and who have recovered and found happy partnerships. It is difficult to imagine what that would be like.