CLUTTERED LIVES, EMPTY SOULS: Codependency

286
148

I don’t remember the first time I heard the term “codependency,” but it probably was in the mid-1980s. I must have been about 20. I’m not even sure in what context I heard the word, though it likely was in a psychology class or perhaps in one of my first visits to Al-Anon. The term originated in the 1980s, but the concept dates to the founding of Al-Anon by Lois Wilson in 1951. Whenever, wherever, however, I eventually became a codependency poster boy.

We have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility and it is easier for us to be concerned with others rather than ourselves; this enables us not to look too closely at our own faults, etc.Adult Children of Alcoholic’s (ACOA) 14 Traits of an Adult Child of an Alcoholic

My story is not unique, though I grew up feeling it was. My dad became an alcoholic when I was young. He and my mom divorced when I was around eleven. That was when I took on the role of man of the house. I watched my younger brother, cleaned, cooked and was a confidant for my mom. I developed the persona of the good son –hero, helper, rescuer, rock. I nearly lost all sense of my authentic self.

There’s always something in it for the person who is allowing himself or herself to be taken advantage of.P. A. Speers, Type 1 Sociopath: When Difficult People Are More Than Just Difficult People

I was embarrassed to be the son of an alcoholic, a child of divorce and a member of a financially-struggling family. I was envious of friends and relatives whose families seemed perfect. I felt perpetually frustrated, and wondered if my dad really loved me and why he chose the bottle over me. I assumed most men were like my dad – weak, selfish, unreliable and angry. I decided that to receive love, I had to be the opposite of my dad – strong, selfless, reliable and kind.

For a time, my codependency served me well. It occupied my mind so I didn’t have to feel anything or look at myself. I learned home-life skills. I felt special, superior, even like an adult. But I also became a martyr – always sacrificing something for someone else.

The truth is we tend to train people how we want to be treated. If others know you have wishy-washy boundaries then they are free to walk all over you; the result . . . you become a doormat. David W. Earle

Even though I was talented in sports, arts and particularly music, my core self-esteem was in the toilet. What few feelings of inherent value or worth I had came from what I did, not who I was. I was a giver, not a receiver. I felt overburdened, unable to say no and unable to ask for help.

Eventually, I hit a bottom. At age 25 while in law school, I was arrested for shoplifting. My father had suffered a stroke and was wheelchair-bound. I tried to set some boundaries, but my guilt was excruciating. I felt like Michael Corleone from The Godfather – Part 3. “Just when I thought I was out, they keep pulling me back in!” I went into therapy and began peeling the onion layers of my life. I learned codependency was at its core.

It’s one thing to know your habits but quite another to change them.David W. Earle

I read many books on codependency and soon noticed a pattern in my intimate relationships with women. My idea of love was caring about and helping others. I was always putting everyone’s needs ahead of my own. I deluded myself into thinking I didn’t have any needs . . . except maybe for sex. I had to keep giving more to get “a few scraps from the table of love,” which led to resentments as well as crazy fears. I felt if I was no longer needed, I’d no longer be loved.

We confuse love and pity, and tend to love people we can pity and rescue . . . We get guilt feelings when we stand up for ourselves instead of giving in to others.ACOA’s 14 Traits of an Adult Child of an Alcoholic

I had begun distancing myself from my father when my worst fear came true; he died. I first felt relief, then guilt that I felt relief, then anger and finally rage. Finally, I felt immense sorrow. I filled the void left by his death with another codependent relationship. Within three months, I was dating an older divorced woman with three young children. The four years with this woman were very tumultuous. We must have broken up at least a dozen times. I even traveled out West for two months to keep from going back to her; that only lasted a week.

I used to spend so much time reacting and responding to everyone else that my life had no direction. Other people’s lives, problems, and wants set the course for my life. Once I realized it was okay for me to think about and identify what I wanted, remarkable things began to take place. – Melody Beattie, The Language of Letting Go: Daily Meditations on Codependency

After breaking off our relationship for good, I went back to school to become a social worker. Codependents often work in the helping professions, and I was certainly guilty as charged. My first two years as a therapist at a substance abuse clinic were challenging, but not as difficult as the next two years, when I took on a familiar man-in-charge role as director of the clinic. I overestimated my ability to do the job as a non-codependent. I soon burned out and quit.

There were tough times to follow, but I continued my personal growth work. I eventually met a healthy partner who is now my wife. I bought my first home and finally started living my own life!

Today, my recovery from codependency continues. It is a one-day-at-a-time journey.

Terrence Shulman ©2015

 

SHARE
Previous articleBook Review: Love Sick: One Woman’s Journey Through Sexual Addiction
Next articleAmerica’s Addiction Tragedy
Terrence Daryl Shulman is a Detroit-area therapist, attorney, author and consultant. He is the founder and director of The Shulman Center for Compulsive Theft, Spending and Hoarding. He is the author of Something for Nothing: Shoplifting Addiction and Recovery (2003), Biting the Hand That Feeds: The Employee Theft Epidemic–New Perspectives, New Solutions(2005), Bought Out and $pent! Recovery from Compulsive $hopping and $pending (2008) and Cluttered Lives, Empty Souls: Compulsive Stealing, Spending, and Hoarding (2011). He has been featured on nearly 100 television programs, including The Oprah Winfrey Show.

286 COMMENTS

  1. … [Trackback]

    […] Read More on|Read More|Read More Infos here|Here you will find 60957 additional Infos|Infos on that Topic: inrecovery.com/cluttered-lives-empty-souls-codependency/ […]

  2. “In this great pattern of things you receive an A for effort. Where exactly you misplaced me was in the specifics. As as the maxim goes, the devil is in the details… And that couldn’t be much more true right here. Having said that, permit me tell you what did give good results. The article (parts of it) can be really engaging and this is probably why I am making the effort in order to opine. I do not make it a regular habit of doing that. Secondly, whilst I can see a leaps in reason you come up with, I am definitely not convinced of how you appear to unite the points which inturn make the final result. For now I will yield to your point however hope in the near future you connect the dots much better.”

  3. … [Trackback]

    […] Find More on|Find More|Find More Infos here|There you can find 95892 more Infos|Informations on that Topic: inrecovery.com/cluttered-lives-empty-souls-codependency/ […]

  4. I simply want to mention I am newbie to blogs and honestly liked you’re website. Likely I’m want to bookmark your site . You really have tremendous writings. Thanks a bunch for sharing with us your website.

  5. I’m impressed, I have to admit. Genuinely rarely do you encounter a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and without a doubt, you’ve got hit the nail about the head. Your thought is outstanding; the thing is something too few everyone is speaking intelligently about. We’re very happy which i found this around my seek out some thing with this.

  6. Hi there, I discovered your web site by means of Google at the same time as looking for a related topic, your site got here up, it appears to be like good. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

  7. Hello, i feel that i noticed you visited my website thus i got here to return the want?.I am trying to to find things to enhance my site!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!

  8. Hello, i feel that i noticed you visited my website so i came to go back the desire?.I am attempting to to find things to improve my site!I assume its good enough to make use of some of your concepts!!

  9. Hi there, I found your website by means of Google while looking for a similar subject, your site got here up, it appears to be like good. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

  10. Hi there, I found your site by means of Google at the same time as searching for a similar topic, your website got here up, it seems to be great. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

  11. Hi there, I found your blog by the use of Google while looking for a similar topic, your web site got here up, it appears to be like good. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

  12. I’ve been exploring for a bit for any high quality articles or weblog posts in this sort of area . Exploring in Yahoo I eventually stumbled upon this site. Studying this information So i’m satisfied to express that I have an incredibly good uncanny feeling I came upon just what I needed. I so much indubitably will make sure to do not forget this site and provides it a glance regularly.

  13. “I must point out my admiration for your generosity supporting women who should have guidance on this one study. Your personal dedication to passing the message all-around turned out to be especially effective and has frequently encouraged ladies like me to achieve their endeavors. Your own useful report denotes a great deal a person like me and even further to my colleagues. Thanks a ton; from each one of us.”

  14. Hello, i believe that i noticed you visited my site thus i got here to return the desire?.I’m trying to find issues to enhance my site!I guess its adequate to use a few of your ideas!!

  15. Hi, i feel that i noticed you visited my web site thus i got here to return the desire?.I’m trying to find things to enhance my website!I suppose its ok to make use of a few of your ideas!!

  16. Hi, i feel that i saw you visited my site so i got here to go back the favor?.I am trying to to find issues to enhance my website!I assume its ok to make use of some of your ideas!!

  17. Amazing blog! Do you have any hints for aspiring writers? I’m planning to start my own site soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you recommend starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m totally confused .. Any ideas? Thanks!

  18. Awesome blog! Do you have any suggestions for aspiring writers? I’m hoping to start my own blog soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you recommend starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m completely confused .. Any suggestions? Many thanks!

  19. Sweet blog! I found it while browsing on Yahoo News. Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Appreciate it

  20. I’m usually to running a blog and i actually respect your content. The article has actually peaks my interest. I am going to bookmark your website and hold checking for new information.

  21. Hello! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back frequently!

  22. Superb blog! Do you have any tips and hints for aspiring writers? I’m hoping to start my own blog soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you propose starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m totally overwhelmed .. Any recommendations? Thanks!

  23. Amazing blog! Do you have any recommendations for aspiring writers? I’m hoping to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you recommend starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m totally confused .. Any tips? Thank you!

  24. Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It’s always interesting to read through content from other authors and practice a little something from their web sites.

  25. An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a co-worker who was conducting a little homework on this. And he in fact bought me breakfast simply because I stumbled upon it for him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending time to talk about this topic here on your blog.

  26. Hmm it appears like your site ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to everything. Do you have any suggestions for rookie blog writers? I’d certainly appreciate it.

  27. Awesome blog! Do you have any tips and hints for aspiring writers? I’m hoping to start my own site soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you advise starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m completely overwhelmed .. Any tips? Thanks!

  28. Wonderful blog! Do you have any helpful hints for aspiring writers? I’m hoping to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you recommend starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m totally overwhelmed .. Any recommendations? Appreciate it!

  29. With havin so much content do you ever run into any issues of plagorism or copyright infringement? My site has a lot of exclusive content I’ve either created myself or outsourced but it looks like a lot of it is popping it up all over the web without my permission. Do you know any methods to help stop content from being ripped off? I’d definitely appreciate it.

  30. A person essentially help to make significantly posts I would state. That is the first time I frequented your website page and up to now? I amazed with the analysis you made to create this actual submit incredible. Fantastic task!

  31. I don’t even know how I stopped up here, however I thought this submit used to be great. I do not recognise who you might be however certainly you are going to a well-known blogger should you are not already. Cheers!

  32. Attractive portion of content. I just stumbled upon your blog and in accession capital to say that I get actually enjoyed account your blog posts. Anyway I will be subscribing for your augment and even I fulfillment you get right of entry to consistently fast.

  33. Attractive component to content. I simply stumbled upon your website and in accession capital to claim that I get in fact enjoyed account your weblog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing for your feeds and even I success you get right of entry to persistently rapidly.

  34. you’re in point of fact a just right webmaster. The web site loading velocity is incredible. It sort of feels that you are doing any distinctive trick. Furthermore, The contents are masterwork. you have done a fantastic activity in this matter!

  35. “hi!,I love your writing so so much! share we keep in touch extra approximately your post on AOL? I need an expert on this area to solve my problem. May be that is you! Taking a look forward to peer you.”

  36. Pretty component of content. I just stumbled upon your web site and in accession capital to claim that I get actually enjoyed account your blog posts. Anyway I will be subscribing to your feeds or even I fulfillment you access persistently rapidly.

  37. Pretty element of content. I simply stumbled upon your site and in accession capital to claim that I acquire in fact enjoyed account your blog posts. Anyway I will be subscribing to your augment or even I fulfillment you get right of entry to consistently quickly.

  38. you are actually a good webmaster. The web site loading speed is incredible. It kind of feels that you are doing any distinctive trick. Furthermore, The contents are masterpiece. you have done a great process on this subject!

  39. You actually make it seem really easy together with your presentation however I to find this matter to be actually one thing that I feel I might by no means understand. It kind of feels too complex and very huge for me. I’m taking a look forward for your next publish, I will try to get the hold of it!

  40. Fantastic goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to and you’re just too fantastic. I actually like what you’ve acquired here, certainly like what you are saying and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still take care of to keep it smart. I can not wait to read much more from you. This is actually a terrific site.

  41. I don’t know whether it’s just me or if perhaps everybody else experiencing problems with your website. It seems like some of the written text in your content are running off the screen. Can somebody else please provide feedback and let me know if this is happening to them too? This could be a problem with my internet browser because I’ve had this happen before. Thanks

  42. You really make it seem so easy together with your presentation however I find this matter to be really something which I feel I’d by no means understand. It sort of feels too complex and very huge for me. I am taking a look ahead for your next publish, I’ll attempt to get the hold of it!

  43. I don’t know if it’s just me or if everybody else encountering problems with your website. It appears as if some of the written text within your posts are running off the screen. Can someone else please comment and let me know if this is happening to them too? This may be a problem with my browser because I’ve had this happen previously. Kudos

  44. You actually make it appear really easy along with your presentation however I in finding this topic to be really something that I think I might by no means understand. It kind of feels too complicated and extremely huge for me. I’m taking a look ahead on your subsequent put up, I will try to get the cling of it!

  45. I have been browsing on-line greater than 3 hours nowadays, but I by no means discovered any fascinating article like yours. It is lovely price sufficient for me. In my opinion, if all web owners and bloggers made just right content as you did, the internet shall be much more useful than ever before.

  46. Empresa del sector alimentos requiere URGENTE Señora para el area servicios generales (aseo) a nivel industrial con experiencia en aseo de plantas de produccion y oficinas con empresas especializadas en proveer servicios de aseo, disponibilidad inmediata. Empresa del sector plastico requiere Tecnico y/ tecnologo en Plasticos con experiencia en procesos industriales ( Soplado /Inyeccion) mínima de 1 año. Personal femenino Técnicos tecnólogos en el area de la confeccion con experiencia en el sector textil y en manejo de personal para trabajar de lunes a viernes de 7 am a 5 pm. Salario .000 mas prestaciones de ley. Horario: Lunes a Viernes 7:30 a.m – 5:30 p.m con disponibilidad para trabajar los días sábados cuando se requiera.

  47. Thanks for the sensible critique. Me and my neighbor were just preparing to do a little research about this. We got a grab a book from our local library but I think I learned more clear from this post. I am very glad to see such magnificent info being shared freely out there.

  48. Aw, this was a very nice post. In thought I would like to put in writing like this additionally – taking time and actual effort to make a very good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate alot and on no account seem to get one thing done.

  49. Utilizamos cookies propias y de terceros para realizar análisis de uso y de medición de nuestra web para mejorar nuestros servicios. Trabajamos sobre todo tipo de materiales, para sectores como automoción, electrónica, línea blanca, insertos inyectable, etc. 67. Tornillo mecanizado por decoletaje en acero © Kuzu, S.L. 5. Casquillo con rosca interior mecanizado por decoletaje en acero © Kuzu, S.L.

  50. Once I initially commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a remark is added I get 4 emails with the identical comment. Is there any manner you’ll be able to take away me from that service? Thanks!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here