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Does society teach the alternative to codependency is selfishness?


Saved
inillinois
Does society teach the alternative to codependency is selfishness?
Okay, someone once asked me if I consider myself codependent. I responded that I didn't at all consider myself to be that way.

Fast forward to my counseling appointment last night. My counselor was going over scenarios with me. He'd say, "okay, your husband does this....what's your response?" He was putting me in situations where I should be sticking up for myself. For example, let's say I'm extremely angry with my husband for treating me badly and then he, along with my son, shows up at work with roses asking if I'd like to go to lunch. My counselor says, okay, what do you do??

I say that because my son's there and I don't want conflict in front of him, I should go to lunch and be done with it. Counselor says, no, you're mad at hubby. You have to only consider your feelings and how upset you are, not how much you'll upset someone else if you are honest. I say okay, I guess I could say I'm sorry but I'm angry with your father and I won't go to lunch with him today.

Then my counselor says good job. Now your son gives you "the eyes" and says, "but Mom, I want you to go to lunch, pleeeeeeeease go with us!" What do you say?

I say, dammit, honestly I would probably go. And he says NO! You are upset and you need to think about your feelings here.

WHAT THE HELL?? I've never even considered the fact that I could be codependent. But it was so hard for me to visualize that whole scenario without considering other people's feelings. I learned that my response to situations is usually dependent on what others do or feel.

So...I guess I'm codependent. Does that make me totally pathetic, because I used to consider myself a fairly strong individual. Why was it so easy for me to push my own feelings and emotions aside for the good of others? Do you suppose this is why hubby sometimes pushes my feelings aside? Because I do it to myself, therefore I let him do it to me?

Another question, and this is important: DO YOU FEEL THAT OUR SOCIETY TEACHES THAT THE ALTERNATIVE TO CODEPENDENCY IS SELFISHNESS?? Because I really felt selfish when I was trying to focus on my emotions and disregard everyone else's.

I realize I'm a little behind on understanding the whole codependent thing, but I really feel like I've made a major realization here and I'm going to try and take steps to correct it.

Thank you for your input.
     Replies...
gillian
marie
Re: Does society teach the alternative to codependency is selfishness?
I don't think that going to lunch with your son and him is 'co-dependence.' I'm not a professional though. I think that maybe the point your counselor was getting at was that if you put your feelings on the back burner for the addict...that may be co-dependence. I recommend you read up on the subject. I'm sure you'll get some posts with good co-d books...I've seen people post them before.

You have to do what you feel is right in your heart. There is a line to be drawn when you are ready....when you put yourself as #1 and not him. I found that line after 1 year!
Tender
hearts
KS
Re: Does society teach the alternative to codependency is selfishness?
It was a real shock when I finally realized the extent of my codependency, and that was years into my recovery from addiction.

I do think that society expects women to be 'caretakers'; I know that was the kind of environment I was raised in. My mom always does for everyone else before herself, and I find myself battling that same type of behavior. Hers is to the extent that she is the 'martyr' in the family, if you understand anything about dysfunction and the role each family member takes on.

Why should someone else consider our feelings when we don't consider them ourselves? For me, I clearly communicated, through my own actions, that my feelings weren't important. I was just like you, tailoring my decisions to everyone else's feelings!

You have taken such a huge and important step in your own recovery, and I see lots of good things in the future for you!

I look at people every day with scowls on their faces, always in a hurry, not really knowing 'who' they are, and I am so grateful that I have a program of recovery where I experience the journey of self-discovery and improving myself for me. It's not always 'comfortable' in that journey; I'm trying to change years and years of preconceived notions and automatic behaviors. It's so worth it. Give yourself a big hug for the progress!
paceset Re: Does society teach the alternative to codependency is selfishness?
Yes, I do believe that our society teaches too much selfishness in defense of codependence! I have been pondering this and afraid to ask that sticky question. I just think that like everything in our society, the majority rules and the easy way is often taken to keep the ball rolling. Instant gratification is a selfish thing. A quick pill is a selfish thing as the "hard road" is the "better road" to teach us, but it's all about what you believe is right in your heart. Kind of like the very difficult question of abortion that many don't want to even ask, "if I was raped and got pregnant, would I have that baby and believe that God is in control and love that child or give it up for adoption or would I do the "selfish" thing and have an abortion?" I don't have a clue what I would do if I'm honest. In my life, I would have many telling me that I would get a life of abundant love if I went ahead and had the baby and I would be blessed with so much love and then I would have just as many telling me that it would be perfectly fine if I had the abortion....

I know this is so deep, but if you are questioning the counselor's suggestion that you go against your core feelings then you are probably questioning the whole stupid world of meth-right and wrong. Am I way off? I know codependence is a sickness of the kind, caring, loving but it is also selfish and the books do explain some of that but there is a difference between "selfness" and "selfishness" and only each one of us can make that distinction and choice. I do think there is a reason that there are codependents and we are good people too!

Take all the wisdom and advice thrown at you, try some out, throw some away and have peace within.
starry
eyed
Re: Does society teach the alternative to codependency is selfishness?
I just want to say this is a great post and a great topic.

Ok, at the risk of being totally wrong I am going to throw this out there.

First of all, I think the example the therapist used was a poor one. If I has shown up at my mom's workplace w/ my dad and my mom had said 'nope, I'm not going to lunch because I am angry with your father", as a child I would have felt HORRIBLE. That would have caused me much anxiety and upset. Any yes, as a child, if I had gotten all excited about bringing flowers to mommy at work and going out to lunch with mom and dad and mom refused I would have thought that was very selfish and I would have been crushed.

Why not go to lunch and then later on make it clear that what the husband did is not ok and you are still upset? I mean kids REALLY want things to be ok, so would it be so wrong to take the child's point of view into account? Is that being codependent? Is everything in life one big calculated concession?

This really confuses me but aren't you SUPPOSED to put your own feelings aside once in awhile? When my son wants me to play catch w/ him and I am feeling tired, do I say, 'no I am sorry, but I am too tired and my feelings are what matters'? Now if it was my husband it would be a wildly different story. If he asks if I want to spend the whole day at his mom's, while he's not even in the house and tinkers around outside do I say yes? I think not.

Maybe I am really codependent and not aware of it but everything about telling your son you can't go to lunch w/ him and his dad b/c you are too angry says WRONG. If it was me and my husband showed up alone I would have NO problem saying 'sorry, but given the way you treated me last night, I am not in the mood to have lunch with you'. But why ruin the kid's day? Is being brutally honest with your kids about your marriage and your feelings about your spouse the only way to not be CD? Cause trust me, they don't want to hear about it.
Saved
inillinois
Re: Does society teach the alternative to codependency is selfishness?
Staryeyed

Okay, the example the counselor used actually happened. I was ready to leave hubby 2 weeks ago. Things were bad and he had been EXTREMELY mean. Then he showed up wanting things to be ok again. He deliberately did it in a public setting, with my son, knowing that I wouldn't say no.

I should've made that clear before.

So I think where I really messed up was giving in. I should have totally stuck to my guns, even in front of my son.

I see what you're saying though about certain situations where I SHOULD put my feelings aside. Definitely if my son wanted to play catch when I'm tired, I would put my feelings aside. Or the example that my counselor used is in a funeral situation or something similar. You totally put yourself aside for a short time and cater to the needs of the grieving person.

Thank you all for your responses and please keep them coming.
paceset Re: Does society teach the alternative to codependency is selfishness?
We are instructed to be SELFLESS with our children....grown men who are meth addicts become children even if they are husbands. That's the biggie problem. I think that if someone isn't a little codependent in their lives somewhere, then they are either lying really well or just plain inhuman, perfect or an angel-Jesus and they shouldn't be put up as an example. I think we ought to all just be a little more loving and accepting of ourselves and forgive ourselves and others for being human. Sometimes we give and sometimes we receive-don't be hard on yourself for being YOU just be honest and remember, "Codependence" is just a label-it's not the whole YOU.
Cindy
Lou
Re: Does society teach the alternative to codependency is selfishness?
I have been confronted with so many of these situations.
How I feel about this one.
1. If your other half is using meth, what is he doing with the child in the first place.
2. I don't call that love when he is manipulating you into doing something by using your child. I would be shoving those flowers up his a**  later. Just kidding.. 
3. I think you should be very upset that he is trying to pull you into a very dishonest situation when you choose to be and are a honest person.
4. I think the situation needs to be confronted and worked out in some sense before the dinner and flowers come into play.. cheap a**... I don't want the hamburger, I want the one pound New York Strip Baby...

I would probably choose to go only because I wouldn't want to put my child into the hairy crap.. Later when my child is not around, I would discuss how he had never put me and my child in that situation again.

I would also be thinking on the behalf of what I need to do so my son don't handle stuff in that way when he grows up.. If he learns to handle things in that manner from his parent, I feel he will put it into effect when he is a parent...

Just some of my thoughts
Saved
inillinois
Re: Does society teach the alternative to codependency is selfishness?
Cindy Lou

In response to your #1 - My husband and I have both been clean from meth and other illegal drugs for 4 1/2 years. If he were using, I would NOT be stupid enough to let my child be in his company.

Thank you
paceset Re: Does society teach the alternative to codependency is selfishness?
Live and Learn-that's the way of the world
Cindy
Lou
Re: Does society teach the alternative to codependency is selfishness?
That is great news Saved.

I'm a stay at home mom with no light when it comes to being able to depend on the other parent.. Maybe someday.. 

As far as your life and family on the meth using issue... I am very happy for you.. 
starry
eyed
Re: Does society teach the alternative to codependency is selfishness?
Cindy Lou's first post summed up what I was trying to get at.....he is so wrong by using your child and the circumstances to get you to 'comply' with him.

I don't think you were wrong to go. I hope he now knows that his behavior was unacceptable.
Saved
inillinois
Re: Does society teach the alternative to codependency is selfishness?
Me, too. I'm in the process of trying "one more time". I'm in counseling and so is he (individual). It's been pretty good for about 2 1/2 weeks, since the lunch incident. But it usually heads south after about a month of good. I'll wait and see. But if things don't change, I'm going to have to leave him.

I'm so proud though, that I've finally realized it's not just him. I've always thought that if he changed, things would be fine. Now I realize that I'm making my own mistakes and I have some work to do on myself.

Too bad getting sober and staying sober didn't "fix" everything, huh?

Anyway, thank you all for discussing this with me.
silly
veronica
Re: Does society teach the alternative to codependency is selfishness?
Quote:
So...I guess I'm codependent. Does that make me totally pathetic, because I used to consider myself a fairly strong individual.

OUCH!

I'm codependent ... and I'm anything BUT pathetic and yes, I still consider myself EXTREMELY strong.

I will assume you didn't mean for it to come out that way.

Saved
inillinois
Re: Does society teach the alternative to codependency is selfishness?
Yes, I know I'm stepping on toes, but to be totally honest with you, I see codependence as a huge weakness. Probably not "pathetic", but "having a weakness" is a better choice.

I'm not excited about being codependent, but I'm excited that I finally am realizing what I can do to change myself for the better.

Thank you for pointing that out and I'm very sorry if I've offended you.
silly
veronica
Re: Does society teach the alternative to codependency is selfishness?
I know where you're coming from because my PREVIOUS perception of a codependent was someone who depended on other people, someone who was weak, someone who needed to be taken care of, etc. ... when in actuality, being codependent means just the opposite.

The codependent person is the one who takes care of everything, is the responsible one, keeps everyone happy and the household running, etc.

I recommend getting the book "Codependent No More" ... it was a starting point for me
paceset Re: Does society teach the alternative to codependency is selfishness?
Codependence this week, TV addiction next, chocoholic the next, mad at mom the next, trouble at school-not enough of a participant w/kids homework the next, not healthy enough the next....and on and on-how many weaknesses we humans have but counting the strengths and giving ourselves hugs for them keeps us going on to the next day

See also:

Forgiving yourself as a codependent

Quit being a Co-Dependent on a meth user

Hate to love him or love to hate him

Anyone started detaching while in relationship?


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