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Zelig

Old 06-23-2009, 07:53 AM
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Ago
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Zelig

Many years ago Woody Allen made a film about a man with such poor boundaries he became a "human chameleon", he took on the attributes of those around him.

He spliced old footage together with new footage shot in black and white, and mixed it, at one point it shows Zelig in Rome as a Cardinal up on stage with the pope, then shortly thereafter in Berlin on stage with Hitler and the Nazi Party (Zelig is Jewish) it was hilarious, he is finally tracked down in Chinatown in an opium den speaking chinese...when he is taken to be studied by a group of Psychiatrists he psychoanalyzes all of the Doctors present, the movie is genius

They go through his past and it turns out he was abused horribly as a child, in typical Woody Allen style telling such an awful story of abuse in a way that had me laughing until my sides hurt, but it is also incredibly tragic, he HAD to learn to appear like everyone around him in order to survive, it was a learned behavior in order to help him survive in a "cruel world".

What happened was he was so abused that he lost all sense of his personal boundaries, he didn't know where he ended and others began.

This both spoke to me as an alcoholic and a codependent. As an alcoholic I learned to "fit in" no matter where I went. As a codependent I learned to not "rock the boat", if I "pulled someones covers" ie exposed the elephant in the room I was subject to "lashback" or as it's commonly known, to abuse.

Alcoholic Insanity is contagious.

They say alcoholism is a "family disease, that it affects everyone around it. What does that mean?

One of the things I have noticed for myself, is for some of the symptoms displayed by alcoholic insanity I react "defensively", in the medical use of the word, I literally react to "defend" myself, One way is learning "how to fit in", how to not "make waves", or "stir the pot" in other instances I acquire the very characteristics that are harming me.

This is how "abuse" gets handed down generation after generation.

For me, I will use the most dramatic example that hits the most "high notes", my relationship with a practicing A that was ending when I got here. The day I got here actually.

Her symptoms appeared slowly enough, one at a time, and I thought I could "handle them", hell, I thought I could "fix her", I could fix her by loving her enough, by showing her the love she never received in childhood.

She had been horrifically abused as a child, the stories of physical, emotional and sexual abuse she told me were the worst I had ever heard. Of course I wanted to save her, of course she deserves and deserved love.

So what happened was during the course of our relationship she would put keyloggers on her computer in order to read all my emails, she was extremely clingy and untrusting and was sure I would cheat on her, she would fly into rages and write the most horrific hateful angry emails I have ever seen.

By the time I left her I was displaying every single characteristic that I found hurtful and distasteful in her.

I was snooping on her computer, I was sure she was cheating on me, and the emails I wrote her were awful in our fights.

I had never displayed these characteristics in any previous relationship, I mean I had my own "history" of undesirable characteristics, but up until then, I hadn't displayed these particular ones.

So she deserves love, she deserves healing, she deserves everything good life has to offer, I just wasn't the one to give it to her. Me being with her just made me sick, which in turn made her sicker, and it spiraled from there. She was not a bad person, she was a hurt one, and the tools she had learned in childhood from being abused sexually and physically just didn't serve her in adulthood. So she was "harmful" to me, she wasn't a bad person, she wasn't an evil person, she was a person who's behavior made me react in such a way that I became harmful to her.

Ultimately in order for me to stop the cycle of us harming each other, I had to walk away. That was the only way I knew to stop the cycle of abuse.

So I will say it again, Alcoholic insanity is contagious.

By the time we get here, I have heard it said we are addicted to addicts in many cases.

The thing about addiction is all addiction shares common symptoms

We do anything to "protect our addiction", we tell ourselves the most outrageous stories in order to justify the actions of the alcoholic, to minimize their behavior, eventually going into a nearly incoherent rage when our efforts at control fail.

This is the "codependent bottom"

It was different then an alcoholic bottom but no less painful.

I will rewrite the following two paragraphs, take a look

this relationship is necessary or even useful and good for the codependent; that the circumstances of their life justify this relationship; that people who indicate concern about them are enemies and not friends, and all other such beliefs which are patently and transparently false to everyone but themselves, are seldom correctable by reason or objective data

In many cases the codependent responds to negative feedback from others about his addiction by following the maxim of "Attack the attacker." Those who confront or complain about the codependent's irrational and unhealthy behaviors are criticized, analyzed and dismissed by the codependent as untrustworthy or biased observers and false messengers. Their own vulnerabilities may be ruthlessly exposed and exploited by the codependent in their desperate defense of their codependency. In many cases, depending upon their own psychological makeup and the nature of their relationship to the addict, they themselves may begin to manifest significant psychological symptoms. Emotional and social withdrawal, secrecy, fear and shame can cause the mental health of those closely involved with addicts to deteriorate. Almost always there is fear, anger, confusion and depression resulting from repeated damaging exposures to the addict's unhealthy and irrational behaviors and their corresponding and supporting private reality.
Now look around, read other folks posts, it's easy to see these behaviors and damage in almost every thread on this forum.

Now look for it in yourself.

We have all been harmed by alcoholism in some form or fashion.

How have you been damaged by alcoholism?

What behaviors do you have now that you wish you didn't?

What would you change about yourself?

How has you "normal" changed?

Are you Zelig, with no sense of self and boundaries, not sure where you end and others begin with deep seated low self esteem? or are you The Terminator right after he says "I'll be back", kicking butt and taking names?

or are you Dumbledore maybe, who fell in love with a dark wizard when he was young, who was seduced by "the dark side" and made a series of questionable decisions leading to the death of his sister, thereupon becoming aware of his weaknesses, and love of power and changed his life accordingly to stay away from the seduction of power (his addiction) and became a force of good.

So we have all been harmed by an alcoholic, and by alcoholism, what are you doing to heal that pain and become a force of good?
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Old 06-23-2009, 09:44 AM
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Thank You

This is as close as I have read as a story that compares to what I feel. I trully love my husband, but he is harmful to me as you said about your wife's behavior. I believe that I have picked up some behaviors that I think are horrible, ways I have never reacted to things....and incoherent rage you spoke of , the codependent bottom....that is me. Thank you for this post...it was so extremely enlightening for me.
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Old 06-23-2009, 08:37 PM
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Funny of a comparison as it was, the Dumbledore analogy really made sense to me and gave me hope.

Great post, Ago. Thank you.

at2
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Old 06-23-2009, 09:29 PM
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Stop it! My nose is all red and my eyes are puffy, and you have completely deleted the supply of kleenex in my home over the past few days.
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