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Old 08-05-2010, 09:15 AM
  # 61 (permalink)  
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My take on codependency is that it is a set of learned behaviors (coping mechanisms) that can be unlearned. But, only if they are acknowledged. I will freely admit to some level of insanity while I was deep in my codependency. And, yes, abuse was part of it too, albeit not the physical kind.

The words, insanity and abuse obviously have negative connotations and stigma attached to them, causing much defensiveness. I find it interesting that so many here prefer to label themselves "idiots" and "stupid," rather than "codependent."

L
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Old 08-05-2010, 10:31 AM
  # 62 (permalink)  
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My take on codependency is that it is a set of learned behaviors (coping mechanisms) that can be unlearned.
As do I, but i happen to believe (not that it makes any difference to anyone including me) that a set of behaviours is not an illness, mental or otherwise, and unlearning them is not dependent on them being collectively given a "sickness" label.

I may bandy about the words insane, crazy, nuts, but I don't think of them describing an actual mental illness, I am "crazy" in the same way that I have a "crazy" day or an "insanely" expensive treat.

I have had many tussles with mental illness and although co-dependent behaviours can make me more prone to mental illness, it isn't the same thing. Why medicalise a set of coping strategies/learned behaviours?

I feel no stigma regarding my depression, or the hallucinations that untreated depression leaves me prone to.

But it's a bit like describing all growths as "cancer": they may share common features and sometimes they can lead to cancer, or look like the same thing, but they aren't cancer.

I feel different about "abuse"; that I admit to, but feel shame about, I feel the need to follow it with a quick "but he was worse" so I take your point there.
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Old 08-05-2010, 10:45 AM
  # 63 (permalink)  
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I totally understand where you are coming from, and generally don't agree with the "disease" model either. We've had many discussions on this board about that.

I guess my thinking has evolved more toward the eastern/spiritual concept of sickness and disease, and away from the western/medical concept. In other words, seeing addiction and codependence in a more holistic light as spiritual "sickness" more than medical "sickness." Dis-ease, if you will, rather than disease (something you prescribe a pill for)

These are my opinions only. I don't expect anyone to agree with me.

L
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Old 08-05-2010, 01:27 PM
  # 64 (permalink)  
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And isn't "love" used as an excuse, when the truth is really dependency?
NO! it's called HOPE

My head is spinning- these post are very intense.

As people who love anyone with addiction whether we volunteering get into the relationship or were born into it. There are the typical co-dependent behaviors. We've all done them on some level.

But the underlining FEELING is HOPE. Yeah there are some people who are drawn to the chaos, love the rollercoaster.

But the people who love someone who just happens to be an addict - just keeping hoping that things will get better. That the good times will continue. That "THIS TIME will be different because I want so badly to believe this person I love is telling me the truth."

But the thing is - the A is usually not lying. My husband told me that every time he said "he wasn't going to drink anymore" he meant it, in his mind he was done, but then...

So isn't that why we hold on to hope? Does that make us insane?

I know behaviors can be insane - when people have trouble controlling their emotions because of pain and frustration.

But I know now that don't regret my HOPE - and I know my husband is grateful for it.

Unfortunately it doesn't always work out that way. I mean - God knows he could relapse again.

By the way AWESOME thought provoking posts from everyone!!!
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Old 08-05-2010, 01:48 PM
  # 65 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by ChrrisT View Post
But the thing is - the A is usually not lying. My husband told me that every time he said "he wasn't going to drink anymore" he meant it, in his mind he was done, but then...

So isn't that why we hold on to hope? Does that make us insane?
I can only speak for myself, but yes. Believing the words that he said, when his actions were saying quite the opposite was, at the least, irrational. I claimed LOVE and HOPE were the reasons I stayed, all the while behaving in a not-so-loving manner, and calling expectations by the name HOPE. Getting angry when my "hopes" weren't fulfilled. Clinging to MY fantasy of what HE should be, rather than accepting who he really was, justifying my self-righteousness and superiority, playing the martyr and the victim, and taking no responsibility at all for the situation. After all, HE was the one with the problem, not I.

It's all clear to me now, in hindsight, but when I was in the midst of it, the denial was way to strong for me to see how truly insane my behavior was.

L
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Old 08-05-2010, 03:00 PM
  # 66 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Bucyn View Post
This is my opinion and mine only and will likely not be a popular one: but I think alkies are completely a waste of time. Most don't get better; most get worse and worse and they suck away your life. Of those who do, many don't want to continue the relationship. Of those who do, you are still rebuilding a relationship from a huge deficit with a new person you hardly know...and one who a decade later can slide back into alkie-dom and start the hell all over.

I'm not saying they aren't worthy people and valuable in the eyes of God and society, I'm not saying they are unworthy of love or should be tortured or put to death or are unloved by even their mother. Or that they always were that way and always will be, or that they are unredeemable. I'm not saying any of that. Only that they are worthless partners the vast, vast majority of the time.

The other forum did a survey not too long ago among recovering alkies and asked, what do you miss most about what you lost due to alcohol? Very few said their partner or that they were greatful they did not lose their partner. The ones who mentioned family, mostly regretted hurting their relationship with their kids, or hurting their parents. Very little remorse or acknowledgment of what they put their spouse through. The pain they (most of them) inflicted on their partners just did not matter or concern them ever.

And that's something to think about when you are dealing with an alkie. Even if your partner stops drinking and heals, you will probably never or are unlikely to get points or credit for having stayed by them. So if you stay, you need to have a better reason than that.
A lot of "us alkies" didn't take part in that poll... a lot of us wouldn't have answered our 'spouse' because we didn't lose our spouse. A lot of us recover and become worthy spousal partners, enriching and enhancing the lives of the person we love. Like codependents, some of us recover.. Some don't. I know you used the qualifier "vast majority", but just wanted to say..

Also, as for 'that' forum, a lot of us who HAVE recovered, and don't have ongoing issues with alcoholism, don't post there! Or we just try to be supportive for folks struggling. The posts there, and here, are usually created when people are having a hard time. There's no way that this forum reflects all people in a relationship with alcoholics, nor is there any way the alcoholism forum reflects alcoholics in general. Grain of salt.. ya know?
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Old 08-05-2010, 07:10 PM
  # 67 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by LaTeeDa View Post
My take on codependency is that it is a set of learned behaviors (coping mechanisms) that can be unlearned. But, only if they are acknowledged. I will freely admit to some level of insanity while I was deep in my codependency. And, yes, abuse was part of it too, albeit not the physical kind.

The words, insanity and abuse obviously have negative connotations and stigma attached to them, causing much defensiveness. I find it interesting that so many here prefer to label themselves "idiots" and "stupid," rather than "codependent."

L
Because not all of us fit the codependent mold, some of us didn't grow up in alcoholic or addict families, and some of us had perfectly fine and sober spouses until the ugly beast of alcoholism reared its head.

But, like all humans we may have made idiotic decisions, or held beliefs that were pretty stupid now seen in hindsight.

That's why.
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Old 08-05-2010, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Still Waters View Post
Because not all of us fit the codependent mold, some of us didn't grow up in alcoholic or addict families, and some of us had perfectly fine and sober spouses until the ugly beast of alcoholism reared its head.

But, like all humans we may have made idiotic decisions, or held beliefs that were pretty stupid now seen in hindsight.

That's why.
Well, even though I do fit the "codependent mold," as you put it, I meet people every day who come from non-addict/alcoholic families that I would consider codependent. In fact, I believe that society as a whole (at least in the US), actually espouses and encourages codependent behavior and beliefs. Just watch any romantic comedy and you will see what I mean. My personal opinion, since finding recovery, is that there are probably more codepedents than not in today's society. (Again, I am only familiar with the US.) I don't consider them idiotic or stupid, but more a case of not knowing any better, or maybe being a tad closed-minded.

Again, this is just MHO, and I realize most will probably disagree. FWIW, I don't think labeling myself as codepedent carries any shame or is anything to be afraid of. Quite the opposite. It was a relief to me to have something to call my dysfunction and unhappiness, and a bigger relief to find out I had the ability to change it. I wasn't stupid or idiotic, I just learned some things along the way that were unhealthy and/or self-destructive. Now I am learning new things that enhance my life and serenity.

L
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Old 08-05-2010, 08:29 PM
  # 69 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by LaTeeDa View Post
I can only speak for myself, but yes.
I'm with you. To me, being in a dysfunctional relationship with an alcoholic has an element of choice that appears to be absent in alcoholism itself (this is my opinion about my own life, experience and actions; it isn't meant to be applied to anyone else's life). It isn't a choice the healthy part of me wants to be involved in.

My aexh foisted some pretty minor quacking on me a couple of days ago and I couldn't believe how... well... crazy I felt in response, how nuts it made me that he was lying to himself and me and I knew it and I knew he'd never admit it. Love him still, but I feel tons better not constantly second guessing myself or trying to figure out if he is telling the truth or fibbing. I let it go after a couple of hours and I felt like taking a shower. Ugh.

Now that I don't mentally live in that place anymore, the difference is striking. (While I was there, that madness didn't seem exactly normal either... but I did not grow up in an alcoholic family, or have codependent behavior modeled to me.) But now I feel solid and safe in myself; I know what I am and what I'm not. That wasn't the case during my marriage.

Last edited by BuffaloGal; 08-05-2010 at 08:36 PM. Reason: added more!
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Old 08-06-2010, 06:15 AM
  # 70 (permalink)  
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I don't think labeling myself as codepedent carries any shame or is anything to be afraid of. Quite the opposite. It was a relief to me to have something to call my dysfunction and unhappiness, and a bigger relief to find out I had the ability to change it. I wasn't stupid or idiotic, I just learned some things along the way that were unhealthy and/or self-destructive
Would we be consider codependents if not for the alcoholics in our lives?

As others have said in this thread, these behaviors or "reactions" come from living with an alcoholic.

But for me the shame comes from knowing that I became this person I didn't even recognize...

Prior to (life with an alcoholic) I felt strong and independent. I didn't take crap from anyone. I was reasonable. I believed in " ya' say what you mean and mean what you say" And because of this person (the alcoholic) I'm in a situation where I'm trying to make sense of things that are so unreasonable. I lost all control over MYSELF. Every time I was like " What the HELL am I doing??!!"

I was so naive to what alcoholism is, the power of it. Over him and over me. Him over me!

And then to be given a label such as codependent or worse -INSANE - And to say I have a problem as serious as the alcoholic. Forget about it!!
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Old 08-06-2010, 06:31 AM
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My first "serious" relationship was not with an alcoholic, but I was seriously codependent nonetheless. People who had known me for most of my life were surprised at how I lost myself in that relationship: He would hit me & I would apologize; he would bring me home early from a date, saying he didn't feel well, but it was really because he had plans to see another girl.....All of this is easier to view in retrospect. Prior to that relationship I vowed that no man would ever control me. I was disappointed by friends who sacrificed their identities to be with a man who did not appreciate them. Yet I ended up doing all that and more. The man in my life did not make me "codependent" or anything else: I made choices, I made decisions. I felt the rush of "love" (or adrenaline or whatever you care to call it), and I was willing to tolerate 23 hours of pain in return for one hour of questionable pleasure. It was no different from the drug of alcohol that I would later consume in pursuit of "normal." At the core of all of this, I would later discover, was my ego: It was when what was true (or True) was secondary to whatever primal or visceral desires screamed for my attention at the moment. I knew better, but I answered the call of the sirens. No one made me that way. So my steadfast assertion that I would never submit was not really as authentic as I would have had people believe. Once the dam cracked, once a trickle of mood-altering substances (love, sex, alcohol, money) whetted my palate, I was insatiable.
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Old 08-06-2010, 07:55 AM
  # 72 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by ChrrisT View Post
Would we be consider codependents if not for the alcoholics in our lives?

As others have said in this thread, these behaviors or "reactions" come from living with an alcoholic.
Not necessarily. That's the point I was trying to make. The behaviors and reactions come from within us. They come from beliefs we hold and the ways we have learned to be in the world. It doesn't matter if you call it codependent, unhealthy, insane, or whatever. We choose to behave and react the way we do. Nobody "makes" us this way, although being in a relationship with an alcoholic can definitely exacerbate things.

Until I was willing to see that I was the one making myself miserable, not the alcoholic, there was nothing I could (or was willing) to do to change things. Until I stopped blaming the alcoholic for the circumstances in my life, I believed I was a victim of his behavior, of his disease.

It took a very astute therapist to help me see that my life and my misery were my own--even without the alcoholic. For these reasons, I am grateful that my marriage to an alcoholic brought me to my knees and drove me to reach out for help. I surely would have gone on repeating the same patterns and clinging to the same faulty beliefs otherwise.

L
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Old 08-06-2010, 08:36 AM
  # 73 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by LaTeeDa View Post
Until I was willing to see that I was the one making myself miserable, not the alcoholic, there was nothing I could (or was willing) to do to change things. Until I stopped blaming the alcoholic for the circumstances in my life, I believed I was a victim of his behavior, of his disease.

It took a very astute therapist to help me see that my life and my misery were my own--even without the alcoholic. For these reasons, I am grateful that my marriage to an alcoholic brought me to my knees and drove me to reach out for help. I surely would have gone on repeating the same patterns and clinging to the same faulty beliefs otherwise.

L
Excellent points. I am an alcoholic, but that merely the dressing that disguised other problems. It was when I quit drinking that I discovered a plethora of issues that had to be addressed. I consider myself fortunate to have been an alcoholic, because otherwise I would not have been forced to seek help. I could have gone on blaming everyone and anyone for my misery.
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Old 08-06-2010, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by ChrrisT View Post
Would we be consider codependents if not for the alcoholics in our lives?

As others have said in this thread, these behaviors or "reactions" come from living with an alcoholic.

But for me the shame comes from knowing that I became this person I didn't even recognize...

Prior to (life with an alcoholic) I felt strong and independent. I didn't take crap from anyone. I was reasonable. I believed in " ya' say what you mean and mean what you say" And because of this person (the alcoholic) I'm in a situation where I'm trying to make sense of things that are so unreasonable. I lost all control over MYSELF. Every time I was like " What the HELL am I doing??!!"

I was so naive to what alcoholism is, the power of it. Over him and over me. Him over me!

And then to be given a label such as codependent or worse -INSANE - And to say I have a problem as serious as the alcoholic. Forget about it!!
That's not the way I define codependency, although the literature is so namby-pamby that I'm not surprised that hardly anyone understands it. I need NO relationships in order to be "codependent," because IMO codependency is a chemical addiction to adrenaline brought on by crisis, rescuing, "other centered concerns" emergencies, hopelessness (after failure upon failure) self-pity, etc. The relationship with an addict of any sort is just a natural....who better to provide that adrenaline rush, that stomache wrenching feeling of "he lied to me AGAIN." In this sense, you'll find most nurses, cops and firefighters with codependent tendencies....excitement freaks. IOW...it differs from other drug addictions only by the drug of choice and it's particular effect on a person's life, brain, and spirit.
blessings
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Old 08-06-2010, 09:21 AM
  # 75 (permalink)  
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...This is one heavy thread...

Would we be consider codependents if not for the alcoholics in our lives?

As others have said in this thread, these behaviors or "reactions" come from living with an alcoholic.
My opinion is that codependency is a manner of relating with others, not a personality trait, not a disease, and not inherited biologically from our parents. And yes, we LEARN that manner of relating from living with alcoholics. But there are other ways of learning codependency.

If I am codependent, I can CHANGE that about myself and, in fact, HAVE changed the way I relate to others substantially. However, you can take the alcoholic out of the equation and I STILL try to relate in codependent ways. Some people will play the game with me, and some people will not. Alcoholics and addicts are much more likely to play the game than non-alcoholics and non-addicts. I am grateful for those I have been in relationships with who have refused.
I believe that the longer one remains in Recovery, the less likely that person is to play the game.

I have read also, somewhere, that as we learn and grow and mature, the ways in which we relate to others also change, according to three different stages:
1. Codependence
2. Independence
3. Inter-Dependence.
Inter-Dependence is the ideal, the heathiest way to relate. You must go through Independence in order to learn how to relate Inter-Dependently. If interested, try Googling the three terms. You can also Google Maslow and Self-Actualization for related concepts.

But for me the shame comes from knowing that I became this person I didn't even recognize...
Right. Shame is PART OF the disease of alcoholism. It is just one more of those things that KEEPS you mired in the disease, like denial and blame. So, anytime you feel shame, it is a good idea to do your best to stop it, refuse it. Recognizing it and admitting it are half the battle. Shame is what occurs when you internalize the disease and actually believe in your heart that there is something sick or wrong about YOU. There is NOTHING sick or wrong about YOU--it is THE DISEASE that is sick and wrong. Believing the above about it not being inherited, not being biological, etc, allows you to remove the shame. There is nothing to be ashamed of. There is, however, lots to change about you, so that you relate to others in much healthier ways. Al-Anon is a good jumping off point for anyone who thinks they might be codependent.
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Old 08-06-2010, 10:03 AM
  # 76 (permalink)  
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ZBEAR
Yep there was definitely a time at the BEGINNING when the make up part of the ride was awesome.

That adrenaline rush of new love, hot sex...

The feeling that people get when they meet someone new who does "it" for them.

Is that codependency or just being bored? Or an adrenaline junky?

The problem is that type of excitement gets old pretty fast. It turns out the great sex isn't really worth it.

That's an interesting theory... but I don't know

The behaviors and reactions come from within us.
I know now that I control my responses, regardless of what is being said or done to me. That is my responsibility alone.

But..

Until I was willing to see that I was the one making myself miserable, not the alcoholic, there was nothing I could (or was willing) to do to change things.Until I stopped blaming the alcoholic for the circumstances in my life, I believed I was a victim of his behavior, of his disease.
When we are in a relationship with someone, alcoholic or not, we are,(not victims) but affected by their actions and behavior.

When the alcoholic drains the bank account or totals the car, believe me - he's getting blamed for those "circumstances" that affect my life and cause me misery.

Can we choose to leave? absolutely we should. But he's still being blamed for it.
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Old 08-06-2010, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by ChrrisT View Post
When we are in a relationship with someone, alcoholic or not, we are,(not victims) but affected by their actions and behavior.

When the alcoholic drains the bank account or totals the car, believe me - he's getting blamed for those "circumstances" that affect my life and cause me misery.

Can we choose to leave? absolutely we should. But he's still being blamed for it.
Absolutely. The rub is, myself and many others here stayed after those type of things (and worse) happened. We don't leave, we stay and call it "hope." We blame the alcoholic for our misery, yet we choose to stay and remain miserable. We pretend that our love and perseverance will make a difference. We refuse to accept the reality of who they are right now, and instead cling to who we just know they have the potential to become. And that is the difference between being affected and being a victim.......

L
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Old 08-06-2010, 12:00 PM
  # 78 (permalink)  
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I read all the posts and even though they can completely contradict each other I agree with most of what is being said... when my small brain can understand it.

For God sakes some of you write like who?...Truman Capote or Jackie Collins

Too damn smart!!!

But depending on the circumstances or time of day even - all can apply!
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Old 08-07-2010, 08:25 AM
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'This is one heavy thread...


My opinion is that codependency is a manner of relating with others, not a personality trait, not a disease, and not inherited biologically from our parents. And yes, we LEARN that manner of relating from living with alcoholics. But there are other ways of learning codependency.

If I am codependent, I can CHANGE that about myself and, in fact, HAVE changed the way I relate to others substantially. However, you can take the alcoholic out of the equation and I STILL try to relate in codependent ways."

I'm a believer that every single experience has an effect of our brain...on our thinking, our neural pathways. I also believe that human beings have a natural imperative to seek pleasure and avoid pain...IOW...to "feel good." This will, of course, be the primary determinant of how we learn to relate to others and the world around us. How do I cope with uncomfortable or threatening people, places and things? I think we learn by experiencing what works. We don't know until we try it, and then we continue to use it if it "feels good."

I still remember that the first time I smoked pot I didn't get "high." The truth is that I was unable to identify the "high," having no experience or context for it. Of course, THAT didn't last long<G>. Likewise with adrenaline. The simplest example is people who's relationship "style" tends to be one of anger/rage. What's the attraction? Well, the "drug" feels pretty good....gives one strength, power, confidence, enhances physical capabiltiies, etc. Certainly a leared coping strategy...just like any other addiction. It's really just a question of when one crosses the line into "dependency," having lost the ability to self-regulate. I find it more than just interesting that most people with a noticeable anger problem will also admit that it pretty much causes them nothing but trouble....yet they continue to seek that "high."

And re-learning is so difficult because it seems to require a period in which we "let go" of our addictive emotional regulators and leave ourselves naked and vulnerable to feelings....without our natural abilities, which have atrophied. Oh,they usually come back, if we work at it, and if we have the courage and faith to endure the pain and misery that we thought we had escaped from by way of our addictions. Hence, the value of the 12 step lines that "this too shall pass," and "it will get better."

And it's absolutely true that an adrenaline addict needs no relationship, and I think it's an error to define this addiction of national choice in terms of relationships. The sick dynamic is a result of our learned (adrenaline based) manner of relating to others....not the other way around. And IMO, every bit of it originates in the fear-saturated ego.

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Old 08-07-2010, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by JenT1968 View Post
As do I, but i happen to believe (not that it makes any difference to anyone including me) that a set of behaviours is not an illness, mental or otherwise, and unlearning them is not dependent on them being collectively given a "sickness" label.

I may bandy about the words insane, crazy, nuts, but I don't think of them describing an actual mental illness, I am "crazy" in the same way that I have a "crazy" day or an "insanely" expensive treat.

I have had many tussles with mental illness and although co-dependent behaviours can make me more prone to mental illness, it isn't the same thing. Why medicalise a set of coping strategies/learned behaviours?

I feel no stigma regarding my depression, or the hallucinations that untreated depression leaves me prone to.

But it's a bit like describing all growths as "cancer": they may share common features and sometimes they can lead to cancer, or look like the same thing, but they aren't cancer.

I feel different about "abuse"; that I admit to, but feel shame about, I feel the need to follow it with a quick "but he was worse" so I take your point there.
While I agree that stigmatizing often results from a misuse of language, and is in no way desireable, I wonder how the discussion changes if I assume a mind/body continuum, in which the mind is a critical influence on the body....witness the 30% "cure" rate of placebos, etc. Perhaps the mistake is separating the two, which might mean that physical "dis-ease" is also a form of insanity.<G> Statistically speaking, those who utilize their mental health benefits more, use their medical benefits less.

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