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Codependency Triggers

Old 03-27-2011, 08:14 AM
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dbh
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Codependency Triggers

Hello.

Are you ever surprised how a codependency trigger can just sneak up on you and grab hold?

Last night, I had a brief conversation with my sister and it put me into a tailspin for the rest of the night and into this morning. It's ironic because I just posted yesterday on another thread how I can tell that I'm recovering from my codependency because I'm not pulled into my sister's problems anymore! Maybe my HP was trying to test me.

My sister and I are both ACA's. Neither of us have addiction issues, but we struggle with the affects growing up in a dysfunctional home. We're in our 40's.

I'm in recovery and have had years of therapy. She has not. In the past, we had an extremely codependent relationship. We ended up not speaking for a couple of years because it seemed like the only way for me to get out of our unhealthy relationship dynamics. We have since reconciled, but do not interact as much as we used to. We occasionally get together for holidays or kid's birthdays.

She still doesn't see that our relationship used to be unhealthy and she sometimes longs to be "as close as we used to". She sometimes accuses me of abandoning her and no longer caring about her.

She's in a difficult marriage and has serious financial problems. In our codependent days I tried to stop her from marrying her husband because I thought she was making a mistake. I would questioned purchases she made and tried to convince her to be more financially responsible. When she had a child, I disagreed with many of her parenting choices and was vocal about it. Just a sample of how enmeshed we were in each other's lives and I'm not proud of it. This is also just my side of the street, I had/have areas where she felt a constant need to "help" me - my weight, my clothes, the way I decorated my house, etc.

During the years that we didn't speak I did miss her. I like having her back in my life, but every once in awhile my guard gets let down and I find myself getting pulled back into her drama. Last night our conversation was about how she feels like she might lose her house, how her job is causing her too much stress, and how her husband isn't helping.

I'm proud to say I did just listen and offered a couple "If I were in this position ..." statements. But I didn't tell her what to do and luckily I had to make our phone call short.

WHY did I then go on to obsess about her life for the rest of the night?!?

No amount of worrying on my part will make her life better.

I'm not in a position to know what she needs to do to improve her life. I'm not her HP, I have no idea what lessons she needs to learn or what issues she needs to overcome.

But deep down inside, I still think that I'm suppose to save her. Sometimes I feel like I'm the only person who can save her.

I meditated this morning and tried to visualize taking her problems and giving them back to her. I thought about my own life and the things that I'm struggling with and trying to accomplish. I said a prayer that she finds her way through this mess.

Also decided to post something here ...

I'm feeling a little better. Going to take a shower and move on with my day.

Some days I feel so serene and at peace. My recovery feels strong and I feel confident.

Other days I feel like my childhood permanently damaged me. My unhealthy behaviors are just below the surface ready to pop back up at a moments notice! Will I always need to be on a vigilant watch for them?

Thank you for letting me share.

db
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Old 03-27-2011, 08:45 AM
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You did the right things.

I bet you will be able to let go of it much better now.

It sounds like your experience and what you've learned kicked in pretty instantly. I know it's distressing to experience those feelings, but I don't think the mere fact that you felt them is a bad sign. What counts is what you do with them.

I think you did great.
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Old 03-27-2011, 09:55 AM
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dbh
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Thank you Lexie.

I think a mistake I make often is thinking that recovery means that I'll never have triggers, bad days, or bad moods. Guess recovery is suppose to teach me what to do with the triggers, bad days, and bad moods. I used to let them consume me for days/weeks at a time. This was definitely better.

I've been thinking more about my "Savior" mentality regarding both of my siblings. I'm the oldest and the message that I was responsible for them was ingrained in me at a early age.

In actuality, given our background, I'm probably the last person who will be able to "help" either one of them. I can support them and tell them I love them, but I can't truly help them. I think our relationships will always be dysfunctional to some extent.

Regardless of how much therapy or recovery I have under my belt, I'm not going to be able to save the members of my family of origin. I think this is a sad truth that I haven't truly accepted yet.

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Old 03-27-2011, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by dbh View Post
I think a mistake I make often is thinking that recovery means that I'll never have triggers, bad days, or bad moods. Guess recovery is suppose to teach me what to do with the triggers, bad days, and bad moods. I used to let them consume me for days/weeks at a time. This was definitely better.
It took a while for me to get this too. Recovery doesn't mean life's all sunshine and flowers - I will still have bad days etc. but I should have the tools to help me deal with them better!
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