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Old 02-28-2005, 04:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Codependency/The Savior Complex


People who are codependent care a lot; they devote their lives to saving others who are in trouble. Sounds wonderful! But that isn't the full story. Codependency is caring run amuck. Melody Beattie (1987) describes codependents as angry, controlling, preachy, blaming, hard to talk to, subtly manipulative, amorphous non-persons, and generally miserable. Not exactly angels of mercy. They have tried so hard to manage someone else's life--to "save" them--but they failed, and sooner or later their life crumbled into bitterness, despair, guilt, and hopelessness. They became martyrs, tyrants, people-pleasers, clinging vines, distraught parents, 24-hour-a-day caretakers, etc. They have lost control of their lives.
Naturally, these "rescuers" are attracted to people who certainly need lots of help, such as alcoholics, drug users, con artists, habitual criminals, sex addicts, mentally ill, physically ill, and, perhaps, most unsuspectingly, selfish, irresponsible, troubled children or ambitious workaholics who need someone to support them while they "do their thing."
~From Scioto-Paint Valley Mental Health Center
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Old 02-28-2005, 04:42 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 02-28-2005, 04:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by splendra
God..... I am so glad I am not God anymore
It's exhausting...isn't it?
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Old 02-28-2005, 04:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
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That made rather uncomfortable reading. Recently i have been increasingly aware of these traits in myself and they seem to be getting worse with age. Preachy, angry, martyr and blaming are all words that particularily seem relevent right now. I am really not likening my increasing tendency to martyrism and notice that it stems from me being a real over-responsible caretaker then feeling let down by people when they dont do as i want. I was knowing this stuff but seeing it written down i found prickly.

Thank-you for posting as it is reminder that; ok now i know it, about time to deal with it.
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Old 02-28-2005, 06:32 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Glad for the steps and the ability today to love and nurture self...Today I understand Who I Am and Whose I am, Learning to love in a healthy way. Thankyou God for a new way of life!
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Old 02-28-2005, 09:29 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I am hugely codependant. What a battle it is!
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Old 02-28-2005, 09:47 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Great post Gabe.
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Old 02-28-2005, 09:51 PM   #8 (permalink)
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That made rather uncomfortable reading.
Yeah, I thought so too. Different reason though.

Last edited by Brookie; 03-01-2005 at 07:21 AM.
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Old 02-28-2005, 10:13 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Oh boy, I'm the last of the big time "rescuers". I'm working on it, between rescues, LOL. Maybe I need someone to rescue me? Disturbing thought.

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Old 03-01-2005, 02:09 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Would you who describe yourselves as codependant say you have 'something' different about you, like some alcoholics believe they have a 'disease' that makes them distinct from non-alcoholics or would you say you are simply describing human and often female behaviours and instincts that for whatever reason have gone astray or into extremes?

I ask because I have never been able to get my head around this and whilst I see some extreme cases, particularly amongst non- alcoholics, that obviously need direct addressing, I also see many people, often alcoholics, identifying as many human beings might who have cared for someone and then jumping on the band wagon and this whole new phenomena has been born that virtually everyone has?

If I have changed the theme of the thread please tell me and i'll ask elsewhere.

Many thanks
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Old 03-01-2005, 02:29 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Interesting questions, Andy. Please bear in mind that I am still getting to grips with this, so my views are in the process of being fine-tuned.

I don't see myself as having "something different" about me akin to the disease theory of alcoholism (which I have a problem with, btw). I see that I have a collection of behaviours, developed in childhood, that are no longer relevant to my adult relationships. These behaviours have meant that I lost myself along the way by focussing on other people, not just on the alcoholic in my life. Healthy boundaries were not part of my vocabulary and so I was putting up with behaviour that an emotionally healthy person would have walked away from long ago.

I do find it difficult to imagine that someone with healthy boundaries and a sense of self-worth would get involved with someone in active addiction. (I am talking here about knowing that someone is an active addict at the start, rather than addiction that develops later in the relationship).

When I first read "Co-dependent no more", it seemed like it was written for me. Almost word for word. I don't care whether other people believe that it is a bandwagon - learning about co-dependency and modifying my behaviour has transformed my life. That's all that matters to me.

Sorry, I'm rambling a bit here. Still getting my thoughts in line.

Great post, Gabe.

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Old 03-01-2005, 03:14 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Andy F
Would you who describe yourselves as codependant say you have 'something' different about you, like some alcoholics believe they have a 'disease' that makes them distinct from non-alcoholics or would you say you are simply describing human and often female behaviours and instincts that for whatever reason have gone astray or into extremes?
Having a child with "special needs" I am well aware of the vast majority of labels out there. Over the years I have come to this decision. My son has learning disabilities. I don't care what label gets hung on him, as long as he's in the right program that will enhance his learning and where he will feel successful.
I use the same logic with myself.
If I had to use a book title, I'd call myself a "woman who loves too much" before I'd call myself a "codependent".
Doesn't matter what I call myself.
What matters is what I do about it.
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Old 03-01-2005, 03:51 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I am not trying to rub anyone up the wrong way.

Because for a long time I have heard people describe themselves as codependant I am interested in how or if a codependant person differs from the general populas. Is it a kind of separate illness like the disease view of alcoholism or an extension of usual human behaviour or something else.

It is not so much the label attached to the phenomena I am asking about as what that label describes.

That being said, I am not entitled to any answer or description and do not intend to get into a debate etc., I just posed a question.

Many thanks
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Old 03-01-2005, 03:54 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Andy

Don't worry - I'm not in the least offended by your curiosity.

I see it as a set of behaviours, simple as that.

This might help.

http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...&threadid=2658
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Old 03-01-2005, 05:36 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Gabe

Your initial post reminded me of my brief marriage many moons ago. I was young and on my way to becoming a full blown addict, yet I still had some innocent and grandiose ideas that if I could just give the right kind of care, love and attention to my husband, he would be a great guy. He would be happy and proud to have me care for him and in return we would live out the Cinderella story. You know. Happily Ever After?!!

Well, six months after we were married, he made his first attempt to take my life!! The second and final one came later after I took off and he tracked me down. As you can see, I am still alive and all my innocent ideas did not work!! Trying to change someone to suit me or gain recognition or to feel good about myself, never works.

I encourage anyone (male or female) to read the book 'Women Who Love Too Much', to get a well explained idea of 'co-dependent' behavior.

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Old 03-01-2005, 01:13 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by minnie
Thankyou Minnie

I had forgotten I had read that before. So I read it again.

Anyway, I didn't post to start a debate, just listen to your views.

thanks
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Old 03-01-2005, 03:12 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Fantastic post Gab
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Old 03-01-2005, 04:17 PM   #18 (permalink)
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This is a good thread, thanks for posting, everyone.

From what I've learned about psychology from my therapist, there are three main "dramas"-- Victim, Persecutor, and Rescuer. Has anyone else heard of these?

These are roles for dramas that people frequently carry out. People that assume these dramatic roles frequently have issues that they need to work out in therapy. Usually, someone will play a role while their partner plays another one and they have a drama. Usually it's dramatic personality types that fall into this trap, and they're typically attracted to other dramatic personality types, avoiding healthy people who don't play roles because then it won't work out between them.

Sometimes alcoholics can play rescuer, too. It's not always the co-dependent. For example, my best friend made friends with me by "saving" me one day when I was really high and making a fool out of myself. She happens to be an addict/ alcoholic herself. We clicked right away, it was like we were "meant to be" friends. I realize now that that's just because we were both playing these dramatic roles that worked well together, not because we ever really got to know each other and liked what we saw.

This is just from what I learned in therapy, I don't know. It makes sense to me, though.

What do you all think?
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Old 03-01-2005, 04:34 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I think sometimes we fall into "roles" and sometimes we are just acting within our nature.
It's very much within my nature to be a caretaker.
And that's okay, as long as I don't take it to extremes.
Billy Joel wrote a song about that called "I Go To Extremes".
I relate to that song...a lot.
There was a time in my life when all I did was take care of others.
And then get frustrated when they didn't care for me.
What I couldn't see was, why should they?
I was the caretaker.
They were the caretakees.
They saw no need to take care of me.
That wasn't their role.
Major script revisions have taken place since those years, I am happy to report.
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Old 03-01-2005, 06:26 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Victim, Persecutor, and Rescuer. Has anyone else heard of these?
Oh yes, when I first got sober my sponsor shared this with me. I could identify immediately. LOL

I have also read about this in one of Melody Beatties books, which book escapes at the moment.

Fascinating stuff!
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