Monday, October 26, 2009

Co-dependency Nightmare

I have always hated the term co-dependent. In my eyes it was a weak sniveling person like my mother. As I read these books though, I'm realizing that I have some major codependent traits -
* trouble identifying what I'm feeling
* minimize or deny how I feel
* difficulty making decisions
* judge everything I think, say or do as never good enough
* do not ask others to meet my need
* value others' approval of my thinking
* do not perceive myself as lovable or worthwhile
* value others' opinions and feelings as my own
* attempt to convince others of what they should do/feel
* become resentful when others don't let me help
* freely offer advice and direction
* have to be needed to have a relationship with others.
Blech that sounds harsh. Some of the traits seem opposite and appear to conflict with others, but I can see how they are at work in my life.
Right now, I'm stuck in a co-dependent nightmare of trying to figure out where the line is. The apparent solutions to one issue conflict with the apparent solutions of another issue.
On the one hand - shut off the cable TV, internet, etc because Husband isn't working. Let him see that his salary is important for us to have these things. And that you have to be putting forth effort to have them.
On the other hand - will it force him to seek out other ways to find pornography? Will it further the "mommy syndrome" he seems to have where he wants to play the little boy role?
Husband wants me to check out the bank balance to see if his unemployment check cleared. I remind him he can call the 1-800 bank number. He comes back and says it gives only the amounts, not who the deposit is from. So do I look it up for him? Do I turn on the computer and put in the password and sit there as a hall monitor?
Husband wants me to put in his unemployment claims so he can get paid for the week. I say No and point him to the phone book. He can't find the claim number, just the local office number. Do I let him figure it out and risk losing the check for the week? Do I look up the number and give it to him? Or do I put the claim in for him? Do I put in the password and let him do it?
I ended up checking the bank balance online and filling out the claim for him. I hated doing the claim because I put in his answers which was "available for work" even though I know he put Jan 1st on some applications. I told him I was not comfortable furthering his deceit but he said it was "just on that one application."
I'm not sure there is a "one size fits all" answer. But I made an appointment for myself on Wednesday to try to get some help with it.
Husband and I talked a bit last night. He is all over the place. From "everyone else does it" to "it's not that bad" to "I'm glad it was discovered" to "God wanted it discovered" to "I can't talk to anyone about it" to "you knew this was a problem" to "why are you so surprised, you had all the clues" to "you should have known this would happen when you taught me to use the computer"
We talked a bit about how pornography is the result of an underlying issue. He recognizes that it is probably self-esteem. But then goes on to say "well I told this guy no this week." He thinks by doing one thing "right" that he is "over it."
I tried to open up a bit about how this is touching on my triggers but he wasn't receptive so I shut down. I think I might try to write a letter. I don't have to give it to him. But it might help me.


Tracie said...

I was surprised to see how many of those co-dependent traits that I have as well. A very interesting list.

At some point, it is going to be difficult to say no to helping him with - especially if it is something pertaining to his unemployment since that is something that the whole family needs to be taken care of. I don't have any good answers for this, but I will be praying for you and your husband that you will have wisdom in how to proceed with this whole situation. Also, I just wanted to point out that it is ludicrous for him to blame the pornography on you because you taught him how to use the computer--you didn't teach him how to look up porn, he figured that out all by himself!

Ethereal Highway said...

Wow! I think writing him a letter is a really good idea. Even if you don't give it to him.

pip said...

Hi Enola,

I am currently in counselling for porn addiction and poor relationship skills, and I can tell you that porn is something very seductive, and I hate it for being so. Self-esteem is one reason, also dissatisfaction and depression, because the 'buzz' that goes with porn releases serotonin and is like a 'fix me quick' button.

A good male role model and specialised helper in the form of a good psychotherapist would I feel, help your husband very much to regain the dignity he needs to fight this. Perhaps one more thing he needs you to do is to find someone suitable for him to go to. I recommend a therapist that uses the psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioural and solution-focused approaches, rather than humanist person-centred counselling. Mine even also has a theology degree, and understands we are body, mind AND soul. Such a move will also show the seriousness of your situation (in all areas) to him, and hopefully be enough to lower the denials and rationalisations, and get him through the door.

I wish you well, and pray for you both. He does sound depressed, and helplessly addicted (even if there are minor victories). Sex addiction goes beyond physical manifestations. There is also avoidance and overly-dependent behaviour that needs uprooting too. There is hope, lots of it, but steps need to be taken in courage and faith.

God bless you both. I hope this has been helpful :)