Just talking BPD and codependancy:-)

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Sarah H

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Just talking BPD and codependancy:-)
« on: February 10, 2019, 05:24:45 PM »
Hi  :)
I am a middle aged woman with a history of codependancy type issues. A few years ago a longstanding friend with a diagnosis of BPD initiated a sexual relationship with me; this went badly for both of us. I have been trying to set and keep boundaries since then but keep repeating the same mistakes. I haven't talked to my other friends about this as I am ashamed. So, I think that I am here now to help myself be stronger.

I do not want to lose my friend and I know that he does not want to lose me however he also wants to continue to treat me in a way that I find insulting, controlling and disrespectful but which he sees as appropriate, normal and not something he is willing to discuss, change or apologise for he says 'it's my way or the highway'.

FOG is a problem for me so this seems like a good place to be. I think I need help but don't really know what anyone can say; I have literally spent over twenty years reading about codependancy and BPD as this is not my first relationship like this; what I haven't ever done is talk about it so maybe that will help.

Thank you for reading.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2019, 05:59:08 PM by Sarah H »

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Summer Sun

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Re: Just talking BPD and codependancy:-)
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2019, 10:51:01 PM »
Welcome to OOTF, although I am sorry you are dealing with such difficulties and experiencing some shame in your relationship with this friend. 

You may want to change your user name if it in any way identifies you for protection and privacy purposes. 

As a recovering codependent I can understand and relate.  Have you ever gone to a CODA meeting, or read any of Melody Beattie’s books?  It may be helpful to you in identifying behaviours that contribute in the dysfunctional dance.  Also, reading the traits, behaviors, the toolbox here at OOTF you will likely find invaluable in assisting with navigating your relationships with PD’s.

It does sound like your boundaries have not been successful with this friend?  Do you establish consequences with the boundaries?  This is an important step.  For example, I expect to be treated with respect,  if you are disrespectful, I will leave the room or XYZ.  Do you have a Therapist?  They can also be instrumental in guiding us in the direction of honouring ourselves and suggesting potential ways to change how to communicate in a self protective manner.

Please know you are not alone.  We are various stages here at OOTF on our PD journey.  Check out the forums which you can most relate to here, I’m sure you will find them validating.  See you on the boards!

Wishing you strength, support, kindness, care and wisdom for the journey.

Summer Sun
"The opposite of Love is not Hate, it's Indifference" - Elie Wiesel

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Malini

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Re: Just talking BPD and codependancy:-)
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2019, 12:41:16 PM »
Another welcome to OOTF,

I second the books by Melodie Beatty. I think a lot of us struggle with issues of co-dependency and the ways in which we engage and react is really entrenched, because, like you, a lot of us are middle-aged when we start realising that our relationship skills are severely lacking and often to our own detriment.

Boundaries are a good way to start. How the other person reacts to them is a pretty good indicator of whether the “secondary benefits” of remaining in a relationship with someone who might continue for a while to treat you with a lack of respect and in an insulting, controlling manner are important enough to continue the relationship.

Often working with a therapist, or alone on our self-esteem (there is a lot on YouTube) can be a crucial part of letting go of our co-dependant  behaviours and learning new, more healthy ways to interact.

It’s not an easy path but it’s possible and many of us here are works in progress who can empathise and validate your experience.

Hugs of support.


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"How do you wake and shine?"
"I keep it simple." said light
"One day at a time" - Lemn Sissay

'I think it's important to realise that you can miss something, but not want it back' Paul Coelho

'We accept the love we think we deserve' Stephen Chbosky

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Sarah H

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Re: Just talking BPD and codependancy:-)
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2019, 06:15:08 PM »
Hi Summer Sun and Malini

Thank you both for your replies. I totally agree that Codependent No More is worth recommending - I found it life changing; when I read it I had recently allowed a  boyfriend to empty my bank account the day I got paid; cheat on me with his ex, lie about his class A drug use, 'borrow' yet more money from me, pressure me to move in with him and then, the next day, tell me to leave because I was too controlling which left me homeless, sell my possessions and pretend that they had been stolen etc etc all in about the space of two months and I still wanted to be with him- it ended because he left me. This was two decades ago and I've come a long way since and my current boundary problems seem much more managable.

The friend I spoke about in my previous post is not enmeshed in my life, we do not live together, share other friends or have children so I could simply block his phone number and it would end. I have decided to stop contacting him for a few months and to take time before responding to any contact he makes; I have noticed that when he lets me know that he is not okay I have an instinctive response to rescue him that I think I can control if I don't make rushed decisions. I think my friend sometimes tells me that he is not okay as a means of controlling me and I need to keep this in mind.

I have been thinking about your (Summer Sun's) point about consequences when boundaries are ignored. I think I am reluctant to formally state consequences because it feels patronising, a bit like training a toddler with the naughty step. I need to think about this more as I can see the sense and strength in it. I also need to honour my own boundaries as even when he doesn't cross them I often give up on them myself by putting his needs before mine.

I have been reading some forum posts which are helpful. I am feeling a bit stronger since my original post; I think writting this down and sharing it also helped. Thank you for listening 🙂.

Ps my user name is just a random name.


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treesgrowslowly

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Re: Just talking BPD and codependancy:-)
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2019, 12:21:14 PM »
Hi Sarah,

Oye, the joys of codependency. I liked your subject title. Having a sense of humor or at least being able to use that emoticon to talk about codependency probably helps us with the struggle. :)

So my two cents...I'm a recovering codependent, and I'm a middle age grown ass adult. And I crave relationships with other adults, who are kind, mature, generous, relatively healthy, and basically can engage in a friendship with me where we both feel loved and respected by the other.

Boy, has adult life let me down thus far....When I read your post, I thought to myself, yep, I feel this. There's such a gulf, a chasm between what I want in my adult relationships, and what I get. Codependency makes me behave in ways that are to my own detriment, to echo Malini, but then I look at the way the other person is behaving, and they are often just as committed to the codependency script as I am.

The script being where the codependent thinks "If I ___ for you, you'll like me / love me / show me affection". If I rescue you from this today, you'll be my friend" etc etc. The other person (probably not consciously) is thinking "They should ____ for me" as in "They should rescue me". It's a match. A match made in hell, as we know...

I learned so much the hard way, as I bet you have too. I learned that once I had enabled or rescued someone, boy did it feel good (for them, for me) and they sought it out again. And again. And again. For them, this is what 'friendship' is or this is what relationships are. I wish I could say that it was truly shocking when I would get tired of enabling / rescuing someone, and pulled away from them, and they got angry / miffed / annoyed, etc... but I am not shocked by it. It is what they wanted from me. What a cold hard fact that was to face.

How painful it was to realize they wanted me to always be codependent.

So that's what came to my mind as I read your post. How do we end this cycle that goes into our middle age? I have done like you, I've pulled away from people, after trying to retrofit a boundary with them after years of being codependent around them, it hasn't worked yet. The "friends" I had, were there for the codependency. i.e. the rescuing , the enabling, the way I tip toed around making them responsible for their own behaviours with the grace and finesse of a ballet dancer, the generosity I had, the hope I imbued our bond with, the optimism I had for them that they would change and become less self-absorbed 'someday', the accommodations I made easily because most people's preferences are not on my radar (as if I care deeply about which restaurant we eat at on a random Friday night). They loved it. Who wouldn't. Perhaps I would lap it up too if I found someone whose desire for harmony enabled me to act poorly and get away with it over and over.

I'm in my middle age too. I want out of these cycles pretty badly at this point in life. Getting really tired! The cost of remaining codependent is that I have lost too much of my own emotional landscape. My own experience of peace, rest, joy, love, grief, sadness, anticipation, excitement, happiness, is not even on the radar for the people who think that  a 'friendship' is when they are being enabled and accommodated. Whether they truly understand their behaviour as part of the dance of codependency or not, I feel too old to really spend more time dancing this dance with them.

I'm so  glad you're taking a break from talking to him. It's hard to do that. I am looking forward to more of your posting so we can talk about this! :)

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Sarah H

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Re: Just talking BPD and codependancy:-)
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2019, 06:38:39 AM »
Hi treesgrowslowly

Thank you for your reply.

The past is not a happy place for me, I will visit it sometimes but I don't hang out there. I believe that I would be happier if I stayed in the present more but I mainly journey to the future where I think things will be better; this helps me to stay lighthearted about my codependent traits; right now that future seems quite near and I am optomistic.

When I read a book or watch a film and someone in need is rescued that often makes me cry. I think that I rush in to rescue others because I grew up in need but without anyone noticing; I can relate to need and in part I am probably rescuing me. Also it does feel good to rescue someone and to be their hero. Of course the flip side is that I remove someones chance to find their own solutions and to learn from the consequences of their behaviour.

Some of my guilt I think is that I feel like I have partially created this problem with my friend; I tried to give him everything he wanted, to always say yes, and he liked it and feels betrayed that I have withdrawn his supply.

Yes my friend believes that if I love/care about him I would say yes all the time; he sees nothing wrong with pressurising me to give what I have clearly said I don't want to because he wants it and what I want doesn't matter; in his mind I should make sacrifices and let him use my money, time and body in anyway he wants and I should be happy if he is; in his mind I should live to serve him because I am a woman and that is how a good woman would behave.

However my friend is not just parelleling my codependancy script he seems to have an additional one which says that he should be strong, dominant and powerful. I only saw this script when we started to sleep together and it is very dark, it is not only that my needs and feelings are a low prioriry for him but rather sometimes that he feels good when he can get me to do something I have said no to and he likes to degrade, scare and confuse me as he then feels in control; he does not want consent and believes that women secretly want to be overpowered; this does not reinforce my script as I do not enjoy being controlled or deliberately played; it took me some time to realise that his script had changed.

Right now things are quiet for me on the codependancy front so its a good time for me to reflect.

It was good to hear from you treesgrowslowly.