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Old 08-23-2018, 04:40 PM   #1
JNNFE
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Default Co-Dependent and So Tired

I have a 22 year old daughter who is living in a city about 4 hours from me where she has been attending cosmetology school. She has experienced depression and anxiety since she was about 13 after being bullied at school. She eventually left public school for a smaller school, but ended up quitting at 16. Last year she finally got her GED and enrolled in the school she's been attending. She was living with her boyfriend, but they broke up and she has been living alone since last spring. My husband and I are paying for school and her apartment, expenses, etc. About 3 months ago she stopped taking her medication for depression, thinking she was "okay now" and didn't need it. Of course, she quickly became depressed again and stopped doing anything - wanted to quit school, didn't go out and see people, etc. I moved in with her for 6 weeks, getting her a new doc and therapist, providing support, helping her get back on her feet. She was doing great, feeling better, participating in therapy, meeting new people and going out. I came home and the next night she went out with a friend, got drunk, fell on her face and skinned her cheek, got a fat lip and swollen eyes. Nothing permanent, but it's taking it's time to heal. She is a very pretty girl who puts a lot of store in her looks. So she's acting as if the world is coming to an end and she's a gargoyle. Hasn't been out of her apartment in days except to see her therapist, and I can see her setting the stage for not returning to school from her leave next week. This is her last chance with her school. They extended her leave twice and told her that if she doesn't return, she'll have to withdraw. There is a serious commitment of time and money here. Her education fund could be depleted without her finishing.



My first reaction is, of course, to drive to her and try to "fix" everything. I set a bad pattern for both of us when she was a teenager by running interference with schools and friends and family. Which didn't help either of us. She's done a good job of being on her own until she quit her meds, but I'm afraid that if I don't try to make everything okay, it will all fall apart. She needs to learn to be independent and responsible and I need to separate and allow her to. But it's almost a physical need to rush to the rescue. But I am so very tired of this pattern.



How do others deal with being codependent with loved ones, especially children?
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Old 08-24-2018, 02:01 PM   #2
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Hello JNNFE: I see this is your first post here on PC. So... welcome to PsychCentral! I hope you find PC to be of benefit.

One other forum, here on PC, that may be of interest would be the healthy parenting forum. Here's a link:

https://forums.psychcentral.com/healthy-parenting/

I'm afraid the situation you describe is not one I can be of any particular help with myself. My personal feeling is that, at some point, you simply have to let the chips fall where they may, so to speak. But I can imagine how difficult that could be when the person you're concerned about is your child. Hopefully there will yet be other members, here on PC, who have had some similar experiences they can share.

In the meantime, here are links to 7 articles, from PsychCentral's archives, that may be of interest:

10 Things You Need to Know About Codependency | Happily Imperfect

Rescuing, Resenting, and Regretting: A Codependent Pattern | Happily Imperfect

Codependency and the Art of Detaching From Dysfunctional Family Members | Happily Imperfect

How to Break the Cycle of Codependency | Happily Imperfect

https://blogs.psychcentral.com/imper...dium=popular17

https://blogs.psychcentral.com/imper...ty-and-stress/

https://blogs.psychcentral.com/imper...ant-to-change/

My best wishes to you & your daughter...
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Old 09-07-2018, 12:58 PM   #3
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Wished I'd noticed your post earlier. We must be vying for the Helicopter Parent of the Year Award.


Your daughter's symptoms appeared after what was repeated bullying. A lot of my son's issues that were lying dormant, and probably would have remained dormant, appeared after bullying (teacher bullying).


I'd seen a documentary on television a few years ago, can't remember the name of it - where this girl and her family were making a chronology of their lives - what they'd not realised at the time was that the filmed chronicle would end up capturing one of the family member's autism in the making. You could see this one family member going from a girl who was just a little bit different (probably high functioning AS just under the radar) to full blown - you could see her rapid deterioration as a result of school bullying. By the time they realised what was happening, the damage was already done. She would continue to deteriorate from there.


It's really eye opening, if you've ever a chance to see it.


Ja, I've a lot of thoughts regarding the culture of bullying in the school system but that's for another time/venue.


Quote:
My first reaction is, of course, to drive to her and try to "fix" everything. I set a bad pattern for both of us when she was a teenager by running interference with schools and friends and family. Which didn't help either of us. She's done a good job of being on her own until she quit her meds, but I'm afraid that if I don't try to make everything okay, it will all fall apart. She needs to learn to be independent and responsible and I need to separate and allow her to. But it's almost a physical need to rush to the rescue. But I am so very tired of this pattern.
Been there, done that.


Its why I'm on this forum. My son isn't the type to seek help, to look outside the box, to seek others' experiences, compare and contrast. Hence, I'm doing that for him. He's very verbal but written communication and expression just isn't there.


It's a natural biological function for parents to feed, protect then ready our offspring for the world. Its our job. The problem is, what happens when one of them fails to thrive. To what length's will one go?



Is failure, really not an option?



Are you so sure you are an enabler (yes, in this situation, but are you by nature controlling, etc)


If your daughter is your only child, it might be difficult for you to answer that question.


For us, we are 'lucky' in some respects in that we have a second child that we can compare our parenting styles to. A boy a couple of years younger who, in contrast to his older brother, is very self-sufficient, responsible (he gets up 5am, makes sure his parents are up, makes breakfast, gets the dogs out, gets himself to school) thrives in competitive environments, honors student, etc., etc. We feel guilty for so little time we've spent on him - its all gone to trying to help his brother.


We didn't "push" him to be like that. We did encourage healthy traits, independence, etc., but we encouraged that in his brother as well.


Same parents, same environmental variables, different outcomes (mind you, its early to say how it will all come out in the end).


The whole point of that being, yes, in hindsight, you are probably enabling and maybe you have done so from the beginning and you could have codependency issues across the board and ...


But if that didn't apply to the rest of your relationships, if you have (or had before the onset of your daughter's plight) a normal, non-codependent relationship with your husband, other children, etc.,.... you get my point.


I guess the real question - for us, as well as you - is not, are we becoming clinically codependent but rather at what point do we give up, let go, realise that the boundaries between our adult children and ourselves have blurred far too much and we begin to reassess and respond to calls for help differently. At what point must we understand that an adult has made choices and that we are not and cannot be responsible for those choices, as much as we would wish otherwise.

We haven't found the answer to that yet. If you happen to find it, let us know.


FWIW
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Old 09-26-2018, 01:32 PM   #4
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Default Re: Co-Dependent and So Tired

Quote:
Originally Posted by DahveyJonez View Post
Wished I'd noticed your post earlier. We must be vying for the Helicopter Parent of the Year Award.


Your daughter's symptoms appeared after what was repeated bullying. A lot of my son's issues that were lying dormant, and probably would have remained dormant, appeared after bullying (teacher bullying).


I'd seen a documentary on television a few years ago, can't remember the name of it - where this girl and her family were making a chronology of their lives - what they'd not realised at the time was that the filmed chronicle would end up capturing one of the family member's autism in the making. You could see this one family member going from a girl who was just a little bit different (probably high functioning AS just under the radar) to full blown - you could see her rapid deterioration as a result of school bullying. By the time they realised what was happening, the damage was already done. She would continue to deteriorate from there.


It's really eye opening, if you've ever a chance to see it.


Ja, I've a lot of thoughts regarding the culture of bullying in the school system but that's for another time/venue.


Been there, done that.


Its why I'm on this forum. My son isn't the type to seek help, to look outside the box, to seek others' experiences, compare and contrast. Hence, I'm doing that for him. He's very verbal but written communication and expression just isn't there.


It's a natural biological function for parents to feed, protect then ready our offspring for the world. Its our job. The problem is, what happens when one of them fails to thrive. To what length's will one go?



Is failure, really not an option?



Are you so sure you are an enabler (yes, in this situation, but are you by nature controlling, etc)


If your daughter is your only child, it might be difficult for you to answer that question.


For us, we are 'lucky' in some respects in that we have a second child that we can compare our parenting styles to. A boy a couple of years younger who, in contrast to his older brother, is very self-sufficient, responsible (he gets up 5am, makes sure his parents are up, makes breakfast, gets the dogs out, gets himself to school) thrives in competitive environments, honors student, etc., etc. We feel guilty for so little time we've spent on him - its all gone to trying to help his brother.


We didn't "push" him to be like that. We did encourage healthy traits, independence, etc., but we encouraged that in his brother as well.


Same parents, same environmental variables, different outcomes (mind you, its early to say how it will all come out in the end).


The whole point of that being, yes, in hindsight, you are probably enabling and maybe you have done so from the beginning and you could have codependency issues across the board and ...


But if that didn't apply to the rest of your relationships, if you have (or had before the onset of your daughter's plight) a normal, non-codependent relationship with your husband, other children, etc.,.... you get my point.


I guess the real question - for us, as well as you - is not, are we becoming clinically codependent but rather at what point do we give up, let go, realise that the boundaries between our adult children and ourselves have blurred far too much and we begin to reassess and respond to calls for help differently. At what point must we understand that an adult has made choices and that we are not and cannot be responsible for those choices, as much as we would wish otherwise.

We haven't found the answer to that yet. If you happen to find it, let us know.


FWIW


So I am just now recognizing my "codependence" issue with my husband. My mother is an alcoholic and it probably stemmed from that. However, with my mother, I set boundaries for myself in my mid twenties, such as not talking to her after 6pm (she starts drinking at 5pm on the dot every night" and also not feeding into her drama. I still maintain a relationship with her but unfortunately it has to be limited for my own mental health.

After setting those boundaries though, I continued my relationship with my husband. We were just dating at the time...but as time went on, and we grew throughout twenties, I became more and more involved in his life and trying to make his life better. "He has so much potential" I thought. He is smart, skilled...funny...has a heart...he could really make something of himself...But the truth is, he was self-medicating, couch surfing, going from one job to the next. He would get hired easily, due to his charisma and his skill, but he just would not be able to keep a job...it was typically because one day he just wouldn't go to work. He would have a mental breakdown of sorts and leave for a few days and go into the woods to drink....literally live in the woods. After that he would likely not try to come back, just assume he was fired. I smoothed things over a few times with bosses and it was always extremely uncomfortable.

So it went on. He has schizoaffective disorder bipolar type. He refused treatment for years and during that time I would find him jobs....each time he would lose one...I would pay his overdraft fees and help him open new bank accounts.....I would set him up with car insurance...

Then he started treatment and I thought OMG! He is finally doing this! Anytime he had an issue after that...which was all the time...jobs lost...money binges....drinking...weed....I would say to myself...well....at least he's willing to do therapy and take some meds...maybe it will get better. Maybe he will accept this and really start taking care of himself.

I can handle this, I thought....I can do this. As long as he agrees to see a therapist and take medication...even if he skips appointments, loses jobs, and stops taking his meds...it's part of the illness. I can handle it..

But you know what? His failures and mistakes started feeling like mine early on. I 100% invested myself. His jobs were my jobs. I'm extremely responsible...maybe overly responsible. He would lose a job and I would feel so disappointed and sad. I've failed again, I thought. Why couldn't he do this? Why couldn't he keep this job? He loved it so much.

He would be disappointed in himself, but I would be more disappointed. I would immediately spring into action to try to help him find a new job. Rapid fired suggestions....etc. I'd try to pump him up and look at the bright side. I'd make excuses to my friends and family. Only a select number of people knew about his illness, so it was tiring. Eventually he agreed that we...meaning I...would tell all of our close family members what was going on.

It was a big relief to both of us, but it just was not enough. That was this past December. He was hospitalized for 3 weeks, including Christmas in our new house.

I guess my point is...I can relate to the co-dependence thing. Jumping into action as soon as even the SMELL of a POSSIBLE issue came my way.

Living day to day...worried that a good mood meant that soon everything would come crashing down again and I'd be picking up the pieces. That's the perspective of a spouse though...a spouse who is acting and feeling like a mother....

Let me say one more thing and this relates more to the parenting side--when my husband was 20 years old, his brother (who was in my grade) had just graduated high school. My husband was pretty unstable at the time and dabbling in a variety of drugs with the wrong crowd. We were not together yet, but were heading in that direction (even though I have never done drugs/smoked/had never even had alcohol at that point).

Due to the crowd he was running with, his mother did what she thought was best. I understand from one perspective, but it is also heart breaking. She didn't want BOTH of her sons to end up living that life. So--she rented my husband's brother an apartment SEVERAL states away....paid for it all...and said...you're starting a new life and you can't tell your brother until the day that you leave. I don't want him to follow you.

My husband has ALWAYS idolized his brother. This was heartbreaking for him. The day his brother came to him and said he was leaving...he had to watch him drive away. They see each other on holidays and talk on the phone but 12 years later, his brother remains distant and relatively uninvolved. My husband's best friend has been more of a brother.

My mother in law recently expressed that she has always felt a bit guilty that she didn't give my husband's brother as much attention...however, she says she doesn't regret it. By nature, he just didn't NEED the extra care that my husband needed. He functioned alright on his own.

Mental illness is the devil.
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Old 10-24-2018, 05:14 PM   #5
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For me, a few things helped:

1. Come to the understanding that you are not equipped to provide all the tools and support your daughter needs.

This goes against the grain (esp. for a parent) because you *always feel responsible*. But this isn't the chicken pox, or riding a bike, or keeping the fed and clothed.

You are not a licensed therapist. So do not beat yourself up for "Oh, God, what could I have done different/better/more."

Do what you can. Leave the rest to professionals.

2. Keep busy. For me, it was a compartmentalization tactic - The more I can focus my time on hobbies/tools/reading books/watching movies/learning new things, the less I'm left to begin second-guessing the gravity of the situation.

For example, I got so tired of my SO's manic spending that I built an online tool specifically designed to help counteract that kind of behavior.

Focusing your energy elsewhere may give *you* a little time to replenish your mental health. You don't deserve to be in a constant state of worry.
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Old 11-14-2018, 02:37 PM   #6
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I am also tired of taking care of and codependent to my 31 mentally ill drug addicted daughter. She is sober right now but just this morning she was complaining how her life is so bad and all she wants to do is go get high. She's lonely and has nothing. and some how this is my fault.
No wonder she's lonely,she is mean and manipulative.
I think I will set a goal of spending just 5 minutes a day with her. Because on the 6th minute I want to smack her.
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Old 12-04-2018, 08:57 AM   #7
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Life is so up and down with this girl and I'm so frustrated. In addition to dealing with her, my very elderly parents are failing and I'm trying to figure out how we are going to cope with that (I do have siblings who are helping too), and my husband has some health issues that will probably get worse over the next few months.



My dd had a brief romance last summer that ended badly when the guy ghosted her - they weren't a couple, she wasn't in love with him, but she can't let go of this. Things were on an uptick when she made a friend who is now her roommate, they moved into a great apartment together. That situation is still good, however, she found out the guy is now dating a girl who lives in her building. Now it's a very large building and the chances she's going to run into him are small, but she's now obsessed with it. "I can't leave my apartment." "I can't get over it." I want to scream. We've all been there. Move on. Unfortunately, school is on a break until the first of the year and she doesn't have a job to occupy her, so she sits and overthinks everything.



She sees a therapist every other week and she is on medication. Her psychiatrist switched her to a new one a couple of weeks ago with the warning that it might get worse before it gets better and would, of course, take a few weeks for the full effects to kick in. So a lot of this current situation could be related to the meds and the holiday season.



Just venting - getting so sick of hearing about this guy and how she "can't" get over it.
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Old 12-04-2018, 05:10 PM   #8
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She stayed in bed all day and when I went in to try to talk to her, she gets pissed off at me for not having the magic words to make it all better. I realize that people take it out on those closest to them, but I'm pretty tired of being that person. She ends up storming out of the house to drive 3 hours back to her place after not eating anything all day. At what point is it enough? This is not a helpless person. She has shown that she has the ability to try and succeed. I can't tell when I'm helping and when I'm enabling and maybe making it worse.
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Old 12-06-2018, 05:17 PM   #9
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Hi JNNFE, welcome to PC. Hmmm, sorry to hear your daughter is struggling to get past this guy that went out with her and then suddenly ghosted her. It sounds like even though she didn't really love him she can't get over losing the control she had or being rejected. It can be hard when as a parent we want to find something to say that takes this challenge away, but unfortunately as you have discovered for yourself often there is nothing we can say that helps and we are left having to watch our child suffer through it.

Some guys are just jerks and can date a girl that is worthy of being loved and is beautiful etc and the guy for whatever reason drops her and goes out with someone else and may even do the same to this other girl too. I actually remember guys that did that year ago when I was that age. Your daughter is going to have to learn that it's not always about her and as you said, she wasn't crazy about the guy anyway, and to be honest, he probably felt she wasn't so he gave up and is trying someone else and she may not be all that into him either, AND SO IT GOES. That's the dating scene and your daughter has to find a way to accept that and move on instead of hiding and wasting emotional energy.
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