Codependency / Parent-Child pattern

I'm curious...


My wife is being treated for codependency.  I'm not sure how much of it is related to my ADHD and the drinking I was doing (now sober) vs. a childhood that I know had some serious issues that I won't go into detail about here.  However, I'm curious how the parent-child pattern of an ADHD relationship compares and contrasts from codependency.

Anyone with any knowledge they might share?

For me, I wear the

For me, I wear the codependency label simply because for many, many years I felt it was within my power to 'fix' my DH (his ADHD, at certain points his drinking/self-medicating too), felt if I just did X, then he would be 'fixed'. I carried the responsibility of living his life for him, of controlling everything (or so I deluded myself into thinking so) so that things wouldn't spin completely out of control, and I mirrored his moods and reacted very poorly to everything. Literally, his ADHD became the cause of MY misery when it didn't have to. I had to learn to let him live his own life...put my Faith in God...and live my own life, letting go of the illusion that I could control him or help him. I had to help myself first.

codepencdency and parent/child dynamic

This has been a frequent topic in my marriage as I was raised in a codependent household and my DH has ADHD (only diagnosed recently in his late 40s). In my case, codependence is apparent in other areas of my life, not just my marriage: An example: I'm working on relating in a more healthy way with my mom, who does not have ADHD but who is accustomed to being overly enmeshed in all of her close personal relationships, as have I always been. What does that enmeshment/codependence look like for us? If we are not extremely careful, we can end up in a strange "dance" of worry, avoidance, anger, and assumption. We will spend more time worrying about what the other MIGHT be thinking, needing, etc. than we do actually relating to each other. We dream up problems where there are none and can often assume blame for things we have not done, or some that have not even happened. I do that in my marriage too and always have.

The common thread between codependence and the parent/child dynamic for me is that both of these scenarios lead to a lot of conversations happening in our heads instead of between the people involved. An example of the parent/child thing in our marriage has had to do with finances: DH and I had many of these non-conversations about money over the years before we finally came to a good solution a few years ago. I would berate him (silently, in my own head) for being wasteful and "lazy." (I never, ever said it out loud because we codependents, at least in my family, worry A LOT about hurting another's feelings.) Instead I would act in a controlling way about money without being completely open about what I needed. He would notice this control, feel ashamed of his behaviours, and then create a complex story in his mind about how unfair I was. Meanwhile, I would create a story in my own mind about how I was not worthy of a husband who could respect me enough to save enough money to live the lifestyle that I wanted. Then we would try to have a conversation except that we'd each already had that conversation in our own heads and decided what the resolution had to be, were filled with frustration and resentment and guilt. Going in never-ending circles. 

The 2 things (codependence and ADHD marriage) are definitely related in my life simply because my codependent tendencies have usually magnified my reactions to his ADHD symptoms and served to reinforce all of our patterns. Then his patterns of anger, withdrawal, denial, etc. reinforced my justifications for my own behaviours. And around and around. DH's problems with addictions and my reactions to those also further muddied the waters. The best things I've done to help have been to learn about letting go, loving detachment, acceptance, taking care of my own needs, openly expressing myself in a fair and reasonable way, etc. Still so much working on it and a very, very, very long way to go 

Good luck to you in sorting things out!