I want you to be who I need you to be for me

There should be a support group for co-dependents married to ADDers.  So far, I am learning that Co-dependents want others to fill their needs of happiness and security - like our parents gave us security and purpose when we were young. We work to be needed because of habits learned from our childhood in how we were able to garner worth and love from them by being who they wanted us to be. There may have been an emotionally distant or narsistic parent that we were the "good child" for.  We learned how to not ask for things or expect things for us or even have problems or express emotions.  We catered to someone in our upbringing who was not able to cater to us in the same way.  My sisters were telling me this for years and years, but until my mother died last year, I was not seeing it.  I thought my sisters were just selfish, mean, rebelling brats and not being loving to our mother who for some reason I felt sorry for and tried to understand.  I was being the obedient, compliant child (my purpose) not realizing that by being that way I was getting what I wanted at the time (security, peace of mind and purpose). But I was not developing into a thriving, self-reliant adult.  It is where I am today trying to make sense of why I find myself in this mother/child relationship with dh. My life is mainly about OTHERS.  I wanted to be used and loved like the Velveteen Rabbit.  I thought it was love and goal-worthy. But if I am miserable, I am no good to anyone, including dh or myself so I can't be like that anymore in this situation. I need to find a different way to give of myself without draining myself and getting nothing to fill myself back up again.  Codependent Anonymous is saying that no one should expect someone or something on this earth to make up happy but that through prayer and faith and something similar to a 12 step program, a person can find strength and courage to be happy.

If interested see the description of codependent on this link:    http://www.coda.org/tools4recovery/patterns-new.htm

Jennalemon, please stop

Jennalemon, please stop beating yourself up.  Yes, there are things that we partners of people with ADHD could do better.  But we did not end up in these situations because we were trying to avoid being responsible for ourselves.  I really don't believe you are looking for someone else to fill all your needs or that your behavior in your marriage has been an equal contribution to the relationship's problems.  

Rosered.

Your words are appreciated.    After I wrote this last piece, I was not sure how I felt about it.  I am trying so hard not to sit stuck and stop being paralyzed.  Just your acknowledgement of witnessing my journey and commenting personally made me feel like someone cared.  Even if we are just all e-pals. Thanks.  

Co-dependent

Co-dependency is a serious issue and how people become enablers, trying to make other people happy.  It is absolutely true that we can not expect other people to make us happy.  We need to decide to be happy.  And your life doesn't have to be perfect in order for you to be happy.  Or at least content.  Happiness is really a 20th century construct in and of itself.  Survival was the goal since the beginning of mankind, it wasn't until we had reliable food sources and a prospering society that the self improvement industry took off.  I think that taking care of yourself is your first step.  Are you safe?  Are you healthy?  Do you have interests outside of your family and husband?  If not, what hobby might you find interesting?  Basic life skills, like sleeping, eating well and at regular intervals (fuel), and exercise are critical to one's emotional well being.  They reduce stress, improve resiliency, and produce happy hormones.  Relatively simple and free to do.  Something that makes you smile; reading, knitting, art, book groups, coffee with friends, meditation, boxing, roller skating, dancing, etc.  We give of ourselves every day when we say good morning, smile at a stranger, ask about a loved one's day and listen.  The trick is to quit trying to be the answer to their grievances, but give by helping them figure out the path to fixing it themselves.  I'm working on this part, cuz I am an awesome enabler!  And they are likely to get annoyed as you ask them what they think a solution might be for the 80th time, but it's not your issue to solve.  And they feel so good when they fix their own problems.  Good luck.

ShelleyNW

You have been so good at giving others encouragement on the boards.  Thanks.  Yes. Taking care of ourselves is what I know we get to work on.  Just letting others BE in their own messes.  The only thing is that when you are legally long term married, you are so financially and emotionally tied together that what they do really does affect you no matter how good you are taking care of your self.  I am looking forward to the day when I don't need this board anymore.  Right now, having people like you to go through this together is a Godsend that I need. It is so nice to have someone respond. Thanks

Tied up

Yes the whole entwined does make it really hard to step back. I would be far wealthier and peaceful if DH would just do what I say. At least I think I would. Mitigate what you can and set boundaries where possible. Wish we had kept monies separate, but if wishes were horses... No one said it would be easy. It is nice to not be alone in the struggle.

Becoming more aware of Codependency

Reading posts from partners of people with ADHD helps me to know I'm not crazy, and that my feelings are valid.  It also helps me to see my own codependency.  And it so often surprises me.  Just when I think I'm not an enabler anymore - I see something else I've been doing... and the courage it takes to stop it.  My spouse has made is clear she's never leaving me, and I have to risk that the more I stand up for myself that it doesn't matter if she does or doesn't (especially if it crosses my mind anyway to leave the relationship b/c I get so tired of the old patterns)!

It's amazing, because I do so many things to take care of myself.  I have hobbies, my own friends, treat myself to things etc.  And yet, I still give so much of myself away, too much, in my relationship.  I'm still identifying other ways to set boundaries and take better care of myself.

Jennalemon, are you doing OK?

Jennalemon, are you doing OK?  I'm concerned about you, particularly the self-blaming tone of this post.  You are a good person; please don't keep beating yourself up.

RoseRed.

Rosered,  It feels good to know that someone hears me.  Thanks for your concern.  I think what I am doing is making myself look at ALL the STUFF I put up with and getting a clear dirty picture of what I have been "whitewashing" and denying and pretending and rationalizing and how I have compromised myself.  DH needs (or is attracted to) a degrading environment...dirty chaos.  He is more comfortable there than in a structured, team environment.  I cannot live in dirty, lonely chaos.  I am best in a team environment with agreed upon house rules. The thought that runs through my head most often in a day is, "I can't believe this is my life. I was once someone i was proud of.  Life was once something that I effortlessly enjoyed."  I am very uncomfortable and anxious, but I am OK. How are you doing, Rosered?

I'm doing OK.  Still trying

I'm doing OK.  Still trying to decide if the marriage is worth staying in.  It would be difficult, although not impossible, for me to get by financially if we were to divorce.  (I'd have to sacrifice the house or my retirement accounts, neither of which I want to give up at this point.)  I'm making a bit of headway at expressing my concerns without escalating or withdrawing.  (E.g., "I helped you when you were the primary breadwinner; now that I'm the primary breadwinner, you're not helping me, and I resent that." and then moving on.)  I'm ignoring some of the little things, apologizing when I think doing so is warranted, and calling my husband on his BS when the issue is a big one.