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Am I codependent? I feel awful

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Viewing 15 posts - 391 through 405 (of 421 total)
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  • #405217
    lindsey
    Participant

    Dear Anita

    Had time to process things and here is what I have come up with.

    1. I’m not ready to meet his children or his mother (father is out of the picture. Mother lives in Chicago (3 hours away and sisters live out of state)  He does not have close relationship with them. I have meet one of his friends.  He does not seem to have many friends that he goes off with.  He is going on a trip at the end of the both with friends golfing but they all live out of state.

    2. I was putting more importance on him wanting to meet my kids because it would make me feel good.

    3. He did not ask for the $250 when I went over to his home last night- a plus for sure.  I am going to start cooking dinner more and encouraging him to cook dinner versus going out.  I am not going to offer to pay for things as much.  Really I am in charge of my actions financial wise.

    4. I deleted my social media.  I discussed with him and think that the photos of our trip are personal.  I do not think I was posting for the right reasons. Hard to admit while writing but I was wanting to show off I had a boyfriend and went on a trip maybe for my ex to find out.  He agreed that the photos were very personal which is why he does not post much on facebook.

    5. We both agreed that the stress from our ex has an impact on us emotionally and can be draining.

    Lindsey

    #405220
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lindsey:

    Excellent job processing things, I am impressed, deserves an A+, I say!

    This sentence: “Really I am in charge of my actions financial wise” is the reason behind the plus following the A. The idea that you are in charge in regard to all that you can and should be in charge with- is empowering!

    You were honest with yourself when figuring your motivations in regard to social media and wanting him to meet your kids and adjusted your behavior/ attitude. Again, I am impressed… !

    anita

     

    #405453
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lindsey:

    How are you? The day before we last talked, you mentioned “serious body image issues” and we never really talked about it. Maybe it will help if we do. Do you want to talk about it sometime?

    anita

    #405455
    lindsey
    Participant

    Dear Anita

    I have been meaning to reach out to you all weekend but have been very busy. Aiden’s birthday is coming up this Thursday so we did some special activities over the weekend.  School starts Wednesday and tomorrow is orientation at 5pm.  Ella got an expander on the roof of her month to make more room for her teeth (they are too crowded and she will get braces in about 9 months)- I think Thursday we went to the Orthodontist.

    My ex’s fiance Amy pretty much hacked off Ella’s hair when I picked her up on Friday.  I told Ella her hair looked nice but I was very upset- I’ve reached my limit – My parents and friend Sara both looked a the photo I sent them of her hair and said “what the f**k?!” I’m taking her to my hair dresser in 2 weeks. I’m telling Ella we are going to get highlights in her hair.

    Regarding body image issues that will take much thought and  time writing- I will get back to you soon in the am.

    I also asked Jason not to be high on pot when he is around me.  He said “but I haven’t been high around you very much.” Whatever buddy that’s no the point here. Anyway I will describe more with that in the am.

    Talk soon!!

    Lindsey

    #405459
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lindsey:

    It’s good to get a reply from you so soon after submitting a post for you. It feels like and hearing from an old (younger !) friend. I was thinking about how involved of a mother you are, based on all the day-to-day things you tell me about your kids. It was unintentional… was it, Ella’s hair? Keep calm regardless and please rest this afternoon, and do something that is fun!

    anita

    #405548
    lindsey
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    I’m very sure the haircut was intentional.  This would be  another example to her stepping over a boundary and being disrepectful to myself and Ella. She would not appreciate me taking her son Brayden to get his haircut and make drastic changes without checking with me first.  I am unsure how to address the situation.

    I have also AGAIN been reactive with my ex. Basically I am being borderline abusive verbally.  I’ve got to make the proper changes I need to make but it is extremely hard b/c my improvements are not consistent.  Here is an example of how I feel. My punishment is making the wrong life decision .

    “The Greek myth that is associated with the punishment of rolling a stone uphill is the myth of Sisyphus, originally told by the Greek poet Homer.  The story of Sisyphus and his punishment of having to endlessly roll a boulder up a hill, only to have it roll back down again, has become an analogy for the endless toil of modern life.”

    So about the body image.  I would say that it started while I was a teenager. I believe it was a combination of needing control over something in my life and also being insecure about myself and my body.  Back in the 90’s it was very different- this generation supports women of all sizes and celebrates differences.  So as the years went by I would overeat, binge, not eat- there would be cycles.  Eventually for the most part I stopped with the behaviors.  Now I am just uncomfortable in my own skin.  Body dysmorphia? I do not see in the mirror what other people see.  After having my son and seeing negative changes in my body things have declined.  I do not take off my clothes with the lights on with Jason.  I’m not comfortable with him seeing anything.

    Lindsey

     

    #405550
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lindsey:

    I’m very sure the haircut was intentional…I am unsure how to address the situation” – can you tell Ella to not allow for her hair to be cut without checking with you first?

    I have also AGAIN been reactive with my ex. Basically I am being borderline abusive verbally“- when you are about to react, apply the NPR strategy: Notice that you are triggered, Pause (don’t send him a message or call him), address the situation (ask yourself: what will be the best response, if any?), and Respond, or if better to not respond, then Redirect your attention elsewhere.

    having to endlessly roll a boulder up a hill, only to have it roll back down again“- it is pointless to try to make any progress when you are guaranteed that the progress will get undone. The only progress that makes sense is the continuous kind: building today’s progress on top of yesterday’s progress, and building tomorrow’s progress on top of today’s.

    it started while I was a teenager. I believe it was a combination of needing control over something in my life and also being insecure about myself and my body…. as the years went by I would overeat, binge, not eat- there would be cycles.  Eventually for the most part I stopped with the behaviors“- a history of cycles of disordered eating (bingeing and restricting) based on anxiety, part of which is anxiety born out of the social/ media pressure on girls- women to be thin.

    Now I am just uncomfortable in my own skin.  Body dysmorphia?“- mayo clinic/ body dysmorphic disorder, symptoms: 1. Being extremely preoccupied with a perceived flaw in appearance, thinking about it a lot 2. Belief that others take special notice of your appearance in a negative way or mock you, 3. Attempting to hide perceived flaws with styling, makeup or clothes, 4. Constantly comparing your appearance with others, 5. Frequently seeking reassurance about your appearance from other, 6. Seeking cosmetic procedures with little satisfaction, 7. Avoiding social situations – which of these are your symptoms?

    Back to mayo clinic: “The most common features people tend to fixate about include: Face, such as nose, complexion, wrinkles, acne and other blemishes, Hair, such as appearance, thinning and baldness, Skin and vein appearance, Breast size…”- where in your body has your body dysmorphia been focusing on (if you are comfortable sharing, of course)?

    I do not take off my clothes with the lights on with Jason.  I’m not comfortable with him seeing anything” – do you need there to be complete darkness (no light whatsoever) or are dim lights okay?

    anita

     

    #406066
    lindsey
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    Regarding previous post: the following applies to me regarding the mayo clinic features- Nose, wrinkles, thinning hair (at the bottom), skin (sun spots- dark).

    So much happened last week, not sure where to start.  The kids had orientation on Tuesday night of last week.  Jon’s fiance Amy came with the kids. Apparently she planned it knowing there would be issues (common sense really due to the tension b/c us and that she never attended an orientation and has been with Jon for over 2 years) During the orientation  she attempted to direct Aiden to set up- I waited until she was away from the kids and went up to her stating “we need to talk” as in talk at a later time and I was civil. She then hid behind Jon who was standing right beside her mumbling “not a good time, not a good time.” Jon did not say anything, I went back to helping the kids- he came over a few minutes later saying in an angry tone “I can’t believe you are making a scene, you are being so inappropriate, etc” Ella was standing beside him and heard everything. During that time Amy stared my down for a good 3 minutes. I stared back at her for a minute, then told Ella everything is fine and took her to her teacher’s room.  Also they were late- Amy had to drop off her son to Football practice.

    I struggled for days regarding this.  I have more events later in the week but wanted to start out with this.  In hindsight- I should have not said anything to them? However I wanted to put my foot down and say this is not OK. I knew I would never get a chance to speak with Amy and I told Jon that I wanted to speak with her so they were aware.  The kids only heard Jon being nasty to me and Amy staring at me according to Ella “in a weird manner using her angry face”  However I think I did the best I could based on everything.  They were baiting me wanting me to lash out.

    Lindsey

     

     

    #406071
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lindsey:

    Regarding “sun spots- dark“, I am sure that you know about concealer sticks, I use one for my sun spots. The concealing cream stays put into the next day, very effective. I find dim lights to also be very effective concealing imperfections: my easy way to clean the stove top is to turn the light on top of the stove off, works every time! You can use the Dim Light Strategy (DLS) with Jason… !

    I waited until she was away from the kids and went up to her stating ‘we need to talk’ as in talk at a later time and I was civil… (Jon) came over a few minutes later <b>saying in an angry tone ‘I can’t believe you are making a scene, you are being so inappropriate, etc.’.. I struggled for days regarding this</b>”- it makes me angry just reading this. I am not surprised that you struggled with it for days. You did the right thing keeping the kids out of it, but Jon did not. I am guessing that he is trying to please Amy, so he does what she wants him to do.

    In hindsight- I should have not said anything to them? However I wanted to put my foot down and say this is not OK“- you don’t want to be intimidated by Joh and Amy to the point that you settle into quiet submission to them. You have to be strong and not give in to their efforts to make you look bad. From your description of what happened, you didn’t look bad (meaning, you acted appropriately). They have an agenda to make you look bad. Stay strong, continue to be assertive and appropriate!

    anita

    #406078
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lindsey:

    In regard to your body image/ dysmorphia:

    So about the body image.  I would say that it started while I was a teenager. I believe it was a combination of needing control over something in my life and also being insecure about myself and my body“- to feel insecure means to feel some fear about the idea that we are inadequate or unacceptable. When we feel fear for too long, it feel like being out  of control. And so, we try to control that which scares us.

    So as the years went by I would overeat, binge, not eat“- the thing that scared you seems to have been body fat, so you tried to control it by not eating.  But then you got hungry and binged… and then you did not eat again, etc.

    Eventually for the most part I stopped with the behaviors“- good thing! 

    “Now I am just uncomfortable in my own skin“- feeling uncomfortable in your own skin involves an unease, a continuous kind of lower-intensity fear.

    I do not take off my clothes with the lights on with Jason.  I’m not comfortable with him seeing anything“- what scares you is that he will see you and reject you, so you try to control the situation by … turning off the lights and not letting him see anything.

    I am back to my dim lights suggestion: a compromise between bright lights and darkness. What if you let him see you in dim lights? That may be a step in the right direction, the direction being taking on a new attitude in regard to fear: COURAGE…?!

    anita

     

    #406413
    lindsey
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    I have been meaning to message you all week.  It has been very hectic with work and mostly home. I had 2 days of arguing and conflict with Jon but I have set up tutoring for Ella at Sylvan learning center.  She completed an assessment last week and is reading at a 3rd grade level. (she is in 5th grade).  Her teacher stated she is in the 30% for her grade.  It has been a nightmare.  At first Jon did not want to enroll her in tutoring.  He went back and forth from not having the money to her sticking with 1 day a week tutoring at his house and then all of this was his recommendation and that I should have set all of this up way before now.

    As of this morning I have set up a payment plan with him paying for half monthly.  I had her set up for Tuesday & Thursdays from 6-7pm and Saturdays 10-12pm.  We would have started this Saturday.  He already texted me this morning saying Ella could not attend because they are going out of town this Saturday  So now I am calling Sylvan and changing her schedule to attend tutoring on my days only.  I think that in an effort to control some part of everything Jon is changing or cancelling appointments at the last minute.

    I am trying to get involved in more committee’s at work. ( requesting to be a member of our mentoring program, Diversity & Inclusion, and Engagements with community service)  I am struggling with other employees on my team and in my department having poor work quality but continued to move up (all of them around 30)

    All is good with Jason.

    Lindsey

    #406416
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lindsey:

    As I read your recent post, I thought to myself: wow,  how far Lindsey has come from the time we started communicating!  It is almost like  are a different person: taking charge of your family situation (setting up tutoring for Ella and a payment plan), of your career (getting involved in more committees, requesting to be a member at a mentoring program), plus you have a healthy relationship with a Jason. I am so impressed!

    Dealing with a difficult ex like Jon would be difficult for anyone, but you are doing it very well, considering who he is. He didn’t want to spend the money for Ella being tutored, and he cancelled her tutoring this Saturday (so to save money and/ or to assert power, part of him being passive-aggressive)- these do not paint him as a good person or a good father. What a shame.

    Here is a blog titled 9 tips for co-parenting with a difficult ex, by Dr. Karen Finn, a divorce and life coach. It reads so fitting to your situation:

    “As difficult as divorce is, co-parenting may be even more difficult. And co-parenting with a difficult ex could make you want to hitch a ride with Thelma and Louise. The drama, the crazy-making, the accusations and bad-mouthing, the manipulation, the constant pushing of limits….Co-parenting with a difficult ex can be incredibly frustrating. How can you maintain your sanity and ensure that your children have access to at least one ‘adult’ parent?

    “You know that good co-parenting means you put the children first. But you can do only so much if you are co-parenting with a difficult ex. And what if your ex is a narcissist or toxic person? How do you pull off a shared effort with someone who is incapable of putting anyone else first?…

    “Here are 9 tips for co-parenting with a difficult ex. 1. Accept what you can’t change. Control what you can. You will never be able to change your co-parent… If you are co-parenting with a difficult ex, you know your buttons are going to get pushed. You will need a steady temperament and resolved composure in order to maintain your commitment to great parenting.

    “2. Recognize the dynamic and how it plays out. How does the interaction with your ex go from 0 to 90 in the course of a breath? Are there recognizable patterns to your communication?….

    “3. Set new boundaries… Don’t allow yourself to be baited. Take defensiveness and emotional reactions off the table. Set time parameters for communication, and stand by them. Limit the means of communication — for example, no texting, but email and parenting portal only. (Talking Parents is a free option for both avoiding disputes and documenting communication between co-parents.) You may also want to consider blocking your ex from your social media…

    “4. Don’t respond immediately. So much of co-parenting with a difficult ex is about not engaging. Of course, you will have to engage on behalf of your children. But you do have the power and right to choose when and how you engage. If your ex says or writes something that causes an immediate dump of adrenaline into your system, take a breath and step back. Do your ‘reacting’ in your own mind or in venting with a friend. Do your ‘responding’ once you are calm. Sleep on your response. Choose a doable ‘delay time’ for responding to anything other than emergencies. You’re not on-call for your ex.

    “5. Don’t respond to everything…Stay focused on what co-parenting is about: It’s not about hashing out your unfinished marital discord or diminishing one another. Respond to communication about the children. Let the rest go…

    “6. Business is business. Co-parenting with a difficult ex may require you to keep your communication business-like, factual and pragmatic. Focus on the children and their needs. The fantasy of co-vacations with exes is best left to Hollywood and the rare exception to the rule.

    “7. Document. You don’t have to announce it. Just quietly and consistently do it. Keep a dedicated journal for documenting dates, times, communication, breaches of agreements, support payments, etc. The information is for your eyes only — until if and when you may need it in a legal setting. Having proof can save a lot of mud-slinging when things turn into ‘he said, she said.’

    “8. Consider a court order. If your ex consistently barges through agreements and boundaries, you may need to consider filing a court order. You can talk with your attorney about your options for modifying your parenting plan so that co-parenting works better.

    “9. Evaluate if co-parenting is possible. If your efforts to co-parent in a healthy way consistently end up in chaos and distress, you may need to consider parallel parenting. (This is especially true if your ex is a narcissist or is alienating you from your children through power plays, parallel parenting may be the only choice.) How is your co-parenting arrangement affecting your children? Your sanity? Your ability to stay in integrity without feeling crazed by your ex? If you are holding up your end of the deal but are continually undermined or thrown off-course by your ex, it may be time to consider a new arrangement in the best interest of your children and your own sanity.” End of quote.

    * Reads so fitting. I did not know of the term Parallel Parenting prior to reading the above!

    Webmd. com/ parallel parenting: “Parallel parenting is a method of shared parenting in which parents interact as little as possible with each other while maintaining their relationships with their children. This can be an effective method when you and your ex have trouble with a civil relationship… How is Parallel Parenting different from Co-parenting? Co-parenting is a type of shared parenting in which you and your ex work together to raise your children. The rules are similar at both homes, and you have a united front for the benefit of the children. In co-parenting, you discuss issues that arise with the children and agree on a solution together. You may both attend their school events and extracurricular activities. This method of shared parenting involves a lot of communication and working together with your ex.

    “In parallel parenting, each parent has certain responsibilities, and they carry out day-to-day duties without involving the other parent. The exact details will depend on your parenting plan”.

    talking parents. com/ parallel parenting: “Parallel parenting is a strategy for divorced or separated parents who are unable to cooperate to raise their children in a healthy environment. The hurt, anger, resentment, or other emotions from their relationship can mean that they are unable to communicate without hostility. Parallel parenting is for parents who, in some cases, can’t be in the same room together or even hear each other’s voices without conflict… Communication is strictly limited to emergencies or other pressing issues that need it. There are no joint holiday or birthday celebrations and no joint attendance at school meetings, doctor appointments, or soccer games. In addition, parallel parenting means that neither parent gets to have a say on how the other parent chooses to manage parenting responsibilities (as long as the well-being of the children is not in jeopardy)…

    “Choose communication channels appropriate to your arrangement. For example, if you must discuss a last-minute schedule change, a text or email rather than risk an emotionally charged conversation in front of the kids. Some parenting plans include the use of a communication book that parents pass back and forth with the children. Platforms such as Talking Parents keep parents connected without face-to-face meetings or direct conversations. Parents can create and send stamp-dated messages, including file attachments, via email and text messaging, share calendars, and coordinate events and personal journals for keeping notes. The app also allows parents to store and share images and documents, such as court papers, school files, doctors’ appointments, and school permission slips. Everything within Talking Parents is secure and unalterable and can be ordered in the form of a PDF or certified printed Record…”-

    -Amazing! Did you hear about the ideas of a communication book and the app Talking Parents?

    anita

     

    #406686
    anita
    Participant

    I hope that you had a good weekend-Labor Day, Lindsey, did you?

    anita

    #406849
    lindsey
    Participant

    Hello Anita,

    Happy Friday!  I enjoyed Labor Day weekend. Jason was out of town so lots of naps, cleaning house, reading, taking Bugs to the dogpark.

    I am posting out for a new position at work and will keep you posted. I have to submit resume by the 13th.  It’s a long process for interviews etc.

    Tutoring set up for Ella and communication with Jon was like walking in a hail storm. However Ella started tutoring Wednesday and completes 4 hours a week at Sylvan learning center.

    How was your holiday weekend?

    Lindsey

    #406850
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lindsey:

    Good to read back from you, and Happy Friday back to you! Something wonderful happened during Labor weekend: the neighbors beagle puppy Kooper came into the house for the first time ever. He is the puppy the neighbors got on the same week Hunter the beagle died last December. Hunter used to visit every day multiple times.  When Kooper came in, it was like Hunter was back, both are beagles, both have a white tip of the tail… and Kooper ate from Hunter’s bowl!

    A few days later though, Kooper was scared to come in. I wish he would come in every day.

    Napping and reading and taking Bugs to the dog park sounds like a lovely way to spend Labor Day weekend. I hope that you get the new position you are shooting for and that Ella benefits from the tutoring.. and that Jon will stop creating hail storms for you, for crying out loud!

    anita

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