Book Recommendations/Advice on Codependency in Friendships

LeiaFlower

Confident
I thought I alleviated my codependency in my relationship with my best friend. However, it's showing up again. In my other post, I mentioned feeling as if I owe her for her niceness. Of course, I know this is a reflection of my repressed past relationships, though knowing doesn't make the feeling go away. I want to cross my set boundaries by being overly affectionate, laying on her, and simply invading her space by going into her room. Now it's this desire to kiss her despite knowing my sexuality as being asexual with a platonic attraction to men. This is something I can't get to go away it keeps showing up. Though she mentions not minding it (Not coming from mind reading) I feel like due to our friendship starting with my fear of affection, whenever I show it I feel she has this obligation to accept. I also noticed my mental breakdowns are connected to her not doing well in life. When she started making bad decisions that I was scared could turn her into my siblings, broken, it felt as though my mind was constantly being triggered by the past. My trauma is learned helpnesses. I was never able to protect my siblings from their abuse nor feel like I could've done much for my own that's repressed. So, when I feel helpless in my friend's life and feel like the new person in her life is scary and bad, I snap into the small mindset where I'm scared and helpless.

I also used to be scared to talk about my feelings with her due to not knowing how she would react. Though I got over this after constant reminders from her that she wasn't going to be belittling and abusive.

The main thing that is coming up is how much I'm trying to change myself to feel like I can still be a part of her new life. Even considering getting in a relationship to sleep with someone knowing full well I've been asexual for a while now, and even have a fear of sex. All because I want to belong. She's the first person, first friend, who actually accepted me and genuinely wanted to be my friend. I'm scared to lose that but I'm slowly becoming enmeshed in this relationship. When she's gone I'm locked away in my room, away from family, and barely active with my other friends. I'm always waiting for her text, and it feels like the days are long when she's gone for an extended time. I don't want to be like this. It wasn't this bad at first, but the more I feel like I don't belong in the world the more I cling to someone who makes me feel like I do. But I don't want to ruin my relationship with her or drive her away with my clinginess. I don't know what to do, I feel lost without my therapist but she wants me to take a break despite not having many tools. And the ideations and empty feelings keep coming back. Then I started self-harming again after a month of being fine. I don't know what to do. I just feel gross and alone.
 
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LeiaFlower

Confident
I guess I’ll use this as a trauma diary until someone is able to respond :)

I explained to my friend how I’ve been feeling in regards to owing her due to her niceness as well as what triggered it. Then I told her about my emotional dependency (figured out the exact thing I related to more than codependency) I told her what I wanted this relationship to look like in future as well as that I’ll step back a little. I made it a goal to deepen other relationships I have with friends and family. I going to focus more on providing my own self with happiness instead of relying on others so much, hopefully I’ll learn to at least belong to myself instead of constantly searching for other people to bring me happiness.

i rented a few books from the library since I have time on my hands. “The Relationship Cure” “Codependent No More” “Boundaries Where You End” and “Sexual Healing Journey” I’m hoping the book about codependency talks about emotional dependency, where one relies on others to make them happy, more because I relate to more than codependency which is more of a entangled relationship.

I still am unsure how to move towards interdependence, where I can rely on myself but also on others including her. I don’t want to go on the other end of complete independence where I only rely on myself. Right now at least I’m limiting how much time we spend together for myself as well as to lessen how toxic the relationship has gotten for me. I’m hoping I’ll find more tips. I’m also going to talk to my EMDR therapist about advice due to the break with my therapist. Emotional Dependency is something I can work on in EMDR as well.

if anyone else have more advice I’m happy to take it. Regardless whoever reads this hopefully they’ll find something helpful to them as well.
 

joeylittle

Administrator
I still am unsure how to move towards interdependence, where I can rely on myself but also on others including her. I don’t want to go on the other end of complete independence where I only rely on myself.
How is your relationship with yourself, these days? It sounds like you're tending to go into hibernation when the friend isn't around.
When she's gone I'm locked away in my room, away from family, and barely active with my other friends. I'm always waiting for her text, and it feels like the days are long when she's gone for an extended time.
I'd strongly suggest some structure - introducing some regular activities into your daily schedule, things that you need to get done but also, things that you can enjoy doing. It could help to think of these in two categories - spending time with yourself, and spending time in the world.

I'd also balance out your reading with something that isn't about relationship psychology...it's easy to get caught in a loop, ruminating - and that can feel productive, but it usually isn't.
 

Friday

Moderator
One of the best books I’ve ever come across (It Isn’t just -or even primarily- about relationships, but soooooo incredibly USEFUL! inside of relationships 😀 ) was required reading in a communications 101 class I took in school. I’m so glad that class was required, as I’d never have taken it, nor read the book, otherwise. Amazing book.

7 Habits of Highly Effective People
 
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LeiaFlower

Confident
How is your relationship with yourself, these days? It sounds like you're tending to go into hibernation when the friend isn't around.

I'd strongly suggest some structure - introducing some regular activities into your daily schedule, things that you need to get done but also, things that you can enjoy doing. It could help to think of these in two categories - spending time with yourself, and spending time in the world.

I'd also balance out your reading with something that isn't about relationship psychology...it's easy to get caught in a loop, ruminating - and that can feel productive, but it usually isn't.
I don't really like my inner self that much. Self-criticism has died down greatly since I started therapy, and I do give myself praise. Though I still think I'm defective and weird. Generally, my relationship with myself is a middle ground. Neither hate nor like me.

I started to go against my hibernation tendencies when she leaves. But it's not the same when she's here.

Thanks for the suggestion of structure and self-efficacy. I'm trying now to maintain a routine, though it's a struggle. I'm hoping it'll pay off and I'm weaned away from the dependency.

I liked the suggestion in regards to ruminating over self-help books. I get obsessive in regards to improving myself. I feel like there's so much I need to improve for people to like me.
 

OliveJewel

MyPTSD Pro
I struggled with routine and schedule for a long time. I’m still working on it, but it’s a lot better. I don’t know much about the 7 Habits but a program I’m doing for addiction has its own 7 Things for happy living: consciousness, responsibility, community, health, activity, self-respect, and achievement. I think if you are able to notice when you are participating in those then you can start to see when they are missing and what you replace it with (usually bad habits or addictions for most people.)
 

LeiaFlower

Confident
I struggled with routine and schedule for a long time. I’m still working on it, but it’s a lot better. I don’t know much about the 7 Habits but a program I’m doing for addiction has its own 7 Things for happy living: consciousness, responsibility, community, health, activity, self-respect, and achievement. I think if you are able to notice when you are participating in those then you can start to see when they are missing and what you replace it with (usually bad habits or addictions for most people.)
Thanks OliveJewel, I’m going to do a little reflection now on what triggered my disorganized attachment to go from complete independence of not relying on anyone to emotionally dependent with my friend. Listing which one of seven I’m struggling with and the habits I replace with is definitely going to be a part of my reflection.

consciousness, responsibility, community, health, activity, self-respect, and achievement. I think if you are able to notice when you are participating in those then you can start to see when they are missing and what you replace it with (usually bad habits or addictions for most people.)
what do you mean by consciousness? Also can you give examples of each of possible
 

OliveJewel

MyPTSD Pro
what do you mean by consciousness? Also can you give examples
I thought that one was odd as well, but then I thought about how addictions often are a way for people to try to lose consciousness. So for me, being drunk and stoned was an impairment of consciousness. Dissociation can be a shift in consciousness. I will give examples for each.

Consciousness: being alert, awake, and aware of your surroundings. Using your mind to make sense of your life and experiences. I think self help and self reflection are examples. Writing in a diary also.

Achievement: accomplishing personally relevant and socially relevant goals. Sports, political action, social justice, furthering education, work successes, providing for family.

Activity: being energetic in life and engaged in experiences.

Health: choosing foods that make you feel good, exercise that you enjoy, seeking health care, self care and grounding for stress

Responsibility: fulfilling your commitments, doing what the law obligates you to do

Self-respect: caring for and about all your parts, and by extension all of humanity

Community: caring about the communities of which you are a part (your neighborhood, your town, your school, your work, your religious group, your political party) and contributing to the welfare of these groups, and therefore the wider world.

I noticed you said that you don’t like yourself. And a lot of these categories use the word “care”. It’s hard to care when you don’t like yourself but developing concern for oneself is not something that survivors can just snap into existence

I would suggest looking through all these and start by checking off those that you are already doing. Then categorize the rest into “possible” and “no way”. Forget about the “no way” list and choose two or three of the “possibles” that seem the most likely to happen. Then you can hold those in your mind, journal about them, and look for opportunities to try them out. Eventually you can return to the “no way” list if you want to, or maybe you’ll have moved on to a different paradigm that works better for you.
 

LeiaFlower

Confident
I would suggest looking through all these and start by checking off those that you are already doing. Then categorize the rest into “possible” and “no way”. Forget about the “no way” list and choose two or three of the “possibles” that seem the most likely to happen. Then you can hold those in your mind, journal about them, and look for opportunities to try them out. Eventually you can return to the “no way” list if you want to, or maybe you’ll have moved on to a different paradigm that works better for you.
Thank you, genuinely thank you for this. It feels when I have steps to take. It makes things feel less daunting. I’m really happy I found this community.

🤦🏽‍♀️ is it bad that I only do the achievements one because I’m too much of a perfectionist not to do something. However, ever after reaching my goals it improving myself I never think it’s enough because I lack the caring about my self. I have to find a way to buy the book “self therapy” that touches on self respect for your parts because there’s still a lot of hate for myself.
 

OliveJewel

MyPTSD Pro
Not bad at all! That’s great that you recognize that you are already doing it! And I get the perfectionism, believe me—and there are plenty of others here in that same boat. It’s the control thing when we had none, which turns around and bites us in the ass.

Self Therapy is a good book. I should revisit it. I have a bad habit of getting about a third of the way through self help books and then dropping them.
 

LeiaFlower

Confident
Not bad at all! That’s great that you recognize that you are already doing it! And I get the perfectionism, believe me—and there are plenty of others here in that same boat. It’s the control thing when we had none, which turns around and bites us in the ass.

Self Therapy is a good book. I should revisit it. I have a bad habit of getting about a third of the way through self help books and then dropping them.
I relate to dropping books I have a few coming in and I know I’m only going to read like one, and maybe glance at the others.

But the lack of control and trying to regain it has been something I’ve been fighting with for too long. I was so use to being in a learned helplessness state that when I was finally free from the control I genuinely didn’t know what to do with myself, still somewhat don’t. But I’m trying so I guess that’s something.
 
Anything by Karen Casey. I think that is her name. She has this description of each person having a garden and an analogy about going around picking other peoples flowers :) it was super helpful!
 
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