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Co-Dependent Relationships

EdwardThomas

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Hi there,

My first post on here, hopefully someone has shared a similar experience or can offer some advice.

Growing up, my Dad was sometimes abusive to my Mum. It wasn't consistent, or happening often, but there were definitely situations that happened enough that it has stayed with me. A lot of it is blurry, but a few situations stick out in my mind including a bad argument that resulted in a black eye, whereby I felt very helpless as a child, a period of blatant infidelity with at least two women that hurt my Mum a lot and resulted in me being the one comforting her when she was at home and alone / crying, and general emotional abuse in arguments i.e lots of shouting over her, calling her pathetic, domineering behaviour.

As a man now of nearly 31 years of age, I am still living at home. The majority of my close friends have moved out, including my twin sister, but I can't seem to, which I find odd. I have recently started to feel that I maybe feel a sense of responsibility to be here and protect her. I haven't heard them argue for a long time, except usual petty stuff, so I feel he has changed with time, but I still have this fear that if I leave it will come back. It's like when I am here (as a man now) he knows that he could never do anything without me stepping in. I fear that if I wasn't here it would be easier to slip back to unhealthy ways.

Furthermore, I feel that this has affected my relationships with my female partners. My last 2 (and my current) significant girlfriends have always had "dependency issues" of some sort. The first had an alcoholic father, who passed away when she was in her 20s, resulting in lots of anxiety and depression. The second was adopted and had lots of anxiety issues and almost treated me like the Father she longed for. My current girlfriend, her mother was an alcoholic (now recovered) but she is extremely dependant on me for all of her social life / her happiness / her overall well being and has had issues with bulimia. I often wonder though, if I am the problem. Perhaps this sense of responsibility to protect my Mum, has transferred to me feeling a need to protect and feel needed by women, meaning I actively / subconsciously take on "needy" partners or try and make stable partners more "needy" in order to feel needed...

Basically, I have an overwhelming feeling that I am seriously messed up and I'm going to be in unhealthy relationships for the rest of my life :(
 

Cuchculan

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I would not say you are the problem. What can happen if we come from a certain background, is that we find ourselves drawn to people similar to the background we grew up in. You would imagine we would run from such things. We might not think we are doing this. Thus we look are were we have landed and think ' not this again '. As in we have ended up in a relationship that reminds us so much of our past. I do think we go there on purpose on a subconscious level. Maybe not really copping on what we are doing until we are in it knee deep. More a case of trying to break the cycle. You need to protect nobody only yourself. Make that your new number 1 rule. If you end up with people who have issues like you had, stop and ask yourself if you really need this all over again. It might simply be time to back away from such relationships. I am not sure what these girls tell you in advance of you dating them. If you know their story and like you said, you want to help them. But that is not helping you. It is hurting you. I would do what is best for you. Avoid those relationships. I am certain you can meet a person who has no such issues. It might even be hard at first to be in a relationship with such a person. No issues, nothing to worry about. Not what you are used to. Might take a bit of time to accept this can be done. And it can be done. If it was me I would avoid problem relationships. They are doing you no good at all. You have to think of your own well being too.
 
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