I'm on a roller coaster

by Patricia
(Alabama )

Dear People,

I'm so confused. I have discovered recently that I am codependent. This took me by such shock. I'm 50 and I have believed my entire life that was a term used for the wives of alcoholics. On researching I have found that is not true. I am a believer in Jesus Christ. I believe I am in spiritual warfare over my mind.

I have been married for several years. I'm in a compromised relationship. My boyfriend, at the time, was arrested, went to court and served a 2 year sentence for an internet sex crime that was a sting operation. We had been dating for a few months when this happened. He stated that he knew he was chatting with an adult by the things typed and level of maturity. Everyone that knew him, family, friends, church, etc were outraged at the injustice done to him. He was a victim by what I saw.

Everyone, including me, felt very sorry for this happening to him. I did feel I knew him well enough to know that he was not a predator but I didn't believe that he thought it was a guy friend playing a joke on him. I had to stuff what I felt. We couldn't discuss the case before the trial. Everybody was babying him (35yo man) so I was not going to confront him while he was down. I

went into a huge denial. What I think and feel didn't matter. I figured I would deal with it later. I took on everything when he left. I handled his bank business, went to visit him (5 hours away), traveling alone, staying in strange hotels and I couldn't even tell my family when I was going because this relationship was a secret to my family and friends. He said his daughter and mother would not let him date, expecting him home at a certain time for dinner, etc so this is what lead him to meeting women online.

Anyway, I took care of his house (just a couple of doors down from his mother), had repairs made, cleaned it etc and kept it livable so he would have a place to live when he got out. I was using his money for his house and bank business. Just a reminder...I did all of this WITHOUT ANYONE ASKING ME TOO...I look back and say "what was I thinking?" I'm your average working, single mom, comfortable home, good family....what was I doing? and why?

Now that I'm starting to really look at my life it looks like I performed a rescue. I didn't know I was and didn't mean to. I think I must have been on some autopilot and not thinking. I'm afraid I stayed in the relationship out of pity and rescue rather than love. As it was getting closer time for him to come home I was having major second thoughts...but ignored them.

I was afraid that if I left that people would think it was because I didn't believe his story. We continued to date for five years and married a few years ago. I felt it was the "thing" to do for not the right reasons. I'm afraid to even think that is what I did. That would make truly admit to myself that I am a horrible, horrible, person. The screws are just getting tighter and tighter.

He has to register as a sex offender. We have to live out in the middle of no where so everyone, including us, will feel safe. The police come to the house at least once a year for address verification. This is very frightening for me. I'm out in the country, alone. The words criminal sex offender is now on his drivers license. So I am afraid all the time when we are together and if someone has to see his id, I would feel so ASHAMED.

I'm so afraid my friends or family is going to Google his name and find out. I never talk about him because I don't want to bring any attention to us. We go to separate churches, family thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. I don't know if I can live with such a secret. I can't make really close friendships because I know it is odd that I don't mention my husband and always keep subjects off of me. I have purposely shunned 4 friends from my early years because they were just trying to get in my world so I started avoiding them.

I don't know what I'm so afraid for people to find out. I didn't have anything to do with the arrest but I feel like I'm the sex offender. As you can tell from this long, long post...There is no support system. I have no one to talk to because this is so embarrassing. I don't want to live the rest of my life this way.

I believe divorce is wrong. I've done that once and I regret the pain and chaos it caused my family. I had been married for a long time and was just selfish and didn't even try to save it and so I am trying so desperately to not do the "knee-jerk" reaction thing. But to really search my soul and resources and be open and honest. I've been a private and secretive person my entire life and that has been to my determent. I know to be well, I've got to be honest.

Any words or encouragement or thoughts would be much appreciated.

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Jan 01, 2011
by: Anonymous

Thanks Angie. Your reply made a lot of sense to me. If I was concerned about someone I care about the answer would be easy. I'm carrying around a huge amount of guilt and do not trust my decision making abilities for myself. I am seeing a counselor often to help me. I feel brave and confident one minute and then confused the next. I know God wants me to have a sound mind. Thanks again.

Oct 31, 2010
To Patricia in Alabama
by: Angie Carter

At internet-of-the-mind.com we try to never give specific advice about what to do; (especially in relationships-unless a person feels they are not safe) but we do offer different ways to look at the situation.

One of the most frequent ways I help women step back and evaluate their situation and help them to reach their own decision of what would be best for them is to pretend this WHOLE scenario is happening to their daughter or their sister. And to pretend that they care about this woman a great and they have HER best interest at heart. Then I ask them to envision this person (daughter or sister) coming to you and purposely asking YOU for advise about what to do. But remember in this exercise, YOU are someone else and they have your life, your circumstances, your situation exactly as it is now, and they want to know what is the best thing for them to do. They really want your advise and you are emotionally detached and you are ONLY concerned with what is best for her. What would you tell her??

Typically within 30 seconds the person has the answer. You see, if we put our situation onto someone we care a GREAT deal about and we have their best interest at heart, it is easy to know what they should do. When the situation is back on us though, we become clouded with emotions, fear, guilt, worry and we are usually not considering what is in OUR best interest.

I truly believe that each of us has the truth of what we need to do for ourselves inside of us. A good counselor or support person helps us access that truth, not give us their truth.

Sometimes we KNOW what we need to do for ourselves, but are paralyzed to do so. That is another problem entirely. That is when I know I am powerless and I seek help and try to gain power that will enable me to make good sound judgment decisions for myself (definition of sanity is--good sound judgment!) Best of luck to you Patricia...keep us posted.
Angie C.

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