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just a little afraid I'm co-dependent



When I had my Mum living here, she lived here for two years after my Dad died, as well as Ray, not long home from hospital after his major strokes I went pretty well mad for a while. Not mad dog mad, but not myself. Too much work, too many demands on my time. Then a good friend of mine spoke to a good friend of hers and said:"Do something about Sue." and that is how I got a lot of care for my Mum including Adult Day Care one day a week, Community Restaurant ( I have never heard of it being anywhere else but here, gives meals to shut-ins and frail elderly in a community centre) and three hours a week care in-house. That meant Ray and I had time for his therapies etc. and some time for leisure activities too.

Now Mum has been in her Dementia Lodge for three years, Ray has had two more strokes and a lot of water has gone under the bridge. Now I should maybe start weaning myself off being chief caregiver and try to send him out more to Daycares etc and accept some help in the house. But like many caregivers I cling on to my role as all-important-person. I need to look at this and see why I "need" to be so important. Why can't I let Ray go, like I let Mum go? Why do I think I am the only one who can fulfill his needs?

One of my friends who has done a drug and alcohol counsellors course is always scoffing at people he calls co-dependent and hints that might be me too.

Okay, take a deep breath and ask, what if..what if.. I am co-dependent? where is the path from here to where I ought to be and what would that be like when I got there? Should I wean Ray off his dependence on me? I know I need time for myself but what will I do with the time? Going shopping? Visiting my girlfriends (who???). I don't know what I would do with 'time out". But maybe some free time would be good, go for a walk, sit by the water, even go for a swim in the warmer weather.

I have a social worker coming next week so maybe I could talk to her about it.


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as a self-described 'princess of codepndency' (my mom is the true Queen) long before i stroked or became a caregiver i realize for myself that it is very difficult to tease out when i am being codependent and when i am not when being a caregiver to someone who has a significant brain injury.


to get a general idea of what codependency is, i would suggest Melody Beauties 'Codependent No More' or any of the Al-Anon or Codependents Anonymous literature as a start.


that prolonged trip to the South Seas is also an option.


sandy cloud9.gif

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I don't see my role as chief caregiver as a need to feel important or remotely think it's a co-dependance thing. (I guess we'd all have to make that judgement for ourselves about ourselvs.) To me, it's more of a committement done out of love, respect and our shared past history of caring for one another. I do it because I know Don is happlier at home with me than he'd be in a nursing home or day care. However, if he gets to the point where he's not as 'portable' as he is now---I can take him with me just about any where---then I won't feel any guilt trips getting a sitter a day or two a week or using day care if I need time away from the house.


I won't feel guilt but I'd feel very badly that it came to that. I think for many of us when caregiving gets to that point where we can't handle it all alone is a hard fact to face and we put it off as long as possible. We put it off, not because we're co-dependant or need to feel important but because it signals yet another major life chance...of loss of a relationship that is no longer as it once was (our illusions are taken away that someone will get better) and the possible loss of life altogether gets more real. Money is another reason caregivers put this decision off because if we move our spouses to a nursing home that often means we also have to give up our houses to cover the costs.


If I were stuggling with put these labels on myself or not, I'd read what Sandy suggested but I'd also keep what I'm saying up above in mind. Only you can decide which camp your heart belongs in.



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