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Disentangled

Nechama H. Raphaelson

Last week, we introduced the concept of codependency — a dynamic in which two people are dependent on each other in unhealthy ways. Here, we examine four common codependent relationships, see how they can become established, and explore what one can do to disentangle from the clutches of codependency.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

The Addict’s Wife I’m 35, and I’ve been married for ten years to an alcoholic. We have six children. For the first three years of marriage, I pleaded with him to change… and I was confident I would succeed. As the eldest of ten, I knew how to keep things together. Even at work, I was always the one responsible for the efforts of all the employees. I often gave suggestions for better productivity to my boss, who quickly promoted me to manager. So I was optimistic about my marriage — I could fix this, just like I fixed everything else. But I soon realized this wasn’t working with my husband. He’s frequently drunk, more preoccupied with bars than with his family. All the housework, finances, cooking, and child rearing falls on me. I barely have time to sleep, get dressed, or even eat. My husband, meanwhile, bounces back and forth between promises of change and excuses that he can’t. I give him second, third, and fourth chances. I stay up late, reheat his dinners, and call his boss to say he’s sick when he’s too hungover to work. (If he loses his job, how will we pay our bills?) I make excuses at family gatherings when he doesn’t show up. I used to be extremely sympathetic. I kept a calm demeanor, invited guests for Shabbos, and swallowed my anger and sadness. But my resentment is becoming overwhelming, as my entire life revolves around taking care of my husband. I’m angry at him for never being there, for making me work so hard, for giving me nothing when I do so much for him. It kills me when my children see my husband’s passed-out body in the kitchen.

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