A woman talks about being “co-dependent” in an abusive relationship

Lots of women who come to our support groups have been told they are “co-dependent”. If a woman lives with an abusive man, she will do many things to try to stay safe – emotionally and physically. She will accommodate his demands in many ways in order to try to limit the damage done to herself or her children. We do not think this is “co-dependency” we think this is a about surviving and coping in an impossible situation. One woman, at the end of 20 weeks of participating in the support group wrote to me about how great it was to drop that “co-dependent” label. Here (with her permission) are her words…

So many times we are told we are in a co-dependent relationship. We read self-help books and change ourselves and read some more, and yet can’t get to a place of freedom… often taking on more shame and guilt in the process as we now perceive ourselves to be ‘enablers’ and therefore responsible to a degree for the abusive behaviour. This leaves us in a darker and more vulnerable place. 

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  1. I received this book when I was in a women’s shelter after my ex was arrested for the second time for abusing me. This book has helped me so much in understanding what is happening to me and why. This book helped me realize I am not alone, what was happening was “normal” for abusive relationships and that hallelujah I am normal for all my reactions, fear, angry and sadness. This book should be given to every abused woman in the world. I believe it is essential and makes the transition to recovery and freedom less scary for all women. Ladies, I know how much it hurts, I know how scary it is and that others on the outside do not understand any better than you do. This book gives you all the answers for yourself, and your friends and family to help you through this. Be strong, you do deserve better and you are worth it.

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