• A Critique of Shahida Arabi’s “Abuse Victims Are Not Codependent, They’re Trauma Bonded”

The content in this post originally sat at the bottom of my last post:

“Codependency Is Real And It Can Leave Women Vulnerable to Being Abused or Taken Advantage Of.”

I would very much encourage you to read that post above before (or maybe even after) reading this one, if you’ve not done so already.

COMMENTS ABOUT HUFFINGTON POST PAGE BY SHAHIDA ARABI

Here are some of my thoughts regarding the following page, hosted on “Huffington Post”:

Abuse Victims Are Not Codependent, They’re Trauma-Bonded by Shahida Arabi

Like many other deniers, Shahida Arabi believes that it is “victim blaming” to note that codependency can or does play a role in some women’s mistreatment.

It is not “victim blaming” to take note that codependency can and does play a factor in abusive relationships any more than it is victim blaming to advise people to lock their doors at night to reduce the risk of having a burglar enter their home as they are sleeping to steal their television set. It’s simply about taking precautions.

As I believe I noted above [in previous post here], not all men are initially attracted to codependent women – some do in fact seek out “strong” women who have healthy boundaries. That is true.

But even experts on domestic abuse, and psychologists and psychiatrists who write about passive women who are in abusive relationships note, many to most abusers do intentionally seek out codependents as victims to target, because codependents typically have poor boundaries, which makes them far, far easier to exploit than women who have healthy boundaries.

Arabi stated:

‘Even if you feel you have codependent traits or were ‘primed’ by childhood abuse, the abuse you’ve experienced in any stage of your life is still not your fault.  You are not an “enabler” of the abuser.’

(end quote)

Arabi is completely incorrect on this last point.

Depending on the specific relationship in question, codependents do enable their own abuse – this is not (NOT NOT NOT) saying that they “deserve” to be abused or that they are “to blame” for their abuse.

(Or, to put it another way, codependent behaviors do in fact enable abuse. Maybe stating it that way will make it sound less “victim blaming” to the Arabis of the world.)

I’ll use myself as an example yet again, using my older sibling. I used to be very codependent.

I have an older sister who has been extremely verbally abusive of me since I was a kid, and she has remained abusive into my adult years.

Because my mother conditioned me since my childhood to react in a codependent fashion when I receive abuse, including verbal abuse, I had no boundaries in place with my sister.

If my sister abused me over the phone, I would sit and listen quietly for hours as she berated me. I would never defend myself with my sister or do anything to halt the abuse.

If my sister yelled at me in person, I would sit quietly as she screamed vulgarities and put downs at me.

I was participating in my own abuse. I was enabling my sister to continue in her treatment of me.

If I wanted my sister’s abuse of me to stop, it was up to me to change the dynamics of the situation, and sitting there quietly, passively, and just enduring the abuse, as I was raised to do, was sure not going to halt the abuse.

After I realized I was codependent, and I read books on the topic – some of which gave tips on how to have boundaries – I no longer play a part in this abusive dynamic.

These days, if my sister starts screaming at me over the phone, I slam the phone down on her. If my sister sends me terribly rude, hateful e-mail, I delete it without reading further, and without replying to it. I no longer get into her games of anger and hostility.

When my sister yells at me in judgement, asking me to defend or explain myself, I refuse – I now realize I do not owe her justifications for myself, my choices, my mistakes, or my life.

I have also severely cut back on the amount of time I spend with my sister.

As a result, my sister is not in my life as much and is unable to verbally abuse me.

Thanks to books about codependency, I realize my sister’s abuse is about her, the abuse is completely my sister’s responsibility and the abuse is not about me – she can no longer rob me of my self-worth.

Far from taking codependency as being “victim blaming,” I learned from reading books and blogs about the topic that it’s the total opposite: I am not to blame for my sister’s abuse. My sister is.

I have no idea where or how or why so many of these authors on other sites, such as Arabi, are arriving at this notion that codependency is “victim blaming” because it’s anything BUT.

Arabi said in her page on Huffington Post:

‘Dr. Clare Murphy asserts that abuse victims can actually exhibit codependent traits as a result of trauma, not because they are, in fact, codependent.

…Contrary to popular myth, anyone can be victimized by an abuser – even one with strong boundaries initially, because covert abuse is insidious and unbelievably traumatic, resulting in symptoms of PTSD,’

(end quote)

As I said above [in previous post here]:

I want to say that contrary to what some sites about domestic violence victims state:

  • It is simply not true that all domestic violence victims are not codependent (because some are).
  • It is further not true that women only became codependent, or take on codependent traits, after their marriages became abusive –

The fact is, some women walk into abusive marriages or dating relationships precisely because they are ALREADY codependent (such as the case with my mother and myself).

Obviously, any woman can be targeted by an abuser, even women who are strong, self confident, and independent. I’ve never said otherwise.

Some abusers are very clever and manipulative, and they may hide their abusive nature until the woman has been in a relationship with them for many months, so that even a strong woman can be fooled by a man and lured into a situation where the abuse only begins gradually, which, by that time the relationship and abuse has gone of for a long time, the woman may be or feel trapped.

That is all very true, and I’ve not denied that any where.

However, the fact remains that most abusers are very attracted to passive women who cannot or will not be assertive.

It is dangerous and a huge dis-service to girls and women not to teach them about the risks of exhibiting codependent behavior.

Arabi said,

‘…especially if they had them before the abusive relationship, but for society to see codependency as the sole reason why abuse has occurred, and use it to blame the abuse victim when there are plenty of victims who were nevercodependent prior to the experience, is where the harm comes in.

…In some contexts, it may be helpful to pinpoint codependent traits and behaviors during the healing journey, but when the label codependent is used to shame, stigmatize or blame abuse survivors, it becomes very problematic and harmful.’

(end quote)

Please note at no time did I say that codependency is the sole reason why abuse has occurred in every case – abuse occurs because the abuser chooses to abuse.

However, the fact remains that girls and women who display codependent traits are very attractive to abusers and selfish people: they are like honey to a bear.

If you are a woman who is codependent, you can possibly lessen your chances of being targeted by a user or an abuser by becoming more assertive. Pointing this fact out is not “victim blaming.” It is helpful and empowering.

I myself practice what I am preaching on this page – now that I am recovering from codependency, I can almost always recognize when I am being used or abused.

Further, I can take steps to rectify the situation, where-as before, when I was fully codependent, I was either blind to being used and abused, or, I had no clue or idea how to deal with being mistreated, if I happened to recognize that I was being mistreated.

There is nothing “shameful” about being told one may be codependent.

I’m amazed that the woman who wrote this page at Huffington Post chooses to view codependency as being “shameful.” It’s only shameful if she thinks or says it’s shameful; to me, the term and the concept is helpful in identifying detrimental attitudes and actions.

I do not feel ashamed for saying that I myself used to be codependent.

For years, I wondered what was wrong with me that I kept attracting mean, selfish, or insensitive people, and when I finally found out it was that I was raised by my mother to think and behave in a codependent fashion, and the books explained how to get over being codependent (which would in turn make me less attractive to the majority of awful or abusive people), I felt tremendously freed and relieved.


Some of My previous (or other) posts on this topic:

“Codependency Is Real And It Can Leave Women Vulnerable to Being Abused or Taken Advantage Of.”

The Sexist Roots of Codependency – The mindset that makes many women stay in toxic relationships by Melissa Petro

Abuse, Codependency, and Males

Expressing Anger is Healthy. Here’s How Parents Can Encourage Their Girls to Get Angry and Show It by K. Rope

ACFJ Blog’s Hennessy Domestic Violence Series: Yes, Codependency Makes An Appearance

Basic Overview of Codependency – And How Some Christians Misunderstand or Misrepresent Codependency

Christian Gender Complementarianism is Christian-Endorsed Codependency for Women (And That’s Not A Good Thing)

Gender Complementarianism: Marriage, Singleness, Purpose, Identity, Domestic Abuse


The topic of Codependency, (which encompasses, but is not limited to, concepts such as assertiveness and boundaries), is NOT a “victim-blaming” one and has a place in helping girls and women make healthier choices for themselves and what they will and will not tolerate in relationships.

4 thoughts on “• A Critique of Shahida Arabi’s “Abuse Victims Are Not Codependent, They’re Trauma Bonded”

  1. @ Dot Eee.

    You have totally misunderstood me and my blog.

    You said:

    So a baby who is being abused is codependent and enabled their abuse.

    I said no such thing.

    That is a complete distortion of my view point.

    I am a recovering codependent.

    And yes, codependency can and does play a role in some abuse situations. It’s not victim-blaming to mention this or to point it out.

    I wrote more about that in posts such as this on my blog:

    Codependency Is Real And It Can Leave Women Vulnerable to Being Abused or Taken Advantage Of

    You’ve clearly not bothered to read any of my other blogs posts, where I explain more about myself and my background.

    Once I found out I am codependent, I took steps to rectify it so that I will no longer be as “appealing” to abusers or manipulators who do sometimes target people who have codependent qualities.

    My mother was codependent into her adulthood because she was sexually, physically, and sexually abused by some of her immediate family in her childhood.

    So she used codependent behaviors as a coping skill in her childhood, and she carried this into adulthood, where more people (including my dad and siblings) sometimes verbally and emotionally abused her more.

    She brought me up to be codependent too, so that as I grew older, I attracted bullies and abusers. My ex fiance was financially abusive of me. I have an older sister who is still verbally abusive of me, so I had to cut her out of my life a few years ago, once I read about codependency and learned it’s okay for me to be assertive and have boundaries.

    People such as yourself who characterize teaching others about codependency as being victim-blaming are doing a huge dis-service to people (such as myself) who attract abusers due to being codependent.

    You said,

    Victims are targeted, many from birth, they are groomed by abuser at all ages of their traumatized lives.

    Yes, and some are targeted because they have codependent characteristics, which many abusers and bullies actively look for.

    I too speak from personal experience.

    You said,

    I speak from personal experience, how dare you suggest that the abuse filled traumatized life I have lived since birth is some how my fault.

    I never said that abuse is anyone’s fault.

    It is true if you are codependent, you will tend to attract abusive people to you more so than non-codependent people.

    Once I learned that, I read books by therapists who explained how I can go about making myself less attractive to abusers, and how I can handle one when I run into one.

    I am now much mentally healthier because of learning about these concepts.

    My god but you have completely twisted and misunderstood me, my blog, and my view points.

  2. A person calling herself “Dot Eee” left a long reply under this post of mine.

    I approved that very critical post to appear on this blog, than I blocked her from this blog.

    Apparently, blocking her erased her post that I had approved to appear.

    Here is a copy of the reply I left to her, along with some of her quotes from that post.

    Even though I point blank state in the original post above that I am not “blaming” anyone for any abuse they received, Dot Eee went on and on in her remarks saying I’m blaming nine year old kids for being abused – ridiculous
    – – – – – – – – – – –

    @ Dot Eee.

    You have totally misunderstood me and my blog.

    You said:

    So a baby who is being abused is codependent and enabled their abuse.

    I said no such thing.

    That is a complete distortion of my view point.

    I am a recovering codependent.

    And yes, codependency can and does play a role in some abuse situations. It’s not victim-blaming to mention this or to point it out.

    I wrote more about that in posts such as this on my blog:

    Codependency Is Real And It Can Leave Women Vulnerable to Being Abused or Taken Advantage Of

    You’ve clearly not bothered to read any of my other blogs posts, where I explain more about myself and my background.

    Once I found out I am codependent, I took steps to rectify it so that I will no longer be as “appealing” to abusers or manipulators who do sometimes target people who have codependent qualities.

    My mother was codependent into her adulthood because she was sexually, physically, and emotionally abused by some of her immediate family in her childhood.

    So she used codependent behaviors as a coping skill in her childhood, and she carried this into adulthood, where more people (including my dad and siblings) sometimes verbally and emotionally abused her more.

    She brought me up to be codependent too, so that as I grew older, I attracted bullies and abusers. My ex fiance was financially abusive of me. I have an older sister who is still verbally abusive of me, so I had to cut her out of my life a few years ago, once I read about codependency and learned it’s okay for me to be assertive and have boundaries.

    People such as yourself who characterize teaching others about codependency as being victim-blaming are doing a huge dis-service to people (such as myself) who attract abusers due to being codependent.

    You said,

    Victims are targeted, many from birth, they are groomed by abuser at all ages of their traumatized lives.

    Yes, and some are targeted because they have codependent characteristics, which many abusers and bullies actively look for.

    I too speak from personal experience.

    You said,

    I speak from personal experience, how dare you suggest that the abuse filled traumatized life I have lived since birth is some how my fault.

    I never said that abuse is anyone’s fault.

    It is true if you are codependent, you will tend to attract abusive people to you more so than non-codependent people.

    Once I learned that, I read books by therapists who explained how I can go about making myself less attractive to abusers, and how I can handle one when I run into one.

    I am now much mentally healthier because of learning about these concepts.

    My god but you have completely twisted and misunderstood me, my blog, and my view points.
    —- end my reply to Dot Eee —

    For anyone else reading (but this is also to Dot Eee):

    I do not “blame” anyone for being abused.

    I was emotionally and verbally abused by family members, bullied by adults at jobs I had as an adult, and financially abused by an ex fiance.

    Am I “blaming” myself for that abuse? No.

    But I realized (from much reading of books about abuse by therapists and psychiatrists) that I cannot change the abuser, I can only change myself and lose the behaviors that tend to attract abusers, or I can change the dynamics by changing how I react to abuse.

    Some people do play a role in their own abuse, as some psychiatrists explain, when these targets refuse to stand up for themselves to their abuser.

    If you refuse to issue boundaries with your abuser, the abuser (according to experts on these matters) gets the message that you are weak and easy to keep picking on, or, they think on some level you do not really “mind” being pushed around.

    Again, that is from the perspective of the abuser, as described by mental health professionals who have treated victims and/or abusers.

    I am not saying this, I am saying this is what experts in the mental health field and on abuse have written in their books.

    I used to do this stuff with my sister.

    I was a codependent for many years, and I would sit there in silence while she verbally knocked me around.

    Once I learned that sitting around quietly and passively while my sister screamed and threatened me was a case of me playing a willing victim of my own abuse at the hands of my sister, and that refusing to confront her and have boundaries was only enabling her to continue her mistreatment of me, I changed my response to her.

    I now either avoid my sister, or, if I talk to my sister and she starts verbally abusing me and threatening me, I stand up to her now – I may either correct her verbally, or I hang the phone up on her, or I walk out of the room (if we are visiting in person).

    Therefore, our relationship is not quite as bad as it was before.

    If you want to remain stuck in abusive relationships, or if you want to keep attracting abusive people to you, by all means, refuse to change.

    Refuse to see how your own behavior may be playing a role in the cycle.

    As for me, I got tired of attracting users, bullies, and abusers, and I wanted it to stop.

    So I read books examining how my own behavior may be a component in the abuse or mistreatment I received over my life, from being bullied by other kids at school when I was a kid, verbally abused by my family members, and bullied by co-workers and bosses at jobs I had as an adult.

    I made it very clear in my post above that I am not blaming anyone for being abused, but some of these writers on abuse, by not educating people that codependency may be at work in what is attracting abusers to them, or in keeping them stuck in abusive relationships, they are hurting people, they are hurting victims, not helping.

    By the way, I would surmise that one reason some abusers target children is that children have many similar traits to the adult codependent: they are often perceived by older and physically larger adults to be physically weaker and easier to manipulate.

    Children have weak or non-existent boundaries. They are not assertive (not if confronted with an angry, physically larger adult, at least).

    Here is one recent example of what I mean:
    Dad rubbed hot sauce in newborn daughter’s eyes because she couldn’t tell anyone

    From that article:

    A father rubbed hot sauce in his baby’s eyes, nose and mouth and threw lit fireworks at her because he knew she couldn’t tell anyone.
    …But he later told a court he had done so because the girl was too young to tell anyone what he was doing to her.

    He said he chose to abuse his daughter because she could not speak or fight back.

    And what do codependents do? When bullied or abused, they do not speak up or against the bully, nor do they fight back.

    (This does not mean they are deserving of the abuse, or to be blamed for it, but there is a cause- and- effect dynamic going on.)

    I wouldn’t expect a child to do much, if anything, about these situations (and certainly not an infant), but as a person grows older, he or she gains life experience and loses the naiveté.

    If you’re in your 20s or older (and not mentally impaired in some fashion), you should become more aware that there are steps you can take to avoid being victimized, or that you can leave an abusive relationship, and you can learn how.

    You don’t have to remain in an abusive job, friendship, or marriage, and you don’t have to remain without boundaries into your adulthood, sitting passively by, while someone rubs hot sauce into your eyes or does god knows what else to you.

    There are steps one can take to get out of these situations if one chooses, and if one is aware one has choices.

    So, Dot Eee, if you ended up being codependent into adulthood due to the abuse you received as a nine year old kid (note: I am not saying you deserved to be abused as a kid, that is a total misunderstanding of the points I am making), if you don’t get into some therapy or educate yourself about codependency, you will likely continue to stay in this loop, carrying out behaviors that other, new abusers may find attractive.

    You can keep attracting abusive people to you. Ignore being educated about codependency and how to be healed from it at your own peril.

    I also mentioned in my post above that not all targets are chosen by their abusers due to being codependent. I made that plain – I pointed out that sometimes, abusers choose targets based on other criteria.

    But the fact remains, based on MY personal experience, and based on a lot of articles and books I’ve read about workplace abuse, school yard bullying, and domestic violence, the majority of abusive people DO seek out targets who exhibit codependent behaviors.

    Shame on you, Dot Eee, for wanting to keep codependents in the dark on this information, on not wanting to free them from mal-adaptive coping skills they may have developed in childhood which only harm them now in adulthood.

    Shame, shame, shame on you.
    – – –
    this post has been edited

  3. I’d like to respectfully weigh in with a survivor’s perspective.

    Codependency and enabling are two separate concepts. Codependency is not an accepted mental health diagnosis for an individual, largely in part to the fact that a person cannot be codependent on their own (unlike a person who can be depressed for example, regardless of relationship status). Abuse is psychological torture, much like what POW’s experience. Would we ever say that a POW feels that they deserve the treatment they receive or that they are codependent? No. Yet we do the same thing to abuse victims all the time, when this is a form of domestic terrorism that alters the way a woman thinks, feels, and perceives herself and the world around her.

    Abused women are often highly compassionate with a great sense of personal responsibility towards all they do. In fact, it’s often her great sense of compassion and duty that cause her to begin to enable because she wants to help her abuser (because he most likely does have trauma he hasn’t healed from, that she has empathy for). An adept abuser knows how to locate a women with these strengths, destabilize her with confusion, and in essence turn these gifts against her as she seeks his best interest. But this does not mean she is codependent or believes she deserves abuse.

    I know because I was one such woman.

    Many women are taught to dig in when marriage gets tough, rather than run. So why do we assume a woman who stays is codependent? From our work with survivors, we know that most of the time, decades pass before a woman even knows what is happening to her is abuse, because we are led to believe domestic violence includes only physical or sexual assault.

    The best way to ensure both the abuser and the abused get the help they truly need is to understand the misconceptions in our narratives. We wrote more about this at https://www.agapemoms.com/blog/am-i-co-dependent-the-consequences-of-the-codependency-myth-in-abusive-relationships

    Blessings.

    • @ Agape Moms

      Telling women that codependency may play a role (I said “may” not “definitely, in every case”) is not victim blaming, nor is it a myth. Let’s get that out of the way at the start.

      There are some women, such as myself, who have been helped tremendously from learning about codependency and how my own passivity was making me attractive to users, abusers, manipulators, and selfish people, and I learned how my own reactions were feeding the loop, allowing it to continue.

      Just because the concept of codependency did not help you personally, or that it may not be helpful in very specific domestic violence abuse situations, does not make the entire concept invalid, harmful, wrong, or victim-blaming for all women (or all men).

      // Edited this response to add this link, which comes from another blog:
      Enabling Isn’t Noble (on the “Hurt By Love” blog) ///

      I get really tired of this.

      I find myself having to repeat my entire life history every time someone comes to this blog to argue that codependency never, ever plays a role in some people’s abuse, or how they, going forward, carry those codependent actions into adulthood.

      I’ve explained this before all over my blog in two or three previous posts.

      Here we go again.

      My mother was raised in an alcoholic family – her dad would get drunk and physically beat her.

      One of my mother’s siblings sexually assaulted her when she was a kid, she was under age ten at the time.

      Mom never told her parents about the rape, but her mom found her bloody underpants in the laundry back then, asked her, “what happened?”, Mom just told her, “I fell down and hurt myself.”

      – I think grandmother knew damn well what happened, or suspected someone in the family had raped her, and she knew that mom had not hit puberty, she was not menstruating. She probably suspected my mother had been sexually assaulted.

      But grandmother was likely in denial, took the coward’s way out, and did not press mom ‘hey, were you raped?’

      The church Mom was raised in (Southern Baptist) taught her to react passively in all of life, that it would be wrong for a girl or woman to be assertive (in other words, the churches she went to indoctrinated her to believe it was godly and good for girls and women to be codependent).

      So Mom didn’t fight back when she was verbally or physically abused by people, or just plain treated rudely.

      I rarely saw my Mom speak up on her own behalf when others were testy with her.

      My Mom’s mother (my maternal grandmother) was also a passive doormat.

      My grand father used to get drunk and physically abuse grandmother as well, and according to mom’s sister (my aunt) and a few other family members who talked to me when I became older, my grandmother never stood up to grandpa.

      So, my grandmother role-modeled Codependent, passive, “do-nothing” behavior to my mother as my mom was growing up.

      I believe that role- modeling may have also contributed to my mother’s idea that one should go through life, even into adulthood, never, ever confronting an abuser or bully.

      As I got older and older, my mother role modeled these behaviors for me, and when I would ask her on occasion, when I was a kid and a teen-ager, how I should handle a bully at school (I was bullied a lot by different kids for years), my mother would tell me not to do or say a damn thing about it.

      So, my mother died when I was in my late 30s.

      By my early / mid-40s, I did a lot of reading.

      I read many online articles and books by psychiatrists and therapists.

      What I learned is that my mother checked off all the behaviors for codependency, and she raised me to be codependent as well.

      And yes, being codependent does in fact enable bullying or abuse to continue, in some situations. This is true for some people.
      (Maybe it wasn’t true for YOU, but it was sure as hell true for my mother and for ME.)

      The few times in youth and my 20s that I went against mom’s “be a passive doormat” teaching and confronted the bullies in my life (one when I was 19 years old, the other when I was around age 32), both bullies backed down and left me alone afterwards.

      Bully Number One had been bullying me for at least a couple of months (or more) before I confronted her.
      Bully Number Two was exploiting me for about four months before I stood up to him.

      I stopped the cycle of bullying from those specific individuals by standing up to the bullies.

      Had I not stood up to “Bully One” and “Bully Two,” the bullying and exploitation would’ve continued until I left both jobs.

      By being a passive, wimpy doormat and just taking the abuse off Bully One and Bully Two, I was permitting them to mistreat me.

      I was willingly participating in my own abuse for months – but I didn’t know any better, because I was told growing up that being passive was what nice, sweet, Godly Christian girls do.

      I would encourage you to read the books “The Disease to Please,” “Boundaries“, (by Cloud and Townsend), “The Verbally Abusive Relationship,” (by Patricia Evans) and “The Nice Girl Syndrome.”

      Most all those books are by mental health professionals who explain how women (and some men) end up enabling a lot of the abuse, bullying, or ordinary rudeness they encounter in marriages, from co-workers, etc.

      (A lot of people do this because they learn these destructive relationship habits when they are girls or boys. You can un-learn those habits later in life, as I’ve been doing in the last few years myself.)

      Now, some of these books fore-warn women that if you try to enact boundaries or confront an abuser, it may not end well: these authors will instruct women who have severely physically abusive husbands that the only safe measure, ultimately, is to divorce and physically separate from such men.

      In my case, I had to cut down contact with an older sister of mine in the last few years, because she is a verbal abuser.

      I learned that I was in fact enabling her abuse of me to continue – thanks to having read these books by these psychiatrists and therapists. Those books were correct.

      (Enabling and Codependency are closely related; enabling stems from codependency.)

      I was, on some level, permitting my sister to verbally berate me for years.

      This did not mean I “deserved” the verbal abuse or that I “enjoyed” it, but that I did not realize back then during my Codependent years that I had a right to defend myself and not to have to tolerate the verbal abuse.

      I was taught by my church and my mother that nice, sweet Christian girls are obligated to sit there and allow others to abuse them.

      It would be “mean” or “selfish” for me to stand up to an abuser – that is what I was taught while I was growing up. So I enabled the abusers in my life to abuse me, thinking it was the right and good thing to do.

      When I was still very codependent, and my sister would scream at me over the phone, I would just sit there and listen to it in silence.

      Now, when she tries to pull that garbage, I hang the phone up on her. Because I know I can have boundaries.

      Early on, I tried confronting my sister and telling her that her behavior towards me was rude and would not be tolerated further, and she exploded in anger further.

      I there upon realized that she was not going to change her behavior, so I pretty much cut ties with her, which helped me a great deal.

      For years and years, my codependent behaviors enabled people in my life – co-workers, friends, online bullies, an ex fiance’ etc – to take advantage of me.

      Now I realize I do not have to tolerate this treatment.

      That is so very helpful. So I find it absolutely mind boggling when ever Domestic Violence victims / childhood abuse victims / survivors or advocates want to challenge me, to say it’s an awful concept.

      Or, many of them twist and pervert my views and blog posts to rant and scream I am guilty of “victim blaming.”

      No, I’m not. They are failing to misunderstand my views.

      You said,

      Codependency and enabling are two separate concepts.

      Kind of, but they are related.

      Codependents lack boundaries, they are afraid to be confrontational, and so they seldom stand up to abusive people… which means, they end up enabling abuse or bullying because the abuser/bully never suffers consequences for their behavior towards their codependent target.

      You said,

      Codependency is not an accepted mental health diagnosis for an individual

      Codependency is real. It exists.

      When I researched the topic and read articles and check lists for it, I recognized myself (and my mother) as having many of the traits those articles described.

      Codependency is a very real concept that some therapists recognize, regardless of if it’s not been codified in psychiatry or does not appear in the DSM-V.

      (Some therapists realize that some spouses of alcoholics, for instance, may be enablers of their spouse’s drinking because they are codependent. That is actually how the term began.)

      I saw psychiatrists from the time I was age 12 up to around age 33.

      I was diagnosed with clinical depression, and later, with anxiety.

      Codependency is a concept that MHPs (mental health professionals) should be aware of, but the Quacks I saw for over two decades just kept shoving anti-depressant pill scripts at me.

      I had all the hallmarks of codependency, but they were too incompetent to see it. Had even one of them caught it when I was younger, and taught me how to overcome it, or just given me a book to read on the topic (this was prior to the internet – there was no web in the 80s), it could’ve helped me a lot.

      You said,

      Abused women are often highly compassionate with a great sense of personal responsibility towards all they do. In fact, it’s often her great sense of compassion and duty…

      And that describes my mother.

      She was very compassionate.

      Part of codependency is caring way too much of what others think about you, maintaining a persona such that others think you are “sweet” and “loving” and “giving,” and you think it’s wrong for you to get your own needs met, so you are always sacrificing your needs, safety, and feelings for those around you even if and when they are abusive, selfish, or mean.

      You’re describing codependency but reluctant to use the word “codependent.”

      I discuss that, I believe, in another blog post on my blog – many therapists and psychiatrists will sit there and describe all the traits one finds in codependency when telling women how to avoid attracting creeps and abusers as boyfriends, but they will use other adjectives or terms to describe codependency, such as “people pleasing.”

      You’re communicating the same thing but just using different words.

      You said,

      An adept abuser knows how to locate a women with these strengths, destabilize her with confusion, and in essence turn these gifts against her as she seeks his best interest.

      And codependent women have these traits in spades, which is why abusive men find them attractive.

      The books I told you about above, such as “The Disease to Please,” “The Nice Girl Syndrome” explains all this.

      These books explain that “Nice” women (codependents) send out signals that are attractive to abusive or controlling men – I have entire previous blog posts that explain all this.

      You said,

      But this does not mean she is codependent or believes she deserves abuse.

      Codependents don’t believe they deserve abuse.

      Are you sure you understand the concept of codependency?

      You said,

      Many women are taught to dig in when marriage gets tough, rather than run.

      My grandmother believed she had to stay in an abusive marriage to her husband (my grandpa), and my grandmother was codependent.

      You said,

      So why do we assume a woman who stays is codependent?

      Do you understand it’s not some kind of victim-blaming thing, nor is it an insult to say, that some abusive women may be staying in marriages because they are codependent, or that they may have attracted an abusive man in the first place, because the abusive man was looking for a woman possessing codependent traits?

      The word (“codependent”) just describes a particular set of behaviors that some people (usually women) have (though men can also be codependent).
      That’s all it is.
      It’s not intended to be a shaming, negative, insulting word.

      I for one am a recovering codependent.
      If I found the term to be shaming, inaccurate, or victim-blaming, I sure as hell would not be okay with using it to describe myself, but I do use it to describe myself.

      I for one am glad I learned about codependency, because it set me free from the exhausting, frustrating, gerbil wheel I was running on, of destructive relationship habits I was taught by church and family was “normal” or “good.”

      My church and family was teaching me harmful things that made me appealing to abusers, they were teaching me things that made me think being abused was acceptable and normal treatment.

      It took me years and years to even finally realize that what my big sister was doing to me was abuse. I didn’t know.

      For years, I assumed her behavior was normal, to be expected, and that I didn’t deserve any better.

      Side Note:
      This does not mean I believed I “deserved” to be abused.
      I never felt I “deserved” the abuse.

      I was taught I am a “nothing,” I was taught that my feelings do not matter, and I was taught I should not defend myself if and when someone was abusive to me.

      I was sort of brainwashed into thinking that being treated abusively was “normal.” Not that I deserved it per se, but if it happened, I was taught to just sit there and take it.

      I knew I deserved to be treated with kindness and consideration, even during my codependent years.
      I was taught the way to being treated well by other people was by being a sweet, loving, nurturing, giving, non-confrontational doormat
      (in other words, act as a codependent.
      It boggled my mind for years that despite the fact I was sweet and loving to people, even to mean, abusive, or controlling people when they were mistreating me, they kept treating me like garbage, in spite of how “nice,” “compassionate,” and codependent, I was being.)

      And what is one thing that opened my eyes to the fact that no, my sister’s poor treatment of me was NOT okay, but that it was in fact abusive, and I could do something about it, I didn’t just have to sit there and take it? Books and blogs about codependency.
      ——————————————
      More resources on my blog:

      Christian Gender Complementarianism is Christian-Endorsed Codependency for Women (And That’s Not A Good Thing)

      Codependency Is Real And It Can Leave Women Vulnerable to Being Abused or Taken Advantage Of

      Basic Overview of Codependency – And How Some Christians Misunderstand or Misrepresent Codependency

      ACFJ Blog’s Hennessy Domestic Violence Series: Yes, Codependency Makes An Appearance

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