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Ask TherapistMarryAnn Your Own Question
Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hi there, I am a patient being treated for: * Bipolar Disorder
This answer was rated:
I am a patient being treated for:
Disorder - No
Borderline Personality Disorder
(No suicidal issues)
* Severe Codependency (But I grew up in a good fam)
I've been in an extremely volatile and codependent relationship for 4 years.
The relationship that I am in, is with a girl named Sarah. I met Sarah through a friend (named Jan) and she frequented a neighborhood bar that was easy walking distance from our apartments. Sarah is very pretty, seemed the girl next door, and very likable. After meeting her twice she gave me her number. Sarah and I had small dates here and there. But I
notice she liked to drink.
Jan eventually warned me about Sarah and told me to stay away. I ignored this warning, thinking it was just those two not getting along. Sarah told me a story that Jan started an argument that she was jealous of Sarah over me. I found it odd as Jan and I never had that type of relationship. I shrugged it off.
XXXXX XXXXXved with her ex boyfriend (Bob). I remember she would want to avoid his car, but she would explain it away as, she didn't want to make him feel bad even though it was over. How stupid of me... and naive.
Eventually, they were evicted from that apartment complex because Bob lost his job. Bob had to move to Florida for a new job in the meantime, sending Sarah checks for rent and some money on the side. Sarah was waiting for disability because she had grand mal epileptic seizures which she contends gave her cognitive impairment.
I found it odd, and a bit wrong, that these seizures were untreated. Eventually, I had a neurologist look at it and he gave her topamax which controlled them.
I now was aware Sarah was possibly an alcoholic. But I was lonely. Somehow she lured me in. I don't believe Bob was an ex at all. I believe Sarah was taking Bob's rent money and spending it on alcohol. Which then led to another eviction.
At this time, my grandmother, who I was really close to was passing away with cancer. I was distraught.
Against my better instinct, I let Sarah move in rather than be on the street. My grandmother died and while I was at her funeral Sarah was moved in.
erupted. I would say this is Codependent Cycle 1: Sarah's alcoholism was more extreme than I thought. She went to bars with old men, she hung out with two swingers, she even stayed the night at a cab drivers house because she was mad at me. That last one was the trigger for me to kick her out.
Segue: Bob returned from Florida, put her stuff in storage, and got her a hotel.
Somehow I missed her, thought about the good times, ignored the bad. She pleaded with me to take her back that things would be different. Our relationship was highly sexual- so of course that took place. And boom- she moved back in with me.
Codependency Cycle 2:
Things are fine for a month. Then back to the drinking. Only now it is wine. It is more expensive. She is still waiting for her disability so I am paying the bill. Her anger, belittling, and aggressiveness only got worse. Then she was hearing things. I'd wake up with her staring blankly at the TV. Then she blew up one night and hit/slapped me in the face. So I kicked her out again.
Segue: She moved to Austin (amazingly w Bob's help) with some "friends." She got on a state health plan that put her on Geodon, while she waited for disability. Again, Codependency symptoms hit hard, and I found out she was homeless. I put her in a hotel. Visited her. Then sure enough- I let her move back in.
Codependency Cycle 3: This time, things were fine again. We lived on a strip (I knew it was trouble) with a bunch of restaurants. This time, she was out meeting guys. Had guys numbers in her phones. At one point she tried to commit suicide with ambien. I called 911 and thankfully she lived. She finally got her disability and I told her to get her own place.
Segue: She gets her own apartment. But can't afford it. Like an idiot I help her.
Codependency Cycle 4: This time, I find more numbers in her phone. I can't take it anymore so I move. The goal... to get away from her. But I gave in ...
Codependency Cycle 5: We were supposed to go on vaca. She started building in hostility again. She tried to hit me with high heels over 20 dollars, so I canceled vaca. She later showed up at my apt and smashed a laptop I bought her among other things. And even threatened to grab a knife. Our mutual friend calmed her down and got her out of the apt. That's obviously psychotic.
Present: I'm sober about the situation. Writing this I can't believe how ridiculous this is, but how powerful codependency is. What is her problem? My OCD is pretty severe. I'm running out of room, but would you posit any link between OCD and Codependency? Now obviously it has to be over. But helping me understand how I fell into this trap would be insightful along with maybe who/what she is (psychiatric)
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replied 3 years ago.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.
There is no link directly between OCD and co dependency. They are two completely different disorders that are also categorized differently (one is a first level disorder or predominant disorder and the other is based on personality disorders, which are second level). However, one can affect the other because each has it's own issues. For example, if you have OCD, any co dependency you feel in a situation could take on an extra sense of urgency because you feel the need to make the situation perfect. So you keep trying over and over even in the face of failure or disappointment (as with Sarah).
It is easy to understand why your relationship with Sarah has you feeling upset and confused as to why it keeps happening the way you described it. I believe that I can help you find some answers.
From your description, it sounds like Sarah might have several issues going on. For one, she does sound like an alcoholic. Her use of alcohol might be a way for her to manage some of her mental health symptoms. If she is unable to maintain steady housing and finds it hard to stay in one city or place for very long, the chances that she will seek treatment and be able to follow that treatment as needed is slim. So she may have one or several treatable mental health issues, but due to her instability, she is handling through alcohol rather than the medications and treatment she needs right now.
Another issue is her varied symptoms. If she is violent, self harming and showing signs of co dependency, it is very likely she has a personality disorder. Here is a link to a general description of personality disorders:
It sounds like Sarah might either be Borderline, Narcissistic or Co dependent. She can also be a combination of those disorders. If she does have a disorder, therapy is the best solution to help her. But any of these disorders would explain her behavior and her need for attention from other men, regardless of her current relationship status.
She might also be affected by her physical issues. If she is having seizures, it could be affecting her emotionally as well, especially if it is not consistently being treated with medication and under a doctor's care.
Lastly, Sarah may also have a major mental health disorder. Without seeing her for an evaluation it is hard to tell for sure, but she might have Major depression or another mood disorder. That would also explain her suicidal attempt and her inability to care for herself.
And while OCD and co dependency are not related disorders, the effects of both could make you feel drawn to the relationship with Sarah. OCD might trigger your desire to "fix" everything going on with Sarah. The co dependency would be the main issue, however. By nature, Co dependency is developed because of deep seated needs that a person does not get met as a child. For example, if you were not emotionally close to your mother, even if she was a good mother, you would always crave that closeness. As an adult you might seek relationships where you try to get the person to approve of you by doing things for them, so you feel loved. Or you might care for someone (like with Sarah) to maintain that connection, even if she treats you poorly. Giving up on the relationship would cause sadness and a sense of failure which might feel hard to deal with if you already struggle with co dependency and OCD. So you continue to keep trying.
I hope this has helped you,
TherapistMarryAnn and 2 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
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replied 3 years ago.
I hope my answer was helpful to you. If you have any more questions, please let me know.
May I please request that if you find the service I provided helpful at all that you rate me with three or above? Your rating is the only way I am reimbursed for my answer. Thank you so much!
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