The leaders of Castimonia would like to present some topics on Codependency in men and how it affects our relationships and how the fear of abandonment and feelings of entitlement from our own codependency led us to medicate these by sexually acting out.  We do not condone codependent partners to leave one another, but to seek therapy and healing for themselves within the marriage or relationship in order to strengthen the couple and their relationship.  The next few topics will strictly deal with male codependency.

It’s often obvious that a needy, demanding woman who clings to a man has codependent tendencies. However, a relationship consists of two people, and HE is no less responsible. In fact, his behavior can also be labeled “codependent.” Two people who have codependent tendencies may act in opposite ways: While one is needy and drains her partner, the other may have an enlarged sense of responsibility to his partner, and is overly sensitive to her needs and demands. In fact, people with opposing codependent styles tend to attract each other. These opposing psychological profiles have been termed “takers” and “caretakers.” Codependent relationships are complicated, and they’re often characterized by manipulation, lack of boundaries, repressed emotions, emotional volatility, jealousy issues, verbal abuse, etc. Both partners tend to have complicated back-stories, which often serve to justify abnormal behavior. If you’re a man feeling stuck in a codependent relationship, realize that your happiness is worth the effort it takes to move on. You feel that you’re responsible for her, and it’s your job to make her happy and solve her problems You suppress your emotions and avoid confrontation You have the sense of sacrificing the life you want so that you can be with her and take care of her. You feel trapped at times, and have the sense that you are planning an eventual escape. You feel tremendous guilt at the thought of abandoning her. Being in a codependent relationship makes for a stressful and unhappy lifestyle. And yet, your avoidant tendencies may keep you from following through with a break up or separation. You may be planning to break up for a long time, but you just keep holding off — many men wait years, or even a lifetime, remaining in such a relationship. The longer you wait, and the more time you both invest, the more difficult it becomes.

“Fear is the great enemy of intimacy. Fear makes us run away from each other or cling to each other but does not create true intimacy.” – Henri Nouwen

  1. Kathy Reynolds says:

    Below you will find a link to an article that explains beautifully why this article you posted, is nothing more than complete garbage. It’s tragic how many people and marriages are being hurt and torn apart because of articles like the one you posted here. How many marriages have to end before someone realizes this garbage is seriously hurting people.

    • Castimonia says:

      Thank you for the link and the article. However, from reading it, it seems that the author really doesn’t know what codependency is and how to treat it properly. The key to actually being codependent is serving others because you fear being abandoned by them.

      There is nothing wrong with serving others because you love them (Jesus Christ, Mother Teresa, etc…). There is something wrong if you are serving others because you fear them abandoning you.

      That’s the difference. Marriages must become interdependent, not independent nor codependent on one another. Serve your spouse because you love them not because you are afraid they will leave you or find someone better.

      • Kathy Reynolds says:

        Thank you for taking the time to respond to my comment. Maybe you didn’t take a look at who the author actually is, because I’m quite sure Dr. Hartley would argue with your assumption that he doesn’t “really know what codependency is and how to treat it property.” I think the fact that he holds a Ph.D in Psychology & has been a Licensed Clinical Psychologist for 40 years, more than qualifies him to know what codependency is as well as how to treat it. You can access his bio from his website.

        I think we both know the real issue at hand is not codependency. You can call it whatever you want to call it, to me the label we attach to it is not important.
        The real issue I see here, is an unwillingness to learn, accept, and adopt, the most current factual evidence, based on proven scientific research….not popular opinion. I will be the first person to admit I was a self-diagnosed codependant. I made that assumption about myself, and I am the one who slapped that label on myself, no one else did that to me. I did that to myself. I spent two years in a 12 step recovery program dealing with my ‘codependency’. I even worked through all twelve steps. I did this BEFORE discovering my now ex-husband is a sex addict. It wasn’t until I began seeing a CSAT, who specializes in trauma, that I learned I’m not a codependant at all. The behaviors I had been exhibiting, that appeared to be codependency, were actually traumatic responses. That has been a paradigm shift even for me, so you are not alone in that. I don’t even like the label codependent being placed on the addicts for the same reason. I believe the term codependency, has been so overused it’s true meaning and purpose has been lost.
        Furthermore, I’ve even come to dislike the label ‘sex addiction’ for the same reason. The implications of that label, do not line up with the reality of the issue.
        Once ‘sex addiction’ has been discovered and a full disclosure done, what’s left are two traumatized and terrified people, looking to people like us for help.
        If they didn’t love one another other deeply (like my ex-husband & I), and they didn’t truly want to save their marriage, it’s not likely either of them would have gone through with a full disclosure in the first place (I do realize there are exceptions, but I’m not talking about the exceptions).
        Until we shift our focus from the “his side-her side of the street” modality it has been up to now, to treating both partners AND the marriage from a trauma model, FROM THE BEGINNING, we will continue to see an increase in divorce, addicts giving up on recovery, suicide, STD’s and families being destroyed. As long as God has placed US in the role of being a helper to these people, we have a responsibility to continue expanding our knowledge, in order to serve the people in this community to the absolute best of our ability.

        With that said, I want to ask you to consider participating in the upcoming APSATS Training coming to Houston November 4th.

        As a Coach for both partners and couples, I tell my clients not to forget that they are on the same team.
        So are we.
        We are definitely fighting a battle, but it’s a spiritual battle, not an ‘addict v’s partner’ or ‘coaddict model v’s trauma model’ battle. We shouldn’t be fighting against each other, we should be fighting along side each other….shoulder to shoulder against our real enemy. I want you to be confident in knowing that I have your back and I want to know that you have mine. We are in this together.

        What I’m praying for is a shift in our focus being primarily on the ‘coupleship’ by making the marriage a priority in addition to supporting the individuals. I believe that is Gods desire. I love what Dr. Doug Wiess says – Gods final creation was not Adam and Eve. His final creation was marriage & the family. As brothers and sisters in Christ, WE are family.

        My passion stems from the fact that my marriage and family, are one of the many unnecessary casualties resulting from this war. I don’t want others to needlessly suffer like we have.

        Tell me what needs to happen in order for us to be on the same team? So we can fight together to redeem God’s perfect creation. I admire you for what you’ve done with CASTIMONIA, and I want to feel confident encouraging men to attend. I can’t do that unless I know we are working together, and not against each other.

        In love,
        Kathy Reynolds, CPC

      • Castimonia says:

        I think the confusion is that Codependency is not completely defined the same by everyone. The author was going by what the conference leader stated as the definition which is different from mine. Thank you for the information.

      • kewolff2003 says:

        So then that would make the REAL issue FEAR OF ABANDONMENT. My question is how are the addicts HEARING this article? How are they RECIEVING the material? Do you post articles about the trauma involved for both the addict AND the spouse? Do you post articles that help the addict focus of helping his wife heal from what he did to her? TO ALL THE ADDICTS READING THIS….PLEASE DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH ABOUT PTSD AND HOW THE SYMPTOMS LOOK LIKE CODEPENDANCY. We need to HEAL from our trauma together BEFORE we can even begin to look IF codependancy is even an issue. We have all been traumatized by this addiction and what started it in the first place. The focus needs to be on healing TOGETHER. Please do not go tell your spouse that they are a codependant. If you have a therapist that tells you they are….FIND ANOTHER ONE! Find a therapist that is a CSAT that really appreciates the trauma involved for BOTH of you. I am a partner of a SA that REALLY GETS THIS and it has helped me TRMENDOUSLY! He also knows how to weed out the BS about codependancy crap. It is OKAY to focus on serving your spouse EVEN if yiu struggle with fear of abandonment. News flash….I don’t know anyone who doesn’t fear abandonment when they are going through this. To me….there is something really wrong if you DONT have a little bit of fear that your spouse will leave you if you don’t work a good solid recovery program after she has found out about your secret life. I also think it is NORMAL for your spouse to fear the loss of her husband if he doesn’t work a solid recovery program. The two of you ARE ONE in the image of God! He designed us to be ONE! That makes the whole you work your OWN RECOVERY PROGRAM TOTAL BULLSHIT. IF the focus is on the marriage and helping your wife heal while you are doing EVERYTHING you can to heal and stay clean….eventually the fear will begin to subside and the behaviors associated with TRAUMA will also subside. The fight or flight responses when we are traumatized DO GET BETTER! BUT it takes a husband willing to sit with her in her CRAZY EMOTIONAL TIMES and just LOVE her through them. It takes a willingness to do whatever she needs to feel safe with you again. It’s not easy but it is worth it! My husband did this for me and He can tell you that it really works. He helps the guys in his group to help their wives. If you really want to save your marriage….speak to someone that really understands our oneness. I used to see a therapist at a very popular Chistian Counseling office that once told me that the workbook she used with a group of women that focused on the codependancy model did not help them at all. If fact they got worse. She has since then went to trainings to help her understand the trauma model of recovery. I did Journey to Healing and Joy by Barabsra Stephens and Marsh Means and it helped me tremendously! My husband read a book Your Sexually Addicted Spouse How Partners Can Cope and Heal and it helped him to understand me. Some might argue that it is a codependant behavior for him to read a book that was designed for me but it HELPED US! Isn’t that what matters? IS IT HELPING? That is the question of the day. I encourage you to look into that book. Doctor Doug Weiss has a video called Helping Her Heal. My husband also watched these and he encourages the men in his group to watch them. Praying for our healing journeys! We are in the fight of our life to save the sanctity of our families! If what you are doing is not working in your home….do something else. Get wise counsel from a CSAT. And always remember that just because someone is SOBER does NOT mean they have significant healing nor does it mean they are in REAL recovery. Fairmont Park Church has a meeting for SA’s!! We also have meetings for spouses. We focus on the TRAUMA model of recovery.

  2. I’d like to share a few thoughts I have on the article posted here. First, it seems to come from someone with a lot of issues with women. Second, the first sentence about a needy, demanding woman sounds like it’s coming from someone with serious resentment toward women. Third, it does not support marriage at all. Finally, if I really push myself to be open minded, I can see how the article could potentially help a very small percentage of the population, like a handful of couples I’ve seen (in five years of solely counseling couples dealing with sex addiction) where the wife is simply refusing to get it and stays violent, rageful and cruel no matter what he does. This is the rare exception. Posting this article will do way more harm than good because it’s the last thing most sex addicts need to hear. To me, it seems like a very bizarre article to choose to post on a website like this. My guess is that many sex addicts are describing their wife this way and Castimonia leaders are believing them instead of saying, “What are you doing to cause this problem?” OR, “How could you help her to deal with her trauma?” OR, “How is your shame affecting the way you are perceiving your wife?” I see it all the time. She says, “How could you hurt me like that?” and he says, Why do you keep attacking me!” Unlike Castimonia leaders, my husband and I are blessed to be able to interact with both partners in almost every case. That is the only way to know you’re getting the full story. I have come to truly love sex addicts (as crazy as that sounds) and feel immense compassion for them. But I’m sure you’d be the first to admit addicts lie, and they’re very good at it. They tell me the lying is harder to stop than the acting out. So unless you are allowing yourself to be manipulated by men still struggling with shame and living in reality (and it seems like you are) I can’t see how you’d think this is in any way an appropriate place for an article like this. You think you are helping men by telling them things like this, but you are making their lives more difficult. Truly wanting the best for a recovering sex addict means teaching him to support his wife so she can heal more quickly. Yes, as has been previously stated by you, they are both traumatized, but in the case of sex addiction, she isn’t the cause of his trauma. Telling her to stop being angry and stop seeking safety through truth searching (better known by you as “policing”, “demanding” and “acting out”) is like telling someone to be more patient and supportive of their rapist. You’re holding men back and doing a great deal of damage to marriages in this way.

    • Castimonia says:

      I think this article helps those men who are single who have been in terrible relationships because of their codependency and fear of being alone. You deal with married men, I deal with both married, divorced, and single. So this article is for the small percentage you mentioned. This ministry is not solely dedicated to married men as there are plenty of single and divorced men who struggle with sexual purity.

      • Kathy Reynolds says:

        Well, then if that’s the case, this really is doing more harm than good. Why? Because I am divorced from a sex addict whom I dearly love. I personally know couples who have divorced because of sex addiction, who remarry one another several years down the road. My ex-husband and I didn’t divorce because he is codependent…we divorced for numerous reason, but topping the charts was his deeply rooted shame. Articles like this only FUEL shame, which fuels addiction, perpetuating the problem further. What I think this article says to men who are now divorced as a result of their sex addiction is summed up in the last two sentence of the article. Basically, it’s a good thing you got out when you did! I have two boys, one is now an adult who also lost his wife because of his own sexual addiction and the other is a preteen, and we all know what they are facing. Try looking my its in the eyes, and explaining to them that the reason theIr family is destroyed is because their dad is a codependent. Furthermore that he’s better off without their mother. Have a conversation with the wives and the families of the men you serve before making assumptions or judgments. I’m really tired of the focus being on “what he problem is”….what I want to see is us focusing more on “who’s willing to be a part of the solution, and what do we need to do to make that happen.”

      • Castimonia says:

        Again, this site is not for wives that are married, divorced, separated, single, etc… So you must place yourself in the role of a man going through these things.

        Let’s say a husband leaves his wife for the affair partner because he believes the affair partner will make him happy and now that the wife knows about the affair, she will “abandon” him but the affair partner will not. The affair partner, of course, is unhealthy and immoral but the husband stays with her because he fears being alone. Had this husband learned to understand his own codependency then he would leave the affair partner and go back to the marriage to try to make it work or at least be single for a while until he becomes healthy enough to remarry.

        Now take the example of the 20-something single man who struggles with codependency and gets into a two year relationship with a topless dancer where they live together and such. He knows what she does and knows that she does drugs and perhaps cheats on him but is too afraid to leave the relationship because he fears being left alone. So he puts up with the dysfunction of the relationship, losing sleep because she’s out all night, missing work because he is trying to help her come down, etc… until she finally leaves him (not the other way around). If the young man knew something about codependency and why he feels chained to any relationship, then perhaps he would be strong enough to break off the dysfunctional relationship well before it nearly ruined his life.

        For the married man, in no way do we condone separation or divorce. We ask that the man seek healing for his codependency so that he can be in an interdependent relationship with his wife, one where he serves her out of love not fear and one where he understands that only God and himself can make him happy, not his wife or her actions. Many men, when their wives go through the trauma response and depression after disclosure, quickly turn to suicidal thoughts and in some case attempt suicide because of how unhappy their wives have become. Understanding the codependent nature of these men helps them understand that we don’t need to take on our wives’ emotions, rather retain our own and help our wives heal from a position of interdependence, not codependence.

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