The Codependent Paradox part 1

You really don’t think suicide is a selfish act?

She asked…

I left work at 4:45pm that day. I stood at the bus stop outside of school waiting for the 14 down Ohio River Blvd.

It was 21 degrees out, and may as well have been inside as well when I spoke, pacing, from telephone pole to sewer grate waiting for the $2.25 ride home…

(Is anyone aware of an HTML code to indicate internal voice? Or is it simply the parenthetical aside indicative of a fourth wall break wherein this case the wall is egoic?)

(Suicide is a selfish act.) I, parenthetically, voiced inward…

I doth protest too much, methinks.

Methinks this makes me a hypocrite.

“Suicide is a selfish act.” Is an incomplete thought. It is an, at best, equivocal thought that provides us with a few paradoxes of choice, independence, codependence, definitions and projections or reality etc.


Huston… We have a mistake…

Suicide is a difficult subject to approach for all; first hand– I know this.

“Wherever you do not want to go is where you will find him, he is hiding behind your pain. Embrace your pain and you will win this game.” – Guy Ritchie, “Revolver.”

Suicide, as we’ve defined above, is the voluntary, independent, taking of ones own life. Or, if you prefer, etymologically it’s reduced to, “self killing.”

When I think, again, of the phrase; “suicide is a selfish act.” I am left, less, with the desire to define and understand suicide as a concept and more, rather, at understanding selfishness.

Now let’s complete the thought…

Suicide is a selfish act because the person committing suicide isn’t thinking about the feelings of those left behind.

What I’ve come to refer to as The Codependent Paradox. As Melody Beattie has been telling us for decades– we’re to be Codependent No More… And I agree with her.

But like an irresistible force paradox we are left with a conundrum.

A person who wishes to commit suicide is selfish because… Because it will hurt me and the loved ones they’ve surrounded themselves with. This sentence is inherently hypocritical and paradoxical and states a few conclusions…

  • 1.) If a person is to be codependent no more, then suicide, a free will, independent action, is an option.
  • 2.) Suicide is selfish because it makes my life more complicated is, quite possibly more selfish than suicide.

Katie is often quoted as saying some variation of, “I love you and, thus, why would I ever want for you what you do not want for yourself?

The Codependent Paradox is simply this… A person wishes to kill themselves but must think of how this will effect the living. What if suicide is the best option for the person? It is, however, their reality. Furthermore how can we love someone and respect their being without respecting their every choice?

I’m left with more thoughts than answers at the moment and will come back to the subject after I’ve spent more time with it.



11 thoughts on “The Codependent Paradox part 1”

  1. A tangential topic for another time: Codependency can be bad, but it is also what makes us human and a good part of why we evolved. Arguably the more codependent a species is, the more evolved it is.

    More relevantly: the end result of suicide is always the same for the actor, but there are an infinite number of endings for the audience.

    If Stadtler’s really, truly had it, he may not “owe” it to Waldorf to stick around and Waldorf may not be acting logically or kindly by demanding it of him. However, they spent a few decades in a box together; in a functional interpersonal relationship, this should indicate some sort of contract. They may not owe each other everything, but they each owe each other something.

    1. Statdler and Waldorf… Beautiful team example. 

      Arguably the more codependent a species is, the more evolved it is..

      I’m interested… 

      I’m often reminded of a christian/catholic argument asking how we, “as a species could possibly exist without the Ten Commandments guiding us into and through morality.” I often asked how we, as a collective group, made it to Mount Sinai without the Ten Commandments in the first place. We must have had something inherent already that gave us the equivalent of morality. The innate Golden Alliance perhaps? I’d think so. Codependency? Dependent on others dependent on us. It would make sense have had to live that way. The species, yes, would have survived more easily. 

      I think I’m starting to get a better picture of codependency. It’s when this human necessity of concomitant supportive survival gets out of hand. When one person is taking advantage of someone else because that someone else isn’t strong enough to say no. They believe that is all there is; which it isn’t.

      Similar to this codependent that has an unhealthy desire to please and fall in line for his fellow man or partner; the suicide has an unhealthy desire to rid him/herself of this life and, if there is any conscientious empathy or care in the suicide then they don’t commit suicide based on an preconceived contract. 

      Life’s prenuptial… If you decide to have relationships and sit in boxes with people; you owe them, at the very least, alternatives. As if to say, “you’ve loved me because I’ve loved you. We care about each other, I will make the effort to improve my life before I commit to suicide.” 

      It’s helpful because Statdler opens up to Waldorf and shows compassion. Furthermore, that opening up shows independence; his choice, no Waldorf’s. Waldorf, we should hope, will extend respect and resources that he is aware of.

      The group marching to Sinai had to have had ways of communicating, empathetic needs, without being codependent. Or while being codependent in a healthy manner. Which their must be.

      You and I are the closes thing to Statdler and Waldorf that I can imagine to be honest…

      If in the case that I experience and extreme depression, I would, as you know, first tell you about it. It’s an independent choice on my part and your intent on listening and extending sympathy is an independent choice on your part. Does this make it a co-dependent decision? 

      It’s a conundrum I think. Hence the tiresome, and now I’m feeling trite, use of the term “paradox.” 

      I turn, also, to  Immanuel Kant’s “Categorical Imperatives

      if everyone one alive did this; would it still benefit the species?

      Suicide: absolutely not. And according to Kant, then, that’s it. You have your decision.

      Uncertain if I am understanding or digging deeper. 

      Dinner thoughts for this evening, refining the idea further.

      And, as well, furthermore, if you feel I am, of yet, still missing the point or can still add some form of diligence to this- please make more suggestions.  Or just come over my house and use my chalkboard….

      1. I like your definition of codependency and generally think you picked up what I was putting down. For conversation’s sake, we may need an alternate word to describe the “healthy” kind….

        I also like the concept of life having a prenup or series thereof. And think our next road trip should involve heckling people from an opera box.

        As for Kant, clearly I disagree with him. Or rather, I find the idea of an imperative too limiting to agree with and too easily subverted by semantics. Ie, if everyone one alive [trained to be a firefighter or doctor, ran for president, buried their dead in the ground]; it would not benefit the species. Doesn’t mean no-one should.

        It is true neither that everyone should subsume their own desires/happiness in favor of what they believe will make others happy, nor that they should always follow their own desires regardless of others.

        Extra level of complication: you and I in our box are an easy metaphor. But in reality there are all the other Muppets to think about. Statdler is most closely linked to Waldorf, but not exclusively so. And what if it’s Fozzy who feels like pressing the emergency exit button? He doesn’t have a clear binary, so how can he decide what’s “right”?

        Related to your comment but unrelated to this thread of thought: In my worldview, one of the most significant ways we show love for one another is by communicating, “You have within you the power to hurt me. You are capable of causing me pain. I trust you to try not to.” I think we disagree on this but it seems worth mentioning.

        Chalkboarding one day soon.

  2. E, quick note. Kant’s exercise was for morally taxing situations.

    For example…

    How can you have morality if you do not have the lord’s 10 commandments?

    …for these, it would be a functional idea.

    It wasn’t meant to be universal. If everyone had a blog, if everyone had a rocking chair.

    Yes, can we fashion an opera box in your car?

    1. “You have within you the power to hurt me. You are capable of causing me pain. I trust you to try not to.”

      We agree on this. Let me just type it the way I approach it…

      “You are an accurate reflection of what I’ve grown to learn to be trustworthy and loving. That is, your personality fits what I want as a partner in some way; we have a mutual exchange that is worth letting my guard down. It is worth becoming vulnerable for and I want to let you in. Now this means that if you do something e.g. leave, hit me, insult, abuse me etc… Then I will feel hurt by these things. But it will be a hurt that, like my love and trust for you, reflects what I believe pain is. I trust you will always, all ways, do your best with us, with this life. And if it comes to me getting hurt in some fashion, I will learn from it and continue doing the best that I am capable in the future.”

      I almost immediately jumped to the, “no one can be taken advantage of because we have to be the ones to say yes,” area. But that idea is still carrying to much gray for me.

      1. As for the trust we place in the people we love: you’re right. We do agree (we’re just of-different-vocabularies, which could be a topic to discuss some other place or time).

        No one can be taken advantage of…unsurprisingly, that’s too extreme for me to agree with. I’d sooner say, “Everyone can be taken advantage of, but no one is incapable of changing this, given the right reasons and tools.”

  3. It’s has always been my understanding that, “suicide is the supreme selfish act because I can not possibley comprehend the desire to end my owe life.
    Ergo, your logic is faulty due to some mental illness that hinders your faculties catalyst to some chemical imbalance”

    suicide is the line of self destruction that no one seems willing to admit that they even contemplated crossing and it’s easier to speak of a hypocritically selfishness than to let go even for a moment of the death grip they hold on their own lives.

    Here, I quote St. Paul, in that “everything is permissible, but is it a good idea? Everything is permissible, but I will be slave to nothing” including this life.

    1. I’m not entirely certain that I understand your comment. Firstly, your opening statement says that, “suicide is the supreme selfish act because I can not possibley comprehend the desire to end my owe life. Ergo, your logic is faulty due to some mental illness that hinders your faculties catalyst to some chemical imbalance” There are multiple pronouns here that make me feel that it is an out of context citation; where is this quote from?

      As for logic, it can be broken down syllogistically to test it’s validity. Now, you have two conclusions: “Sucide is selfish,” and, “[one who desires to commit suicide must] have a mental illness that hinders [their] faculties catalyst to some chemical imbalance.” Your premise for these seems to be the inability to, “comprehend the desire to take ones own life.”

      The logic of this statement can discompose to have one conclusion though and state that, “I can not possibly comprehend what it means to take my own life, if I comprehend taking my own life; I must have a mental illness. Therefore suicide is selfish.”

      The statement itself is missing valid premises to allow the conclusion to be sound you see? If, however, we say; “I can not comprehend the meaning of taking my own life; comprehending this meaning means I must suffer from a magnanimous chemical imbalance causing a mental illness. All suffering from these chemical imbalance causes me to be incapable of thinking beyond my own desires to act selfishly.. Therefore comprehension of committing suicide would undoubtably be a selfish act.”

      In other words let us have (i) stand for “I cannot,” (C) stand for, “Comprehend the meaning of taking my own life,” (S) stand for, “I must suffer a chemical imbalance,” and (E) as, since “S” has already been used, “Selfishness.” 

      i is not C 
      All C is S 
      All S is E
      ∴ All C is E

      In other, other, words…

      (I cannot comprehend the meaning of taking my own life)

      (Comprehending taking my own life means I suffer from a mental illness)

      (Suffering from a mental illness means I have only selfish thoughts)

      (Comprehension of ending ones own life is selfish).

      Tell me if I am, or am not, in the ballpark here

      And, furthermore, again, in other words, your conclusion is that those who, “suffer from mental illness,” are, as I’ve interpreted it, “selfish people without comprehension.”

      As for your quote from, “St. Paul.” The Apostle, yes? His very existence, not his quote, must utilize faith to be relied upon. A similar argument could state that, “one cannot truly comprehend the existence of individuals without imperially proving said existence. Believing that one comprehends this existence is, in reality, a subjective opinion. Subjective opinions are, definitionally, selfish acts…” etc.

      Once we’ve entered this realm we’re facing pretty vague, opinionated, circle logic. Something we are both doing. In my case, I am not trying to be conclusive, rather I am trying to understand what appears to be paradoxical to me. The conversation that has taken place here, with all the comments, is leading to what (thank you Emily) I am going to work on as the “Statler and Waldorf Contract.”

      Regarding St. Paul, again, his quote is beautiful and, I believe, accurate. Similar to Immanuel Kants’, quote pondering if, “every human alive committed this act; would it still benefit the species?”

      St. Paul and St. Kant would, as they shook hands, agree that no- it is not a good act.

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