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Editorial Note:  Steve has recently been diagnosed with the worst case of sleep apnea the doctors have ever seen. For those who may not know what sleep apnea is, it means that he has been majorly sleep-deprived to the point that it has been damaging his heart & health.

Sleep-deprived people are not easy to live with (especially when you don’t know what the problem is) and conversation most nights in our home for the past year or more has definitely been a one-way street. Sleep apnea is not a diagnosis for good conversation.

Travelling in cars when Steve has been driving has also been terrifying. When I took the wheel I was on my own as he always went to sleep.

All good practice for overcoming my codependence, but lonely and emotional all the same.

For these reasons and many more, this diagnosis (and more accurately the cure) has been astoundingly good news for our family. Steve is now using a CPAP machine (our friend Dallas worked with the man who invented these) and in only a few weeks has become a new man.

For those who have followed our struggles over the past few years, I can finally answer the question I have been asking myself; “With the relationship tools I have under my belt these days; should life really be this hard?”

And to our critics, I can answer; Did these extreme challenges break us down? “No—we are back at the wheel and working more closely with each other than ever before!” While these struggles have certainly tested our confidence (and my patience beyond extreme limits) now that Steve is in recovery, I know for a fact that our work is what has pulled us through.

Steve is awake and talking again (and making a lot more sense) and hopefully we will be back with a live broadcast in our member’s area soon.

But now, let’s explore some of the skills that have brought our family closer through these tough times. This is an older article but one that need sharing far and wide. You will find a version of this post you can share (without this editor’s note) here – Please Talk to Me.

—First published at The Love Safety Net – – republished and updated here on March 22th, 2021.

Talk to me. Smiling happy lovely couple having a warm conversation while drinking coffee and spending morning together.“They never talk to me”, is the most common complaint I hear from codependents about their marriage partner.

I find this especially sad, because this person rarely sees the depth of this wound or the truly tragic consequences it has had on their life.

So sad, I can hardly bear writing about its origins. My early years in this type of parental relationship is certainly a dark chapter I am glad to have moved past in my life…

The Codependent’s Gap With Conversation Skills

Codependency begins with a child taking care of a self centred (and usually drug addicted or alcoholic) parent.

Their mum (or dad) may have sat home drinking (or taking other drugs), feeling rejected or abandoned by their spouse, while the child was used as little more than a dumping ground for this parent’s most selfish mind states and self indulgent monologues.

Many times the parent may have accused the child of not talking to them (in the same way they blamed their absent spouse), when really it was the parent who was leaving no room for conversation.

This child was probably told how ‘special’ and important they were. For being themselves? No, you guessed it…  they were special for listening and taking care of their parent.

The bad conversation habits a codependent learns  from this experience:

  • To look for people they can dump their problems on.
  • To expect focused and uninterrupted attention from others for their worst mind states and self pity.
  • That blaming and complaining is normal conversation.
  • That it requires being drunk, stoned, or otherwise intoxicated to really ‘open-up’ to someone.

It amazes me the amount of time and money people will spend on their appearance, while never considering what comes out of their mouth is really what gives their relationships life and depth.

If you wish your partner talked to you more, I wonder if there are skills you are lacking that could help?

Narcs are experts at dodging!

Narcissistic individuals have often learned poor conversation skills too, but usually in the realm of knowing how to lie to get away from this same type of emotionally demanding parent. “Yeah sure mum, I cleaned my room . . .  you are the best, I will see you later.”

This, while their codependent sister or brother sat home ‘taking care’ of mum (or dad) because dad (or mum) isn’t home (again) or has left permanently.

Do you begin to see how this pattern plays out?

In my better conversations series, I tackle the gap left in the lives of people who grew up in these type of dysfunctional homes.

How many hours each week do you spend on your appearance? Do you work out at the gym? Visit the hairdressers? Buy new clothes you don’t really need? Put creams and potions on your face, nails and lashes?

I wonder if there is just one of these routines you might swap out the time you spend on them, for working on having better conversation skills?

I personally have a wound in this area and so addressing this gap in myself took courage. My conversation skills are still a work in progress, but together I know we can all help each other stay on track.

As always I have collected the best research and information I can find on this subject. Today I want to leave you with these challenges to get started.

If you are already a Love Safety Net member you can find this article series here:

If not you can access my better conversations series by joining our members area (with all the other benefits) here:

Member’s Area

Or paying a one-off access fee of $8.95 for this series here:

Better Conversation


For fifteen years, the Coopers have offered themselves as humble guides and mentors, helping families avoid cynicism and chaos. Leading the way as peer support specialists whose own family has traversed love's dangerous terrain.
Taking you to that place inside yourself that you can't go by yourself. Helping you get back in touch with the power of love within you to restore the sanity in your marriage whether you stay or leave.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Thank you again and again for healthy actually gut wrenching Truths from your own lives and for helping me in saving my sanity in past years. Nobody understood not believed my life when I sought help. This includes a Counsellor. Then I found Kim and Steve on the internet. I purchased their materials and notebook. Did it help..Yes. I was able to stop the Narcissist I was married to (and loved) also from damaging me more.
    Kim has shared tricks, methods, to be aware of what is happening and to ease the pain and take control over the feelings and thoughts during difficult situations (hopeless?) with people who cannot be helped and do not wish to be helped and are happy with their status quo which blesses themselves mainly.
    We can love people who are like that and be married to them or parents to them or be children to them or good friends with them. etc
    My N. has now died, gone to heaven since he did believe the Lord. God who kept us together to the End.
    Who am I to Judge anyway.
    It so nice to have a companion in one’s later years.
    This counselling ministry made it bearable for me. Kim taught me many ways to cut out the pain while events went on around me..that were effective for both me and him. I gained power and it felt good.
    Be calm not reactive.
    I never have looked at my own harping constant negative complaining about the bad things in our world as ” Dumping on Others”..Now I know and this fact is going to help me be a much better conversationalist from now on.
    I had not been able “to lassoo that demon in my life” I may.
    I wish to leave a good legacy behind in this world for the time I was here on Gods planet.

  2. Probably all humans have sleep apnea, so start looking around you. Steve was just a worse case and it shouldn’t have taken so long for the doctors to find it. It causes heart disease and hypertension, yes, but it also causes strokes, and diabetes, and depression, anxiety, panic and suicidality. ADHD and probably a lot more we haven’t figured out yet. Steve fell asleep easily but it causes insomnia as much as it causes hypersomnia, just depending on the individual. Take a look at and learn about UARS because most docs don’t know about it and it causes a different type of syndrome that people don’t realize is caused by sleep disordered breathing. These people don’t do as well on CPAP. I’m so glad Steve is feeling better on it.

  3. Hello dear Kim and Steve, Life is full of real God exams to be honest with each other, glad you and your dear family passed this exam well, always be healthy and successful. Yours sincerely, Nahid

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