Codependency toxic relationships
Dependency | Mental Health America
Co-dependency is a learned behavior that can be passed down from one generation to another. It is an emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. It is also known as “relationship addiction” because people with codependency often form or maintain relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive and/or abusive. The disorder was first identified about ten years ago as the result of years of studying interpersonal relationships in families of alcoholics. Co-dependent behavior is learned by watching and imitating other family members who display this type of behavior.
Who Does Co-dependency Affect?
Co-dependency often affects a spouse, a parent, sibling, friend, or co-worker of a person afflicted with alcohol or drug dependence. Originally, co-dependent was a term used to describe partners in chemical dependency, persons living with, or in a relationship with an addicted person. Similar patterns have been seen in people in relationships with chronically or mentally ill individuals. Today, however, the term has broadened to describe any co-dependent person from any dysfunctional family.
What is a Dysfunctional Family and How Does it Lead to Co-dependency?
A dysfunctional family is one in which members suffer from fear, anger, pain, or shame that is ignored or denied. Underlying problems may include any of the following:
- An addiction by a family member to drugs, alcohol, relationships, work, food, sex, or gambling.
- The existence of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse.
- The presence of a family member suffering from a chronic mental or physical illness.
Dysfunctional families do not acknowledge that problems exist. They don’t talk about them or confront them. As a result, family members learn to repress emotions and disregard their own needs. They become “survivors.” They develop behaviors that help them deny, ignore, or avoid difficult emotions. They detach themselves. They don’t talk. They don’t touch. They don’t confront. They don’t feel. They don’t trust. The identity and emotional development of the members of a dysfunctional family are often inhibited
Attention and energy focus on the family member who is ill or addicted. The co-dependent person typically sacrifices his or her needs to take care of a person who is sick. When co-dependents place other people’s health, welfare and safety before their own, they can lose contact with their own needs, desires, and sense of self.
How Do Co-dependent People Behave?
Co-dependents have low self-esteem and look for anything outside of themselves to make them feel better. They find it hard to “be themselves.” Some try to feel better through alcohol, drugs or nicotine - and become addicted. Others may develop compulsive behaviors like workaholism, gambling, or indiscriminate sexual activity.
They have good intentions. They try to take care of a person who is experiencing difficulty, but the caretaking becomes compulsive and defeating. Co-dependents often take on a martyr’s role and become “benefactors” to an individual in need. A wife may cover for her alcoholic husband; a mother may make excuses for a truant child; or a father may “pull some strings” to keep his child from suffering the consequences of delinquent behavior.
The problem is that these repeated rescue attempts allow the needy individual to continue on a destructive course and to become even more dependent on the unhealthy caretaking of the “benefactor.” As this reliance increases, the co-dependent develops a sense of reward and satisfaction from “being needed.” When the caretaking becomes compulsive, the co-dependent feels choiceless and helpless in the relationship, but is unable to break away from the cycle of behavior that causes it. Co-dependents view themselves as victims and are attracted to that same weakness in the love and friendship relationships.
Characteristics of Co-dependent People Are:
- An exaggerated sense of responsibility for the actions of others
- A tendency to confuse love and pity, with the tendency to “love” people they can pity and rescue
- A tendency to do more than their share, all of the time
- A tendency to become hurt when people don’t recognize their efforts
- An unhealthy dependence on relationships. The co-dependent will do anything to hold on to a relationship; to avoid the feeling of abandonment
- An extreme need for approval and recognition
- A sense of guilt when asserting themselves
- A compelling need to control others
- Lack of trust in self and/or others
- Fear of being abandoned or alone
- Difficulty identifying feelings
- Rigidity/difficulty adjusting to change
- Problems with intimacy/boundaries
- Chronic anger
- Poor communications
- Difficulty making decisions
Questionnaire To Identify Signs Of Co-dependency
This condition appears to run in different degrees, whereby the intensity of symptoms are on a spectrum of severity, as opposed to an all or nothing scale. Please note that only a qualified professional can make a diagnosis of co-dependency; not everyone experiencing these symptoms suffers from co-dependency.
1. Do you keep quiet to avoid arguments?
2. Are you always worried about others’ opinions of you?
3. Have you ever lived with someone with an alcohol or drug problem?
4. Have you ever lived with someone who hits or belittles you?
5. Are the opinions of others more important than your own?
6. Do you have difficulty adjusting to changes at work or home?
7. Do you feel rejected when significant others spend time with friends?
8. Do you doubt your ability to be who you want to be?
9. Are you uncomfortable expressing your true feelings to others?
10. Have you ever felt inadequate?
11. Do you feel like a “bad person” when you make a mistake?
12. Do you have difficulty taking compliments or gifts?
13. Do you feel humiliation when your child or spouse makes a mistake?
14. Do you think people in your life would go downhill without your constant efforts?
15. Do you frequently wish someone could help you get things done?
16. Do you have difficulty talking to people in authority, such as the police or your boss?
17. Are you confused about who you are or where you are going with your life?
18. Do you have trouble saying “no” when asked for help?
19. Do you have trouble asking for help?
20. Do you have so many things going at once that you can’t do justice to any of them?
If you identify with several of these symptoms; are dissatisfied with yourself or your relationships; you should consider seeking professional help. Arrange for a diagnostic evaluation with a licensed physician or psychologist experienced in treating co-dependency.
How is Co-dependency Treated?
Because co-dependency is usually rooted in a person’s childhood, treatment often involves exploration into early childhood issues and their relationship to current destructive behavior patterns. Treatment includes education, experiential groups, and individual and group therapy through which co-dependents rediscover themselves and identify self-defeating behavior patterns. Treatment also focuses on helping patients getting in touch with feelings that have been buried during childhood and on reconstructing family dynamics. The goal is to allow them to experience their full range of feelings again.
When Co-dependency Hits Home
The first step in changing unhealthy behavior is to understand it. It is important for co-dependents and their family members to educate themselves about the course and cycle of addiction and how it extends into their relationships. Libraries, drug and alcohol abuse treatment centers and mental health centers often offer educational materials and programs to the public.
A lot of change and growth is necessary for the co-dependent and his or her family. Any caretaking behavior that allows or enables abuse to continue in the family needs to be recognized and stopped. The co-dependent must identify and embrace his or her feelings and needs. This may include learning to say “no,” to be loving yet tough, and learning to be self-reliant. People find freedom, love, and serenity in their recovery.
Hope lies in learning more. The more you understand co-dependency the better you can cope with its effects. Reaching out for information and assistance can help someone live a healthier, more fulfilling life.
What is Toxic Codependency? | Breathe Life Healing Centers
If you’re interested in learning about Codependency, this article will cover:
• The definition of Codependency
• The negative Symptoms and Results of Codependency
• The different Styles of codependent relationships
Part 1: Intro
The origins of the term Codependency can be traced back to the early days of Alcoholics Anonymous (Al-Anon from now on). Al-Anon was the first self-help group for addicts founded in 1935. After sharing their personal experiences in group-therapy, Al-Anon members quickly noticed that the wives (during this era, most Al-Anon members were straight men) of Alcoholics typically responded with a pattern of overly-supportive enabling behaviors, and thus, the term Codependent was born.
The thing is, we know now that codependency doesn’t just happen in the context of alcoholism. It happens on its own, as well as alongside all sorts of addictions and behavioral problems. Codependent relationships are an unhealthy way of obtaining self-esteem and feelings of safety that deteriorate our identity and independence.
Here are the basics:
- Codependent relationships happen between two individuals
- One person is “troubled” and tends to absorb the other’s energy and resources by behaving selfishly.
- The other person, the Codependent, compulsively takes care of the other at the cost of their own wellbeing and independence.
- Codependency can happen in any type of relationship including those between Friends, siblings, parents + children, coworkers, spouses, and so on
- Although Codependency is a sub-clinical diagnosis, it is highly treatable with support and therapy.
Lovers, friends, and family members help us get through the hard times, as well as enjoy the good times. These intimate relationships that we develop over a lifetime are fountains of energy, inspiration, joy, and comfort and they’re also probably the best part of being alive.
Unfortunately, these relationships can sometimes grow into toxic codependency. If someone in your life is making you feel any of these symptoms, it is time to acknowledge that the relationship might be unhealthy.Low Self-Esteem:
Codependency is a means of obtaining affirmation, and a sense of purpose and self-worth. However, when we put our self-esteem into the hands of another person, it fluctuates based on his or her moods. A healthier way to boost self-esteem is to form multiple relationships and focus on your inner strengths.Compulsive People-Pleasing:
Codependents focus far too much of their time on pleasing their more emotionally demanding partner, usually at the expensive of their own wellbeing.Extreme Reactivity:
Dips in their partner’s mood can lead to extreme emotional reactions in the codependent person.Feeling Powerless:
When we invest all of our emotional energy into an unstable person, we can feel like we have no control over our own lives.
Isolation– As a codependent relationship grows, all the other relationships in our lives start to fade, and disappear completely, until we are alone with that one partner.Obsession:
Codependents rely on their relationship for their sense of self-worth, so over time, it becomes everything they think about! Nothing else seems important anymore in comparison.Intimacy Problems:
When we become codependent, we are not forming a functional, well-rounded bond. Instead, we are relying on each other for specific psychological needs, so real communication is downright impossible. Intimacy problems might manifest as a fear or reluctance to talk about certain topics in order not to upset your partner.
If you feel like you and your family are being affected by the effects of codependency, know that there’s a treatment program entirely designed to help you.
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Being codependent isn’t a happy condition. With all of these specific symptoms going on, we’re bound to feel depressed, anxious, hopeless and lost.
Part 3: Styles of Codependent Relationships
Experts used to think of Codependency as a problem that goes along with alcoholism. Nowadays, we know that it can happen in a wider variety of situations. There’s no way to list every type of codependent relationship, after all, every situation is unique, but here are some of the most common types of Toxic Codependency:Addict + Caretaker
The original concept of codependency involved an alcoholic and his enabling wife (remember, we’re talking about the 1930’s here), which falls into the addict/caretaker dynamic. However, addicts of all kinds attract codependent partners. It doesn’t matter if the problem is alcohol, drugs, gambling, shopping, or whatever else. What matters is that all addicts tend to behave irresponsibly, destructively, and selfishly which makes them very, very difficult people to live with. Their partners (platonic or otherwise) fall into the Codependent Caretaker role by cleaning up their messes and providing them with what they need to continue on with their harmful behavior.
This relationship boosts the self-esteem of the caretaker, as it makes them feel needed and important. You may hear this kind of codependent person say things like “I’m the responsible one in this relationship.”
Perhaps one of the most troubling forms of codependency occurs between parent and child because it inhibits a young person’s emotional development. Typically, the parent becomes emotionally dependent on their role as a caretaker to their naturally needy young children. It’s quite normal for all parents to gain a feeling of pride in their familial role. However, codependent parents behave in a way to prolong the ‘needy state’ of their children, unnaturally prolonging their role as caretaker. They will prevent their kids from growing up into independent adults so that they forever rely on their parents for everything.
You can imagine how difficult it is for the child to break free from this relationship since it formed a major part of their development.
You might hear a codependent parent complain about their child’s lack of independence. However, their behavior will contradict that. You will see them continue to spoil and encourage their adult children to rely on them.
When we shirk responsibilities and fail to meet life’s basic demands, the universe responds with a swift kick to the behind. Not paying bills and skimping on self-care gets us into trouble, which usually ‘trains’ us to be more responsible. Messing up once or twice is usually enough for us to learn to get our acts together as adults. However, in some cases, dysfunctional adults find a partner willing to take over when they give up. This partner is an Enabler because their overly-helpful behavior allows the dysfunctional person to continue on their path of self-neglect. Ironically, the enabler is doing much more damage with kindness than they realize. A stern, realistic influence is what the dysfunctional person really needs.
You might hear the enabler say things like: “I’m the sane one,” or “I don’t know what (s)he would do without me.”
Fix Your Codependency Issues Through Our Family Therapy Program
If you and your family are struggling with the effects of codependency, know that you do not need to keep on the path towards self-destruction. You and your family can obtain the care that is needed to better yourselves in the midst of what might feel like an all-out crisis.
As your loved one is obtaining treatment, do what you can to get help for yourself by participating in Breathe’s Los Angeles family therapy program. Doing so can make a huge difference in your life and the lives of your loved ones. Call us today and begin your healing process.
Co-Dependency Relationships: What They Are, Signs and Causes, How to Get Out of Them
Co-dependency in a relationship can be incredibly destructive, in part because you may not even be aware that it is present in your life. Clinical psychologist and co-founder of the YouTalk online service Anna Krymskaya explains what co-dependent relationships are, what are their causes, how to recognize and overcome them
What is co-dependent relationships
There is no single definition of "co-dependence" in the psychological community. On the one hand, this term describes the violation of personal boundaries between partners, when two people in a relationship are emotionally or financially dependent on each other, and the main need of one is to “bind” the other, to become part of it. On the other hand, in psychology, "codependency" is also called a dysfunctional relationship with a partner suffering from some kind of pathological addiction - alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling, and so on.
This article will focus on the first phenomenon, that is, codependence in a couple, which is accompanied by excessive absorption in another person, painful experiences - and is reflected in all areas of life.
Immediately spoiler - if you are co-dependent, this does not mean that only parting can solve this problem. Every situation is different. Having received help and feedback from a specialist, it is possible to maintain relationships and direct them into a functionally healthy direction.
More than 40 years ago, the American psychiatrist Stephen Karpman introduced the “triangle of fate”, or “dramatic triangle”, a psychological and social model of interaction between people, consisting of three facets-roles: “persecutor” (English persecutor) , "rescuer" (English rescuer) and "victim" (English victim). The Karpman Triangle reflects the structure of co-dependent relationships.
The “pursuer” sets his own rules, controls, imposes his point of view, does not allow mistakes and is constantly looking for the guilty. When he cannot clearly show his anger, he blackmails and manipulates. The “victim” ignores his own needs, dissolves into the “persecutor” with whom, as it seems to her, she is connected with true love, and the thought of losing her introduces the “victim” into a panic. The "rescuer" feels his value through the imposition of help and a sense of superiority over the "victim". In co-dependent relationships, each of the participants at some point tries on one of the three roles, but cannot get out of the vicious circle, because he is afraid and denies the destructiveness of the situation.
How to distinguish codependent relationships from healthy ones
We all depend on each other to some extent. Mutual support, emotional connection, dialogue, mood attunement, shared interests are all important factors in a healthy relationship. Codependent relationships are a toxic bond without which people cannot function. They lose their autonomy. Any difficulties in relationships with a partner are reflected in other areas of life, including interactions with loved ones, friends and colleagues. At the deep stages of codependence, a person can move away, avoid communication with the outside world, because talking about their relationship is scary, embarrassing and uncomfortable, any advice or hint of an unhealthy relationship is perceived with aggression and distrust.
If communication with a child was built through submission and disregard for his desires and he sought to please in order to earn the encouragement and “love” of his parents, as an adult, he will be more inclined to enter into codependence
the most important thing in life, the existentially important. An independent person may have a career in second place, a hobby in third, and travel in fourth. A codependent, on the other hand, will not be able to easily pass a value test by setting priorities from 1 to 10: all other areas of life pale against the backdrop of the significance of relationships with a partner, without them life is empty and meaningless.
Causes of co-dependent relationships between a man and a woman
The tendency to co-dependent behavior is often formed in childhood. The reasons are related to the peculiarities of relationships in the parental family and how a close adult reacted to the needs of the child: was he sensitive to successes and peculiarities, was he emotionally available, did he give freedom of action, or, conversely, overprotected when the child could already do something do it himself and his life did not directly depend on the parent. It is noteworthy that any of the extremes can contribute to the formation of codependency in the future.
For a child, on a biological level, the absence of the love of a mother or other close relative who fulfills her role means death. Love in the family means that the child will be safe, he will not be abandoned, he will survive and his emotional needs will be met. Research shows that emotional abuse and neglect in childhood puts us at risk of developing codependent behavior in the future.
If communication with a child was built through submission and neglect of his desires and he sought to please in order to earn the encouragement and "love" of his parents, as an adult, he will be more inclined to enter into codependency in marriage, in a relationship with a romantic partner. This behavior is also called the "home instinct" - that is, the reproduction of the situation of childhood in their current relationship. This happens on an unconscious level.
For example, if a girl grew up without a father or he was an emotionally unavailable figure as an adult, she may look for a man who will show similar emotional stinginess: not revealing the details of his life to the end, being as if in a distance, avoiding frank conversations. At the same time, the girl may be aware of the similarities with the relationship of her parents, but she will be firmly convinced that now, in her personal life, she will be able to change everything and correct mistakes. For example, if her parents divorced, then she definitely will not allow this and her children will not be left without a father. However, the "home instinct" often leads not only to the repetition of patterns of behavior, but also leads to the same result.
Co-dependent people believe that if they behave correctly, find the right words, do something differently, they will magically earn the love of a partner
How to understand that you are in a co-dependent relationship
Co-dependence manifests itself in different ways. It is always necessary to evaluate the intensity and coincidence of several signs of a co-dependent relationship, among which: Show control behavior, impose your will. You expect your partner to behave in a certain and understandable way for you.
- Rapid rapprochement
You met and can't part, move in quickly, get married quickly. Often in this case, the idealization of the partner is inflated to the maximum. Our consciousness turns expectations and fantasies about the qualities of a partner into reality.
- Search for salvation
In another person you see salvation from your loneliness and inner emptiness. Career, hobbies, interests, life guidelines and principles - nothing but your partner can fill the void inside, only with him or her you feel "at home".
- No choice
You cannot recognize and respect your partner's right to make your own choices. The fact that his or her desires and decisions may differ from yours is frightening and not discussed.
- Impaired sensitivity to self and others
You are aware of only fragmentary knowledge about yourself and your partner, reproducing repetitions of your emotions and behavior from year to year. It's like living the same scenario. The dominant feelings and behavioral reactions in this scenario will be guilt, anger, fear, distrust, overprotection, overcontrol.
- Difficulty in taking responsibility
Responsibility for your well-being, development, satisfaction of needs lies with the partner. You are guided by the phrase "I would, ... but ..." and as if living a draft of your life.
- The idea that your partner owes you
Co-dependent relationships are hard to negotiate. Attitudes regarding the behavior and responsibilities of a partner (for example, that a woman should be a muse, and a man should be a breadwinner) do not change from the beginning of a relationship and do not allow discussion.
- Low self-esteem
There is no inner conviction that you are worthy and valuable in yourself. You have constant doubts, and by your behavior you are trying to earn love, praise and prove that you have a right to it.
- Money problems
Being financially dependent on a partner makes us feel small and in need of care. This desire can again be associated with the “instinct at home”, because children do not have to and cannot provide for themselves. Fanatical accumulation may indicate the opposite - the fear of losing independence and asking for help. In a healthy relationship, flexibility is implied, where financial roles can be changed without juggling the roles of "rescuer", "victim" and "persecutor".
- Revenge and competition
If your partner made a mistake and did something unpleasant, instead of giving constructive feedback and discussing the issue, you harbor resentment. At the right moment, you repeat the behavior of your partner in order to hurt him or her and say with grim satisfaction "why you can behave like this, but I can't."
- Magical thinking
Codependent people believe that if they behave correctly, find the right words, do something different, they will magically earn the love of a partner. As in childhood: if I get an A or clean the house, my parents will praise and love me more.
In addition, codependent people often have behavioral addictions such as workaholism, compulsive overeating, hoarding, or an obsessive need for perfect cleanliness and organization of space. The life of a codependent is similar to chaos, these habits help to ground and calm down in eternal anxiety, to create a feeling of control over one's life.
Consequences of co-dependent relationships
In co-dependent relationships, a person seems to lose himself, personal boundaries are erased, hobbies disappear and attention to his needs disappears. At the same time, all resources are spent on maintaining toxic relationships, and not on trying to restore the psychological state.
Very often codependence characterizes cyclicity. A person experiences an emotional swing - happiness and a temporary idyll are replaced by aggression, manipulation, neglect. Moreover, such changes occur suddenly, so one of the partners is constantly in suspense, waiting at any moment for a change in the weather. It shatters the psyche and self-esteem.
Breaking up a relationship is not always the only way out. If desired, partners can change their relationship if they make this decision together and make an effort
The companion of co-dependent relationships is violence. It can be physical - blows, spanks, pushes, even hugs against the will; sexual - uncomfortable touching or sexual contact against the will and consent; emotional - insults and verbal injections, various manipulations of feelings. In families with a codependency problem, passive violence can also be observed in relation to children, when parents are emotionally unavailable: there is no swearing, but there are no warm words or physical contact. Also, the responsibilities of an adult may not be transferred to the child in a timely manner - for example, the elder is expected to constantly care for the younger ones.
Violence is terrible both in itself and in its consequences. Children often develop attachment trauma that will prevent them from building trusting relationships in the future. If a person managed to get out of a co-dependent relationship, but failed to undergo personal therapy or it was insufficient, the risk of a vicious circle and a repetition of the experience with another partner is high.
How to get out of a codependent relationship
People who are prone to codependence are afraid of parting. This is a painful process, often a couple exhausted by toxic relationships does not have enough resources and energy for it. But breaking up is not always the only way out. If desired, partners can change their relationship if they make this decision together and put effort into it.
Each situation is different, so it is not possible to give a short universal scheme. But here are some strategies and exercises to get you started:
- Self-diagnosis. Ask yourself these questions: Why am I not happy with the relationship? What are my needs being ignored? What is the value of this relationship for me? Do our views coincide with the partner regarding the development of our relations? Do I have unrealistic ideas about the future of our relationship? Am I ready to be with my partner if he/she doesn't stop meeting my expectations? What exactly do I want to change? What efforts am I willing to make for this?
- Work through childhood trauma and relationships with parents. Find out what processes you transfer to communication with a partner. It is best to do this with the support of a psychologist.
- Shift the focus from your partner's desire to your desires. Ask yourself what exactly you want.
- Make a list of things you have in common and that are different with your partner. Try to learn to respect and accept your differences.
- Keep a diary of feelings. Keep track of what emotions cause you certain situations in communication with a partner.
- Focus on yourself, your interests and relationships with friends and loved ones. Find a new hobby, travel, or study.
- Work with the fear of being alone. Again, it is better to do this with a psychologist.
- Make a list of grievances against your partner, analyze them and try to identify what you are grateful for, what lessons you learned from them.
- Talk to your partner about couples or family therapy.
If you want to start the path out of co-dependency on your own, turn to self-help literature - for example, read the books of the book "Free from Addiction" by Berry and Janey Weinhold, "Codependency Through the Eyes of a Systemic Therapist" by Natalia Manukhina, "Hold Me Tight. 7 Dialogues for the Love of a Lifetime Susan Johnson, Borrowed Life by Irina Mlodik.
Get ready that the process of getting out of a co-dependent relationship is not quick and not easy. Don't neglect help. In addition to psychotherapy, you can seek support in special free groups. CoDa (“Codependents Anonymous”) is an international community that organizes meetings, including online in Russian. Nar-Anon and Al-Anon help those whose co-dependent relationships involve the drug and alcohol addiction of one of the partners.
what will love with a toxic personality lead to? A strong, bright and charismatic loner, who does not let anyone near the treasures of his soul, is not at all an enchanted prince, waiting for your kiss to break the dark spell.This is a counter-dependent type, communication with which will bring nothing but damage to your personality.
Psychotherapist, psychiatrist Aina Gromova erases the romantic halo from the types of co-dependent and counter-dependent characters and explains where toxic people and toxic relationships come from, and how to stop being a toxic person.
Sweet and bitter poison
Whatever prefix you use for the word dependent ("with" or "counter"), it will not change the essence. Dependence will be the basis of the personality of such a person. A phenomenon that, in principle, excludes a positive interpretation. Because it is based on poison. True, in the case of co-dependents, it is sweet, and in the case of counter-dependents, it is bitter. Sweet, because it drapes into absolute service to the partner and submission to his needs. And bitter, because it makes you overcome endless obstacles on the way to an impregnable idealistic image.
In fact, codependence and counterdependence are deviations in the formation of personality that can poison the life of any counterpart. Because such people cannot build anything but unhealthy, unproductive and deeply toxic relationships.
A classic example of a personality formed according to the type of codependency is the heroine of Chekhov's story "Darling" Olenka Plemyannikova. She dissolves first in her husbands, completely absorbing their values, interests and life, and then, finally widowed, and in the boy-gymnasium student, whom she looks after.
That is, a co-dependent person attaches itself to his partner like a fish, lives only his life, completely levels his "I", his interests, needs, desires. And it's not about total altruism, but about the total absence of personality. Therefore, the absence of “self” is often covered by a co-dependent with a certain social role - wife or husband, mother or father, which he performs passionately. But to limit all the specifics of a person to one hypostasis is too little. Each person in the norm should be realized in various areas.Photo: uwe umstatter/imageBROKER.com/www.globallookpress.com
The codependent does not know who he is, what he wants, and how he should act. And he is looking for his realization through other people: their life, their emotions, their goal-setting. He does not know how to please, reassure and evaluate himself, but rejoices, calms down and receives evaluation only through (at the expense of) others. He parasitizes and more than anything else is afraid of losing the source of "feeding". Therefore, it begins to stifle its "food" with love and control. It is extremely difficult to endure this, and, as a rule, partners of co-dependents sooner or later get tired and leave them.
Counter-dependents: another pole of the same problem
Counter-dependents, on the contrary, are internally arranged according to the principle: I don't need anyone. These are, as a rule, successful people, very advanced and realized in any one skill. They are ambitious, know their worth, understand that they are different from the majority, are quite self-centered and believe that close relationships are not an area where they can feel calm and confident.
Being 100% realized in one area, usually professional, having a powerful material base and health, they consciously do not want to go into the depths of relationships, because they understand that they are extremely vulnerable here. They are afraid of pain, and do not open their heart to a partner, and if they insist, they simply leave.
The fact is that the counter-addict is most afraid of losing himself in a relationship. And to prevent this from happening, he will constantly look for flaws in his partner, ignore his interests, show distrust and show narcissism. That is, to create a powerful argument base for a potential break.
Reverse and obverse
In fact, co-dependent and counter-dependent are obverse and reverse: two sides of the same coin, where the common content is the absence of a fully formed personality.
Some, not having themselves, dissolve in another, while others, realizing that they are inclined to dissolve, are protected by rejection. But initially neither one nor the other have themselves.
Normally, a healthy person has the necessary functionality: he knows how to please himself, calm down and evaluate himself, is realized in the main directions (has professional interests, friends, personal relationships, activities for the soul), thinks sensibly and is able to build relationships in which he receives the same , how much it gives, does not parasitize, because it is able to "feed" itself emotionally, psychologically and materially on its own.
A healthy person sees and adequately evaluates feedback from a partner, can respond to it competently and, accordingly, build happy relationships. Neither counter-dependents nor co-dependents are capable of this.
What to do
In the futile hope of building a healthy relationship, one can endlessly "work" as an artificial respiration apparatus for the co-addict and as a knight in shining armor, storming the impregnable fortress of the counter-addict's soul.