The Pain of Codependency: Addicted to Love

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By Dawn V. Obrecht

Ever have trouble letting go of a relationship? Obsessed with another person? Way too loyal, to the point where it hurts you and possibly others who care about you? Are others who are dependent on you, even your children, getting hurt because you are keeping yourself and them in a destructive, even dangerous relationship? Are your friends offering suggestions that you immediately reject? Or are you avoiding telling anyone what is really going on? Embarrassed by the behavior of the one you love? Embarrassed by your own behavior? Do you find ways to distort what your therapist says and discount his/her knowledge by saying, to him and/or to yourself, "you just don't understand!"

Think you can change someone?

If only you are good enough, he/she would not have that affair. If only you can meet his/her needs, he/she will love you and not need to go elsewhere. Maybe if you lose a few pounds or cook his favorite meal perfectly, he will come home instead of "working late" -- you know he is with another woman. If you bring her flowers more often and take her to the best restaurants in town, maybe THEN she will stop seeing the rich man who comes into town once a month. The pain you feel when you are together in public and he/she is flirting with other men/women has only made your own self-hatred increase.

Some people even think they can make another person stop drinking or abusing drugs! Or lose weight. Or stop gambling. Or stop working 60 hours a week and skiing the rest. Same scenario as above: the "co-dependent" is dependent on the behavior of others for his/her sense of self. He/she continues to get his/her sense of self from the behavior of the person he/she is dependent on. How many people do you know who have tried to help or make someone else stop drinking or drugging? Children and spouses, lovers and friends, all over the world, are known to hide alcohol or pour it out.