Author: Ann Schiebert
Types of Reality Distortion Systems
Codependency, Part 1
Who would ever think that trying to, “help,” “fix,” or, “rescue,” someone would be based on a denial system that colors the way the codependent sees the world? In truth, codependents are magnetically drawn to those who are emotionally unavailable, irresponsible, and who have an addiction. There are control games involved:
1. Emotionally Unavailable: The codependent works hard at seemingly making an emotional connection. However, they select people who just can’t bond emotionally. The, “game,” is that the codependent tries to please the other person to no avail. They try and try – and this is the control. They are addicted to the myth that if the other person just showed appreciation, or kindness, or acknowledgement of my great gifts of self and good deeds, then I (the codependent), will be happy and feel complete. So the codependent keeps giving (with strings attached) and the other person keeps taking without gratitude or with a modicum of gratitude that doesn’t match the caring that the codependent so desperately wants.
Example: Codependent wife continually bends over backwards to cook gourmet dinners for her husband. Every night she asks him, “So how was dinner?” Every night she gets the same answer, “So, so!” And this makes her angry! Night after night, she continues her cooking gourmet dinners in hopes that she will get the answer she wants. Night after night she is disappointed. Her hope is that if she continues to cook lovely dinners, her husband will change and say, “Oh honey, look at this lovely meal you prepared for me! Thank you so much! I feel so special when you do this for me! I love you!” She is addicted to the hope that she’ll get what she wants…..she wants her husband to change. The codependent is in denial that her husband isn’t going to change. But she keeps trying to control for a different outcome than the one she’s getting. Don’t we wonder what would happen if her husband came home to a hot dog?
Example: Every evening a husband deal with his wife’s consumption of one bottle of wine. He watches her drink herself to sleep. He carries her to bed, puts her in her pajamas, tucks her in, and the next morning, his wife wakes as if nothing has happened. She gets up and goes to work. The husband is enabling this behavior, thinking that he is helping his wife. He is hoping that she will see that her drinking isn’t good for her when she wakes up with a hangover. He is addicted to the hope that his wife will change – that she will see that her drinking isn’t good for her. He is in denial that his wife has a serious drinking problem and that wine is her primary relationship. This husband’s life revolves around caring for his wife and her, “problem.” He lectures, cajoles, cries, explains why his wife needs to change to be the way her wants her to be – sober! And she continues drinking. “If only she would stop drinking, we’d be so much happier,” he tells himself. So he continues to lecture, and she continues to drink. The denial is that if he talks about it enough, she’ll, “see the light.” The control is – he wants his wife to be someone other than who she is.
To head out of this RDS – stop lecturing others, stop telling them what they ought to do, focus on yourself.
Next post: The game of irresponsibility