Codependency and abandonment.

After a rough month of self searching, I am coming to realize that I am codependent in relationships.  Some of you who know me well may be saying "duh", but for me this is a new revelation.  I must have been asleep during the lecture on codependency in med school...  I wish someone would have woken me up for that one.  It is easy to walk around saying she (or he) or all girls (all guys), and blame the other for when a relationship does not work out.  Right now I am focusing on my role and patterns in the tango of love.  I am finding that I have some traits that make things not work out.  Such as I tend to abandon myself before others have a chance to.

Thanks to a good friend and a book, I am beginning to see the roots of my pathology in relationships.  The book was "The Human Magnet Syndrome, Why We Love People Who Hurt Us" by Ross Rosenberg.  The book was not well written and was quite repetitive.  Also offered no solutions, but was instrumental in helping me understand that there is a problem and I am part of it.  The book describes the relationships between Codependents and Emotional Manipulators (Narcissists), the intense attraction that they have, that burns out into dysfunctionality.  The book also delves into what type of childhood makes a codependent, vs the type of childhood that makes a Narcissist.  It all rang too true.

Here is a article from his website that summarizes it.

Not all my relationships have had this dynamic, in fact most have been quite healthy.  Nor have I always been codependent, at times I can be a mild narcissist.  Most people and relationships have a bit of both dynamics at times as well to further confuse the situation.  It reminds me of our Psychology class in med school, where as we are going through the DSM IV manual definitions, we realize that we all tend to exhibit most of these "pathologies" at some time.

My recovering perfectionism plays into this in that many codependents have to be the "perfect" child, student, athlete, ect.  Or else they are not worthy of love.  This has gotten me very far in life, but has had a very big cost.  Many codependents tend to be in the healthcare or other "caring" fields such as masseuses or aid workers.  Many codependents fear saying no as it will lead to abandonment.  Of course this fear of abandonment stems from childhood abandonment...

In contrast Emotional Manipulators at the extreme tend to be in marketing, acting, or performers.  It takes a certain amount of self aggrandizement to get on stage and entertain.  Our culture breeds and worships extreme narcissists.  Narcissists tend to have to have all the attention and will dominate conversations.  Extreme Narcissists believe that others exist to take care of them, with no reciprocity required on their part.  Narcissists will have little tolerance for criticism and typically will abandon the codependent if they start asserting their boundaries. 

My natural tendency to want to "fix" everything makes me especially vulnerable to the hooks Narcissists use to emotionally manipulate you back into the situation.  My work is becoming ok with messes that I can't clean up and maintaining my boundaries.  And of course exploring and healing my issues of abandonment.

I found the following article short and helpful in looking at the solutions..
I agree with the article when it state that most codependents will finally break free when their anger reaches a breaking point and they cut the cord... (and their friends and family breath a sigh of relief!) The article also has some good ways to end a problematic relationship without perpetuating the codependency.