Very often codependents attract a certain type. Used to giving and sacrificing, they naturally tend towards partners who like to take and receive anything that is on offer. In short, it is the perfect fit. Codependents tend to be with partners who have self-centered tendencies. The equation goes that the more codependent you are as a person, the more self-centered the partner is.
This is borne out in the cases that I deal with and can be easily identified. However, there are some cases where codependents become involved with other codependents, sometimes without initially realizing it. As the relationship grows, codependency on both sides takes place. Like two polarizing magnets, the relationship has a dynamic of pushing against forces that are in effect a mirror. Both partners compete to give, to sacrifice, and frustration builds, when it is not received.
Remembering that codependency is a lot about control, it can be soul-destroying for a codependent to lose this control, or not be able to control. Having this control means an expectation of return, of sacrifice, of eternal devotion. The same process is expected on the other side. Something has to give and often does.
What generally happens leaves the relationship in limbo. One partner invariably becomes counter-dependent, resisting attempts at control and manipulation by distancing themselves emotionally and sometimes physically. For the “chasing’ codependent, this might mirror previous relationships where they were the pursuer and they increase focus on their object of codependency, trying to compel and commit them. For the counter-dependent, life becomes very confusing. They are not used to being chased and while it could increase self-esteem in the initial phases, in the long run, it is not sustainable. So the push-pull continues, neither willing to face the issues at hand, leaving the relationship uncertain and the participants drained.
The fact is that if codependency issues are identified and present, they need to be worked through before becoming involved in a relationship. This is valuable work and much needed. How many are prepared to do that?
Dr. Nicholas Jenner, a therapist, coach, and speaker, has over 20 years of experience in the field of therapy and coaching. His specialty lies in treating codependency, a condition that is often characterized by a compulsive dependence on a partner, friend, or family member for emotional or psychological sustenance. Dr. Jenner’s approach to treating codependency involves using Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy, a treatment method that has gained widespread popularity in recent years. He identifies the underlying causes of codependent behavior by exploring his patients’ internal “parts,” or their different emotional states, to develop strategies to break free from it. Dr. Jenner has authored numerous works on the topic and offers online therapy services to assist individuals in developing healthy relationships and achieving emotional independence.