Welcome to the second week of the Codependent Diary. M is a fictional character based on my client’s experiences. All events depicted here actually happened in someone’s life (or a group of people) in the last week. Permission was sought to use life events but no names have been revealed.
In this edition, I highlight M. In my opinion, M is a full-blown codependent who has a history of dysfunctional relationships and for a very good reason. Read a summary of her story below:
My last relationship has just ended after two months. This has been my life since my marriage breakup, short, intense relationships with emotional unavailable men…. self centered men who ultimately put the blame on me for being too pushy, needy and wanting too much too soon. In therapy, I am challenged to look at my behavior…. why I do what I do… and why I allow these men to treat me the way I do. I cannot help it. I become the eternal doormat in a relationship and adapt and change to fit what I feel the guy wants. When it all ends, I feel awful because my one big fear is being alone for the rest of my life. I would rather have anybody around me than face the world alone, no-one to care for me or see me as important. This is why I put up with my ex-husband who cheated on me regularly until he also ended our relationship. I see everyone around me in relationships and I am alone….what is wrong with me? Will I ever find anyone???
M is a classic codependent in many senses who has unresolved issues from childhood. What M did not mention was the relationship he had with her father. According to M, he was not only emotional distant but also very verbally abuse and loud especially when it came to discussing M’s plans answer aspirations. M was taught that she had to work hard for affection as a child while the standards set for her were extremely high. When asked about her ideas about how she felt around her father, she consistently talks about feeling invisible and insignificant and whatever she did, tried, thought was never good enough. As often happens, she is reacting these times with each new relationship that comes into her life. She revisits the old trauma and falls into the cycle of guilt and shame again and again. By revisiting these early memories and reframing these traumatic experiences using inner child therapy, M will in time regain the self-esteem lost years ago and finally find the loving relationship she so craves.
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.