Today, we revisit our situation in week 1. A is still struggling after a major conflict with B. Things have settled but A’s thoughts are not in the right place. She is fighting codependent tendencies while B has moved on confident that the matter has been resolved. Without discussion, she is living and coping with this alone. B’s more pragmatic approach is causing A some concern and has brought on some insecurities.
I don’t know how to view the situation at the moment. I am constantly looking for signs that give me some indication of what he is thinking or feeling after the fight. I know I am hyper-vigilant and coming across as needy. At least, I presume so. I feel I am on eggshells and very anxious. The guilt and shame I feel about what I did are overwhelming. I am convinced his feelings have changed to the extent that it is only a matter of time before he ends it all because what I pick up is that he doesn’t care anymore and he is no longer engaged in the relationship. How can he be this way? it is making me less assertive, and I feel there is less balance in the relationship since the big fight. He reassures me constantly that things are OK but I don’t believe him and I cannot shake this feeling. My therapist is trying to help me to deal with my thinking and behaviour by looking at facts, and teaching me to look at the situation realistically. However I find this extremely hard.
The fight has rocked A to the core of her very being. Like many codependents, the conflict brought out a side of her that appears when threatened with perceived loss. Her rage was underpinned by her fear of abandonment she has held since childhood. Codependents often become very angry under these circumstances. Since the fight, her core feelings of guilt and shame associated with her core beliefs have taken over and she is desperately clinging onto the relationship looking for signs of reassurance. B has moved on and spends very little time thinking about the conflict. For him, it is over and resolved. This has fueled the flames of her insecurities. A’s fears appear unrealistic concerning B but this is her default position whenever she perceives impending loss. Hyper-vigilance, trepidation, and anxiety follow. In therapy, she is starting to work on her inner self to reframe early experiences and take a more realistic view of herself and her relationship. As with many codependents, this takes time and determination. A is slowly connecting with her inner child through non dominant hand writing and trying to learn to counter her inner critic, those voices in her head that keep her in her default position. She is learning slowly that she is capable of revisiting her traumatic past and being a positive force for her younger self. A is learning that her conditioning was not her fault but the responsibility for changing it is 100% hers. When she can reach a point where she stops blaming herself and setting healthy boundaries around her own and others’ inappropriate behaviour, she will be a long way down the road to recovery.
Dr. Nicholas Jenner is a counseling psychotherapist in online private practice working with individuals, couples and groups, dealing with codependency issues, severe depression, bipolar, personality disorders, anxiety, PTSD, eating disorders and other mental health issues. He has been practicing online for many years and recognized early that online therapy was a convenient method for people to meet their therapist. Working outside the box, he goes that extra mile to make sure clients have access to help between sessions, something that is greatly appreciated. He also gives part of his spare time up to mentor psychology students in a university setting.