writing-program

CODEPENDENCY DIARY WEEK 7: ADDICTION

Today, we highlight T who cannot seem to keep away from the “bad boys”. Time after time, she has been involved with men who have ultimately left her emotionally, physically and financially ruined. Yet she still goes back for more and cannot seem to help herself. This last time has been especially hard. After trying to set boundaries, T was ceremoniously left and is now alone again. Being alone is driving her to the brink of despair and she has tried to make herself feel better by excess shopping. From one addiction to another. Here is her story.

My therapist has tried to make me see how destructive my addiction to emotionally distant men is. Logically, I know this but on a deeper level, I cannot accept it. I feel they are the only type for me and I see it as a mission to “fix” them and finally find the right man. I reject anyone who tries to tell me differently and my focus is purely on the man I am obsessing towards.  I give them everything…money, time..anything they want…as long as they stay. Of course, they don’t for long and each time it happens, I feel worse. I have another man chasing me at present who is available and always calling me but I am not interested. It doesn’t feel right. My last partner was never so present and it was me doing all the chasing. I felt in control but ultimately, I finished it and then two days later changed my mind. He told me to forget it and he was already seeing someone else. I am devastated. I now can’t keep out of shops or the internet. I am buying clothes and items I do not need or want but I can’t stop. All I want is for him to come back.

During therapy, T revealed that she had a very distant relationship with her alcoholic father who she constantly cared for. When he was sober, he seemed caring and attentive. However, when drunk, he became violent and abusive. Her “job” was to make sure he got home and this meant constantly searching for him and making sure he was ok. There was never any gratitude shown and T lived in a constant state of caring and being rejected. This ugly pattern has carried on into her adulthood and she is always attracted to similar men to her father. It is often the case with codependents that unresolved issues in childhood are carried over and the same scenario plays out over and over again. T does not know what true love is or has she ever experienced it. She sees herself as the one who has to care, sacrifice and be vigilant for other people’s needs and wants. She has no real relationship with Self and her only gratification is the instant kind that comes with buying and spending money. She has no idea how to give to herself in any other way. T is a difficult client who often misses sessions when challenged and often plays the victim saying that she deserves all she gets “for being stupid and dumb”. Interestingly, her father had used these terms often when interacting with her. In therapy, we are “sticking at it”, trying to help her practically to save money, avoid unnecessary purchasing and to look at the much deeper issues that drive that “stupid and dumb” belief.

Dr. Nicholas Jenner is a counseling psychologist in private practice working with individuals, couples, groups and companies with a speciality in CBT techniques. Apart from seeing clients face-to-face, Dr. Jenner also runs a thriving online therapy business bringing help to those who find taking therapy online as convenient and tailored for their needs. More Details HERE

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