Welcome to the latest episode of our codependent diary. The situations described in this diary are fictional and do not specifically depict real life cases. They will however resonate with anyone who suffers from codependent issues as they are based on my experience of treating codependency.
Today, we meet W who is approaching the end of her relationship with the help of therapy. W has been in a relationship with T for 5 years and fully admits that she gets nothing in terms of having her needs met. W has always hoped that T would end the relationship and leave but until this point, that has not happened. W wants to leave T and go “no contact”, a measure that protects codependents from abuse while they recover. W is full of trepidation about this for a myriad of reasons. Here is her story.
This man has walked all over me for five years. He abuses me, cheats on me, takes me for granted and takes all my money. I seem totally powerless to stop him and to protect myself. My logical brain tells me to get out but I just can’t…I don’t have the strength to face him or the future. He can do what he wants to me. I am depressed and have no motivation to change or do anything for myself. Of course, I know where all this came from but that is a painful part of my life that I find difficult to talk about or actually, to even think about. That seems so long ago when I can’t face the present or future as it stands. My therapist is talking to me constantly about no contact after I find the courage to leave T and then to slowly work on me. This will be hard, I know. It calls for a lot of mental strength and willpower….
When a codependent becomes involved with a partner who has narcissist tendencies, just leaving them is not the full answer to their issues. That is difficult enough but then the work really starts and as W mentioned, takes mental strength and willpower. The kind that they have probably never been able to show before. It means not only avoiding contact with an ex but totally resisting the temptation to make contact themselves, check social media and find excuses to meet. It is cold turkey from the love addiction but recommended for recovery. After a break up with a toxic partner, it is one of life’s necessary evils. No-one really likes doing it especially when you are also dealing with a breakup but in order to really heal and move on and more importantly put work in that ensures you are wiser next time, it is pretty much non-negotiable. Not speaking to, seeing, texting, sleeping with, emailing or hoping that any of these will come from the other side is crucial in starting the road to recovery and helping your head and heart heal. It is the ultimate detox helping you to clear out sadness, bitterness and hurt from your life while working on the core issues that caused the problem in the first place. It is the ultimate preparation for the next chapter in your life. Many clients I have worked with have tried to convince me that there are many reasons why they need to maintain contact with their ex but I always say that it is not me they are trying to convince and the more resistant they are, the more they need to follow the rule. It is extremely hard to start with but as with most habits, it becomes easier as time goes on. As work is done to improve contact with Self in a positive way, the goal is to ensure that the pain is worthwhile!
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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.