She said, “He really needs someone around him so he can stop drinking.”
As I looked at her, images of similar codependent relationships danced through my head, and they were not exactly “sugar plums.” Yelling “Don’t do it!” at the top of my lungs was not an option, but I did imagine it before I started to talk.
As I found suitable words I found out something interesting. I thought I would use a story of someone else. I mentioned to her something like this: You know, I understand how you feel. I know many women who have felt the same way. They end up getting involved in a care taker role. That sounds very nice, and you may do that for love. You may feel important in their life. And that is noble and good, at first glance.
Let’s take a second glance. Perhaps you would agree that each relationship has a “honeymoon” phase and then it settles down into some kind of routine. If you think that a honeymoon phase can last for years, you may be in for a surprise.
In a non-codependent relationship, once the honeymoon phase is over and an eventual first disagreement shows itself, there is a phase of disillusionment. After this disillusionment, there may be a more realistic view of the other person and acceptance, or perhaps rejection.
In the codependent relationship, the caretaker feels “one up” on the person who is the beneficiary of the care. This leads to double disappointment at the disillusion phase.
That is just round one. The caretaker may realize that their strategy for finding love could use some revision (it is, in fact, a strategy and can easily be modified with NLP), or the caretaker may stay in the relationship for one or many more “rounds” of increasing disappointment. The caretaker will also feel that the other person is to blame for their misery.
I find it fascinating that we humans are “wired” in such a way to make this possible. It is as if we were thrust onto a game board and not given the rules and the tools to succeed.
We are wired in a way that makes it difficult to see what we are doing, to understand our own strategies. When someone points out our strategies, we naturally feel offended. It is the nature of the unconscious mind to judge harshly what it is we are hiding from ourselves. How COULD that be me? It is them!
Once we step back and notice our own strategies, we create infinitely more possibilities for enjoyable relationships in our lives.