>The Complexities of Relationships: Part Five

>Show me a person who doesn’t want love and I will show you a person who is a sociopath. The rest of us want it, know that we need it, and some people will do just about anything to get and keep it.

That can be a huge problem if your desire turns into desperation. A few days ago I wrote about female interdependence and the characteristics of an interdependent person. Let’s look deeper at this and other personality types including the celebrated “independent” person.

I CAN DO IT MYSELF
We have been hearing song after song about “independent” women. There are pluses and minuses to being this type of person, and being involved with this type of person, especially if they are ‘super independent’. A person who is too independent believes that they can “do it without anyone’s help”, so it’s no surprise that they rarely ask for help. They view needing and asking for help as a sign of weakness and vulnerability; being independent to them signifies strength and a lowered risk for being hurt, taken advantage of, manipulated, or let down. 

Being involved with a super independent person means having to attempt a balancing act, helping when you’re not ‘needed’ and facing the reality that your ‘gifts’ may not be graciously accepted. For the too-independent-for-your-own-good type of person, if you want to be in a healthy relationship, learn to ask for and accept help even for the small things in life. If no one feels needed then they don’t feel the need to be with you.  

I CAN’T DO IT…NO REALLY I CAN’T
The complete opposite of an independent person is a dependent person. This person needs help for anything and everything. The damsel in distress, the mama’s boy who needs to be coddled constantly- this personality type is a taker in a relationship. They are constantly complaining and asking for things. Anyone involved with them will find that the majority of their time is consumed with taking care of them. This can lead to feelings of being manipulated and taken advantage of…this is a high-risk relationship.  

I LOVE YOU SO MUCH I’D DIE IF YOU LEFT ME
What do you get when you put two people together and one or both are obsessed with maintaining the relationship? No, not psychosis…Codependence!

A prime example of codependence was shared in an article by Joan Borysenko, PhD who wrote about her friends Diane and Steve who, “…were wildly infatuated at first, but when that initial thrill was over, Diane got clingy. She wanted Steve all to herself, and like an addict, she couldn’t get enough of him. He was her emotional lifeline. When Steve wanted to be alone or spend time with friends, Diane felt rejected. She was most comfortable when Steve was by her side, giving her a lot of attention and positive strokes, but Steve felt smothered.”

Think of the enabler who keeps letting their drug-addicted spouse abuse drugs, withdraw from life, and not accept responsibility for their actions. The enabler makes and accepts excuses from the addict. This is a co-dependent relationship. The addict needs to lean on the enabler, and the enabler needs to be needed by the addict, even if it will lead to the death of the addict or someone else.

Do either of these codependent relationships sound like anyone you know? Ever been in a relationship like this? It can drain the life out of you…out of both of you!

YOU CAN’T GET CLOSE ENOUGH TO HURT ME
The flip side of codependence is counterdependence which is a false sense of independence. This person is so cold and fearful of being hurt that they put up a shell of protection. According to The Psychology Wiki “Counterdependent people can reach the point where their self-identity arise from their acts of opposition and defiance and their behavior can be very disruptive, making it difficult for them to hold down jobs or maintain relationships of any kind.”
I shouldn’t have to tell you that being this person or being with this type of person can be like diving into a dumpster of razors. Until the counterdependent realizes and accepts that they are worthy of love, they cannot love others. It is as simple as that.

A HEALTHY BALANCE

interdependence – “a reciprocal relation between interdependent entities (objects or individuals or groups)”

An interdependent relationship is about giving and receiving, not giving and taking. It is about leaning on each other but being able to stand on their own. An interdependent person is confident and can accomplish things without the help of others, but identifies moments when help is needed and they have no problem asking. They can be counted on to help others and be there when someone needs them, but enabling is not in their ‘makeup’ nor is clinginess. 

This relationship is healthy, as it is based on two people who have a healthy sense of self; they are open and honest about who they are and what they want for self and from others. There’s no hiding behind a false sense of independence, or behind another person. They have healed old wounds, and don’t play into the games of insecurity and jealousy. They won’t enter codependent relationships, or they exit ‘stage left’ when they recognize they have been sucked into one. 

At this point we are at autonomy. This is the ultimate goal that people should strive for in life. In the world we all need someone for something, so we learn to be strong enough to lean on others during these moments without smothering them or making them feel used; but we also need strength to stand on our own, walk on life’s paths even if we have to do it alone. A healthy balance.

Of the five personality types which one are you truly? Are you being honest with yourself? Were you independent in your early twenties, then found yourself dependent or in a codependent relationship in your thirties? I look forward to receiving your feedback and reading about your experiences in relationships, both platonic and romantic, and the lessons that you learned along the way.

Next time we meet on Paradigm Life we will dig deeper, explore farther, and see what we find out about ourselves.  

Copyright 2010. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved. 

  

Sources:

Free Dictionary. Definition of Interdependence.  
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/interdependence

Joan Borysenko, PhD 
http://www.prevention.com/health/health/emotional-health/how-to-improve-your-relationships/article/d3988169c1903110VgnVCM20000012281eac____

The Psychology Wiki. Definition of Counterdependence. 
http://psychology.wikia.com/wiki/Counterdependent

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s