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What is addiction, counter-dependence and how they interfere with relationships

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 How to Recognize the Problem and Eliminate the Interferences of Love

It is difficult to determine what is sadder – the end of a relationship or being in an unhappy one. Neither parting nor tolerance guarantee a change for the better. In order to finally achieve personal happiness, one must free oneself from the harmful patterns that have settled in the mind. According to psychologists, the criteria for choosing a partner and interaction in a couple are directly related to the expectations of love that you got used to in childhood.

Every time a relationship ends in a breakup, you hope that the next chance will allow you to avoid the mistakes you made. You will be sincere in what you want and will not betray your true desires. However, because of the psychological trauma experienced at an early age, you are drawn to emotional abusers, narcissists, and morally unstable characters. A good guy, ready to go to any lengths for you, seems boring, predictable, and unsexy. You are attracted to those whose attention must be sought and feelings must be earned, because that is how you were loved when you were a child.

Falling in love with people with whom it is unrealistic to build a healthy relationship, you step on the same rake over and over again and repeat the same scenarios. Or are you generally afraid to start, because you once experienced a painful separation, which you could not cope with.

“The reluctance to enter into a serious relationship manifests a psychological phenomenon called “counterdependence” – a disoriented, anxious-avoidant type of attachment that interferes with establishing genuine intimacy with a partner,” says Evgenia Smolenskaya, a clinical psychologist at the Mental Health Center.

How is contradependence different from addiction?

Relationship addiction or co-dependency is a violation of attachment, in which you define the object of your love as the center of the universe and selflessly strive to completely dissolve in a partner, sacrificing anything, including your own principles and interests, if only he was well.

Counterdependence is also an attachment disorder, but in a different way. This psychological distortion encourages you to avoid intimacy, although the person is very dear to you. This style of love can be called “Dog in the Manger” – like the film of the same name based on the play by Lope de Vega with the beautiful Terekhova and the young Boyarsky. She burns with passion and desperately needs his love, but she does not trust him and is afraid of the development of events.

If co-dependents come across as soft, pliable and compliant, then counter-addicts seem strong, cold, and sometimes cruel.

Counteraddicts tend to blame their partner for their own discomfort. Codependents, on the contrary, are ready to take all the blame on themselves.

Each counter-dependent person has their own “starting point” – a moment of frightening realization that it is time to move the relationship to a new level. For example, getting to know your parents or taking a vacation together pops up on the agenda. Counterdependence is launched at full power and presses the panic button, and as a result, you begin to “visit” your sweetheart, just to avoid a new stage. Tellingly, the partner of a person with counter-dependency begins to look for a problem in himself – is he attractive enough, interesting enough, and in general, what is wrong with him, since he is being avoided.

Causes and consequences of counterdependence

The underlying causes of counter-dependence are distrust, fear of betrayal, inability to accept love, and denial that you are worthy of true love.

“Despite their withdrawn behavior, the person with counter-addiction is desperate for relationships and support. Without them, he feels lonely, like all normal people, the expert explains. “Traumatic experiences, unlived conflicts, losses and negative projections led him to the conclusion, rooted in the subconscious: “intimacy is dangerous.”

At the same time, the counter-addict does not seek to control the partner, manipulate him/her, or enjoy his/her suffering. He himself feels bad in this situation – he wants to build a relationship, but he cannot.

How to overcome counter-addiction

True intimacy is always about risk and vulnerability. If partners get the help they need and work on themselves, they may very well restart the relationship in a healthy way. An important point is that positive changes occur only by mutual desire.

If counter-dependence is the problem of the one you love, you need to be patient. If he is really dear to you, and you want to be together, do not put pressure on him or put him in a rigid framework. Such people need time to get used to, feel safe – and open up. At the same time, it is worth understanding that if you take on the role of a parent, trying to compensate for what was not given to him in childhood, sooner or later he will want to leave the nest.

“Without the help of a professional, it is not easy to overcome counter-dependence,” the psychologist admits. – Simply because at a certain stage you will not notice when you turn from a strong woman ready to support your beloved into a protective mother hen. According to the observations of psychologists, if one partner is counter-dependent, the second is likely to be co-dependent. It happens that the roles change: the counter-addict can become co-dependent when he feels his self-centeredness, and the co-dependent can become counter-dependent when he learns to be angry and realizes the extent of his sacrifice.

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