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Codependency and the Cheater

When Our Emotional Issues Affect Our True Availability

(Excerpt from the ebook Why Women Cheat)

"A funny thing about codependency is that when you are so focused on another they become focused on themselves, too." Tigress Luv

Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse, describes co-dependency as"a specific condition that is characterized by preoccupation and extreme dependence — emotionally, socially and sometimes physically — on a person or object. Eventually, this dependency on another person [or object] becomes a pathological condition that affects the co-dependent in all other relationships"

Codependents are the ultimate example of a persecution complex. They always feel victimized, oppressed, and self-sacrificial. Although codependents may feel they give an inordinate amount of responsibility, obligation, and worry for another and mistakenly feel like they are giving, in reality they are actually taking. The only thing a codependent person wants to hear from his unappreciative (of course, this is usually in his imagination) spouse is the words "I feel so guilty about everything you do for me".

However, in reality, codependents do very little for the healthy betterment of their relationships, or the wholeness and completeness of their lives. Whereas they think they are doing for everyone, they are actually doing for themselves. Every time they can feel over-giving and under-appreciated (their main goal), they climb higher up in their Ivory-Tower and feel justified in hugging themselves while they hang from their self-imposed crucifix. Codependents appear to be very poor givers, so wrapped up in their imagined glories and self-sacrifices that they never really, truly give genuine love and care just for the simple reason of giving it and not for the real reason behind why they do give and give. And what is that reason you ask? Codependents give only for two causes and one reason; to cause 'self-pity', and to cause 'manipulation' of those around him, for the reason of being able to embrace, nurture, and love themselves, and to feel safe and secure.

Although there are many, many books out there that attempt to explain the motives of codependent people, I have never found one that actually describes the reason behind what they do to my satisfaction! Sooooo, let me explain my theory (shut up and bear with me here!)... :)

As pack animals we are all somewhat codependent. But when codependency becomes the overriding force in a person's life they begin to do the exact opposite of what they honestly believe their goal is. Where most codependents think they are sacrificing themselves for everyone around them, what they are actually doing is distancing themselves and emotionally withdrawing from those around them, so coccooned they are in themselves and their own feelings of injustice. To contradict a lot of codependent books I am going to go out on a limb here and give my analysis of codependency: A codependent person—although it may appear that they are over-conscious and over-aware of others—in reality are only conscious of their own role in other's lives and not with the actual other person themselves. They only need to pre-occupy themselves with other's emotional well-being and feelings to see what their own status is to that other person, and how they fit in that person's life. Although the experts seem to claim that a codependent person is overly involved in other's moods, feelings, and emotional being, they actually are more astute to another's moods, feelings, and emotions only when it directly relates back to themselves so that they may analyze the role they play in that person's life. Many codependents have an intense need for acceptance and validation of who they are. They can be more selfish and self-involved then fiercely independent people are, as they are so engrossed in the role they play in other people's lives that they become obsessed with others' moods and well-being only as it relates to themselves.

Codependents lack in self-perception and can only identify who they are through that of a second person. They manifest 'who they are' only through another's eyes, thoughts, or views of them...and without another they are unable to find their own identity. Codependents tend to latch onto partners because of this lack of being able to self-identify through themselves.

Thus, codependents become 'emotionally unavailable' or 'uncaring' to others, unless it is for the selfish reason of improving their own role in that person's life. Everything they do they do to pity themselves or to applaud themselves...nothing is done out of voluntary loving or freely given for the mere fact of truly caring for another. Everything that a codependent person does is done to further establish their self-pitying thoughts of 'overdoing' and of being taken advantage of and for granted, "I am so unappreciated around here, they treat me like their slave...", or their self-worshipping thoughts that they are perfect and well-respected for the 'good' or 'right things' that they do unto others. "I am a great person, see how I saved the day!" These thoughts are based on the fact that because they are overly concerned with the role they play in other's lives that they become more acutely aware of how others do or do not acknowledge what they do.

Basically, the codependents motives are all about gaining self-pity or gaining self-respect enough so that they can feel safe and comfortable enough to embrace their own inner soul and give much needed self-love to themselves. Just below the surface of every codependent is a lost and rejected child that doesn't feel that who they are themselves is worthy of love.

A codependent is so caught up in their own little "I am a self-sacrificing hero" fantasy that they have no idea that they have no real identity of their own, and are actually (and ironically) never really fully available to another (although they believe just the opposite). Codependents spend an inordinate amount of time hugging themselves and finding new ways to feel like they are abandoned and unappreciated, or acclaimed and heralded. They spend an elaborate amount of time planning ways to feel more damaged and martyred (so they can heroize themselves), and to do this they must worry more about making everyone but himself happy. They must be self-sacrificial. Although they feel that they are over-giving and over-doing, they actually do very little real emotional loving, or make themselves truly available to the people in their life. (It is hard to be there for somebody in an honest and genuine sense, when you are being bitter and indignant about the fact that you are there for them.) 

You can never love a codependent person enough, for they will not feel your love, they will only feel all the drummed up sacrifices they have done for others. A codependent person will not hear, "thank you, I appreciate that" but will seek out and concentrate his focus on all the non-acknowledged things that he does do, whereas most non-codependents will hear the "thank you" and not really get to worried over the fact that occasionally someone didn't acknowledge something they did for them. A codependent person very rarely recognizes genuine acts of true love and caring from their spouses, but rather is hypervigilant to their spouses negativities or requests (which the codependent person takes to mean 'more demands' on, and 'belittlement' of, them).

Codependent people have a huge hole in them that needs to be fixed. They find temporary relief via another person's redemption through them, as it allows them to redeem themselves when they see themselves through the other's eyes. This may possibly be the reason why codependents almost always choose mates that have 'problems'. They can find a temporary patch for their own 'hole' by fixing others'.

The simple fact is, the codependent person is an unavailable partner. He becomes this way in three respects:

1. He becomes self-absorbed: It is hard to be really there for someone else when your arms are always around yourself in feelings of grandeur, heroism, self-sacrificial claims, self pity, and indignation.

2. He feeds off his partner's character and subsequently develops none of his own: When one creates in themselves a codependent inner nature they lose much of their own identity, taking on the emotions and feelings of their partner. Although a healthy amount of codependency is good for a relationship, an overly codependent person becomes a 'non-person', and teaches his partner to not recognize him, for 'he' really, truly doesn't exist! This means that, as a codependent, one loses their own identity—and without an "I"dentity you are essentially a nobody, and how can 'nobody' be anywhere, let alone in a relationship and by their wife's side? How can one love 'nobody'?

3. He unknowingly teaches his partner that everything is about 'her': Another thing a codependent person does is to teach their partner to be selfish and self-serving. Since, to a codependent person everything is about the act of doing for the other person (remember, this is his illusion), and that nothing is about them (again, his illusion), they subconsciously condition the other person to come to expect all their needs to be met by the codependent person, in as much as the codependent person, themselves, does focus on meeting all their partner's needs—but carrying resentment about it. They subconsciously train their partner's to become selfish, expectant, and self-gratifying.

On the flipside of that, when the wife is codependent she spends an excessive amount of time feeling like her actions aren't appreciated, that she is unnoticed and unacknowledged, and that she is sacrificing herself for her husband and family and not being appreciated or acknowledged for it in return. When she feels she is not getting the appreciation at home that she feels she deserves, she becomes more vulnerable to an affair. She may mistakenly believe that only another lover will understand her and appreciate her and all that she does. You can spend years trying to make a codependent person feel appreciated and loved. However, it's like filling a bucket with holes in the bottom. Codependents have this empty hole that only they can fill up. Sometimes you may be able to get it a quarter full, or even halfway full, but no matter how much you put in this bucket, it keeps falling right out the bottom.

To sum it up, a codependent person unknowingly pushes their spouse into the arms of another, AND a codependent person, themselves, will willingly rush into the arms of another when they feel lonely, unappreciated, and not respected in their home life.

For more information about getting over the pain of breakup, please read How to Get Over a Breakup

Article published by Tigress Luv & Glass Slipper publishing, the Breakup Gurus. For more breakup advice and forums please join us at the Lifted Hearts Breakup Support Forums & Community at

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