I am in a relationship with a codependent, and I am miserable. I'm a rather conflict-avoidant type person, and so when I have tried to do it in the past, I have been emotionally manipulated to stay in the relationship. Crying and anger are the two things I have the least ability to deal with.... I even moved to a different city in the hope that the distance would make him loose interest and move on.... That has not worked. I have been reading a lot of articles about breaking up with a codependent, and some of them say that doing it by letter or email might be the only effective way to do it for a conflict avoidant person.... I guess I just needed advice ... and maybe someone to assure me that I’m going the right direction.
Jack the Rabbit (age 24)
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Codependent people, as you have experienced, are extremely clingy and emotionally manipulative. If moving to a different city didn’t work, trying to break things off with a letter or email is unlikely to work, too.
There are two people making this relationship continue as it is. You are just as guilty of continuing the suffering as he is, and you acknowledge this by writing that you can’t deal with his crying and being angry at you. Therefore, the first person you have to work on is you. You have to develop, well, a stronger backbone. Realizing that his hissy fits are actually not genuine but are his weapons for getting what he wants will help you a lot.
Have you seen The Matrix? In that film, objects were not real and could therefore be avoided or moved mentally by those who realized they were just shadows generated by a sophisticated computer. A bullet is not a bullet and, therefore, can be plucked out of the air with your fingers or made to drop harmlessly on the ground. It’s the same with your codependent’s tears and yelling. They are not real. Yes, his extreme desire to cling to you like a leech is real, but he uses these other things as tools only. Treat them as the shadows they are, and they will cease to have power over you.
Next, you need to tell him, in person, that you no longer wish to be his mate. Do this without blaming anyone, but do it firmly, without equivocation, without hesitation. Be kind, but be clear that you are breaking up.
Finally, you need to follow through by never ever backing out of what you said. My sense is that you’ve backed down before, and this always encourages the codependent because they decide that your announcements that the relationship is off hold no weight. So! Once you tell him it’s over, you need to mean it and not let him get his foot back in the door, capisce?
Codependent relationships are unhealthy, so you are making the right decision to break it off. But you need to do so from a position of strength or else it won’t work.
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