Sunday, April 17, 2011

In Search of the Missing Piece

By definition, co-dependence involves a person perceiving an element of their personality is missing and they depend on others to fill this absent piece of self. This search starts in the childhood of the individual when the person senses he or she is “not good enough.” This message might come from the physical or emotional abandonment of a parent, bullying or rejection by peers, academic failure, or chronic illness. The co-dependent person takes the negative response from others personally by assuming responsibility for the rejection. When a child or teenager does not resolve this misperception, they spend adulthood searching for their missing piece of self.

Adults and teens who perceive they are missing something in their self often seek the missing quality when making relationship choices. Their ideal friend, romantic partner or spouse radiates the absent quality. Once their dream companion is found, dependent person will do “whatever it takes” to preserve the relationship. The means used to maintain the relationship includes clinging to the person, bargaining to prevent abandonment, and seeking to please the person desired at all times.  If the co-dependent person suspects their friend or spouse is more interested in an activity or person, the co-dependent person is likely to lash out at the other person with rage or withdraw into a stone like silence. This defense is likely to cause the very event the co-dependent fears: the loss of the person who made them whole.
Co-dependent Person      Whole Person      Co-dependent Person          Whole Person

The picture in Figure 1 illustrates the dynamics involved in a relationship where a person does not perceive they are whole. The illustration on the left shows the co-dependent in a relationship with a person who perceives they are whole. The whole person fills the missing piece of the co-dependent person. When whole person decides to leave the relationship, they are able to stand independently; the co-dependent person falls.
The propensity of the co-dependent person to acts as a victim or persecutor drives away friends and partners. The failure of the relationship might be enough for the co-dependent person to seek the assistance of a professional to resolve issues that contribute to repeated patterns of failed relationships. The relationship professional guides the person through taking a personal inventory of the elements of their personality. This will assist the person in identifying what traits they think they are missing enabling the person to gain insight as to the reason they choose people who certain traits.
The next phase of professional intervention involves guiding the co-dependent person through experiences that will help find the missing elements of self. Through this process, the person will develop increased self-confidence and self-esteem and become whole by finding the piece of personality they have been missing. Once this journey of healing and growth is finished, the relationship professional will coach the person in way to build a healthy lasting relationship. This can be accomplished through watching videos and practicing skills in role-plays. Support is continued while the person develops new relationships to interrupt the start of repeating old styles on interacting with others.

    © 2011 by David Gharat Personal Coach. All rights reserved

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