I’ve been thinking a lot about this “I break relationships” mentality I have carried around about myself, and I’m coming to a new conclusion.
I actually don’t break every relationship I find myself in.
Rather, I find myself in lots of unhealthy, breakable relationships.
There is something about people who, like me, were raised in dysfunctional homes, which is attracted to the “addict” personality.
Regarding alcoholics, the Big Book says:
Selfishness–self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. Sometimes they hurt us, seemingly without provocation, but we invariably find that at some time in the past we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt (Page 62).
I have found this to be true of alcoholics and addicts of all types, regardless of whether they are choosing to use their given substance at any given time. The using might stop, but the self-centered behavior remains. This is only my personal opinion, of course, backed up by the experiences of my Al-Anon friends to the man. It has also unfortunately, been widely tested by me over the years, as I seem to have an attraction to people such as these–friends, work situations, spouses, and lovers alike. But still, it is not empirical data, just personal opinion.
I have historically been attracted to people who are predisposed to attempt to manipulate my emotions and cross my boundaries.
How can I blame someone for hurting me, when I have a proven track record of putting myself with such people who are likely to hurt me?
What happens next is the broken relationship part. I place myself in a relationship with a person whose behaviors are triggers for my unhealthy, codependent behaviors. I then find myself constantly monitoring myself, working the steps hard, calling my sponsor frequently, and journaling for hours in an attempt to not react with unhealthy codependency when faced with those triggering behaviors. I do not resent this, because it is good for me to practice intentionally relating in healthy ways. However, I’m beginning to see that these types of relationships are going to be way more likely to fail.
Wouldn’t it be easier to simply not become emotionally entangled with such individuals to begin with?
Well, insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. So I’m doing something different this time around. I’m at the very beginning, getting-to-know-you stages with a very nice gentleman, and interestingly, I’m finding his emotionally healthy, non-controlling ways strange and foreign! There is no game playing! He’s attracted to me, wants to be with me, and shows it by calling me regularly, either to talk at length or to simply have a two-minute “how’s your day going?” conversation. He doesn’t disappear when I show any desire to be with him (though I don’t really have much opportunity to test this, as he calls me before I have a chance to miss him!). He doesn’t run hot and cold. He doesn’t try to manipulate my emotions. I so far feel no unhealthy desire to do the “right things” or win his approval, as I have in the past with family, friend, and romantic relationships. In short, I do not have to work hard to fight off my codependent tendencies. They are simply not being triggered.
Obviously, I don’t know yet where this relationship will go, and I’m taking it very slow, of course. Snail’s pace, really. My breakup was tough, it was only six weeks ago, and I have no desire for another broken heart. My heart still hurts from this one. But if you’ve read my blog, you may know that I like to analyze myself, and to learn and grow from my mistakes. It will be very interesting (and fun) to see what happens as I continue to spend more time with a man who does not tend to trigger my codependent behaviors.