If you struggle with codependency, you probably also struggle with control. You might feel that in a perfect world, you would be able to dictate who said what and when. Your partner would always be available whenever you needed him or her. There would be no conflict because you would always get your way. It’s a great fantasy, but this fantasy is about as far from reality as it could possibly get. When people are in codependent relationships, they are almost never in control. You are typically attracted to emotionally unavailable people such as alcoholics or drug addicts. When you form an attachment to this type of person, your life becomes filled with extreme ups and downs. On the rare occasions when you are getting your way in your relationships, you are deliriously happy. More often, your partner falls short of your hopes and expectations. Your relationships are often filled with drama and constant chaos, and you keep trying to make everything better.
Struggle to Be Constantly Connected
What is it that you are looking for in your troubled relationships? When you are a love addict, you crave companionship and connectedness at all times. Nothing makes you feel happier and more fulfilled than being next to the one you love. As long as you know where he or she is, and as long as you feel like you are getting the amount of love and attention you feel you need, everything is OK. Your loved one is like a security blanket that you are afraid to lose sight of. But you rarely feel like your needs are being met. You probably have a deep-seated fear of abandonment, and every time your partner distances himself or herself even a little bit, you are likely to panic. You may start to call or text your partner repeatedly without giving him or her time to respond. You look for signs that your partner is letting you down, and your neediness and clinginess creates a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Efforts to Control the Uncontrollable
Your tendency to be needy and clingy isn’t the only problem. Since you are also likely to be attracted to people who are emotionally unavailable, your relationships are often doomed before they actually get started. Many love addicts repeatedly become involved with troubled individuals who have problems with addiction or mental illness. You are driven by a desire to nurture and fix what is wrong with your partner. Underneath your nurturing tendencies is actually a desire to control your partner and get him or her to change. But your partner probably doesn’t want to change. He or she repeatedly lets you down, and you keep hanging on and hoping that things will get better. You find that you can’t make your partner do or say what you want. Even though you are unfulfilled in your relationships, you stay in them. You may think you are looking for stability and security, but you are repeatedly attracted to people who can’t or won’t give to you as much love and attention as you need.
Addiction vs. Love
A truly loving relationship consists of give and take. It is made up of two people who value and cherish each other’s wants and desires. When you are truly in a loving relationship, you don’t have to force anything to happen and you don’t have to make demands or ultimatums. One way that an alcoholic can recognize a problem with alcohol is that he is constantly struggling to control his drinking. People who are addicted to love and relationships have a similar pattern. If your relationships usually consist of power struggles and if you find that you’re continually trying to control the dynamics of relationships, you have to recognize that your own way of relating is unhealthy and out of control. Healing from love addiction involves learning to take care of yourself. You deserve to be loved and cherished. You shouldn’t have to manipulate others to make that happen. With the help of Co-Dependents Anonymous or a counselor who is trained in treating love addiction, you can learn to stop struggling for control in your relationships.