CODEPENDENCY, DON'T DANCE!
Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC,CADC
Psychotherapist, Consultant, Speaker, Professional Trainer/Author
The “Codependency Dance” requires two people: the pleaser/fixer and the taker/controller. This inherently dysfunctional dance occurs when one partner is a Codependent and the other a Narcissist or Addict. Codependents usually do not know how to emotionally disconnect or avoid significant relationships with individuals who are selfish, controlling, and harmful to them. They habitually enter into relationships with a partner who perfectly matches with their relationship pattern or “dance style.”
Codependents are naturally the followers in their relationship dance. When their passive style is paired up with a partner whose dance style is controlling and self-confident, the dance sizzles with excitement – at least, in the beginning. After many “songs,” what was once mesmerizing and exciting usually will transform into a dance that is defined more by drama, conflict, and feelings of being trapped. Whether the two are mesmerized or infuriated with each other, the compulsion to dance with their partner continues; neither wants to sit the dance out.
When a codependent and narcissist come together in a relationship, their “dance” unfolds flawlessly: the narcissistic partner maintains the lead and the codependent follows. Because the codependent gives up their power, the dance is perfectly coordinated. No one gets their toes stepped on.
Typically, codependents give of themselves much more than their partners. As a “generous” but bitter partner, they seem to be stuck on the dance floor, always waiting for the “next song,” at which time their partner will finally understand their needs. The codependent confuses care-taking and sacrifice with love and responsibility. Although they are proud of their self-described strengths – unselfishness and endless compassion – they end up feeling deflated, used and yearning to be loved, but angry that they are not.