Like an iceberg in the ocean: symptoms of counter-addiction in a relationship
Many girls are attracted to men who are cold, aloof and completely indifferent to them, and vice versa. But will it be possible to build a healthy relationship with them? Or is it a psychological problem? Learn to recognize the symptoms of counter-addiction.
What is counterdependence?
Counterdependence is a state of non-attachment, denial of personal need and dependence on someone.
This phenomenon in relationships means a person’s unwillingness to “depend” on his partner, and the word “dependence” is perceived by him only in a negative way. There may also be an unwillingness to admit one’s mistakes and to notice shortcomings that are obvious to others.
People suffering from counter-addiction are not willing to share their emotional experiences or even real problems, just like listening to them from their significant other. They consider their excessive closeness to be self-sufficient and consider it a manifestation of a strong character. Therefore, it is so difficult for them to accept the shortcomings of their partner, they do not want and do not consider it necessary to help and support him.
What causes counterdependence?
According to Berry Weinhold’s book, Escape from Proximity. Ridding your relationship of counter-dependency — the other side of codependency, such a phenomenon as counter-dependency occurs at the second stage of human development. If at the first stage the child’s dependence on his parents is formed, when the baby simply needs help in all aspects of life, then at the second stage the child may have a desire to emotionally distance himself from them, to show his independence, but at the same time still remaining under their care and protection.
In early childhood, a person learns to trust people and builds the first close relationships in his life, and as he grows older, he realizes the need to build personal boundaries and learns primary independence.
And it is at this stage that counter-dependence can arise, which is primarily associated with psychological trauma. At this age, trauma often comes from parents inflicting emotional or, less often, physical harm on their child.
Physical trauma most often leads to a destabilization of the mental state of the child as a whole, but can also lead to counter-dependence. This occurs because a child who has been physically harmed in childhood projects the resulting pain into all kinds of relationships in the future.
Much more often, counterdependence in adulthood occurs due to the psychological trauma of the child. The main traumas here are: constant criticism in a rude form, the creation of an atmosphere that makes the child «third wheel», neglect or emotional alienation, the official rejection of the child. All this can make the child feel unwanted, cause anxiety and fear of relationships in general, and does not allow the formation of the ability to trust people.
Manifestation of counterdependence in men and women
Counterdependence is equally inherent in both men and women. There are no fundamental differences in the behavior of people with this condition. However, in society, especially among young girls and adolescents, the image of a cold, aloof man with obvious signs of counter-dependence is romanticized, whom girls always want to “warm up”.
And despite the fact that such relationships often become abusive, there is a belief among admirers of this type of relationship in cinema and literature that it can be changed.
Codependency and counterdependence
Unlike counter-dependence, the topic of codependency is more often discussed in society. But what is the difference between these two concepts? In simple terms, these are opposite concepts. Codependency in a relationship means a person’s focus on their partner’s feelings and thoughts, often to the detriment of their own.
At the same time, there is a strong need for approval and interest in everything that is connected with another person. Counterdependence means emotional distance from a partner and even neglect of his feelings.
And although counterdependence and codependency are opposite feelings, they, oddly enough, often go together. As a rule, if one partner shows excessive closeness and coldness, the second may have an unhealthy need for reciprocity on his part.
None of these concepts is characterized as an imbalance in the relationship, therefore, if symptoms of any of these concepts appear, it is recommended to consult a psychologist.