My name is Sam Vaknin, and I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.
I wrote the following entry for her blog as a guest author.
First, such an addiction is an organizing principle. It serves to explain behaviors and events within a coherent narrative, a fictional story, or a frame of reference.
So, people would say, I acted this way because.
Second, this dependence or addiction gives meaning to life.
Third, the constant ups and downs satisfy your need for excitement and thrills.
Fourth, and most crucially, your addiction and emotional ability place you at the center of attention and allow you to manipulate people around you to do your bidding.
So, while you can surely survive without your intimate partner, you believe erroneously that you cannot go on living without your addiction to him or her.
You experience your dependence as a warm and familiar comfort zone. You are addicted to and dependent on your dependence, not on your partner.
But you attribute the source of this dependence, the source of this addiction to boyfriends, maids, spouses, children, parents, anyone who happens to fit the bill, and the plot of your narrative.
But the truth is that they come and go. Your addiction remains intact. They are interchangeable. Your dependence is immutable.
So, what can you do about it?
Extreme cases of co-dependence, known as dependent or borderline personality disorders, require professional help. Luckily, most people with dependent traits and behaviors are clustered somewhere in the middle of a spectrum of dependence.
Here are a few simple rules.
First of all, help yourself by realizing that the world never comes to an end when relationships do. It is your dependence which reacts with desperation, without you.
Next, analyze your addiction. What are the stories and narratives that underlie it? Do you tend to idealize your intimate partner? If so, can you see him or her in a more realistic light, words and all? Are you anxious about being abandoned? Why? Have you been dramatically abandoned in the past as a child, perhaps?
Write down and describe the worst possible scenario. The relationship is over and he or she leaves you. For good.
Is your physical survival at stake? Of course not.
Number four, make a list of all the consequences of the breakup.
In right, next to each result and outcome, what you can and intend to do about it. Armed with this plan of action, you are bound to feel safer and more confident.
Finally, make sure to share your thoughts, fears and emotions with friends and family. Social support is indispensable. One good friend is worth a hundred therapy sessions. Good luck.