Sunday, January 13, 2008


BEING OTHER-ABSORBED

Being self-absorbed is bad, right? We hate those people, right? It's good to be completely selfless. We must give freely of ourselves. We must be concerned for others. We must always do for others, as we would have them do for us.

If only they would actually DO for us.

Sometimes that happens.

When you are in a healthy relationship that happens. You do, they do, fair and square.

I've had a couple of those. They are really great. Those are the relationships in my life I'd categorize as "easy." But most I would consider high maintenance. Exhausting. Frustrating. Confusing. Constant. Depleting. Tiring. High highs and low lows.

So what is it about ME that keeps finding these people? Are there really so damn many out there that I can't help but keep running into them?

A friend and I were talking Friday, and she mentioned a book she'd picked up and found helpful. As she continued to describe it, I continued to know I needed to read it. ASAP. She dropped it off later that day and despite all the "games" I endured yesterday, I'm almost done. It answers so many things for me, and upsettingly, raises so many more questions.

What I love about this book is it is KIND to we co-dependent types! It's written by therapist that works a lot with co-dependents, and particularly as they deal with narcissists, borderlines and adults with ADHD. Check, check, check. That would be me, me, me.

And now I know why. I know why I know a disproportionate number of these people. I was groomed for the job. Beautifully groomed. Honor student. And until I finally "got" this, I was doomed to keep drawing these people to me with my A+ ability to feed their never sated appetite for attention, praise, accolades and empathy. NEVER. ENDING.

Listen to this...

"The more narcissistic, self-absorbed, or 'me focused' an individual is, the more she is caught in the perpetual striving to feel important, valued, stable and secure. The codependent individual, who is 'other focused,' is stuck striving for a sense of self by gaining and maintaining the acceptance and approval of others (primarily through their ability to give - especially empathy). The narcissistic individual typically externalizes her flaws onto others and defends against the self-reflection that would require developing empathy for others. Similarly, the codependent is the person who internalizes the flaws of others onto herself and defends against recognizing her need to develop her strengths through self-assertion and self-care."

Yea. A little like that.

And here's the clincher. Our tremendous outpouring of love for them will not change them. They are unlikely to EVER change. But we will die trying!

Unless we abandon the cause.

I like to fight a fight worth fighting. I'm going for world peace. I think I have a good shot at it.

15 comments:

Deb said...

If we were all as ready to look inward with such laser sharp vision as you, dear Carrie, world peace would already be here. Great reflecting. Powerful wrestling. Amazing woman!

RED said...

Back from the dead, your old friend
RED here, Carrie, to say THANK
YOU for this post! Hubbie and I have been bewildered for YEARS as to why I attract HUGE narcissists into my life, and suck my soul dry! Doesn't it seem like there are more and more of them all the time? Could it be the parenting of the last couple of decades to blame? Anyways, I will definetely read this book--thanks again!

Jess said...

Very interesting. Not that I have any idea what you're talking about here. Nope, none.

Jerri said...

Fascinating.

Would love to write a witty, deep, wise comment, but I've got to go. The bookstore is calling me.

Thanks for letting me know about this. Sounds like exactly what I need right now.

La La said...

SHIT! SHIT! SHIT! I'm ordering that book right now. I keep grieving over these types of relationships. They don't see me kind of grieving, and then when I demand that they see me, they LEAVE! Then I grieve the leaving/abandonment and keep asking myself, "What's wrong with me?"

Then I f#@king isolate myself because of this horrible cycle I'm stuck in, thinking that the evidence all points to me. Ahhhhhhhhh!

A huge factor in the large number of narcissists who exist is the culture we live in. It perpetuates this kind of "It's all about me! Make me look good" kind of crap!

What happens when two "other focussed" people get together? Are those the easy relationships? If so, I'm looking for some of those people!

lo said...

I too have learned this stuff...the hard way.....
Still, reinforcement is always good-i must read the book!
Lo

Michelle O'Neil said...

Love.

Wanda said...

Yep. World peace is easier. Fight on, sister...I mean PEACE, sister.

holly said...

yes, love.

Eileen said...

So perfectly written and so very, very true. I have been stuck like this for years in there type of relationships. The need to please, is almost like a disease. I so want to get this book.
Love.

riversgrace said...

I used to think I had a sign on my forehead,and thankfully learned never to walk by gas stations and other establishments where I would pick up a wounded soul and try to save them. And then when you try to leave they act as if you have stabbed them. Fun path, isn't it?!

But TFA and GREAT to be one step, then two, then three away from that pattern. And you ARE!!! Just a past life memory now, right?

kario said...

Love you. Love this. Love that you're in to giving up on enabling other people. It's a tough job, but if enough of us co-dependents band together to do it, the world can only be a better place.

Love.

Go Mama said...

Well Bravo for the recognition Carrie! I'm so happy you are seeing this..

Bravo.

marge said...

Can't wait to read this book. Thanks Helen.

Amber said...

"The codependent individual, who is 'other focused,' is stuck striving for a sense of self by gaining and maintaining the acceptance and approval of others (primarily through their ability to give - especially empathy). "---

Oh brother. I was lurking, but I just had to pop in and say...Um, yikes. Hi. That's me.

I remember a number of years ago I read "Co-dependent No More", and had a lightbulb moment, because of this same message. I finally GOT that my mom didn't really NEED me as much as it felt good to BELIEVE she did. If I was not saving her, she would find someone else. I wasn't so special... So then who was I?? Again, yikes. And it has been a learning experience ever sense.

But I still need to be reminded of these truths. I might pick up this book. ;)

:)