Seven of Swords: Co-dependent Drive Bys
(c) Cheryl Lynne Bradley 2004-6
The Seven of Swords in the Tarot is a card that always makes me think that someone is getting away with something , or thinks they are. It is reminiscent of one person walking around blind in a snowstorm or unable to see the forest for the trees while the other one never apologizes and never explains - probably because they cannot articulate their grievance or pain - but then when you are in a co-dependent relationship that is generally how it works. The best description for co-dependence I ever read was in Melody Beattie's book "Co-Dependent No More" in which she relays this little gem of a story. One day you are walking along and you meet at toad. The toad says "Hey baby, give me a kiss and I'll turn into a handsome prince." So you kiss him and you become a toad too. It just doesn't seem fair but that is what happens. Co-dependency is really a poor style of communicating or relating to others. The co-dependent person is so attracted to the needs of the other person - and so willing to believe one more empty promise - that they completely lose sight of their own needs, aims, abilities and real friends.
Co-dependent people have a strong need to be needed and can be very caring and giving people but have found themselves involved in a destructive relationship with an addictive or compulsive person. The results of this relationship has turned them into someone obsessed with changing, controlling and curing the addictive or compulsive partner. They become angry, frustrated, excessively controlling, manipulative, bombastic, difficult to communicate with, miserable to be around and have lost themselves in the need to control their partner. They become bitter and guilty, losing hope and driving true friends away who don't wish to be co-dependent in a relationship that isn't theirs. They love to be the martyr but can't see themselves for the petty, immature tyrant that they have become. They have their partner on a pedestal, "All women want him and all men want to be him!" is their battle cry. They fail to consider that putting people on a pedestal is quite dangerous - they will eventually fall off. They are particularly dangerous when thwarted. Disagreeing with them will get you accused of being one of those "all women want him" people. Definitely stalker material, wouldn't you agree.....
It is extremely difficult to stay or be friends with someone in a co-dependent relationship. Their behaviours can often be irrational and they like to blame everyone but the addict for the problems in their relationships and lives. Blame is the singular most destructive force in any relationship and the moral value that will never allow you to change or move forward. You, as a friend or as a reader, "Just don't get it." because "You just don't understand." and "You didn't hear how he sounded on the phone when...". Their relationship is the only topic of conversation and they can go on for hours and hours and hours.....
As someone who has invested far to many hours in readings for this type of relationship and who has been treated terribly by alleged friends in this type of relationship, I am writing this article as a kick in the ass and a smack in the side of the head for anyone who is behaving co-dependently. I have found, for the most part, that it is not even worth it to try and help them as it always ends up in a nightmare for me. Back to that wonderful blame thing - they are the worst people to read for as they can only hear what they want to hear. They lose all sense of grace or dignity and treat people who really do care for them with total comtempt and lack of respect - the closer you are to them the more they will lash you.. You can tell I am not particularly sympathetic and nor am I willing to be dragged into it. I detach from these people because I have my own life that I am responsible for and I have to be good to and for myself. This is how you deal with any co-dependent relationship - detach, if not physically then emotionally, be responsible for and good to yourself. In other words, get off the emotional rollercoaster - it is your choice.
You can leave someone emotionally without ever moving out of the house and you are always better off alone than badly accompanied. If you are unable to leave the person, then you have to, at least, reject the feelings you have of being responsible for any aspect of their negative behaviours and establish some boundaries. Unfortunately, when you you bring up the issues of boundaries with a severely co-dependent person they have no concept of a boundary - to them the boundary is the last empty promise that their partner made to them. Well wake up and smell the coffee, the boundary is that if they get themselves into trouble or break another promise to you, it is their responsibility to get themselves out of trouble and to recognize how much the broken promise has hurt you. The true co-dependent will do anything to keep their partner from having to deal with any consequences for their own actions. Time to get over being co-dependent and realize that you didn't cause your partners problems and you can't cure your partner's problems but you can cure your own co-dependency. Of course, you will have to get focused on your own life and quit being married to their problems. You are living your life defined by a crisis ongoing and created in another persons life and you are abusing all of the people around you who really do care about what happens to you. Feel proud of yourself yet.
You are living a life trying to guess at what being "normal" means and trying to have an imitation of it in your life - if only he would do what I say and then we would be "normal". The only normal people you know are people you don't know very well yet. You are putting all of your life projects on hold and making this person your only life project - your self-esteem comes to depend on the success or failure of your attempt to control your partner. You are lying to yourself and lying for your partner - you always find an excuse for his behaviour - yet pillory yourself for the slighest fault. You aren't having any fun - you can't go anywhere because he might drink, he might smoke, he might look at another woman - keep sitting at home staring at the same four walls and you will become an isolated, bitter person who takes life far to seriously. I guess you have forgotten that in going out, you might just have some fun.
You are completely immersed in this persons life but you are not experiencing intimacy - oh yes, the sex is great especially after you have had a knock down drag out fight. Common mistake in co-dependency, good sex is not intimacy. You lose your mind completely when you cannot control your friends and family the same way you are attempting to control your partner - you nitpick everything about the people who really do care, but who are running out of patience for your nonsense.
You are most dangerous when thwarted and full of impotent rage which ends up directed at those last few people who haven't abandoned ship yet. You constantly seek approval, fish for compliments and think you are special and unique. You pride yourself on your loyalty even when your loyalty is misplaced most of the time. You are either overly responsible or completely irresponsible - usually irresponsibility sets in as you start adopting the attitude, "Well if he can, then I can too." You do stupid and impulsive things, call him incessantly, call people who know him looking for him and accuse them of lying to you, drive by his house, drive by bars or friends homes where he might be and accuse or suspect women you know and ones that you don't know of sleeping with him. Sounds like a person in need of serious help.
Admit you have a problem and be honest with yourself that you want to be free of this problem. It is time to let go of thinking in terms of what you "must" do or what he "must" do to fix these problems and take a course of action to save yourself. I won't apologize for being harsh in this article, co-dependent people have been draining me emotionally for years and are always looking for a psychic band-aid. You have to come to terms with what you think you deserve out of life and not some sense of entitlement that this person you are involved with owes you for all you have invested emotionally in them. I will tell you from the voice of experience, they don't lose a wink of sleep over our pain or confusion. The more baffled and weakened we are, the more they thrive. Time to stop kissing toads.