Codependency & Withdrawal from Toxic Friendships - Social Anxiety Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-06-2019, 03:48 AM Thread Starter
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Codependency & Withdrawal from Toxic Friendships


I'm not sure if this is the proper section, or if this topic even belongs on this forum.

Does anyone else come from a strong background of codependency?
Have you gotten out, or are you in the process of getting out?
Have you faced "withdrawal" symptoms from trying to escape codependency?
How do you cope with the withdrawal?

To clarify, codependence is the excessive reliance on another person for emotional and psychological support.

Feel free to read my experience below, but I'm cool with generic responses too because I know it's a long-winded read.

------------

For me, I have been codependent on my roommate (who used to be my boyfriend) for about 2 years, and am currently trying to become independent after realizing the toxicity of the friendship. It is a bit of a double whammy because he is an extreme narcissist, who I believe had hand in grooming my codependency and at the same time crushing my self worth.

We were/both very anxious and depressed people when we first started dating, and immediately moved into a "romantic" relationship. He love-bombed me -- made me feel special, handsome, intelligent, creative, valuable. He made meals for me when I was too depressed to move. He helped me go doctor's appointments when I was too scared. He even took care of me when I had to undergo a semi-intensive surgery last year. This was the start of my addiction to his validation, even if I didn't realize it yet.

Slowly he did less and less, gave me validation more sporadically. I don't know if he already had the inklings of narcissism before we met, or if it just exploded over time in our relationship. We broke up after having more and more arguments, always the same issue. I didn't feel like I was being heard, and he denied it, often insulting me and dismissing everything I said. We settled on, "We have different ways of thinking." We remained friends, and then roommates, with still a close bond. I think too close a bond. We still cuddled sometimes, and I found myself even actively seeking his validation, asking reassurance about almost everything I ever did.

It just got worse. Especially in the last two months, his narcissism seemed to fully rear its ugly, fully developed head. It became so clear just hearing the way he talked -- "Every boy wants to **** me." "I'm literally way above everyone else." "I'm not like other people. Other people are boring." "I'm going to be a billionaire one day," or "I'm going to be the secretary of education."

And these weren't just whimsies -- he fully believed all these things. He would go on and on about how great he was at everything and how other people are so inferior and don't do x, y, & z right like he does. He would dance in the street, sing loudly on the train full of people or the grocery store even when it's socially unacceptable. He believes he is above societal rules. People will talk to him, and he will hum over them and look at his phone the whole time, as if anything is better than listening to another human being speak.

But that wasn't the worst part. It was a weird and slightly annoying development, but at least it was better than seeing where he started, so paralyzed by anxiety and fearful of doing anything in case he failed.

It got bad when we just argued, more and more, to the point he was just gaslighting me and never truly engaging. My points were never heard. I was cut off. My "tone" was too loud or I was speaking too fast, and that somehow sounded like I was being condescending. He didn't understand me, even though I try to explain myself as clearly as possible in several different ways, so my point must be stupid, or I "don't know how to talk to people."

The breaking point was when I called him out on the narcissism. Once he knew I picked up on it, it was all downhill. Immediately, he told me that I was, in fact, the narcissist.

And then....Well, I suppose this story is getting too long. You can imagine the rest, but the aftermath is still the same. What I basically learned is that he legitimately has no regard for my feelings, despite superficial affection he used to show me and how he claimed he still cared -- He said that being mean is a fundamental part of his personality, and that he wants to hurt people. He has stated again and again that he will not change this, regardless of how I say it hurts me.

So, the person I was so codependent on for so long is no longer in the picture, and I feel lost, anxious, and most of all, so lonely.

I've tried to watch so many self help videos and articles. I've been talking to friends and family left and right, trying to get it all out. I've been writing a lot, online and off, trying to sort my feelings. I'm trying to adopt positive mantras for myself. I'm trying to remind myself of the reasons why it is best to move on. I'm trying to set goals for moving out, getting my career back on track, rebuilding my other friendships.

Yet I am facing this withdrawal. And it's causing me to do stupid things. I'm still trying to reach out to this narcissistic ******* for any sort of positive response, and every time I'm met with a negative reaction or silence, I just feel like I'm being pulled deeper into depression and isolation.

I don't know what to do. I don't know how to be alone and feel okay right now. I would appreciate anyone else's thoughts on this, especially if you've been in a similar situation.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-06-2019, 04:35 AM
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Well I had a toxic friendship but I didn't really like them at all ever from about the age of 6-10 we weren't even 'friends' it was just hard to get away from them because doing so drew too much attention from other people but I basically jumped on the first chance I had to get away from them 100% at 18 and didn't look back. It's difficult to write about partly because I've blocked out various details especially when very young, but I haven't really come across anyone else who has described a similar situation to what I went through maybe some similar details but it was just bizarre really and isn't really similar to your case.

So yeah I'm not sure about how to deal with the part where you still need the person for your own emotional attachment. I think it happens when you don't have any other relationships or support (which is also why abusive people try to turn people against you or cut you off from other people.) But you definitely need to get away from him because he definitely sounds like a narcissist and he's shown that he doesn't actually care about your feelings since he's OK with hurting you.

The difficult part is, especially as an adult, finding new quality relationships is hard. If you could find a decent quality therapist that might work in the mean time though.

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-06-2019, 12:19 PM
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yes and no. I've been dating the wrong people for a while now it seems. always bpd. idk why I'm attracted to them. but I dont think codependent because I realise and then end it. I just did 2 dates with the last one and aborted, so I guess I've had enough of that. but no one else pays me any attention :/. I was only with the main one for 3 months but we did move in together. and it did feel really empty afterwards. I dont make my own excitement or chaos so without her it was super boring and just... bleh. it takes time to adjust. have to stick with your decision. these people are quite dangerous to your freedom/happiness/etc. unhappiness is something you have to go through and is hopefully temporary.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-06-2019, 07:49 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Persephone The Dread View Post
Well I had a toxic friendship but I didn't really like them at all ever from about the age of 6-10 we weren't even 'friends' it was just hard to get away from them because doing so drew too much attention from other people but I basically jumped on the first chance I had to get away from them 100% at 18 and didn't look back. It's difficult to write about partly because I've blocked out various details especially when very young, but I haven't really come across anyone else who has described a similar situation to what I went through maybe some similar details but it was just bizarre really and isn't really similar to your case.

So yeah I'm not sure about how to deal with the part where you still need the person for your own emotional attachment. I think it happens when you don't have any other relationships or support (which is also why abusive people try to turn people against you or cut you off from other people.) But you definitely need to get away from him because he definitely sounds like a narcissist and he's shown that he doesn't actually care about your feelings since he's OK with hurting you.

The difficult part is, especially as an adult, finding new quality relationships is hard. If you could find a decent quality therapist that might work in the mean time though.
I'm sorry to hear you went through something toxic for that long when you were younger. I agree that my lack of other strong relationships outside this one definitely made this codependency harder to break from. I don't think he ever intentionally prevented my from reaching out to other people and making other, strong bonds. But I don't think he encouraged it either. I feel like I am partly to blame for that.

And I am definitely getting away. I have plans to move, I'm just waiting on him to find his own living arrangement so we can put in our 30 day notice for the lease. Right now he is also staying at his mom's place, so it's forcing some space.

The ****ty thing is, yeah I feel alone and I'm stuck questioning my reality even. Like am I the narcissist? Am I to blame for this situation? Am I the crazy one?

I'm going to hang out with some family tomorrow, but I can't for very long because I have to come back & take care of my cat. I wish I could just take a long vacation and be with people who care about me.

A therapist is probably a good idea, if my insurance will cover it.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-06-2019, 07:59 PM Thread Starter
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yes and no. I've been dating the wrong people for a while now it seems. always bpd. idk why I'm attracted to them. but I dont think codependent because I realise and then end it. I just did 2 dates with the last one and aborted, so I guess I've had enough of that. but no one else pays me any attention :/. I was only with the main one for 3 months but we did move in together. and it did feel really empty afterwards. I dont make my own excitement or chaos so without her it was super boring and just... bleh. it takes time to adjust. have to stick with your decision. these people are quite dangerous to your freedom/happiness/etc. unhappiness is something you have to go through and is hopefully temporary.
I also had a dating experience with someone with BPD, it was my first long relationship and he was originally my best friend of many years.

I think we are attracted to those types of people because we are both emotionally sensitive. For me in particular, I think I am too much of an empathetic person who wants to help other people before himself. And that's to the point where it becomes toxic -- where almost all your time and effort goes into thinking about them and how to fix their problems, make them feel comfortable, validated, and even pulling them back from the edge. With a narcissist, it's a bit similar, except they just doesn't care about your feelings, and they hide their insecurities behind a mask of superiority.

Letting go of that relationship with the BPD person was the best thing I think I could have ever done for both him and I, despite how painful it felt for the first months, even year. But it was necessary to pull out before there was even more damage. It gave us a chance to heal, separately, and work on ourselves. And I still talk to him occasionally, now, after having long years of distance. Suffice to say he has improved a lot, and I am so happy for him. Of course neither of us are perfect, but I'm glad we both grew.

I'm glad you were able to get out and not become codependent. Becoming codependent really clouds your thought process and thus makes it harder to leave. As for making your own happiness and excitement, I'm still trying to figure that out as well. For now I'm just trying to focus on not falling back into toxicity, and reaching out to people I know care about me in a healthy way.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-08-2019, 12:19 AM
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I think I'm sort of at the opposite end of the spectrum. I never really expect anyone else to provide any kind of support, because I've never really gotten that kind of support. I'm generally the one who provides it. When people do finally withdraw, as they inevitably do, it's not really destabilizing to me because I never really relied on them for anything. I might be very sad that they're gone, but for the most part, it's business as usual.

You certainly can't change anyone, so if a relationship is unhealthy, the only thing to do is end it. I wish I could be more help.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-08-2019, 01:26 AM
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I'm so sorry, man. That sounds like a hell of a situation to be going through.

I've had a few of those kinds of relationships through the years and I know how much strength it takes to pull yourself out of them. The best thing you can do is to avoid all contact with this person and be patient with yourself. It can take a while before you feel "right" again, so don't be discouraged if 2 months from now you're still dealing with some feelings. Definitely have the right idea by setting goals and focusing on improving yourself, but make sure the validation comes from within.


I remember the last relationship like that I had, all the warning signs were there from the get-go. The extreme neediness, hyper-sensitivity, the push-pull dynamic, the gaslighting, etc. I stayed around longer than I should have, because I was hoping to have that one moment where they would slip up enough to make it easy for me to move on. Obviously, that was a dumb idea, because the further along you go into these relationships, the more dependent on them you become. These people are highly complex, and it's a pipe dream to think you're going to have them "come clean" about their bull****. If they were capable of that, they wouldn't be ill in the first place, lol.

The hardest thing is trusting your judgement. It's so easy, especially with how manipulative they are, to be seduced by doubt and think somehow it was your fault or that they can change...

Nah, the person is cooked and you need to get the hell away from them. I promise you the more time you spend away, the clearer things become. You're going to look back at this years from now and wonder how in the world you fell for their nonsense in the first place.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-08-2019, 01:29 AM
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I'm so sorry, man. That sounds like a hell of a situation to be going through.

I've had a few of those kinds of relationships through the years and I know how much strength it takes to pull yourself out of them. The best thing you can do is to avoid all contact with this person and be patient with yourself. It can take a while before you feel "right" again, so don't be discouraged if 2 months from now you're still dealing with some feelings. Definitely have the right idea by setting goals and focusing on improving yourself, but make sure the validation comes from within.


I remember the last relationship like that I had, all the warning signs were there from the get-go. The extreme neediness, hyper-sensitivity, the push-pull dynamic, the gaslighting, etc. I stayed around longer than I should have, because I was hoping to have that one moment where they would slip up enough to make it easy for me to move on. Obviously, that was a dumb idea, because the further along you go into these relationships, the more dependent on them you become. These people are highly complex, and it's a pipe dream to think you're going to have them "come clean" about their bull****. If they were capable of that, they wouldn't be ill in the first place, lol.

The hardest thing is trusting your judgement. It's so easy, especially with how manipulative they are, to be seduced by doubt and think somehow it was your fault or that they can change...

Nah, the person is cooked and you need to get the hell away from them. I promise you the more time you spend away, the clearer things become. You're going to look back at this years from now and wonder how in the world you fell for their nonsense in the first place.
the problem I get is that one or two years later I feel like this time has been wasted and I've still not met anyone better. i start to think all that nonsense would be better than all this emptiness. so idk. till something better happens just kind of in limbo. I try looking forwards but theres nothing there.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-08-2019, 02:01 AM
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the problem I get is that one or two years later I feel like this time has been wasted and I've still not met anyone better. i start to think all that nonsense would be better than all this emptiness. so idk. till something better happens just kind of in limbo. I try looking forwards but theres nothing there.
Yeah, but that's a problem with yourself. I'm in the same boat, so I'm not sitting here pointing fingers or anything, but your emptiness is an independent issue you need to work on outside of a relationship. That's why these type B personalities go after people like us - because we're easy targets. We NEED their validation, even if that means sacrificing everything else. That's what they feed off of. They make the initial investment by charming you, making you feel special - catering to your insecurities, thinking you've FINALLY found someone who appreciates you. Then, once you're hooked, they feed off your commitment to validate themselves. That's when they start withdrawing, gaslighting, etc. Rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat.

But all of it starts with your own emptiness, because if you had a sense of purpose and self respect, then you'd have boundaries and wouldn't fall for half their **** to begin with. Also, and I really don't know crap about psychology so maybe someone can correct me on this, but I don't think type Bs go after people with confidence - it intimidates them.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-08-2019, 04:24 AM
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Yeah, but that's a problem with yourself. I'm in the same boat, so I'm not sitting here pointing fingers or anything, but your emptiness is an independent issue you need to work on outside of a relationship. That's why these type B personalities go after people like us - because we're easy targets. We NEED their validation, even if that means sacrificing everything else. That's what they feed off of. They make the initial investment by charming you, making you feel special - catering to your insecurities, thinking you've FINALLY found someone who appreciates you. Then, once you're hooked, they feed off your commitment to validate themselves. That's when they start withdrawing, gaslighting, etc. Rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat.

But all of it starts with your own emptiness, because if you had a sense of purpose and self respect, then you'd have boundaries and wouldn't fall for half their **** to begin with. Also, and I really don't know crap about psychology so maybe someone can correct me on this, but I don't think type Bs go after people with confidence - it intimidates them.
it's hard when you're lonely but definitely we need to find the right friends who really show you the care back and it's not just about themselves.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-12-2019, 08:22 PM
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They make the initial investment by charming you, making you feel special - catering to your insecurities, thinking you've FINALLY found someone who appreciates you. Then, once you're hooked, they feed off your commitment to validate themselves. That's when they start withdrawing, gaslighting, etc. Rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat.

But all of it starts with your own emptiness, because if you had a sense of purpose and self respect, then you'd have boundaries and wouldn't fall for half their **** to begin with. Also, and I really don't know crap about psychology so maybe someone can correct me on this, but I don't think type Bs go after people with confidence - it intimidates them.
Wow, I've got to be careful, bc I'm a lonely person looking for the right friends. it's bc I have social anxiety that's why it's so hard. if I ever did receive someone like this, it would be my first time and I wouldn't ever like that to be my first time, that's the hardest! Everyone, be careful!
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