Here's an example of abuse and codependency in which a woman trapped in codependency needed her abusive husband so she could be the loving wife.
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If sexual chemistry is the only thing going for a couple, they probably should not marry...because it cannot sustain a marriage relationship in and of itself.
She could not cross Nick's social boundaries and become part of Nick's world anymore than he could cross the boundaries into her world.
Picture in your imagination Nick at a party for hospital staff members and their spouses...all talking about things completely foreign to Nick.
Marnie and Nick's situation had all the mismatched relationship ingredients to give rise to abuse and codependency...the guilt-based need for abuse on Marnie's part, and the anger for Nick to provide the abuse.
The non-sexual friction was as intense as the
If they weren't having sex...Marnie and Nick had few other ways to communicate. Well...you get the idea.
When a woman is high on the socio-economic ladder...with all that
entails...and her mate is not a voluntary house husband or Mr. Mom, and he is much lower on the financial-prestige ladder...the situation is ripe for abuse and codependency because he may well
feel inferior when he is constantly reminded...even by a glass of
wine...that she is socially and economically superior to him.
Marnie went into therapy without being aware of abuse and codependency as it applied to her situation. That is, until she responded... without missing a beat or blinking an eye...to the therapist's question..."How do you get him to abuse you?"
You may gasp at that question...but Marnie didn't.
Of course, what she thought was 'encouragement', Nick experienced as nagging reminders of his inferiority and its unacceptability to Marnie.
Everything she did to make him 'better' himself only goaded him until
he lost his temper. Her 'encouragement' was how she got Nick to abuse her.
Marnie only stayed in therapy for a month.
During those 6 sessions...she came to understand that by provoking Nick she was enabling him to have a sense of power and control in the relationship when...in fact...he had none.
She also decided that she would stay with him. "Who would love him if I didn't?"...she asked.
Therapy over. There was no need for it...Marnie was a volunteer...not a victim.
Marnie needed to experience herself as the loving spouse of someone less fortunate than herself. That's the plot of an abuse and codependency story.
The underlying dynamic in Marnie's case of abuse and codependency appears to have been guilt at her own good fortune...and an abusive codependent relationship was her way of atoning for her guilt (though she had done nothing wrong by being successful).
Social work efforts to remove women from abuse and codependency environments are often not a solution because they do not address the codependent victim's underlying needs that are satisfied by the abuse. And that is why so many abused spouses return to the scene of the crime...despite professional efforts to help them.
To read how a therapist...counselor...or spiritual director should respond to a volunteer victim you can go from abuse and codependency back to relationship boundaries. Or you can continue to navigate the site and