I'm so tired of hearing people- professionals included- say that people attract unhealthy people because they themselves are unhealthy. "You are co-dependent"... blah, blah.
Here's the deal: You attract people who want what you have. Nobody looks a piece of slop and says, "Mmmm, I want some of that." No. They are attracted to your light, your goodness, confidence, beauty, intelligence, and so forth.
But here's the backhanded compliment. You knew it was coming. Or, at least I hope you did: You stay with people because of your co-dependency.
Let that sink in.
See, your newfound not-so-good-for-you friend, romantic interest or business associate was attracted to you for a reason. Remember I said, they "want what you have"? And they will try to siphon the positives that are in you and destroy what is left. Think of the thief who steals your gas and puts water in your tank.... Not good.
In all fairness, I fully believe that most of the leeches do not do this on purpose. They most likely are unaware that their inter-personal relationship skills are lacking. They are oftentimes oblivious to the fact that they are desperately trying to fill their own emotional void, rather than enter into a mutually fulfilling partnership. And, frequently they are suffering from unhealed trauma or attachment wounds.
So this isn't a blame-game. People do what they need to do in order to survive.
Nevertheless, Guard Your Heart
All finger pointing aside, what can we do about such things? First, we just accept the fact that people are going to be attracted to us. Maybe a few. Maybe a lot. Some, healthy. Some, not so much. We get to meet various kinds of people on different levels of growth and on different parts of their own healing journey. We get to find out about them, see how they operate in life and watch the decisions they make.
And then we get to choose to keep them around. Or not.
Don't miss that part. We don't have to keep everyone who shows up on the welcome mat of our life. I think a lot of us don't really get that. That's why we are swimming in nonsense. That's why we are saying, "Wft happened? How did I get here?" When really, we should have already done said, "Not my circus. Not my monkeys" a long time ago.
The lesson is: It's not only okay to 'pick and choose' your friends, it's wise. Like putting a lock on your gas tank.
I've honestly had to relearn this lesson from time to time.
The Problem With NOT Being Picky
The co-dependency aspect kicks in when we realize that someone is choosing- as a lifestyle- to make poor, self-defeating, unhealthy decisions in their life... and then we keep them around. In close proximity. Where they have access to hurt us.
We think, "Oh, but they are a good person," or "Poor them, they are having a hard time," or (subconsciously?") "I can help them with my love/ friendship/ sex/ money/ pep talks."
Knock That Stuff Off!
Realize that 1) people make their own choices and 2) even when they didn't make this (whatever it is at the time) particular choice, they are on their own journey to learn and grow. Rescuing them and/or excusing bad behavior only delays their personal, spiritual, emotional, financial and/or professional maturity. You don't want to do that, do you?
Integrity is a stake here. Yours and theirs. You can protect integrity and honor their journey by setting - and keeping - healthy boundaries. Soon you will find that you don't even have to worry about how to politely excuse certain people from your life. When you cut off the Co-D "supply," they will leave on their own.
Above all else, guard your hearts my friends, - M
Walk with the wise and be wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.- Prov. 13:20
See Confessions of a Former Doormat
photo credit: www.flickr.com
The Motley Ms.
Hi! My name is Melinda. I'm a saved-by-grace-er, lifelong learner, INFJ, health & fitness trynabe, Mom, #vanlifer, mental health vlogger, and Director & Clinical Supervisor at a Child & Family Therapy Practice in Northern California.
The Motley Ms
The Therapist's Therapy Blog