Payoffs from Destructive Relationships
July 08, 2018
Sometimes it helps to understand that we may be receiving a payoff from relationships that cause us distress.
The relationship may be feeding into our helplessness or our martyr role.
Maybe the relationship feeds our need to be needed, enhancing our self-esteem by allowing us to feel in control or morally superior to the other person.
Some of us feel alleviated from financial or other kinds of responsibility by staying in a particular relationship.
“My father sexually abused me when I was a child,” said one woman. “I went on to spend the next twenty years blackmailing him emotionally and financially on this. I could get money from him whenever I wanted, and I never had to take financial responsibility for myself.”
Realizing that we may have gotten a codependent payoff from a relationship is not a cause for shame. It means we are searching out the blocks in ourselves that may be stopping our growth.
We can take responsibility for the part we may have played in keeping ourselves victimized. When we are willing to look honestly and fearlessly at the payoff and let it go, we will find the healing we’ve been seeking. We’ll also be ready to receive the positive, healthy payoffs available in relationships, the payoffs we really want and need.
Today, I will be open to looking at the payoffs I may have received from staying in unhealthy relationships, or from keeping destructive systems operating. I will become ready to let go of my need to stay in unhealthy systems; I am ready to face myself.
From the book: The Language of Letting Go: Hazelden Meditation Series
About the author
In addiction and recovery circles, Melody Beattie is a household name. She is the best-selling author of numerous books.
One of Melody's more recent titles is The Grief Club, which was published in 2006. This inspirational book gives the reader an inside look at the miraculous phenomenon that occurs after loss--the being welcomed into a new "club" of sorts, a circle of people who have lived through similar grief and pain, whether it be the loss of a child, a spouse, a career, or even one's youth.