Codependents & Seductive Withholders

By susanpeabody 08/25/20

I coined the term "seductive withholders," in 1985 to describe the man I dating back then. This story is a warning to codependents. I wrote it to help one of my clients.

Dear Jill:

From your description of how you take care of him, it sounds like you are not just a love addict but a codependent love addict. Boy does your story bring back memories for me.

I can guarantee you that if all his belongings are still at your house that this means a few different things.

1. He feels he can come back anytime he feels like it.

2. He is binging on a new romance and does not need his things.

3. He is leaving the door open to return.

4. You are his backup plan if his new romance does not work out.

5. He is a jerk.

In codependent relationships, guys or gals usually bite the hand that feeds them until they  get hungry again. When his new romance wears off,  he will try to get back in your good graces so you will continue to help him. Do not fall into this trap. Pack up all his things and put them in storage for one month. It will be worth the money to not put yourself into temptation by seeing him. He will probably be seductive and apologetic in case he ever needs you again. With so much recovery out there, a good codependent is hard to find.

Stay angry until there is a complete separation. If you forgive him now, you will be tempted to try one time. These guys and gals are usually seductive withholders. When they want something they are nice. When they have someone else to dance with they are withholding.

Despite your financial ties, get as close to  no contact as possible. Make recovery your top priority as well as your children. They miss him now, but you are the one they really love. You are their primary caretaker and that is important. I put taking  care of men ahead of my children and I lived to regret it.  Your children will grow up and be happy if you can just focus on them for a few more years.

My biggest regret in life is being codependent in front of my children. My daughter went on to repeat my mistakes and my son hates me.

Build your self-esteem and pass this on to your children.

Do what people in recovery suggest. Rarely can a codependent stop trying to help people without some guidance and support.

Channel your love of helping people into charity work. Or like myself--a career. People who will be grateful and reciprocate.

Do not be embarrassed or ashamed. You are a good person who just loves the wrong people to much and does not save enough love for yourself.

God bless you and welcome to recovery


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