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The Tarzan Syndrome and You


How can you tell if you’re afflicted with the Tarzan Syndrome? Simple. You can’t tolerate being alone; you swing from one vine to the next, or cling to the same one, knowing that you’re dissatisfied. During the periods when you’re single, you wait for a person corresponding to your neurosis to come along. Then automatically you act like a Tarzan follower. But whose team are you on: The Desperado team or the Emotional Black Hole? If you belong to the first team, your partner or those you meet belong to the second, and vice versa.


Emotional Dependency is a Two-Player Game: The Desperado and The Emotional Black Hole


When I discovered that I had emotional dependency behaviour patterns, I wondered why me and not him? Well, so did he! What a thrill to realize that I wasn’t the only neurotic one in every relationship! Even though the causes are identical, there are actually two different ways to live the Tarzan Syndrome: the giver and the taker, and they inevitably attract each other. I couldn’t resist naming them so you could clearly identify each one’s role in the grand co-dependency scene.


The Desperado: Very generous, you give affection without counting and desperately seek it in others, dependent on something you’ll never receive. Here, the more you sow the less you reap, ALWAYS falling for those you call moochers. In fact, you prefer someone who suffers more than you so you can save them. You exist only when someone needs you! Plagued by powerful emotions, often an extravert, you don’t understand why the other doesn’t live up to your expectations after all you have done for him/her. You’re the knight in shining armour, or the crazy cat lady. Desperado, you’ll do anything to fill in the affection, recognition and sometimes protection gap from your childhood. This drives you to do anything and everything for the other, to the point of totally forgetting yourself. Craving to be loved and recognized for your generosity at all costs, you’re totally dependent not only on your partner but also on others for their judgments and/or appreciation. Incapable of recognizing your own worth and qualities, you give everything for a bit of affection and recognition. With you, no previews! The other gets to see the whole movie, including free popcorn, drinks and candy.


If you don’t recognize yourself in the preceding portrait, will you dare admit that you correspond to the following?


The Emotional Black Hole: You swallow-up another’s affection and recognition and give little or nothing in return. It’s just never enough; you’re a bottomless pit. Are you familiar with the famous black holes in space, renowned for their capacity to absorb anything that wanders near, and from where nothing ever returns? Get the picture? You’re cut off from your emotions, because your past experiences have taught you that emotions are dangerous and cause suffering. You’ve become an introvert: the dark mysterious type or the damsel in distress. Emotional Black Hole, you must to avenge your past. It’s a bulimia of sorts that drives you to demand and devour endless amounts of affection, recognition and protection that you missed out on in your childhood. You give just enough to bait, but then quickly feel that everyone owes you. You become more and more demanding, since your Desperado will respond without keeping tabs. You reveal bits and pieces of the movie preview, but the other will never be able to see the full version. As for the popcorn, drinks and candy, you won’t be the one paying.

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The Emotional Black Hole and the Desperado spot each other and inevitably match-up. Their neuroses feed off of each other’s. Have you ever met a great catch who didn’t attract you? Of course, that person was too well-balanced to satisfy you. Regardless, it wouldn’t have lasted because well-balanced people aren’t attracted to Tarzan lovers. They immediately sniff out the potential behavioural problems that would arise.


Tarzan fans are air pirates who hijack affection and take you to the depths of hell with them.


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