Table of Contents (Find Your Tip!)
- What Is Relationship Codependency?
- “A person who can’t function from his or her innate self and instead organizes thinking and behavior around a substance, process, or other person(s).”
- Common Relationship Codependent Behaviors
- – Lack of Healthy Boundaries
- – Control Over Their Own, As Well As Your Life
- – Over or Under Reactive
- – Feel Responsible For Your Partner
- – People Pleasing
- – Low Self-Esteem
- – Cannot Clearly Communicate
- How To Overcome Codependency In A Relationship
- – Be Honest With Yourself
- – Establish Healthy Boundaries
- – Take Time To Focus On You
- – Realize That You’re Worth It
- – Seek Out Professional Help
Every relationship should have some form of codependency. Relying on each other is important to meet your individual and relationship goals. However, when one person’s needs are being pushed to the wayside to meet their partner’s needs, that’s when issues and resentment can arise. Does this sound like your relationship? Then, you might be in an unhealthy codependent relationship.
What Is Relationship Codependency?
So, what is codependency in a relationship? Darlene Lancer JD, MFT sums up exactly what it is in her article, What Is Codependecy:
“A person who can’t function from his or her innate self and instead organizes thinking and behavior around a substance, process, or other person(s).”
If you believe your in a codependent and unhealthy relationship, ask yourself:
- Do you wait on your partner hand and foot to meet their needs?
- Are you sacrificing your happiness for that of your partners?
- Do you let your partner continue an addictive or abusive behavior, and don’t address it?
- Does your partner have control over you to the point you can’t escape the relationship?
- How much time do you spend thinking about your partner?
If your answer to most of these questions is Yes, then you are likely in a codependent relationship. Now, you need to think about if your relationship shows any of the codependency symptoms listed in the next section.
Common Relationship Codependent Behaviors
– Lack of Healthy Boundaries
Often, people who are codependent on their partner have weak boundaries when it comes to emotions and needs. Depending on which side of the relationship you are on, you will either feel as though your problems are caused by your partner or that you feel responsible for meeting your partner’s needs. On the other end of the spectrum, those in a codependent relationship might set boundaries that close them off from others.
– Control Over Their Own, As Well As Your Life
A codependent needs to feel as though they have control over all aspects of their life, including the person they’re having a relationship with. To avoid their world from getting out of control, they will often have some form of addiction. For example, they could suffer from substance abuse, alcoholism, or be a workaholic.
Just as they want to control their own life, they want to control their partner and other people around them, like family members. They will often use manipulation techniques like leveraging their addiction or pleasing their partner to get their loved one(s) to do what they want.
– Over or Under Reactive
Those who struggle with codependency will often over or under react to their partner. If a codependent’s needs aren’t being met, they may blow the situation out of proportion just to get their way. Also, if they happen to say something you disagree with, you may push it to the wayside and accept it to satisfy their needs.
– Feel Responsible For Your Partner
If your partner has an addiction or other issues, you may feel responsible to meet their needs and emotions, take care of them, or even try to fix their problem. If and when your help is refused, you will feel rejected and unwanted. You may feel as though you need to give up your wants, needs, and life to be there for your partner.
– People Pleasing
A codependent usually puts their partner’s needs above their own in order to please them. This may include not voicing their opinion, even if they disagree with their partner. In most cases, they don’t even believe they have a choice as doing so could cause the relationship to get out of control.
– Low Self-Esteem
Those with low self-esteem will often seek out relationships with someone who will worship, love, and can’t live without them. However, to achieve this, having almost complete control over the other is necessary. If the relationship meets their “perfect” standards, the fact that they have low self-esteem doesn’t seem to matter as much.
– Cannot Clearly Communicate
Codependents may conceal what they really think and feel in order to avoid throwing the relationship off balance or hurting the other person’s feelings. By doing so, they are giving up their basic human right to freedom of speech and free will. They might as well have duct tape over their mouth letting their partner control their opinions and feelings.
How To Overcome Codependency In A Relationship
– Be Honest With Yourself
The first, and most crucial step to overcoming a codependent relationship is realizing that you are in one. Whether you are the controlling one or the one being controlled, you need to be honest with yourself. There’s no way to move forward and salvage the relationship unless this is realized.
– Establish Healthy Boundaries
After realizing you’re in a codependent relationship, you should both try to set healthy boundaries pertaining to emotions, physical needs, and more. At the end of the day, you should support each other as individuals and try to satisfy both of your needs.
– Take Time To Focus On You
If you have lost your individual identity, you may need to take a break from the relationship and focus on you. Evaluate your wants and needs as an individual, hang out with friends, and participate in activities you enjoy. Get back in touch with the real you, not the person your partner wants you to be. Once you realize who you are and what you want out of your relationship, communicate this with your partner.
– Realize That You’re Worth It
Often, those in an unhealthy relationship will think this is happening to them because they deserve it. However, this is not the case. No one deserves to be treated as though they are lesser than what they are. You are worth it, and if your partner doesn’t see that, they are not worth your affection.
– Seek Out Professional Help
If you’ve taken some of the steps above, and really want to work towards repairing your relationship, seek out professional help. A relationship therapist will help you navigate the ups and downs of your relationship, understanding both sides. The desired outcome should be both you and your partner understanding each other’s point of view, and taking actionable steps to establish a healthy relationship.
If your relationship is the real thing, you both will be able to actively overcome your struggle with codependency. Looking to learn more? Check out the book, Codependency For Dummies.
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