What is a codependent relationship?
Do you constantly feel exhausted in your relationship because you’re trying to rescue your lover from one catastrophe after another?
This is one of the signs of a codependent relationship, and if you are codependent, it may be time to let go, and start looking after yourself for a change.
You may find yourself in a position where by you are genuinely giving love and yet unconsciously undermining true love by enabling your partner as well as depriving yourself.
Having close friendships offers one of the greatest benefits, knowing that our friends can support and help us when things get rough and unbearable in our lives.
While it’s not guaranteed, and should’nt be the primary reason to help others, in exchange for the support our friends give us during a crisis, most of us also help our friends at the time of need.
In a relationship between two emotionally healthy individuals, the roles of giving and receiving help are somewhat balanced.
Both people offer help and receive help from each other in approximately equal amounts. This is a dependent relationship.
Not so with a codependent relationship.
Most likely coming from past emotional problems and behavioural patterns, codependency is a learned behaviour and can be a result of many situations and life experiences.
In a codependent relationship, the codependent will not take any advice with regards to the partner taking advantage of him/her.
In fact, the codependent will ignore one’s own morals, conscience or discipline to do what their partner wants to his/her expense.
As if not enough, in a codependent relationship, the codependent will even feel guilty about thinking of themselves in the relationship and as such will not express any personal desires or emotions before their partner.
“The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too.”-Ernest Hemingway
This can exacerbate anxiety that is already present from codependent’s desire to always strive to make their partner happy.
Even more disheartening, a codependent will ignore red flags and stay in the damaging codependent partnership.
Clearly, there is no intimacy, or is inadequate in a codependent relationship.
It is quiet clear that there are some people who always take on the role of being a helper, no matter what relationship they are in.
These people tend to focus exclusively on trying to solve their friends’ problems at all costs. Nothing will stand on their way, even to the extent of neglecting their own needs just to satisfy or solve their friends’ problems.
Codependency can exist between romantic relationships, family and close friends and the relationship often involves some form of emotional or physical abuse, or both.
A codependent person is more likely to suffer from a deep sense of worthlessness and low self-esteem, and often tries to derive a sense of self-worth by helping or rescuing others.
A person who is codependent in a codependent relationship may find it difficult to relax and feel comfortable in a friendship where both people are meant to be equal and sharing a loving relationship space.
This “constant” uncomfortable feeling often lead to anxiety.
Codependent people may even feel anxious if someone they have been helping gets their life sorted, meaning they no longer want their help.
The codependent person may feel rejected and look else where to satisfy their codependency.
In a codependent relationship, a codependent partner have a hard time saying no to his/her partner, even when he/she is very busy, financially broke or completely exhausted.
They sacrifice their own needs for their partners. It is worth mentioning though that both partners can be codependent.
Codependent relationships are marked by intimacy problems, dependency, control (including care-taking), denial, dysfunctional communication and boundaries, and high reactivity. Often, there is imbalance, so one person is abusive or in control or supports or enables another person’s addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or under-achievement.Wikipedia
The most distinct personality of a codependent person is that he or she spend a lot of energy and time on other people and very little on oneself. Definitely something is not right here!
How To Escape a codependent relationship
If you are concerned about codependency and want to stop through self-help, your first call will be to self-evaluate where you stand in this unwanted compulsive behavior.
Once you realise you deserve better, letting go will be the best decision everRoy T. Bennett
As someone who displays characteristics of a codependent, make it your priority to recognize (with fresh perspective) these characteristics and patterns of codependency within yourself.
It is vital that you are honest and truthful in order for you to realise the benefits of self evaluation and break free from a codependent relationship.
The purpose of self-evaluation is to identify any behaviour pattern that may be responsible for fuelling your codependecy.
The patterns can be divided into 5 categories. Let’s look at an example of a behaviour in each category, and how to counter the unwanted behaviour.
1) Denial Patterns
Amongst other unwanted behaviours within the denial patterns, it is most likely that you alter or deny your true feelings.
Not only that though, you even fail to express your emotions due to fear of upsetting others.
This maybe something that you learned from young age and can be unlearned. For you to experience the beauty and freedom of expression, you MUST unlearn this behaviour.
Effectively, you are controlled by fear. Your goal is to reclaim control and overcome your fear with courage, integrity and dignity.
2) Low Self-Esteem Patterns
As an example, you maybe experiencing a negative behaviour of not perceiving yourself as a lovable or worthwhile person, and constantly seeking recognition that you think you deserve.
You MUST aim to replace this negative behaviour with a fresh perspective of self-acceptance of who you are and accept others for who they are.
Find new love within yourself and feel genuinely lovable, loving and being loved.
3) Compliance Patterns
It is most likely that you compromise your own values, morals and dignity to avoid rejection and anger.
This behaviour, coupled with being extremely loyal can lead you into being compliant to remaining in harmful situations for too long, even when you see red flags.
Again, you MUST find and adapt to a new kind of freedom. Accept that you are a unique and precious creation, so stop compromising your values to your own expense.
Learn more about how to prevent codependency and how you can set boundaries with your partner to have a more healthy relationship.
As long as your conscience is clear, overcome fear, act with courage and maintain your dignity.
4) Control Patterns
I have a question for you, again as an example, do you find yourself being authoritative, or often using rage to intimidate others so as to manipulate and, or influence outcomes?
While this may not be intentional, it may be a sign that you are codependent.
You MUST realize that you are capable of developing and maintaining healthy and loving relationships without the need to control or manipulate others.
You MUST learn to trust those who are trustworthy and communicate in a way that is respectful of them.
5) Avoidance Patterns
Do you often find yourself using indirect and evasive communication to avoid conflict or confrontation?
Or do you suppress your feelings or needs to avoid feeling vulnerable?
You MUST realise that you have the choice of communicating with your family in a way whis is safe for you and respectful of them.
Learn to become more loving, intimate and supportive. Learning how to communicate effectively can greatly help you to overcome avoidance patterns.
Reflection On Self-Evaluation
Through evaluation of the foregoing codependency patterns, you have entered a journey of learning to love the self.
There is no way you can extend your love to others when you don’t have it yourself.
Fill yourself with love first, let it overflow and only then is it possible to genuinely love others, when love is freely overflowing.
Codependency is a firmly established, compulsive behaviour.
You MUST be sincere and self-evaluate with a genuinely heartfelt belief that you shall find freedom and peace in your relationship with others and yourself.
It is important to realise that while you may be doing everything and anything for love, your partner may be taking advantage of you intentionally or otherwise.
This means your may both need relationship counselling to help you get out of a codependent relationship.