Codependent relationships have their origins as a way to describe relationships where one person enabled another’s addiction. This type of relationship could manifest itself from making excuses for them to miss work or providing the other person funds for their addiction. However, now the term is much broader.
Today codependency is defined as a relationship where one person enables the other in an unhealthy way. There is a heavy reliance on one person or each other, and It is a form of an imbalanced relationship. These types of relationships can erode healthy boundaries and drain one or both people from their sense of self.
Codependency can come in as many forms as there are people, and there are varying levels. But fundamentally, it is the inability to say no to a partner or person in your life.
Signs of a Codependent Relationship
Codependent relationships tend to follow the roles of “giver” and “taker.” One person gives all of themselves to another, and the other person has their needs promoted. This relationship can lead to the giver feeling like they have to give every inch of themselves to the taker, even at the expense of their own happiness and wellbeing.
- Avoiding conflict
- Saying yes when you want to say no
- Providing money or other support for a habit
- Feeling responsible for everyone else’s needs
- Immense fear of being abandoned
- Inability to make decisions
While these relationships can manifest in many ways, it may be best to ask a counselor or therapist, either with your partner or alone, if you feel you fit these signs.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care for your partner or other people in your life, but it’s when that feeling of responsibility reaches unhealthy levels. You should be able to care for others as well as yourself in your relationships.
What can I do?
The first step is to recognize that you are just as important as everyone else in your life. You deserve the same treatment you would give to others. Being proactive in taking care of yourself is a great way to ensure that you are taken care of as well. Once you have accepted that truth, here are some other ways you can reduce your codependent habits.
Try to set up healthy boundaries that can prioritize you, not just your partner or the relationship.
Either singular or couples counseling can help you know what is healthy and not in relationships.
Talk with friends and family.
Sometimes it can be isolating when you are codependent on another person. Try and reach out to others to maintain a solid relationship with them as well.
Codependent relationships are a highly complex issue and one that isn’t solved quickly. It can vary in many different ways and change depending on you and your relationships. The most important thing to remember is to be kind to yourself and allow yourself to learn and grow.