In a codependent relationship, someone is getting their self-esteem and self-confidence from being entangled with another person. The partners in these relationships are not truly partners. Typically, one person is giving 100 percent, and the other person is giving little to nothing.
One partner is seeking to validate him or herself by getting their partner’s approval while the other partner is dictating what hoops need to be jumped through to gain it. If any of this sounds familiar, then you may be in a codependent relationship.
A codependent relationship is a dysfunctional pattern of behavior in which one person depends on his/her partner for a life purpose, identity, or reason for being.
The characteristics of codependent relationships are lack of autonomy, lack of self-sufficiency and unhealthy levels of clinginess. One partner, or perhaps both, is seeking fulfillment of their life purpose, solely through the other partner.
Anyone who thinks this hits a bit too close to home should check out these seven unhealthy signs of being in a codependent relationship. If you can relate to any of them, there may be a good chance that you are in a codependent relationship, and you will need to make some changes.
7 Signs You May Be In A Codependent Relationship
1) You make your life revolve around your partner and his/her interests, needs, and wants. You change your plans to accommodate what works for your partner. It is hard for you to feel satisfied with your life alone, outside of the one you share with your partner.
2) You are always trying to change yourself into what you think you partner wants, but you still never feel like you are good enough. Or, you might be the one continuously trying to transform your partner.
3) You are a people-pleaser and try to look as cheerful as possible all the time, regardless of how you really feel. When there is conflict, you are the first one to try to keep the peace. Though it might hurt you physically or emotionally, you put your partner before everyone else.
4) Your present partner, or perhaps partners in the past, have been involved with addictions to sex, drugs, alcohol, or other substances. They may have abused you physically or emotionally, or simply disrespected you. Yet, you remain the caregiver. You take care of them throughout their trials but get little in return. You tell no one about what your relationship is really like.
5) Your partner is the barometer for your whole house. When your partner is happy, you are happy. When your partner is angry, sad, disappointed, so are you. You partner decides how you feel each day. And though you may recognize that this is an unhealthy situation, you don’t want to abandon your partner by leaving the relationship.
6) You feel anxious when you are with your partner, always trying to meet up to their expectations. You have a hard time determining what makes you happy, and not just what makes your partner happy.
7) You don’t spend a lot of time with people other than your partner. If you see friends and family members, it is usually with your partner.
Breaking off the relationship is one way of ending the codependency, but it is not the only way to heal this dysfunction. The key to overcoming codependency is to learn how to find your independent happiness, and to maintain boundaries with your partner.
Find a hobby to do by yourself. Spend time with family and friends away from your partner. Talk to your partner about a healthy relationship, and don’t be afraid to ask for professional help to figure out how to have one.
Signs of a codependent relationship. Webmd.com. 9 August 2015.
13 warning signs you’re in a codependent relationship. PsychCentral.com. 24 April 2015.
Reviewed August 12, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith