Do you feel exhausted from looking after the needs of your partner and end up neglecting your own? Do you feel powerless in your relationship? Do you feel that you are the one that is always making sacrifices in your relationship? You may be in a codependent relationship if you are answering yes to these questions.
Codependency, or sometimes known as 'relationship addiction', is when someone over-functions in someone else's life and under-functions in their own by caretaking,people-pleasing and fixing. A codependent is someone who cannot function from their innate self and whose thinking and behaviour is instead organised around another person. In spite of not receiving love and respect in return a codependent will stay in that relationship no matter how upset they become. This is usually because codependents fear abandonment and wish to avoid being on their own at all cost.
Codependents will typically struggle with loving themselves and in order to boost their feelings of low self-esteem will seek to feel good about themselves by fixing someone else. They will have loose boundaries with others and risk being manipulated. Such is their enmeshment with others they will find it difficult to know their own reality. Their innate self-care regime will be fragile since they are so often fixed on meeting the needs of the other in a relationship.
The one who is being cared for, usually the avoidant one, is also codependent as they are getting their unconscious needs met too (they are wanted and are being looked after).
To recover from codependency is to develop a healthy sense of self. Therapy can investigate the source of the anxiety about being single. Being on your own is okay. Paradoxically, when you are happy on your own is often when you meet someone more appropriate for your personality.
'Need' is often a toxic ingredient for dysfunctional relationships, as it is for all addictions. Healthy relationships don't have a chronic sense of need at their core. Two people can care for each other and enhance each other's esteem without any underlying caretaking, control or manipulation. A healthy relationship is when two relatively independent people come together to run a better show.
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