Codependency can be seen in those relationships in which one person is codependent upon another person. This codependency is not just limited to invading someone’s personal space but as one person planning their entire life and making all decisions just to please the other person. Thus, that one codependent person creates codependency in the relationship to such an extent that they need the other person at every step of their life and that other person also starts wanting to be needed in the relationship and this creates a never ending cycle of “codependency”.
One thing that is important to keep in mind is that there is a difference between a person who is dependent and who is codependent. A dependent person may rely on the other person for support, care and love. He/she may do efforts and receive it back also. Such a person shares everything with the partner and that makes the relationship worthwhile and a healthy one.
Whereas a codependent person feels worthless when not able to make sacrifices and please the other person by doing everything according to that person. Their sense of happiness and self-worth comes from satisfying others and their life’s purpose is only to help others fulfill their needs. A codependent person’s life revolves around other people’s interests, needs, goals and values. Such person dedicates whole life to others and loses one’s own sense of identity.
The codependent person derives self-esteem, self-worth and self-concept from sacrificing everything for the other person and then the other person appreciating them for their act. This act of sacrificing creates a pattern of emotional and mental abuse of the person who is actually codependent on the other person. They feel valued and respected in the relationship thus feel good about themselves. This codependency is not just seen in romantic relationships but also in friendships and family members.
Warning signs of codependency in relationship
Sometimes, it is difficult to differentiate between a person who is just clingy or codependent in the relationship but with the help of following signs it can be done properly. A codependent person usually:
- Likes to do everything that their partner would approve of.
- Prefers to stay even in abusive and toxic relationships.
- Can sacrifice to any limit just to please their partner.
- Have no sense of happiness or satisfaction outside the relationship.
- Feels constant fear and anxiety as they are always doing something to make other person happy and doing desirable things for them.
- Devotes their whole life to their partner.
- Even if feeling guilty or bad about something, they won’t express it to their partner as it would upset them also.
- Ignores their conscience and just do what the other person desires.
- Can’t say no
- Can’t set boundaries in the relationship
How to overcome codependency in relationship?
A person who is codependent finds it very difficult to leave the toxic relationship because they have already attached themselves to the other person and sacrificed so much for them. But also it is a learned behavioral pattern that occurs from past difficult situations like failed and damaged relationships, toxic family, uncaring parents, experienced any kind of abuse, etc. Thus, this codependency needs to be treated well by a psychological professional in the counselling session. But also here are some ways that a person can follow to overcome codependency on their personal level.
1. Make alternatives of your current toxic behaviors
Make a list of your current toxic behaviors which you aspire to change and then make a list of what you actually want to do. Like:
What not to do
- Ignoring one’s own needs
- Pleasing other people
- Getting appreciation from others and increasing self-worth
- Be a martyr
- Always taking care of others and trying to fix them
What to do
- Prioritizing one’s own needs always
- Develop a strong sense of self
- Practice self-care and increase self-worth
- Don’t engage in other people’s life much
- Let others make their own decisions
2. Increase self-awareness and work on yourself
Before making the decision of devoting yourself to the life of the other person just try to know yourself a little better. Be aware of your own life’s goals, your needs and desires. After being aware of them, start focusing on achieving them. Also, try to understand that it is not your responsibility to help others achieve their goals as everyone is responsible for their own life and so do you. Try to work hard on yourself and increase your strengths.
3. Don’t become overly attached to anyone
Being close to someone or getting attached to them is normal but beyond limits, it will be toxic for both the individuals in the relationship. This overly attachment is the one thing that is responsible for the cycle of codependency thus one should set realistic expectations and keep self-respect intact while being in a relationship. Independently lead your own life, achieve your dreams and be happy with yourself while being with the other person and supporting them all the time.
4. Increase self-esteem
Don’t engage in criticizing yourself and thus looking at others for appreciation and feeling good about oneself. Instead, give yourself positive affirmations on the daily basis and introduce self-compassion in your life. Practice self-care and work hard to increase your strengths. Always have an optimistic view towards everything in life that you do and then feel good about yourself. Thus, it will help you to overcome codependency.
5. Set healthy boundaries
In every relationship be it a romantic one or unromantic one, both the individuals should lead an independent life with support and care from each other. Both the individuals should understand and accept each other as they are, share everything with each other, should have goals outside the relationship and have compassion for each other. One should define the limits beforehand and be assertive about it as well.
Consider Professional Mental Help at OnlineCounselling4U
Either you are codependent on your partner or your partner is codependent on you, in both the cases you are trapped in the cycle of codependency. If you have observed some signs of codependency in your relationship and want to overcome them then seeking mental help from a psychological professional like a psychologist or a counsellor would be beneficial for you and your relationship as well. At our website OnlineCounselling4U, various experienced and knowledgeable professionals are available and you can book an appointment of an individual counselling or a couples counselling with them according to your convenient time.
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