Research defines codependency as a behavioural pattern in which you constantly seek approval or validation for your self esteem and identity. It can prevent you from having a healthy relationship and one in which you are constantly seeking the other persons attention and an inability to individually emotionally feel for yourself. Codependent people tend to display almost addictive behaviour which can turn into emotionally destructive behaviours.
It is true, relationships can be a boon or a challenge in our daily lives, depending on the kind of partners we subconsciously choose or attract. From a soul growth perspective, we are drawn to people who may either activate our dormant triggers allowing us to work in areas of life which need healing or partners who collaborate with us on a soul level and become our cheer leaders while together we do the soul dance.
Codependency is easy to fall into, especially if you have had a childhood deprived of emotional support or any form of neglect in the childhood in which either you were left to fend for yourself or your emotional needs were brushed aside, making you crave for approval or trying to get love from people who could generally be difficult or avoidant of your emotional needs. The dysfunction is so subtle, that initially in a relationship a partner who is being subjected to it, may feel flattered and wanted. But, once the charm dies the neediness can grate making the pull and push of the relationship incredibly painful to deal with on a daily basis.
- You feel confined: Since the time you have been in the relationship, you have had to give up on your friends, there are no more “hanging out with the buddies” nights. You feel guilty about spending time with your friends fearing your partner may not like it. It could be that few of your good friends could be of the opposite sex and you may resent you having to give explanations to your partner. Relationships are not prison terms, if you feel restricted chances are it’s not a healthy relationship.
- You can’t imagine a life without your partner: Yes, it’s cute and romantic doing things together, but if you don’t have a life of your own and depend upon your partner for creating happiness or a sense of purpose in your life, you can wave your relationship a goodbye.
- You give and give and then simmer in silent anger: You mother your partner to a point that they start ignoring your needs. In a healthy relationship, there is give and take and mutual respect. You have to practice taking care of your needs instead of complain or feel let down when your partner refuses to do that for you. Rather than remind your partner or make them count the number of things you do for them, maybe you need to step out of the parenting relationship and take care of your inner self. If something does not feel right, have the courage to say it upfront and not let it fester like an infected wound. Face the fights and arguments and practice standing up for yourself. Either your relationship will evolve and change or you will have clarity in which direction to move.
Being a helpless spectator in your relationship is no fun. The truth is, no one can make us feel better about ourselves. This is self work. Yes, if you manage to find a secure partner who is willing to roll their sleeves and hold your hand while you do the work – it’s wonderful.
Love is being free while being together, its not living in fear or behaving in a scripted way.