It can be challenging to identify if you are in a co-dependent relationship. This is because co-dependency might look customary to you, especially if it has gone on for so long.
Maybe you haven’t experienced or witnessed healthy relationships. You might even feel happy in your relationship, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is healthy.
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A co-dependent relationship is an unhealthy one. However, if you can identify what co-dependency issues consist of, steps can be made to amend them.
Co-dependency isn’t always obvious. It can often disguise itself as a positive attribute, such as selflessness or intense love. We have outlined five signs of a co-dependent relationship to help you determine whether you are in a co-dependent relationship below.
When in a relationship, it is entirely normal to want to make your partner happy. However, it is essential to realize that you are not solely responsible for their emotions.
Over time, prioritizing your happiness for theirs will lead to resentment and bitterness. For example, if you avoid doing things you enjoy to avoid upsetting your partner, you will gradually feel discontent.
Upon establishing a relationship, you will begin to share many aspects of your life. It can be pleasant for you and your partner to have similar desires, but this shouldn’t mean forfeiting your independent wants and needs. Depriving yourself to avoid upsetting your partner is not selfless and considerate; it is co-dependency.
Establishing healthy boundaries is essentially about the ability to say no to things. For example, if you want to go to lunch with a friend, but your partner asks you to stay with them instead because they will miss you, you should be able to say no without fear of the consequences. After all, you are not responsible for your partner’s emotions.
In a healthy relationship, there is no room for tip-toeing. Fearing the consequences of setting simple boundaries may determine that you are in a co-dependent relationship.
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When we enter a relationship, we adapt into a partnership. Doing so may cause us to adopt some of our loved one’s mannerisms and hobbies.
However, in a co-dependent relationship, it is not uncommon to lose sight of what you stand for and what your interests and needs are because you spend your time accommodating their needs and emotions and not setting boundaries,
If you are used to planning your life around the needs and emotions of someone else, you will struggle to make independent decisions.
You might base your decision on what you think the other person would want you to do. This is co-dependent as you are not prioritizing your own desires and emotions.
Although it is reasonable to factor in your partner when making some decisions, you should decide based on your own interests.
Like many other people in a co-dependent relationship, you may fear rejection and abandonment. You might worry that upsetting or displeasing your loved one will be enough for them to walk out and never come back. For this very reason, you would rather sacrifice your own needs to avoid that happening.
Unfortunately, this comes from low self-esteem. You might be a people pleaser in other aspects of your life. You may find that your fear of rejection stems from a traumatic or love-deficient childhood.
Should this resonate with you, it may be beneficial to consider therapy or counseling. Facilitated by a professional, therapy or counseling will help you learn how to communicate better with your partner. In turn, this could ease some of your abandonment anxiety. Therapy and counseling will also enable you to reassess boundaries, set expectations, and strengthen your relationship.
Being in a co-dependent relationship doesn’t mean that it has to end. If you can both recognize the signs of a co-dependent relationship and work at them, you can enhance your relationship. It might sound like a contradiction, but the key to a healthy relationship is independence.
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