The Co-dependent Relationship

Posted by on Oct 25, 2015 in Couples Counseling

The Co-dependent Relationship

Co-dependency is also called “relationship addiction” as these relationships are often one sided. This relationship can be both emotionally destructive and abusive. Co-dependency can be defined as a learned behavior that is often passed down from generation to generation. Co-dependency is an emotional and behavioral condition that affects the individual from having a satisfying and healthy relationship. Co-dependent relationships are often uneven and the individuals that suffer from this condition usually allow the feelings of others and their actions to affect them. They may often feel like they have lost control over their own lives. Individuals who are codependent often seek approval and are dependent on others for their sense of identity and self worth. Co-dependency can affect a spouse, parent, friend, sibling, co-workers; it can also be affiliated with someone who is dependent on drugs or alcohol.

How do you know if you are Co-dependent?

How does one know if they are in a co-dependent relationship? Well consider these factors. Do you find yourself making sacrifices for your relationship and not getting the same back in return? Do you make excuses for your partner or spouse? Are you supporting your partner in a way that is costing you your emotional, mental and physical health? Are you unable to find worth in your life outside of someone else? Do you find some behaviors in your significant other, less than appealing but continue to act in a manner that supports it, without questions? Do you find that you would rather keep quiet than voice your opinion in an attempt to avoid a fight or conflict? Do you often feel inadequate? Do you live with someone who hits or degrades you? Do you find that you have trouble saying no to others? If you can identify with some of these questions you may be co-dependent.

Characteristics of a Co-dependent

Co-dependents usually find it difficult to be themselves. Some will turn to drugs or alcohol as a substitute to feel better. They often confuse love and pity; they tend to love people that they can pity. They lack trust in themselves and may endorse feelings of guilt when asserting themselves. These types of relationship demonstrate an excessive amount of clinginess, which is unhealthy in any relationship. These types of relationships hold a level of dependency on the other party for approval for their sense of self worth and identity. Their autonomy seems to depend on their significant other. A codependent individual will make extreme sacrifices to satisfy their partner and wrap their entire being around them and their needs.

The Co-dependent Personality

The Codependent personality consists of low self esteem that seeks outside affections to feel better about themselves. They often look outside for satisfaction in their life and often find it difficult to feel good about who they are. They lack trust in themselves, they have a need for approval and recognition. They have an unhealthy dependence on their relationship and this comes through in a dysfunctional manner. They will do anything to avoid feeling abandon in their relationship. They may go from one relationship to another without taking the time to evaluate or access their situation. They may feel a sense of guilt when they try to assert themselves. They do more for others than their self. They may endorse poor communicating skills, and feelings of anger. They often have a difficult time expressing feelings.

In conclusion

Research indicates that codependency is more prevalent in women than men. One reasoning for this conclusion explains that traditional female role models, forces women to be codependent. Our society and culture has always rewarded females for making self sacrifices and for their role as care takers. These two traits are included in a codependent personality. If you are codependent, or think that you are in a codependent relationship there is help. You no longer have to live your life in this manner. The long term effect of a codependent relationship is a very unhappy one, which leads to an ultimate dissatisfaction with one’s self and overall life. The important factor is recognizing these symptoms and making the decision to do something about it.