Relationships have many facets. Some are fun and some are more serious. Today we’re going to discuss the more serious aspect of codependency in a relationship and how to break free. The term is quite often used to describe someone who is needy in a relationship, but the truth is that there is more to this term than just your average clinginess. Codependency is based on the fact that someone is working hard to please another person and the receiver of this is enabling the behavior. To put it bluntly it stems from feelings of low self-esteem and self-worth, that start to fulfill a cycle of dependency.
Right off the bat it’s important to differentiate between dependency and codependency. Being dependent means that both people in the relationship have a healthy level of support for one another and value the relationship. In a codependent relationship, the codependent person feels completely worthless until they are needed by the other person (who is generally labeled as the enabler in this scenario). There is a general sense that you need to be needed, and the other person is only too happy to let you sacrifice for them.
The fundamental issue with someone who is codependent, and this is what needs to be most addressed, is that this person does not feel that they have their own sense of self. There is nothing for them outside of the relationship. Most people can recognize that this is unhealthy.
Let’s take a closer look at the symptoms of codependency. First and foremost there is the fact that you don’t find happiness anywhere besides with the other person. Without them you get the sense that you don’t exist. You don’t feel like you’re anything without them. Another sign is that you’re staying in the relationship despite your partner doing hurtful things. Obviously, sometimes couples fight and do hurtful things, but we’re not speaking about that here. We’re talking about deliberately being hurtful towards you, and you looking for a way to excuse that behavior. Finally, a sign of codependency is feeling guilty for putting yourself first at any point in your relationship. You completely dismiss your own needs in favor of your partners. The bigger the sacrifice the better as far as you’re concerned.
There are other examples of codependency but these are the ones that we will be touching on today. I personally believe that the three examples mentioned most profoundly speak to the lack of self esteem that underlies a codependent person. This is the crux of the problem, and anyone looking to resolve the codependency would do well to start by examining how they perceive themselves, Do you think that you are worthy? Worthy of love, of support, of your own independent happiness. If you answer no to these questions, there is some digging to do, and some people might need a professional to help them get there. The good news is that you can break out of the cycle and become a happier you!
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