In the continual quest to find balance in our relationships, we must take time to explore whether we tend toward codependence.
Co-dependence is one of those psychological terms that describes a dysfunctional way of behaving in important relationships in one’s life. It is primarily a learned behavior from our family of origin. Some cultures have it to a greater degree than others — some still see it as a normal way of being.
Yet the costs of co-dependence can include distrust, faulty expectations, passive-aggressiveness, control, self-neglect, over-focus on others, manipulation, and a slew of other unattractive traits.
Wondering if you might be involved in a co-dependent relationship? Read on…
These are some signs of codependent behavior:
- taking responsibility for someone else’s actions
- worrying or carrying the burden for others’ problems
- covering up to protect others from reaping the consequences of their poor choices
- doing more than is required at your job or at home to earn approval
- feeling obligated to do what others expect without consulting one’s own needs
- manipulating others’ responses instead of accepting them at face value
- being suspicious of receiving love, not feeling “worthy” of being loved
- in a relationship based on need, not out of mutual respect
- trying to solve someone else’s problems, or trying to change someone
- life being directed by external rather than internal cues (“should do” vs. “want to do”)
- enabling someone to take our time or resources without our consent
- neglecting our own needs in the process of caring for someone who doesn’t want to care for themselves
Many feel that they will lose who they are if they are not codependent. In reality, we become more ourselves when we are less of what others expect from us. To come out of codependence is a huge gift we give to ourselves — the victory of growing away from it will balance out our responsibility to ourselves and to others.
The key to repairing and ending codependency is to start protecting and nurturing ourselves. That might sound like a selfish act, but it will return us to a place of balance. Others will understand that we now respect and are protecting ourselves from overcommitment or abuse.