Healing Your Co-dependent Relationships

By Sarah Hannan

Healing Your Co-dependent Relationships

February 22nd, 2022 at 12:43 pm

Untangle your emotions and detach with love

 

Let us be honest, maintaining relationships are complicated. There is always room for disagreements, miscommunications and misunderstanding to take place. At the beginning of any relationship, we often see that both partners try to be together when ever time permits, they try to do activities that interest both of them, and convince their partners to try out activities that they might be hesitant to participate in.

 

First, to establish clear communication and maintain a good understanding, you might always run any ideas by your partner. However, there is a tendency for many of us to depend on our partners to make life choices for us and be there to boost our waning confidence, which is not that healthy if it becomes habitual.

 

Even when it comes to doing things together, where they would say ‘let’s give it a try you might enjoy it’ – it might end up becoming a bother to the partner in the end. You cannot always hold the ‘do this because you love me’ card over their heads and force them to take part in things. 

 

Likewise, partners growing unhealthy attachments, or becoming possessive over things and wanting you to always be around them and expect you to agree for all their requests might place a strain in your relationship. 

 

Unknowingly your relationship might be turning into a co-dependent relationship, pushing you to be the person that has to make decisions, losing personal space, having to say yes to all their requests, and at times, feel guilty when they do not make the same effort to be in your life, and make excuses and take responsibility on behalf of them at social settings. 

 

What Is Co-dependency?

Excessively relying on your partner for mental, physical, and spiritual support is identified as co-dependency. Neither clinically diagnosed nor formally categorised as a personality disorder, in some people, co-dependency tends to develop attachment styles during early childhood and can overlap with dependent personality disorder as adults.

 

Signs You May Be In A Co-dependent Relationship

Brittini Carter, Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Trauma Informed Yoga Instructor, lists out four signs that would help you with identifying whether or not you are in a co-dependent relationship:

1. You constantly depend on partner’s input to make decisions

While seeking the partner’s opinion on matters is encouraged for couples, it is not healthy if the person is unable to make any decision in life without their partner’s input. By letting others decide for you or make life choices on your behalf, you are hampering your personal growth that leads to loss in self-confidence, and will make you feel indecisive. 

 

2. You do everything together

Many couples at the first stages of their relationships tend to adopt common hobbies, try to grow a common circle of friends, and try to participate in leisure activities that might not necessarily be their interest. In order to maintain a healthy relationship, it is always better to have separate hobbies, friend circles, and activities that would help you grow as an individual. 

 

3. You find it difficult to say ‘no’ to your partner

At the beginning of your relationship you would have said ‘yes’ to your partner to show that you are invested in them. However, as the relationship progresses, there might be instances that you would want to say ‘no’. Do not feel guilty if you have to say ‘no’ to your partner. However, when you reject their suggestion and if you observe them getting emotional over the rejection, that is a clear sign that you are in a co-dependent relationship.

 

4. You tend to take responsibility over your partners actions

When you have to socialize with your friends or family and if your partner is not willing to interact with them, do not feel guilty or make excuse on their behalf. Remember that you are only responsible for your behaviours or actions, and you do not have to be responsible over how your partner feels or acts.

 

Overcoming Co-dependency 

Co-dependency can become very unhealthy in the long run, because such relationships often end up becoming one sided, where one partner is excessively seeking their partner to decide, think, or team up with them without saying ‘no’ to them. This becomes very unhealthy and can lead up to the relationship becoming emotionally destructive or abusive.

 

So how can one overcome these signs of co-dependency? According to Board Certified Counsellor and Founder of Mayfield Counselling Centers, Dr. Mark Mayfield, if your relationship shows one or all of the signs, you could work on switching the unhealthy interaction to health ones;

  • Do bounce off ideas with your partner, but do not always depend on them to take a decision. 
  • Revisit your other hobbies, have different friend circles, and engage in separate socialising activities from time to time. This will help strengthen your trust in each other and improve your longing for each other.
  • If your partner tends to react whenever you say ‘no’ to them or you have experienced abuse from your partner for rejecting them, do not hesitate to seek professional guidance/ counselling.
  • Do not feel guilty over your partner’s behaviour of actions. If you are feeling guilty or ashamed on behalf of your partner, consult a psychotherapist.

 

You can also help your partner overcome their co-dependent tendencies by providing them healthy support. However, do keep in mind that you do not have to sacrifice your own needs. Communicate with your partner about the problems that you are going through, listen to their side of the story, discuss possible solutions, and allow them to choose on the solutions that decide to put to action.

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