Signs That You’re in a Codependent Relationship

young beloved hispanic couple with red rose resting in park
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Love is unselfish, but how far would you go for your beloved?

You might be in a codependent relationship if there is an imbalance of power in the relationship. Codependency is when you are dependent on someone else for your own self-worth.

In codependent relationships, one person is generally the “rescuer” and the other is the “rescued”:

  • Rescuer: Finds their self-worth from taking care of their partner. They love to feel needed and feel drained when they feel like they do not matter.

  • Rescued: Finds their self-worth from the attention they receive from their partner. If the rescued does not feel loved, they seek attention elsewhere.

Both the rescuer and the rescued abandon themselves and are “codependent” on each other for their self-worth.

Instead of experiencing real intimacy in their relationship, they are either rescuing or being rescued.

Are you in a codependent relationship?

Consider these signs that you may be in a codependent relationship:

  1. You believe it is your responsibility to please everyone or keep everyone happy.
  2. Cautious so as not to annoy or offend your partner
  3. Difficulty telling your partner “no”
  4. Prioritize your partner over important events like work or family wedding
  5. You put others’ needs before your own.
  6. You worry about your partner leaving you.
  7. Being alone makes you feel anxious.
  8. There are things you would like to change about your partner.
  9. You are tuned into your partner’s feelings, but don’t know how you feel.
  10. In arguments, you blame your partner for the way you feel.

Do you relate to any of those ways codependency can show up in a relationship?

Healing from codependency will require you to tune in to what you need, take responsibility for the way you feel, and accept your partner for the way they are.

Here’s what you can do to change your codependent relationship to an intimate relationship:

One of the most important steps to take when you realize you are in a codependent relationship is to strengthen the relationship you have with yourself.

  1. Build self-esteem. Codependency stems from low self-esteem. Build your confidence so that you no longer depend on your partner or the relationship for happiness.

    Start exercising. Pick up new hobbies. Repeat positive affirmations daily.
  1. Journal. If you are in a codependent relationship, you are probably unaware of your own needs or even how to support your own well-being. Journaling will help you keep track of the way you feel. Regularly include these prompts in your journaling:

    What is important to you? What can you do to support your well-being today? What do you need? How can you give yourself what you need?

  2. Focus on what you can control. You can’t control other people’s words, feelings, or actions. Instead of worrying about those things you can’t control, learn to accept others as they are.

    Focus your energy on things you can control, like your words, actions and behavior.

    Learn not to take things personally.

    Ask yourself why triggering events make you feel a certain way.

  1. Practice saying no. You might struggle with saying no because you fear “no” will hurt someone’s feelings or harm the way they think about you. Before you say yes to something, ask yourself: Am I doing this because I would love to, or am I doing this because of fear?

  2. Accept it is not your job to fix someone else’s issues. You might get a part of your self-worth from rescuing others and fixing their issues. If that’s the case, remind yourself that it is not your job to rescue others.

  3. Take responsibility for your happiness. Do small things to make yourself happy each day. Instead of finding happiness from the approval of your partner, practice making yourself happy.

  4. Accept your partner as they are. You cannot control whether or not your partner changes. Instead of hoping your partner will change, accept your partner for who they are.

Shifting from a codependent relationship to an intimate relationship will be challenging. Prioritizing yourself over your partner might feel uncomfortable at first.

But growing out of your codependent relationship will help you experience a truly intimate relationship that empowers you to grow and thrive together.

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Wake Up, Mama!

So I’m sitting here with my morning coffee and thinking, What a day I had yesterday

My son, Noah, had at least 10 tantrums, which was unusual, and at one point, I was just ready to flip out and had to just walk away, except he followed me to the kitchen, bawling his eyes out, and grabbing my leg. I looked down at him and his little face, and my heart just melted. Must be tough to be in a bad mood all day and not knowing how to deal with those emotions. So I picked him up, told him I loved him, walked around with him for about 3 minutes, just giving him kisses and hugs, and he fell asleep with his little angelic smile on. I laid down next to him and nothing else mattered. He just wanted to be loved on all day by his mama…

I spent the rest of the day thinking about how irritated I was because of his constant wining that day, but then I thought of myself having those days occasionally when nothing just seems right. We get so upset at our children for being extra needy sometimes that we turn to some unhealthy stress relievers like sweets, cigarettes, alcohol, or binge shopping–just to make ourselves feel better. Or we snap or yell at our kids, or even spank them in the heat of the moment. Or we do both. Afterwards, we feel guilty about eating that extra piece of cake and gaining that extra pound, in addition to feeling guilty about snapping at the child. So it goes… that vicious cycle that repeats itself. And no one is truly happy, and no one’s need is met.

What if there was a better way? What would it look like?

I remember my mom beating me up just this one time when I was fairly young because I was refusing to leave the house when it was time to go. That was the only, and the most memorable time that got imprinted in my memory from that age. After that, I was always an obedient girl. It wasn’t typical behavior for mom, so I wasn’t used to that. It hurt deeply though. I learned my lesson quickly and never did that again. What if my mom just sat down with me, hugged me tight and talked to me for a couple of minutes instead? Maybe she would be a few minutes late wherever she was supposed to be, but we would have preserved the same sweet relationship as before. Wouldn’t that be worth it?

By refusing our kids love (at any age) at their ugliest or neediest moments, we show them that they are only valued when they act like good little boys and girls, and that their negative feelings are not acceptable, and that their need for our attention is not ok. They look at how we deal with stressful situations, and they learn from us, which then causes all kinds of havoc in their lives when they grow up. For example, they can become too controlling in their relationships, or angry and lash out at others, or turn to self-destructive behaviors because they don’t know how to accept and validate their own feelings when life gets hard, so they go numb.

What if I am having a bad day and complain to my husband and just act needy, but what he does is reject my “wining”, not pay any attention to me, or raise his voice to “stop being a baby” and goes out with his buddies to a local bar? Is our relationship going to grow stronger? Am I going to feel better? Or, what if he just hugged me for a few minutes and said, “Sorry, baby, your day is not going so well. Is there anything I can do to make you feel better?” How would that change the whole situation. Just having your loved one acknowledge your feeling can make a whole world of difference. Maybe, you will forget all about having a bad day, but smile and say, “Let’s do something fun together! It’s really not that bad anymore.”

Now, of course, wining and tantrums shouldn’t become such a habit that we just get manipulated on a regular basis. There should be certain limits, but my belief is that as mothers, we should really take care of our own emotional health first, so that we learn better, healthier ways to manage stressful situations and not be left feeling guilty afterwards. Our children will learn from us and then teach the same habits, whether good or bad, their own children.

So wake up, mamas! Let’s take care of ourselves and love and nurture our children, whether they behave or not. They will remember love and hurt forever…

Please comment. What are the different ways that you deal with stressful situations when it comes to your little ones? If unhealthy, how does this make you feel afterwards? What do you wish you could do differently?

#motherhood, #habits, #stressmanagement, #love, #nurturing, #emotionalhealth, #relationships, #childrenneedlove