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Codependent Relationships: Definition and Treatment

People who have codependent relationships often believe that this is the best they deserve. Needless to say that they are wrong, and you should, at any cost, avoid having codependent relationships. This article is addressed primarily to people who are in bad and destructive relationships right now. We hope that this information will help you better understand what happens in your life. We expect that you will find ways to fix your unhealthy relationship. Generally, it is better to live alone than living in codependent relationships with a person who may not even love you.

You need to know that a codependent relationship can appear at any moment of your life. For example, you may be dating someone for a very long time, but you both have never paid attention to some relatively small problems that finally significantly damaged your relationships. In this case, you still believe that everything is fine, while your partner hates every second with you. At this terrible moment, it is important to understand the root cause of this situation. Sometimes there are ways to fix your codependent relationships. You only need to understand what to do with your situation, whether you should fight for your love, or it is better to leave and forget about this as you forget nightmares.

codependent relationships definition

Let's Begin with the Definition of a Codependent Relationship

We can't fight against the enemy that we don't know or don't understand. So, how to define codependent relationships? In very simple terms, a codependent relationship is when the dependent partner is not ready to leave the relationship, even if the other partner wants to end it or practices behavior that leads to the suffering of the dependent partner. Note that this behavior can be conscious and unconscious. In the first case, your partner intentionally makes you suffer. In this situation, it is better to end this relationship once and for all. In the second case, you still can try to save your love.

Ask yourself, have you ever been in situations where a loved one is rude to you, doesn't answer your calls, disappears for several days, cheats, or even wants to break up with you? And you, in spite of everything, don't even want to think about leaving this person? You have become a high-class spy, and you can pick up the password to your partner's phone from the fifth attempt and have learned how to track his or her car by GPS. You know who he or she meets with, when, where, and how their lover calls them. You know and understand that your relationship is over, but you still can’t break up. You start to blame yourself for all the problems in your relationship and believe that one vacation together with your partner will change everything. Unfortunately, most of your efforts will be in vain, no matter how hard you try, they still will be staring at pictures of single girls or guys without paying any attention to you.

Often codependent relationships are followed by a huge decrease in self-esteem. One partner will be dominating the other one, while the second partner will have very low self-esteem. In codependent romantic relationships, one partner often blames himself or herself for all problems that those relationships have. They begin to believe that they have what they deserve, and don't even dream about having something else. It is very hard for a codependent partner to understand that he or she deserves more and must act to end this nightmare. Remember, if you have found yourself in this place, you should immediately start working on changing your position because this type of relationship can damage your emotional and physical health.

Dangers of Codependency in Relationships

We have already said that a codependent relationship can be very dangerous to your emotional state. As you may know, our emotional state directly affects our physical health. According to statistics, the more worried a person is, the shorter his or her life will be. But the emotional state is not the only thing that can be directly damaged by codependent relationships. We don't recommend you wait for too long to fix this problem because narcissistic and codependent relationships are very destructive, and, one day, you may lose your will to change something.

You stop caring about your own needs

When you are codependent on someone, you begin to put his or her interests and desires above you. This may begin very slow, you will start to pay more attention to your partner, but sooner or later, you will notice that you don't have time for your own needs. In normal relationships, people are sacrificing, but they respect and value each other's sacrifices made for their common good and happiness. While in codependent relationships, one partner sacrifices everything for another one, but never gets anything in return. For example, you should completely forget about having discussions about sex, because your partner will care only about his or her satisfaction.

codependent romantic relationshipsYou sacrifice your interests and personal goals

This one is connected with the previous part, but here we are talking about the fact that when you sacrifice your goals for his or her goals, in the end, your partner will have everything, and you will have only him or her. Thus, you will only dive deeper into your dependency. The more you sacrifice, the more you will have to sacrifice in the future, and as we have said before, you won't get anything in return. Instead, your partner will be blaming you for not achieving something. You can't expect that this person will respect you.

You hide your emotions

When you live in codependent relationships, you will start hiding your emotions from your partner. This happens because, in codependent relationships, a dependent partner doesn't receive any help and support. Instead, this partner will receive only insults and blames. Sooner or later, he or she will have a pang of strong guilt, that he or she is the reason for every problem that appears in their relationships. Thus, those people begin to hide their emotions because they believe that they are guilty of having them, and won't receive any help from their partners.

You may be used

When you live in codependent relationships, you always remain under pressure because you are afraid to lose this person. Thus, you give him or her a very effective tool that your partner will use to control and use you. It can be something small or big, and you will never know what your partner would ask you to do. For example, he or she may without any discussions and consultations with you, invite his or her relatives to your home, and you will have to receive them, pay attention to them, and make sure they are comfortable, or your partner will leave you.

Main Signs You Are in a Codependent Relationship

Unfortunately, codependent relationships can be very easily hidden from people outside your relationships. Of course, your friends will notice that you not as beautiful or handsome as you used to be, or that you don't hang out with them as often as before. Therefore, your friends won't be able to help you deal with this situation. So, you should act by yourself, and to help you analyze your relations by yourself, we are going to share our small list of main signs of codependent relationships.

1. Blurring of responsibility

In a healthy relationship, each partner is responsible for their condition and satisfaction of their needs (material, emotional, and existential). Everyone is primarily responsible for himself or herself but also cares about his or her partner. In codependent relationships, people want someone to take responsibility for their safety, material well-being, and happiness. For example, a woman expects that a man will provide and support her financially, and to return her debt, she takes responsibility for the household and children. Sooner or later, this man will start treating her like a housekeeper and will start searching for someone else. In more severe cases, for example, a woman can live with an alcoholic husband for years. Yes, she suffers in these relationships, but she hopes that sooner or later, her husband will stop drinking and will take responsibility for her and her family.

2. You don’t have boundaries

In a healthy relationship, we are sensitive to the psychological and physical boundaries of the partner and can defend our boundaries. We feel when our actions or words cross our partners' boundaries. At the same time, we feel our boundaries well and can say no at a time when we don’t like what our partners are doing or saying. In the field of sexual relations, this is the ability to promptly say “no” if the partner offers something that doesn't suit us. As you have guessed, in codependent relationships, there is no such thing as your boundaries for your partner.

3. The hierarchy of roles

In good relationships, everything is very simple because people build them on equality. Most of the time, partners in such relationships respect each other and value each other's opinions. In such relationships, we often agree with each other, but at the same time, we don't afraid to have arguments. We are in a constant search of compromises, although this is not always pleasant. In codependent relationships, people polarize their roles. At first, this doesn't seem to be bad. The dominant partner feels his or her power and strength, while the subordinate one enjoys comfort and security. This order of things won't last long, sooner or later, the dominant partner will stop respecting the subordinate one.

4. You are forced to hide your emotions

In healthy relationships, partners can freely talk to each other about their emotional reactions. Partners can directly express their irritation, resentment, jealousy, and other emotions the moment they experience them. They don't suppress anything. In healthy relationships, partners never concentrate on negative emotions. Such relationships are very strong, and partners are happy to be together. Unfortunately, in codependent relationships, a dominant partner can freely express all his or her emotions, especially negative ones, while the other partner remains silent.

5. Problems with communication

While in a healthy relationship, our communication with the partner is direct, open, and honest. We always ready to accept the position and point of view of our partners. Plus, we don't hide our emotional reactions and the needs behind them. On the other hand, in codependent relationships, people always have problems with communication because one of the partners can't directly express their thoughts, ideas, and beliefs. If you feel that you can't tell about your feelings or something that bothers you to your partner, then you have problems in your relationships. Maybe you are even a dependent partner.

narcissistic and codependent relationships6. You don't feel comfortable around your partner

Comfort is an essential part of any healthy relationship. Without feeling comfortable with a person, we will never be able to create healthy relationships. As we have mentioned before, in codependent relationships, one partner completely depends on another one. In this case, they both won't be happy with each other because none of them gets what he or she really wants. Their life will turn into a vicious circle of oppression and unhappiness that doesn't allow them to feel comfortable around each other. Your partner may verbally abuse you, or will always blame you for something.

7. You feel depressed

Sure, many various factors can cause depression. For example, winter is one of the most popular reasons for depression. But there is a huge difference between a depression caused by external factors, and a depression caused by our romantic partners. In healthy relationships, most of the time, we feel happy and have positive emotions from our relationship. Of course, sometimes, you may have quarrels, but those quarrels should never affect your emotional well-being too much. If you see that you way too often feel depressed by your partner, but for some reason, you don't want to do anything about it, then you are in codependent relationships.

Rules for Getting out of a Codependent Relationship

Can codependent relationships be fixed? In fact, it depends on many factors. For example, if your partner knows that you are in codependent relationships, and he or she enjoys it and intentionally makes you suffer, then the answer is NO. Sometimes breaking codependent relationships is the best way to be happy and healthy. However, there are some chances to save your relationships, but only under special conditions. For example, if both you and your partner have never analyzed your relationships and don't even know that you have this problem. In this case, you may try to fix your current relationships, but you must be sure that you and your partner are ready to work and change.

1. Work on your self-esteem

If you decide to do something with your life and finally get out of your codependent relationships, first of all, you need to start working on your self-esteem. You see, any unhealthy romantic relationships tend to destroy our self-confidence and decrease our self-esteem.

2. Stop being naïve

How often have you been telling yourself that your partner will change? How many times have you promised yourself that this would be his or her last chance? How often did you break those promises? You can't afford to be naive anymore. There is no point in doing the same things and expecting different results.

3. Forget about your guilt

As we have said before, in codependent relationships, your partner intentionally or unintentionally makes you feel guilty for everything. If you have to carry any guilt when you try to get out of these relationships, you will inevitably fail because it drags you down.

4. Find separate goals

During these relationships, you have always been sacrificing your goals for the sake of your partner. Now, look where it's gotten you. The time has come to find new goals. Let it be something that you always wanted but couldn’t get for some reason. These goals should be only yours. Don't share those goals with others, especially with your partner.

5. Don’t be afraid of negative emotions

While you have been in codependent relationships, you were required to keep your emotions to yourself. As you have guessed, this is not an option anymore. Don't be afraid to feel some negative emotions. They will appear when you will finally have to talk to your partner about your future together. This conversation won't be easy, but you will be satisfied with the results if you manage to do everything right.

6. Search for new friends

Another great mistake that people make, when they have unhealthy romantic relationships, is that they forget about their friends. If your old friends, for some reason, don't want to be friends anymore, then find new ones. Friends are a very important part of our lives, especially when we have problems in a romantic relationship.

At the beginning of this article, we said that usually, it is better to end codependent relationships with a breakup. Yes, by ending unhealthy relationships, you will feel less pain and will recover faster. But if you love and want to be with this person, then don't let anything stop you from trying to save your love. There are examples of people who managed to successfully fix their unhappy and codependent relationships. Yes, codependent relationship recovery is a very long process and requires you and your partner to have desires to change your lives, but it one hundred percent worth it.

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