Are you experiencing these issues in your relationship?
- Feeling your relationship is more important to you than you are to yourself
- A partner who is controlling
- A lack of trust
- The expectation or need to be perfect
- Noticing you are the only person contributing or working on the relationship
- Finding your value depends on your partner’s approval of your behaviors and feelings
- Finding it difficult to be yourself and/or express your real feelings
- Worrying consistently about your partner’s feelings
- History of growing up in a family with substance abuse issues
- Feeling guilty about your partner and his or her behavior
- Feeling rejected when your partner spends time with friends or family
- Remaining loyal even though your partner is harmful to you and your life
- Fear of rejection
Codependency occurs when two members of a partnership feel they cannot function well on their own as individuals. They often feel they would not be able to succeed or move forward in life without their partner. Many times one person in the partnership is pouring his or her energy into helping the other person through a significant problem (i.e. drug or alcohol addiction, job loss, depression, etc.). Doing this keeps that person from addressing his or her own issues such as unhappiness, lack of fulfillment, or a fear of abandonment among others. The receiving partner may alternate between feeling grateful and resenting the pressure to change behavior and heal. A cycle of both partners feeling needy and trapped occurs which makes it difficult to recreate a healthy balance. The partners encourage and build on the neediness as a response to the fear that if one person heals, the other person might leave. As a result, many of these relationships turn controlling, obsessive, and/or abusive.
People who tend towards codependency were often raised in a family where one or more parent does not encourage independence and self reliance. The parent may stifle the child’s independence and decision making because of the fear of no longer being needed. There should be a balance between asking for support and help based on needs and level of growth and an allowance for independent thinking and initiative. The balance is most commonly interrupted in families with substance abuse issues, a parental death, a codependent parent, a traumatic event, or a move. Family members may not understand that relationships are better built and nurtured on a foundation that is not based on needs.
If you have found yourself in a codependent relationship and do not know how to start changing it or breaking free from it, the therapists at Noyau can help. We understand that much of your relationship may feel really good and healthy to you, and we want to work with you to find the best direction for your life. Your therapist will help you understand your relationship, what is working and healthy, and what is not. You will work towards a healthy level of independence and work to regain your own self worth and value. You will also learn what a healthy relationship looks like and how to build the foundation on which one is built. You can come alone and/or bring in your partner. We can work with you individually, but both partners will need to be working to change the relationship in order for it to evolve. You may also need to identify and challenge other relationships in your life that may be leaning towards codependency. Many experience this with a parent into adulthood. You can have fulfilling and more meaningful relationships that encourage independence and an increase of individual growth and self worth. Your therapist can help you free yourself from the cycle of codependence.