Relationships are an essential part of living, but sometimes, these relationships can become toxic and jeopardize our mental and emotional health. One of the most common toxic relationships that people often fall into is the codependent relationship.
A codependent relationship is a dysfunctional relationship where one person’s needs, emotions, and actions are highly dependent on the other person in the relationship. If you find yourself unable to make decisions without involving someone else? or you feel overwhelmed by an intense relationship with another person, where both of you may struggle to maintain boundaries? These could be signs of codependency, a pattern of behavior that stems from unhealthy attachment.
In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the signs and causes associated with codependency in greater detail as well as what can be done to treat it.
What Is Codependency?
Codependency refers to a psychological state in which an individual becomes overly reliant on the needs and approval of others.
This pattern of behavior often stems from childhood experiences and is closely linked to dysfunctional family dynamics, such as addiction, abuse, and neglect.
Historically, codependency was first identified in the context of alcoholism, where it was observed that family members of alcoholics often exhibited maladaptive coping strategies that enabled their loved one’s addiction.
Since then, the concept of codependency has been broadened to include any form of dysfunctional attachment that hinders an individual’s ability to develop a healthy sense of self.
While the term “codependency” is still contested by some experts, it remains a useful framework for understanding the complex interplay between individual and social factors that shape our emotional lives.
Causes Of Codependency?
Codependency is a complex phenomenon that has various causes including
- Biological: Biologically, certain genetic traits may predispose individuals to codependency, such as a heightened sensitivity to stress or low levels of certain neurotransmitters like dopamine.
- Psychological: Psychologically, individuals who experience trauma or abuse in childhood may develop codependent tendencies as a coping mechanism to deal with feelings of low self-esteem, anxiety, and fear of abandonment.
- Social: Social factors, such as family dynamics or cultural beliefs, may also contribute to the development of codependency. It happens by reinforcing behavior patterns that prioritize taking care of others over one’s own needs.
7 Warning Signs Of A Codependent Relationship You Should Look Out For
After developing a thorough understanding of Codependency, now take a look at the warning signs:
Fear Of Abandonment
The fear of abandonment is when one person in a relationship is terrified of losing the other person, whether through a breakup or death.
People with this fear often find themselves ditching personal plans to spend time with their partner or exhibiting clinginess.
They fear that their partner will leave them if they do not meet their needs, which is why they are always trying to please them.
Lack Of Healthy Boundaries
In a codependent relationship, boundaries are non-existent, and your personal space seems to have evaporated as you become enmeshed with your partner. This lack of boundaries may lead to feelings of resentment, anger, and frustration.
If you feel like you’re losing yourself in a relationship, then this may be a warning sign that you’re in a codependent relationship. So, to restore healthy relationships, it is vital to seek couples therapy in Scottsdale.
Dependence On Your Partner For Self-Esteem
A codependent relationship tends to be fueled by low self-esteem. The dependent person often lacks a sense of worthiness and is unable to develop healthy boundaries because they feel they do not deserve them.
It is not uncommon for those struggling with low self-esteem to seek validation from their partner, making them highly dependent on them.
In a codependent relationship, one person often takes on the role of the caregiver while the other person becomes the one who needs to be taken care of.
The caregiver becomes addicted to taking care of the needs of their partner, while the dependent partner becomes addicted to the care they receive.
This codependent dynamic can be destructive for both partners, leaving both feeling empty and unfulfilled.
Difficulty In Making Decisions In A Relationship
When in a codependent relationship, making decisions is difficult. One partner may feel guilty about making choices without the other, while the other may feel anxious or worried about being left out.
They rely heavily on their partner’s opinions and may even mirror their partner’s beliefs and interests. As such, both partners find it hard to set boundaries or make decisions based on their needs, leaving both feeling unfulfilled.
Dependence is a key driver of codependency. The codependent person is dependent on their partner, both emotionally and physically.
They may use their partner as a crutch and find it challenging to function without them. The codependent person doesn’t believe they can handle life on their own. They may be unable to make decisions or have a clear sense of self-identity. So, they rely on their partner for everything.
Codependent relationships can be hard to identify but equally hard to get out of if left unchecked. If you find that you’re struggling with codependency, it is vital to seek help to restore healthy relationships. This would be the first step towards recovery by identifying the problem. Remember, healthy relationships are built on mutual respect, independence, and communication. Hence, try to overcome this and set a free life with your loved one.