A codependent relationship is one in which one partner relies wholly upon the other to meet all of their emotional needs. It’s also a relationship where one partner suffers from some form of addiction, and the other partner enables that condition to continue. Either way you define it, a codependent relationship is not healthy for anyone involved. Often, children who grow up in homes where one or both parents suffer from substance use disorder will unknowingly choose codependent relationships as adults. There are many signs of codependency, including:
Codependents Cannot Set Healthy Boundaries
Boundaries are the invisible lines we set regarding other people. A healthy person has no problem saying no when someone asks them to do something they don’t want to do. Healthy boundaries prevent you from being abused or taken for granted. But a codependent person may feel guilty or awkward when they try to set a boundary. As a result, they often end up agreeing to things they’d rather not do. They may become depleted or worn out from trying to do everything for everybody. Alternately, a codependent person may avoid people completely because they fear getting involved in situations they’d rather avoid.
Codependents Exhibit Low Self-Esteem
Low self-esteem makes you feel unworthy. You may feel unattractive or like you’re poor company. As a result, you may stay in destructive relationships because you feel it’s the best you can do. Low self-esteem affects every area of your life, from making you appear invisible at work to discourage you from engaging in social activities such as parties or get-togethers. Low self-esteem can keep you from getting job promotions and from engaging in healthy relationships. It may also contribute to depression.
Codependents Tend to People-Please
One of the more obvious signs of codependency is the need to please every person you meet. A codependent person may give and give until they’re physically and emotionally depleted. In a codependent relationship, this may translate into constantly making excuses for a partner’s bad behavior, allowing a partner to cross boundaries you’d rather they didn’t, and enabling addiction to continue by helping to secure drugs or alcohol for the addicted partner.
Codependents Have Poor Communication Skills
Poor communication is one of the major signs of codependency. Many codependents are reticent to express their feelings. They may fear ridicule or being shamed if they admit how they really feel. Communication skills like these are damaging to a healthy relationship where each partner has equal input. This is often why it’s difficult for a codependent person to maintain a mutually beneficial partnership.
Codependents Suffer Problems Being Intimate
Being intimate with a partner refers not only to sex. In a healthy relationship, both partners are open and honest with each other. Each can share their feelings, fears, triumphs, and deepest thoughts. But a codependent person may fear ridicule if they open up. They’re used to being disregarded and made to feel that their opinions are silly or unimportant. As a result, they’re unable to experience true intimacy with anyone.
Codependents Feel the Need to Fix Other Peoples’ Problems
Codependent relationships often begin with the idea that one partner will eventually “fix” the other. In reality, it’s impossible to fix someone else. A person can only affect change in themselves. Yet, a codependent person will try repeatedly to fix their partner, becoming more and more frustrated. And even though there’s much evidence to the contrary, they’ll firmly continue to believe that if they’re only able to do the right thing, the other person will finally change for the better. If you’re engaged in a codependent relationship, or if you recognize the signs of codependency in your own life, treatment can help. At Recovery Ranch in Nunnelly, Tennessee, we offer quality treatment to help resolve the issues of codependency. Through behavioral counseling and a 12-step program, it’s possible to recover from the signs of codependency. Contact us at Recovery Ranch today at 1.844.876.7680 for more information.