Do you often find yourself in unfulfilling relationships despite doing everything you can for your partners?
Are you sometimes truly surprised by how your partner is treating you?
Does it feel like you’re the only one trying or making sacrifices in the relationship?
If these questions resonate with you, then there might be an element of codependence in your relationships. While codependency has become a cultural catch-phrase, all relationships require a delicate dance between giving and receiving – and anyone can sometimes veer off a beneficial path from time to time. However, when there truly are a wide array of codependence traits that keep presenting themselves in your relationship, then an honest self-assessment may be in order.
Here are some of the more dramatic signs that you may have some codependency issues:
- You have an unhealthy dependence on relationships, even when they’re hurting you
- You value the approval of others more than you value yourself
- You have an over-exaggerated sense of responsibility for the actions of others
- You have fears of abandonment or feel an obsessive need for the approval of others
- You lack trust in yourself and suffer from low self-esteem
Here’s the tricky part, true codependent behavior is often deeply ingrained through learning those behaviors in early, somewhat dysfunctional, family relationships. Since it’s all we’ve ever known, these behaviors can seem perfectly normal to us. That makes the moment that the blinders come off – and we recognize ourselves getting caught up in these hurtful patterns – often quite shocking.
On the positive side, falling prey to these behaviors also most often means that we’re caring and helpful individuals – and we all know the world could use more people like that.
However, the secret to using our empathic superpowers in a productive way is through setting healthy boundaries.
If that phrase – setting healthy boundaries – seems foreign to you, then speaking with a counselor could be life-changing. Deeper exploration can illuminate a greater understanding of the causes of the behavior, and counseling can also provide tools and techniques to help us breakout of self-sabotaging relationship patterns.
People who suffer from codependence are often loving and selfless individuals who are uniquely capable of experiencing deep and meaningful bonds in loving relationships – once they have the necessary insights to steer clear of known danger spots.
Knowledge is power, my friends – so seeking solutions is the first step toward finally realizing the amazing relationship that you deserve.
Marci Wise, M.A., RMHCI, is a motivational author and mental health counselor accepting both couples and individual clients in the Fort Myers/Naples Florida area. Call 239-689-3086 to schedule an appointment today– or visit marciwise.com for additional resources. Material is free to repost as long as proper credit is listed, including our website address.