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Nov 10, 2020 in 

Could You be in a Codependent Relationship?

Wondering if you are in a codependent relationship? This article can give you some things to look for in determining that.

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Denell Henefield

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Once two people have a close relationship, it is natural and healthy to depend on each other for certain things. However, if one of you loses sight of who you are, to please only the other person, the relationship can become very unhealthy. One of the most troubling relationship elements is codependency.

Definition of Codependency

“Codependency” is defined as an unhealthy relationship where partners are overly reliant on one another. As a result, a dysfunctional pattern of living and problem-solving develops between the two. 

Questions to Consider: 

· Are you afraid to express genuine feelings to your partner?  Perhaps you think “I shouldn’t have said anything... it just made matters worse” after you are open with your partner. If you notice you often hold in your feelings for fear of how your partner will react, that is a sign the relationship is not as healthy as it could be.

· Are you leery of asking for help from your partner?  If you cannot seek assistance from your partner, it is very frustrating. In a healthy relationship, partners freely and repeatedly ask for a hand. Hopefully, your partner is open and willing to help you out whenever you ask. However, if you are codependent, you might not feel comfortable with asking or with your partner’s response. 

· Do you find yourself feeling hurt or angry because your partner does not notice your needs? Although you try to take care of everything, you are disappointed that your partner does not acknowledge what is going on with you. You wait and wait for your partner to recognize your needs, but they rarely do.  Do they display a nonchalant attitude when it comes to your concerns and feelings?

· Do you believe you cannot have a friendship independent of your relationship?  Because you are busy doing chores and errands for your partner and they are rarely satisfied with how you do them, you do not have time to maintain and cultivate outside friendships. If you are completing numerous tasks for your loved one that could easily be done by them, you might be caught up in a dysfunctional, codependent relationship. These chores are done at the detriment of your own personal and social life. 

· Do you have hobbies and activities to enjoy separate from your partner?  To maintain a healthy individual identity, it is important to cultivate your own hobbies and interests, apart from the relationship. If you do not or feel that you cannot, it could be a sign of codependency.

· Do you try to control things to make yourself feel better?  You feel like you are walking on eggshells because you do not want to upset your partner. Therefore, you take steps to control situations however you can so nothing unexpected occurs.

· Would you describe your partner as needy, emotionally distant, or unreliable?  These qualities often draw in partners who are “caretakers.” We tend to want to help those we see in need. That is one of the great qualities of being human, but there are situations where we tend to zone in on those that do not want to help themselves. Thus, the codependency begins. 

· Do you have a perfectionistic streak and try to get things exactly right when dealing with your partner?  After all, if you get things perfect, then maybe your partner will be happier, more satisfied, and less angry, disappointed, or annoyed with you. People who struggle with codependency tend to struggle with perfectionism as well. The problem is that when you try to be the perfect person for someone else, it places an almost impossible burden on you. To put it simply, nobody’s perfect. NOBODY.

· Do you trust your partner?  If so, maybe your relationship is not codependent. On the other hand, there may be just some trust issues you might want to resolve. If you wonder what your partner’s doing or suspect they are not telling you the truth about something, there could be codependency in your relationship. There must be trust in a relationship for it to be healthy. This is nonnegotiable.

· How is your health as it relates to stress?  Often, people involved in codependent relationships experience health issues that might be related to stress like asthma, allergies, out-of-control eating, chest pain, and skin disorders. Are these conditions heightened around or after interacting with your partner? Try to take note of how you physically feel after talking with or seeing your partner. Of course, if you experience any of these symptoms, it is wise to see your doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions. 

The danger of falling into a codependent relationship is not only reserved for intimate or sexual relationships. Friendships can also be codependent, unhealthy and even in some cases toxic. While reading this, if you notice that a lot of the answers to these questions apply to how someone else’s actions make you feel. A codependent or unhealthy attachment changes you. Only you can determine if the intimate, sexual or platonic relationship you are engaging in is toxic to you. If you find yourself questioning if the attachment is healthy, then nine times out of ten, it is not. 

The good news is that if you believe you are in a codependent relationship, you can begin altering your behavior right away to gain back a healthy sense of self. You can use these questions to guide you in modifying your behaviors and emotional expressions in the relationship. If you feel you need help, seek out a professional trained in helping those with codependency such as a life coach or therapist. You will feel better and your relationship will be stronger when you can relate to each other in more positive ways. Everyone deserves to experience healthy attachments  for the sake of themselves and others. 

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