The Root of Codependency and What to Do About It

Codependency is a common problem in romantic platonic relationships, and recognizing the warning signs is critical. Read on, and learn about why codependency happens and what you can do to stop it from happening in your relationships.

What Is Codependency?

Codependency is an easy trap for some people to fall into. Obviously, you want to be there for your romantic partner, so it’s not hard to imagine things going too far. But if you find yourself putting more work in than the other person, and prioritizing them over yourself, you’re in a codependent relationship. It’s not right to assign blame, codependency happens naturally for some people, and many people involved in either side of codependency don’t know that it’s happening. There’s rarely malintent behind codependent relationships. On the contrary, it’s too much consideration for others. If you find yourself trying to control your partner or family member’s life, or steer them in certain directions, you are in a codependent relationship. Other signs of codependency are even more obvious. If your mood is always impacted directly by the mood of the other person in the relationship, that is codependency. It’s normal for our behaviors to be informed by others, but when you’re anticipating their moods and letting them affect your own mood, it’s too much. We all want our partners and family to be happy, but when it becomes our obsession, things change. Codependency is bad for both parties in a relationship. The person who focuses and worries after the other person can begin to feel resentment toward that person and actually start to influence their behavior negatively. If you control the other person too much, they may become dependent on you for even more.

The root of codependency isn’t universal. There are a lot of things that can lead to codependency developing in a relationship, and it’s not a trend that people follow in every single relationship. You may have a codependent relationship with one or many people and a perfectly average relationship with countless others. One major influence on codependent relationships is a person’s early life. Dysfunctional families often result in codependent adults, as children who are neglected or abused often turn to external validation. Rather than looking inward for proof of self-worth, it needs to be derived from acts of service or praise from others. This can lead to a pattern of relationships where a person values the other person far above themselves, and it can breed resentment and further dysfunction.

What Can You Do About Codependency?

Now that you know what to look for, you can begin to work on righting the issues in your codependent relationship. Recognizing the patterns of codependency, and the harmful thoughts and behaviors you’re experiencing can greatly help you overcome the issue of codependency. Work on making sure your feelings are known, and your input is valued by your partner or loved one. It can be difficult asserting yourself at first, and there can be discomfort related to this change, but it’s critical. It’s not healthy to keep a codependent relationship going because it’s easier. Codependent relationships aren’t doomed to fail, but they are not rewarding for either person, and they can lead to a lot of unfulfilled needs and all sorts of emotional damage. If you’re more in a codependent, control-focused relationship, setting healthy boundaries is important. Don’t help make decisions for people when things don’t directly involve you. You can of course give advice, but if it’s too hard to do without also trying to influence behavior, you need to get hands-off right away. Don’t try to fix people, because it only leads to heartbreak for both parties. There’s a lot more a person can do about codependency, and therapy is a great place to start. Recognizing patterns is great, but it’s not always easy to do on your own. Talking with a neutral, third party (a therapist) can help you recognize harmful thoughts and behaviors, and a counselor can give you practical advice for making positive change.

Codependent relationships are unhealthy, but it’s not too late to right the mistakes you’ve made. Ready to start addressing the issues in your relationship? Give us a call at SOL Mental Health today for a consultation.

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