Are you the one making all sacrifices in your relationship? Do you always try your best to keep your partner happy while getting literally nothing in return? Do you feel more like a caretaker rather than a partner? If this sounds like your relationship, then you are probably in a codependent relationship.
What Does It Mean To Be In A Codependent Relationship?
If you’re hearing it for the first time, then a codependent relationship is the one in which a partner is the caregiver while the other takes the advantage. The one who takes the advantage exhibits addictive behavior and is called enabler while the caregiver depends on the enabler’s approval. All that matters to the caregiver is to hear that he/she is a good partner.
No matter which one you are, codependency is never good in any relationship. This is because one partner grows even more addictive while the other sacrifices his/her wishes, needs, dreams, and much more. When I say addictive, I mean one of the partners always sabotages the other one. He/she always tends to fulfill his/her wants and needs without caring about others. The person eventually makes him/herself the addiction or say, the only need of the caregiver. In fact, the person misuses the dependency of his/her partner for self-validation. He/she needs to be needed all the time.
In simpler terms, both the partners are dependent on each other in the wrong way. We know that it is obvious for couples to depend on each other for certain needs. But things turn ugly when your dependency is toxic. Taking care of your partner while sacrificing your needs and wants just to get validation in return isn’t love. Similarly, expecting your partner to do everything for you as if their life revolves around you, doesn’t define love.
A codependent relationship can lead to mental, emotional and physical abuse. The one who is happy to make sacrifices tends to tolerate the abuses of the sacrifice receiver.
Who Are Into Codependent Relationships?
Now you may wonder who are these people and where do they come from? According to some researchers, people who grew up in an emotionally toxic family or were abused or neglected during their teens, grow up to have a codependent relationship. These kids try their best to please their strict and/or critical parents leading to a development gap.
Not only this, but the eldest among the siblings are most likely to be in a codependent relationship. Right from their childhood, they are taught to look after their younger siblings, especially when parents aren’t around. These children grow up to follow the same childhood pattern. They don’t find it wrong to sabotage their own needs, wishes and desires. They feel they are doing the right thing by sacrificing everything to keep their partner happy.
You will be surprised to know that codependent relationships can be between parents and children, friends and family members.
Signs Of Being In A Codependent Relationship
- Pleasing People: It is very important for people to understand that they weren’t born to please people. It is okay to want people to like you but for that you don’t have to please them all the time. You need to stop believing in the notion that you have no choice but to make others happy.
- Finding No Happiness In Your Life: All of us have heard that it is good to find contentment in other’s happiness. But if this contentment costs you your self-esteem, worth and satisfaction, then you might be into a codependent relationship. Rather than working hard to make your partner happy, you need to care for your happiness too.
- Lack Of Personal Boundaries: When we say personal boundaries, it means respecting one’s right to privacy of feelings, personal space and autonomy. People in codependent relationships rarely recognize and acknowledge personal boundaries. If you and your partner neither insist on having personal boundaries nor care to recognize boundaries, then you need to reconsider your relationship.
- Having Lower Self-Esteem: If your self-esteem depends only upon what your partner thinks of you, then this may be a red flag you must not ignore. You may have low self-esteem because you let your partner have the authority to judge your behavior. You consider yourself good only if you are able to keep your partner happy. Initially, you may not realize the way your partner takes advantage of your insecurities.
- Taking Care Of People All The Time: No, no I don’t mean to say that you must not take care of others. But compelling yourself to take care of others by keeping your needs and wants aside is a sign of codependency. You may fear that if you don’t take care of others, you may be regarded as a shrewd and selfish person. Not only this, you may consider it your duty to look after people and sacrifice for the sake of others.
- Ignoring The Wrong-Deeds Of Your Partner: Just because you want to keep your partner happy all the time, doesn’t mean you’ll ignore his/her mistakes. If you do so quite often without caring about the consequences, you may be in a codependent relationship. The caregiver in a codependent relationship may turn a blind eye towards whatever their partner does. They may not recognize mental, emotional, and physical abuse too. This is because they believe that their duty is to please their partner while the other believes he/she is always right.
It is very important to identify the signs of codependency and work on the same. Otherwise, the relationship may lack love, mutual respect, and compatibility. The individuals in the relationship eventually become afraid of being alone. They would cross any limit to retain the relationship, even at the cost of abusive behavior. However, none of them will remain happy and would lead a stressful life.
So, if you know someone who seems to be in such a relationship, make sure to help him/her. Also, use the comment box to let us know what you think about it.
Prerna loves to write and shower love on animals. She enjoys reading and exploring places. Though sweet in her pictures, at times, she is difficult to understand. Being a strong believer in hard work and karma, she loves solitude and peace. Apart from this, she loves petrichor and harmony and wishes to achieve her one and only ataraxia for a lifetime.