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Why Codependents Always Fall For The Wrong People

Why Codependents Always Fall For The Wrong People
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In a healthy relationship, two adults come together to build something better. To explore together. To grow, create a family, and enjoy life. But not when someone in the relationship is codependent.

How do you know if you are codependent and what exactly is codependency?

You can go through a detailed questionnaire published by Mental Health America to identify signs of codependency here. But, here are a few quick questions you can ask yourself:

  • Do I find that I am sacrificing a lot in my relationships, but feel I am getting little in return?

  • Do I go out of my way to change my schedule and day for my partner and for others?

  • Do I feel that if my partner isn’t happy that I can’t be happy? Do I get nervous if people are upset with me?

  • Do I try to “save” my partner, from lots of their mental issues and troubles?

If you answered yes to these questions and those in the questionnaire, you might be a codependent in a relationship. But don’t worry: you can change and in this article, you’ll learn why you might be picking the wrong partners for you, and whom you should go for instead. Codependents always end up miserable or in bad relationships, picking the wrong partners because…

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1. They try to re-create familiar dysfunctional family patterns throughout their entire lives, creating miserable relationships.

Codependency starts when you are a child. Some family member who had mental, physical, or addiction issues was covered up. Everyone rallied behind to support this family member. While this can sometimes be good for something like a chronic pain injury, it can also be done for negative issues like alcoholism, to cover up possible embarrassment from the outside world. This hiding only fuels the person further to do their negative behavior if no intervention happens – the family is enabling them to keep on their destructive path while believing they might be “helping or saving them from themselves”.

Codependents, seeing this, learned that this pattern should be replicated in their own intimate and close relationships, and that hiding something is okay.

2. They want to play the savior, it makes them feel good.

Codependents seek out partners whom they can save and get drowned in taking care of their partners while never being taken care of themselves. Like a pair of dysfunctional puzzle pieces perfectly fitting together floating across a sea of misery, codependents attract those who desire caregivers and enablers (vampires). Through childhood, codependents believe that intimacy is formed by taking care of “damaged” people and accepting them. So, if they meet a partner who is reasonably emotionally healthy, they won’t feel the same pull, because they are used to the drama brought on by vampires (how bad is that?).

Without the drama, they don’t feel alive or the attraction hormones they’re used to.

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For example, a woman might be attracted to the drug user and think she can save or change him when he comes crying to her, and she says “It’s okay”. But then, he does it again. The woman then complains about always attracting the wrong guys, but will continue the cycle forever unless she realizes the one commonality in all of her relationships that needs to be fixed: Her.

3. They believe that withholding their own needs and emotions will bring them love and affection.

As they were never the center of care or attention, and someone else’s needs were always more important, codependents usually squash down their own needs for love, affection, support, and intimacy to help the vampire out. They believe that as long as the vampire is happy, then they and the relationship are good. Even though deep down they feel a sense of imbalance, like the relationship is hardly 50-50 at all, they saw growing up that giving the vampire all of their care and support was necessary.

In time though, the codependent feels unheard, ashamed, stressed, and alone in the relationship and. They feel fatigued and taxed, instead of energized by spending time with their partner. They never learned how to communicate what they wanted and how they felt in a relationship, and so, they decide to never express their deepest, or even surface level desires of getting a back rub.

Two people aren’t creating something bigger together here. The codependent is only making the vampire worse.

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4. They define and establish their own sense of self-worth from compliments.

Because codependents saw growing up that a vampire was the center of care, they strongly associated their self-worth with how they took care of that person. They connect a vampire telling them that they are doing a good job taking care, or others appreciating them, as being good. Their own opinion of themselves matters far less.

So instead of being able to define their own sense of self-worth from what they do and how they act, they must draw it from what they do for others. This is not necessarily a bad thing in terms of giving service, but the codependent will believe much more strongly in others’ opinions of themselves rather than what they believe. They are strongly affected by criticism, and they are sensitive and even needy when it comes to receiving compliments and re-enforcement. This can actually drive healthy people away, who don’t understand why the codependent seeks so much approval or requires so much attention.

5. They believe they need a relationship to feel useful and good.

Codependents draw a great deal of self-esteem and self-respect from taking care of vampires. In this sense if they don’t have a vampire relationship, they don’t feel good. They have problems being single, alone, and happy, and as such, would rather take a crappier relationship or stay in one rather than feeling useless, or abandoned and left alone.

While codependents don’t have the easiest time in life, they can begin to change their beliefs and heal to find healthier partners. You attract what you put out and what you are looking for, and if you are always looking to re-create the dysfunctional relationships of the past that’s all you’re going to find.

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Going to therapy and fining resources on healthy relationships can help codependents heal, so that they can approach dating and relationships from a much more healthy and guided view. They will learn that two people can take care of themselves, but also for each other.

Featured photo credit: Nattu via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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