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Signs You’re in a Codependent Relationship and It’s Time to Fix It

Signs You’re in a Codependent Relationship and It’s Time to Fix It

Have you ever been in a relationship that seemed very one way? Perhaps one person was doing most of the giving and the other person was doing most of the taking?

One of the main signs of co-dependency is when someone’s sense of purpose revolves around their partner’s needs. It can leave them feeling trapped, undervalued or seeking the other person’s validation to feel complete. It is important to pay close attention as if left undetected, it can create long-term harm and prohibit the relationship from growing healthily.

What is co-dependency?[1]

Experts say that co-dependency is a form of addiction hence it is also known as “relationship addiction”. It often stems from childhood if the child was forced to grow up too quickly due to the lack of proper parental guidance. As a result, the child may have taken on a parental role. As a result, in adulthood, they revert to that instinct of taking care of others.

Shawn Burn, PhD, a psychology professor at California Polytechnic State University said, “These kids are often taught to subvert their own needs to please a difficult parent, and it sets them up for a long-standing pattern of trying to get love and care from a difficult person.”[2]

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Co-dependency can also be a learned pattern passed down from generations, for instance, if someone witnessed one parent constantly pandering to the other. As a result, the child will eventually mimic a similar behavior when they form relationships as they grow older.

10 signs you’re in a co-dependent relationship [3]

  • You invest a lot of time in trying to help your partner to change in a way that leaves you feeling drained.
  • You are so sensitive towards your partner’s moods that it has an affect your own.
  • Your partner’s needs always come first since he or she is your top priority.
  • Despite your hard work, your efforts still do not feel like enough.
  • You feel unfulfilled or undervalued in your relationship. Despite this, you feel unable to end it.
  • In the past, you have been in relationships with addicts or in relationships that were physically, mentally or emotionally abusive.
  • You feel responsible when your partner messes up.
  • You give more love and care to your partner than yourself.
  • You are frequently anxious, irrespective of if the relationship is having good or bad times.
  • You rarely do things without your partner.

So what to do to break the co-dependency pattern?[4]

Recognize your co-dependency behavioral patterns

Start being more aware of the things that you do that promote the co-dependency. Once you are able to identify these traits, you will be able to tackle them.

Do you always do all the housework with no help? Are you the one who makes all the telephone calls when anything needs to be sorted out?

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Take some time to rediscover who you truly are

Co-dependency has its roots firmly embedded in low self-esteem. Start by seeking out more of the things you like doing. Consider it to be some much-needed “you” time.

Is there an old hobby that you could take up again? What things or activities generally leave you feeling happier.

Reconnect with family and friends to rebuild social ties and relationships

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People who are co-dependant often fall into a pattern of isolating themselves and predominantly spending their free time with their partner.

When was the last time you have a girls’ or boys’ night out with your friends? How about a weekend visiting relatives without your partner?

Stop blaming yourself for the fault of the other person

Accept that it is not your fault for your partner’s shortcomings. They need to take responsibility for their own actions, as do you.

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If your partner talks about quitting an addiction, it is their job to take the steps. You can only support them, but ultimately, it is their job to do the hard work.

If you still find it difficult to break the co-dependency pattern, seek counseling to completely solve any problems

Sometimes there could be a hoard of underlying issues that make it difficult to break away from co-dependency. Speaking to a therapist can help you undercover those problems and address them in a healthy environment.

Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

Reference

More by this author

J.S. von Dacre

Writer at Lifehack

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Last Updated on April 1, 2019

How to Be Happy: Why Pursuing Happiness Will Make You Unhappy

How to Be Happy: Why Pursuing Happiness Will Make You Unhappy

When we talk about happiness, we often think about staying happy all the time – every single day, every single minute with zero negativity. Many try to pursue this constant state of “happiness” as their ultimate goal, and avoid anything that may take it away from them.

But, what is the meaning of this type of “happiness”?

It’s a lot like your favorite food. The more often you have it isn’t always better. On the contrary, when you only have a chance to eat it sparingly, that’s when you really savor every bite. So is it the food itself that makes you happy, or is it how valuable it is to you when you are eating it?

Always remember that only by experiencing sadness do we understand what it is to be happy.

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Video Summary

Don’t Assume Others Are Always Happy

Most people see those who have seemingly perfect lives and assume they are happy all the time. Since childhood, we are conditioned to chase the idea of “happily-ever-after” that we see in fairytales. On social media, everyone tends to share only the best looking aspects of their lives. So, it’s very easy to have a distorted view of what “happiness” is around us.

In reality, there is always something missing, something lacking, or something unpleasant.

No one has a perfect life. Even the most glamorous celebrities or the richest billionaires have their own set of challenges and problems.

When we feel negative, we’re only focusing on a small fluctuating curve. As CEO of Lifehack, I’ve had to deal with countless problems, and some of them felt like real setbacks at the time. During those moments, it really seemed like these problems would be the life or death of my company and my life goals. But, I got through them; and, weeks, months and eventually years passed with many more ups and downs.

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You need to keep your sights on the extended curve.  Looking back now, a lot of those “really big” problems at the time now seem like only small blips in a long line of experiences. Recalling them in my mind now makes me smile!

Stop Trying to Be Happy–Just Be

It’s natural to want to be happy as often as possible.

So what can we do?

First, throw away the belief that a perfect life means happiness. Personally, I would be miserable if everything was perfect. It’s through experiencing the pains of lifelong challenges that drives us to care for others when they are experiencing similar trials. If life was perfect, you wouldn’t be able to empathize. If life was perfect, you wouldn’t grow.

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To be truly happy, stop chasing permanent happiness.

It sounds like a paradox. But, what I mean is to accept that there will be ups and downs throughout life. Gracefully understand that happiness is a fluctuation of positive and negative events.

Understand the importance of gratitude. Instead of focusing on the unpleasant moment, flash back your memory to when you didn’t have something. I like to think about my career, for example. When I didn’t have a career I was passionate about, I felt lost and demotivated. I felt like everyone was figuring out their lives but me. But, when I found my purpose and started Lifehack, I was deeply happy, even before I realized I would be successful! This memory keeps me going when I hit tough spots. It takes the darkness to make us grateful for the light.

Happiness and Sadness Exist Together

What it all comes down to is this: your life will be filled with beautiful, happy and incredible moments–happy tears and joyous shouts and funny stories. But, your life will also be filled with rain and storms that never seem like they will pass while you’re going through them.

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But, whether your face is warmed by the sunshine, or your heart is dampened by the rain, know that it’s all part of the ebb and flow of life.

Treasure the happy moments and power through the sad ones. Don’t try to avoid “sad” or “negative” experiences, and blindly chase being “happy”. In the end you will achieve a true level of contentment in your life, based on meaningful experiences and achievements. Being able to create growth and meaning out of both positive and negative events — that is the true meaning of “happiness”.

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