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90% of People Confuse Codependency with Intense Love. Are You One of Them?

90% of People Confuse Codependency with Intense Love. Are You One of Them?

How many times have you heard someone say that they couldn’t live without the person they loved? After all, life goes on even if relationships come to an end. For some people, however, there remains far more truth to this castaway statement.

As beautiful as that giddy, intense love may seem to be, there is a firm line between that and co-dependency.

The key differences: codependency VS intense love

The majority of people who fall in love will know when it happens. They experience that surge of butterflies mingled into euphoria in the beginning. As the days go by, these emotions should settle into something calmer yet mostly content.

With co-dependency, the love is often rooted in feelings of low self-esteem, insecurity, and inadequacy. It results in one person losing a sense of themselves and focusing completely on the needs of the other person.

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The destructiveness of co-dependency

There are some who would argue that a certain amount of co-dependency is not bad in a relationship. If anything, it is encouraged to an extent. Being with someone means that you should, at times, be unselfish and put the other person’s needs first. After all, that is what love is–is it not?

Furthermore, being with someone means that you do not have to be completely independent. Part of having a relationship is knowing that there is someone by your side.

The destructiveness of true co-dependency is not having elements of trust, self-esteem, and assurance that would accompany a healthy relationship. For the one who is co-dependent, he or she needs to feel needed in order to feel accepted or worthy. This can often be exacerbated by an on-going fear of rejection.

This is not to say that people in co-dependent relationships do not experience some of the benefits of a healthy relationship. Yet, those feelings of security are often short-lived and unstable.

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Attachment theory says that as infants, people create much-needed healthy attachments to at least one caregiver which helps them to grow up to be secure in love, affection and be able to handle rejection. Children who did not build any such attachment are more likely to become co-dependent as adults. As a result, they can often end up in abusive relationships which extend to emotional, mental, physical or sexual abuse.

If you think you are co-dependent, here are 5 tips to help

Stop being a people-pleaser

Know that it is not possible to please everyone all of the time. As a result, it is inevitable that someone will get disappointed or upset.

Perhaps your partner wanted to see you but you are sick and in bed. Don’t allow yourself to feel guilty for declining the offer and focusing on your health instead. Remember that with relationships there are always opportunities to reschedule things.

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When arguments happen, just walk away first

Don’t make your happiness depend on whether someone else is happy or not. A person may be thrilled with you one day and have an argument with you the next day. When arguments happen, try not to take them as personally and walk away. Let the dust settle before addressing the issue again in a more rational way.

Focus on yourself and love yourself first

A big issue with co-dependency is the focus is mostly on the other person. Learn to love and embrace yourself because ultimately, this is where true love starts. You can do this by spending more time with those who love you such as friends or family. Or perhaps by adopting a new hobby or do something that you always wanted to try.

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Beware of falling into relationships with abusers or addicts

An example would be a person who refuses to leave a partner who constantly cheats. Instead, they convince themselves that they could make their partner change or perhaps make changes within themselves to prevent the cheating.

Frequently, co-dependent people can find themselves in relationships that do not serve their best interests and can easily fall into relationships with abusers or addicts. Know that you can walk away and if you are scared to do so get support from someone who can help you take the first step.

Speak to a therapist: there’s no shame seeking external help

For any underlying issues, it is always good to speak to a specialist who may be able to give you further help. There is no stigma or shame in striving to become the best version of yourself by whatever means necessary.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

More by this author

J.S. von Dacre

Writer at Lifehack

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Last Updated on May 7, 2019

How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Work in any competitive field long enough, and you’re bound to run into a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It’s a powerful image. A shepherd watches over his flock to protect them from harm. He’d chase away any predator that tried to make its way into the flock. A clever wolf wearing the skin of a sheep as a disguise can sneak by the vigilant shepherd and get into the herd undetected.

The story isn’t just a colorful description–it’s a warning to all of us to beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing. They may seem innocent, but they have ulterior motives. They’ll use different tactics to camouflage their intentions.

The person who is kind to you, but undercuts you when you aren’t around is a wolf in disguise. A wolf in sheep’s clothing might pick your brain for ideas and then pass them off as their own to get a promotion. They’re always looking out for themselves at the expense of everyone around them.

Wearing a Disguise Has Its Advantages

People don’t go out of their way to manipulate others unless they’re getting something out of it. Hiding their intentions gives wolves the chance to manipulate other people to advance their own agenda. They know that what they’re trying to do wouldn’t be popular, or it might cause struggle if they presented themselves honestly.

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    They’ll be able to do what they want with less interference if they put on an act. By the time people figure out their true motives, the wolf has what it wants.

    Signs That Someone Is a Wolf in Disguise

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        1. They live to take power instead of empowering others. A wolf uses people as stepping stones to get the things that they want. They don’t care what happens to anyone else.[1] A wolf at work might make you look bad during a presentation to make themselves look amazing in front of the boss.
        2. Wolves seem sweet on the outside, but they’ll show you their teeth. If wolves revealed their true identity, people wouldn’t associate with them. They develop a friendly or kind persona, but they can’t keep up the act 24/7. Eventually, they’ll reveal their aggressive tendencies. A wealthy person who likes to break the law may make sizable charitable donations to convince people that they are kind and thoughtful. These donations largely keep them out of trouble, but if someone calls them out, they destroy that person’s reputation to stifle the criticism.
        3. They manipulate through emotions to get what they want. Wolves know that they can get ahead by appealing to your emotions. They find out what you want and need, and they give you just enough to keep you quiet and compliant. Imagine that your boss is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and you want to ask for a vacation. She might try to play on your guilt and feelings of insecurity to get you to skip vacation or take fewer days off.
        4. A wolf will charm you first. Wolves are experts at manipulating the people around them. They appear interested in whatever you’re doing, and you’ll get the impression that they care. After they get you where they want you, they do just enough to keep you on the hook. This is the coworker who may start out being your friend, but they end up dumping responsibility onto you. When they see that you are growing frustrated, they’ll surprise you with something to charm you some more. Then, they’ll continue to do whatever they want.
        5. Their stories are full of holes.  Calling a wolf out is the surest way to make them squirm. When this person tries to come up with a story, it won’t make much sense because they are improvising.[2] The classic example of this is the significant other that you suspect has cheated on you. When you ask them why they came home so late, they’ll either become upset with you, or they’ll make up a weak explanation.

        How to Spot a Wolf

          Know What’s Real So You Can Spot the Phony

          Do some homework so that you have as much of the story as possible before you work with them. Research how they respond in certain situations, or give them hypothetical problems to see how they respond.

          A job applicant might tell you that she’s always positive and thinks of herself as a team-player. That’s what every employer wants to hear. During the interview you ask applicants to work in groups to solve a problem to see how they handle the situation. The applicant “positive team-player” is bossy and negative. You’ve spotted the wolf.

          A wolf will tell you something that ultimately benefits them. Gather evidence that proves or disproves their position, and see what happens. Chances are, when you choose the side that supports their agenda, they’ll act like your best friend. If you disagree, they’ll become aggressive.

          Spotting a potential wolf–especially if you are one of the sheep–can present you with some challenges. If your gut tells you that a wolf is lurking among all the other sheep, pay attention, and make sure you take the next step.

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          Ask Questions, the More the Better

          There’s nothing wrong with asking questions to uncover the truth. The safety of everyone in your group is at risk. Since wolves often make up stories, you may be able to call them out when their tales lack details.

          When they state an opinion, ask “Why do you think that?” or “How do you know it’s like that?” They’ll have trouble coming up with enough information to pull off the lie.

          Since wolves are always pretending to be something they aren’t, they don’t usually have a clearly thought-out reason for what they say. In a debate, they won’t understand the root of an issue.

          They may also tell you what they think you want to hear, but when pressed for more information, they won’t have anything to add. Their knowledge is superficial. No matter how much you try to encourage discussion, they will not be able to carry on a conversation about the subject.

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          Wolves Are Everywhere

          As much as we want to believe that everyone has the best intentions, it isn’t always the case. Some people only do things to benefit themselves, and they don’t care who they hurt in the process.

          Wolves in sheep’s clothing can be found in almost every setting. You can’t get rid of them, but if you can spot them, you can avoid falling into their traps.

          Reference

          [1] Association of Biblical Counselors: Three Ways to Spot a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
          [2] Power of Positivity: Beware of a wolf in sheep’s clothing

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