Codependent people are ones who tend to seek approval and self-worth from sources that are outside of themselves. In codependent relationships, the approval is sought from the other partner. This pattern can develop during childhood when a child might have had to give love and care and put themselves aside in order to get approval. Being in a relationship that is equal and with both parties feeling like they are valued and respected is of utmost importance. When things are not is way, there is a chance there might be codependent dynamics within the relationship.
Codependent people are ones who tend to seek approval and self-worth from sources that are outside of themselves (more on ways to overcome your need for approval here). In codependent relationships, the approval is sought from the other partner. This pattern can develop during childhood when a child might have had to give love and care and put themselves aside in order to get approval.
However, it takes two to tango, so to speak. Codependent relationships need the consent of both parties in order to survive. However, in codependent relationships one person’s energy is usually stronger than the other and the more overpowering and controlling individual tends to diminish the power of the other partner. When the two get caught up in a cycle of seeking validation from the other in order to have a sense of self and a feeling of external power, this is when you know the relationship can use some real help.
If you are in a codependent relationship, it can be difficult to admit that you’re in one. Here are some ways you can determine if you are in a codependent relationship:
1. You don’t put you first
You spend too much time and energy being dragged down by your partner’s needs, wants, drama and dysfunctions. Often to the point of forgetting your own needs and wants. You may even disregard yourself so much that you stop doing things that you love.
2. You feel overly responsible for you partner
A healthy relationship is made up of two whole parts. Even though you are in a partnership with someone, you should not feel like you are responsible for their happiness and well-being. This feeling – or even burden – of responsibility can make you feel anxious and it will probably limit your ability to move forward with your own dreams and desires.
3. You feel resentful
Because you put your thoughts, feelings and desires on the back burner you harbor a sense of resentment. This can also be from tolerating behavior from your partner that is hurtful and inappropriate.
4. You don’t have confidence in yourself
Because your sense of identity is so tied in to your partner’s, your confidence may be lacking. This might even be a big reason why you haven’t worked up the courage to change things in the relationship, confront your partner or leave the relationship.
5. You cut your partner too much slack
You explain away or cover up your partner’s wrong doings. When they hurt you you don’t always expect them to take accountability and/or apologize. This takes away crucial learning experiences for both parties.
6. You feel stuck
You get emotionally stuck and may find it hard to move forward in life and you don’t know exactly who you are without your partner. This can happen after putting other people first.
7. Your moods fluctuate
Because you have become so reliant on your partner for a sense of completion and disregard your own thoughts and feelings, your moods fluctuate. They usually fluctuate with the thoughts and feelings of your partner and it’s hard for you to distinguish his/her thoughts and emotions and yours.
Most of the time, people are not consciously manipulative. They act out in codependent relationships because they don’t know any better and these dynamics is what was modeled to them. Partners are not here to make you feel complete and feed your sense of self worth.
If you realize that you are in a codependent relationship, it is important to lay down boundaries and build your self esteem. You might even need to take some time away from the relationship in order to reassess it. If you need the help, work with a therapist to help you dig into the childhood issues that might have set you up for these kinds of relationships. But above all, be gentle and compassionate with yourself throughout the process.