Codependent relationships can seriously affect those who find their way into them. Even though it may seem that this type of relationship is just a bit more complex than a healthy one, the difference is actually huge.
In a codependent relationship, you rely on your partner and treat him as if he’s an extension of you. You depend on him in every way possible and believe you can’t live without him. This is a serious state, where a person literally feels like their entire world would end if they were to break up.
This codependent behavior usually stems from early childhood. If you grew up with parents who neglected your needs and made you feel like you were responsible for their happiness, then you could seek similar types of relationships later in life.
A person with codependent tendencies is very different from a clingy person. We all get needy from time to time and demand a bit more attention than usual. But codependent people truly believe that their whole life depends on their partner. If their partner is unhappy, they feel as if they have failed in life.
5 warning signs you’re in a codependent relationship
Other people around you will easily notice that you’re stuck in a codependent relationship. But because you’re in it, you have more trouble seeing all the red flags.
If you suspect that something may be wrong, and you’re not as happy as you try to convince yourself, then keep on reading. Here are some of the most obvious signs you’re stuck in a codependent relationship. You’re not just needy, it’s way more serious than that.
1. You don’t have a life outside the relationship
You focus all of your time and energy on your partner, which makes it impossible to have a life outside the relationship. At first, you thought this was normal. All couples prioritize their relationships, right?
But there’s a difference between being in a committed relationship where you and your partner prioritize each other, and one where no one and nothing exists besides your significant other.
In the latter case, you lose all of your friends, forget about your hobbies, and stop visiting your family. Your partner becomes your number one.
2. You don’t know how to say “no”
Codependent relationships are all about ignoring your own boundaries. Even when you don’t feel like doing something, you’ll neglect your needs and do it for the sake of your partner’s happiness.
You may think that you’re doing a good thing and that relationships need to have compromise. But it’s not a compromise when you put yourself last only because you’re afraid that you’ll lose the person.
This right here is called self-sabotage and ignoring everything that you are. You may think this kind of behavior is harmless, but the truth is that it’s going to affect you in different ways.
You’ll forget who you are as a person, and your happiness will depend on your partner’s happiness. This will also affect your mental health, as you’ll convince yourself that your needs don’t matter. As a result, your confidence will plummet, and it’ll become harder to get out of the relationship.
3. You feel responsible for your partner’s feelings
As a codependent person, you truly believe that you’re supposed to make other people happy. But at the same time, you’ll never ask others to make you happy.
You sacrifice your own needs just to see others smiling. Even when you’re having a rough day, you pretend you’re okay because you don’t want to affect the mood of those around you.
When in a codependent relationship, it will make you feel like you don’t exist. The only thing that will matter to you is to see your partner happy. Even if it means having to forget everything you love and care about.
4. You’re always anxious about the relationship
A codependent relationship is a trap where you feel like you’re always giving something to the person, but it never seems to be enough. Even though your partner probably doesn’t tell you that you’re not committed enough, you assume he feels this way.
You always walk on eggshells when you’re around him, doing everything you can to not upset him. You mind your words and ignore your feelings just to make him happy.
No matter what you do, you always feel anxious because you think that you could’ve done something better. And this feeling haunts you forever.
If you’ve ever been in an abusive relationship or grown up in a household where abuse was common, then there’s your explanation of why you feel nervous all the time. You’re so used to feeling like you’re going to mess something up, you can’t help it.
5. You ignore your own needs
Even though you don’t feel like eating Mexican for dinner, you do it because your partner wants it. Even though you don’t want to move towns, you do it because your partner says it’s a good idea.
More than often, you go against yourself and do things that don’t make you happy because that’s what your partner insists on doing. And at one point, you get so used to this that you won’t know how to stop it.
You depend on your significant other and think that you can’t live without him. So, you’d rather ignore your own needs if it means keeping him by your side.
What to do if you realize you’re a codependent person
Accepting the truth and finally admitting to yourself that you’re stuck in a codependent relationship is hard in itself. But it’s even harder to make a move and do something to free yourself from it.
Where do you even start? Do you deserve better? Will you be able to live without your partner?
These are some of the many questions that keep plaguing you. So, allow me to help you with the answers.
1. Don’t blame yourself
Self-pity won’t help you heal your codependency issues. If anything, it’ll only make you feel like you’re in a worse position than you actually are.
What you need to understand right now is that your behavior stems from your previous relationships. You’ve been surrounded by people who enjoyed the feeling of being needed, so they didn’t want you to change.
Even though blaming others is never a good idea, it’s equally bad to blame yourself for your current situation. So, just accept the truth and allow yourself to start your healing journey. That’s the best you can do right now.
2. Face your fears
People end up in codependent relationships for different reasons. But the most common one is the fear of being alone. You’re so afraid that you won’t be able to find a soulmate that you’d be willing to spend the rest of your life with anyone who wants to be with you.
You probably believe you’re not good enough and unworthy of anyone’s love, so you settle for the bare minimum if it means that you get to share your life with someone.
But the time has come for you to change your destiny. All this time, you’ve been living in denial, thinking that you depend on your partner. Right now, you have to realize that the only person who’s responsible for your happiness is you.
The hard truth is that if you don’t face your fears and work on dealing with them, you’ll never be truly happy.
3. Surround yourself with people who wish you well
When you’re trying to get your life together and fix your codependency issues, you need a support group that’ll be with you every step of the journey. You need to surround yourself with people who believe that you deserve better than half-love.
So, when a good friend offers you help, don’t reject her. When a family member asks to be there for you, don’t say that you can do this on your own.
Even the strongest people need some additional help from time to time, so don’t think you’re weak just because you admit that you can’t do this on your own. We’re all humans, and being perfect isn’t a part of our description. What matters most is that we’re willing to improve ourselves.
4. Start working on yourself
There are many different things you can do right now to help yourself escape from the many codependent relationships you’ve created with different people in your life. Some will be easier than others, but it’s important to give yourself enough time to process everything.
Start by recognizing your own toxic patterns and work on breaking them. Nurture your own needs and start setting boundaries. Put yourself first and don’t assume that anyone else is more important than you are.
Once you successfully complete these tasks, every other step on your journey to escaping codependent relationships will seem like a piece of cake. And that’s when you’ll know that you’re doing the right thing for yourself.