Should You Abandoned Your Old Relationship For A New One How to Be Aware That You’re in a Codependent Relationship and What You Can Do About It

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How to Be Aware That You’re in a Codependent Relationship and What You Can Do About It

You know that your husband has problems and needs your help and support. And you were always proud to be around him. But now you realize that maybe it’s not a good thing. Maybe you have become dependent on his need for you?

Codependency is simply used to refer to people involved in alcoholism or drug addiction. However, modern psychologists have a broader definition. “The point really is that emotionally unhealthy people can become obsessed with the pain and suffering of being dependent on another person,” says Carol Cannon, M.D., a counselor and director of The Bridge to Recovery Program in Bowling Green, Ky.

Six Signs You’re in a Codependent Relationship

So are you codependent? How can you tell? Here are six signs that you may be in a codependent relationship.

1. Do you become obsessed with fixing and saving people in need? Codependents are more focused on someone else’s reality than their own; they want to be someone else’s savior, which makes them feel happier.

2. Do you easily delve into other people’s pain and problems?

3. Are you trying to control someone? Is someone trying to control you? Neediness is a hallmark of codependent relationships. One person’s happiness depends on another person being around – right now. Not letting you hang out with your friends, calling often to check on you, being with you all the time are controlling behaviors

4. Do you do more than your share – all the time? Many codependent people were the favorite child because they did more – took care of a sick parent, got high fives, cleaned the house. However, in adulthood, if this behavior continues, it can lead to the person feeling like a martyr, a victim in doing it all.

5. Are you always looking for approval and recognition? Low self-esteem is a sign of codependency. A codependent person judges themselves harshly; they find it difficult to ask others to meet their needs and do not believe they are worthy of attention or attractive.

6. Would you do anything to save the relationship? Are you afraid of being dumped? Many adults in codependent relationships come from families where they felt unloved or abandoned by one or both parents. This makes them ready to put up with a lot to keep their partner.

Reading the signs, you think you’re in a codependent relationship, now what? Do you have to leave? Get a consultation? It’s hard to think about yourself and your own needs after spending so long focusing on your spouse’s needs and adapting to their problems, their demands, their moods. But it’s time to put yourself back in the center, take control, and think about what’s good for you.

As with any problem, you need to understand what’s at the root of it, says David A. Baron, M.D., Ph.D., chair of psychiatry at Temple University Health System. “Often the facilitator feels guilty about the situation. They care about the other person in the relationship; [they] to know that this person has a good side. They hope, despite their hope, that they can go back to the good times – even when it’s clear that nothing will change.” At some point, they have to realize that the situation has to change, he says. “They have to get beyond their emotions. and look at the behavior history. It was a model. When you can get rid of your emotions and learn the facts, write them down. Make a little timeline or assessment of bad behavior.’

Where to turn for help? Professional counseling from a mental health professional, psychologist, or family doctor can give you the strength to break out of a codependent relationship, Barron says. Twelve-step programs are also helpful and free. Group therapy also works well. You meet people who have been through what you’ve been through, who can give advice at a grassroots level instead of looking to you as an authority figure.

Jeanne McKeon, EdD, a psychologist at the Center for Addiction Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, suggests short-term family therapy that can be very effective. “You don’t have to do multi-year analysis. You look at the family, how it affects everyone, what the game plan should be. Bringing everyone together evens things out so no one feels guilty.”

There is so much information and help available for those suffering from codependency; all you need is to gain knowledge of this information and the strength to ask for help. And of course, the more you understand codependency and how it affects you and your relationships with family and friends, the better you can deal with its effects.

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