A codependent relationship is often one-sided. This type of relationship requires you to give a lot, while you receive very little. There can be abuse or addiction in your relationship and codependency enables the negative behaviors to continue. This can create a lot of chaos and uncertainty which can lead to a constant state of anxiety. Learning some of the signs of codependency in relationships can help you avoid this pattern and experience a healthy, interdependent relationship instead.

What Is Codependency

Codependency is a type of insecure relationship style where one person does most of the giving and the other most of the taking. The partner that typically does most of the giving tends to have an anxious attachment style and defines themself by their relationship and their need to keep it going, no matter what. The partner that does most of the taking tends to have an avoidant attachment style and has great difficulty with meaningful emotional intimacy and tends to suffer from an addiction, or is emotionally immature.

In a healthy relationship, there is equal give and take and the needs of both partners are considered. A codependent relationship, on the other hand, has the giver focused on meeting the needs of the taker without consideration of their own needs being met. The giver sets up an environment where the taker can continue unhealthy behaviors. The giver also relies on the taker to help them feel needed. Codependent relationships can be exhausting for both partners and are difficult to maintain. Below are some warning signs that you might be in a codependent relationship.

1. You Lack Boundaries

Codependent relationships lack clear, consistent boundaries. You may have great difficulty defining where your partner ends and you begin. Although you may feel hurt and upset by your partner’s behavior, you allow it to continue. Instead of letting them know that their behavior is hurting you, there is often a desire to pretend that everything is fine. You might smile and laugh it off even though you are hurting on the inside.

2. You Make Excuses For Your Partner

If you are in a codependent relationship, you may find yourself making excuses for your partner’s behavior. For example, if your partner drinks too much at a party and becomes loud or rude, you might tell everyone that he has been overworked lately and that is why he drank too much. Allowing or enabling abusive or addictive behavior is another sign of being in a codependent relationship.

3. You Are A People Pleaser

You avoid showing your negative feelings and put on a happy face even when you are angry or upset. Conflict is something that you try to avoid at all costs. Therefore, you do things for your partner that they can do for themself even when you are sick or too busy. It is difficult for you to say no to your partner when you are in a codependent relationship. This is true even when it negatively affects your physical, or emotional well-being.

4. You Need Constant Reassurance

You need continuous reassurance of your partner’s feelings for you when you are in a codependent relationship. Perhaps you want your partner to constantly say they love you, or promise they will never leave you. You ignore their inappropriate actions and believe their contradictory words or empty promises of improvement. Insecurity about your relationship and your partner’s depth of feeling is common with codependency.

5. You Want To Fix Your Partner

Choosing partners that suffer from addictions, are abusive, or are emotionally unavailable is not uncommon with codependency. You may feel that your love can fix them and all of their problems. This includes trying to fix the environment by making sure the house is spotless, the kids are quiet, and all of their desires are fulfilled. The belief is that if everything is perfect then your partner will no longer need to continue the behaviors that you want them to fix.

6. You Feel Anxious About Your Relationship

When your relationship causes a great deal of anxiety, you should examine why this is. If you are afraid to share your true feelings, beliefs, and opinions with your partner and feel as though you are walking on eggshells around them, you could have a codependent relationship. Constantly worrying about someone else’s behavior or needs can be exhausting. If you notice that you feel nervous about your partner’s reactions or behavior and have difficulty relaxing around them, it could be a sign of codependency.

7. You Need To Feel Needed

The greatest need that you have in your relationship is to feel needed when copendency is a factor. Your focus is on your partner and what they need and how you can help them. By focusing on your partner, you don’t have to face your own feelings, needs, and insecurities. Your self-esteem is dependent on your ability to care for your partner. There is little equality in your relationship and your needs are rarely considered. You long for appreciation and validation for all that you do for your partner, even though you seldom receive it.

If you are in a codependent relationship, there are ways to change the unhealthy dynamic and create a more secure relationship. Couples therapy can help you learn to identify insecure attachment styles and can provide you with tools to make effective behavioral changes that will nurture a healthy relationship. It is possible to learn to create a more fulfilling, interdependent relationship where both partners needs are considered and there is more equal give and take.

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