Have you noticed any of the following behaviors in yourself in your romantic or personal relationships?
- You make lots of sacrifices to keep the other person happy
- You find that you feel like you give way more than you receive
- You consistently feel like your happiness and state of peace depend on the person’s mood or behaviors
- You find that you often take on the moods of the other person when they are happy, sad, angry, etc.
- Partners have told you that you are “clingy” or ask for space
- You feel like you have lost your identity in your partner or other relationship
If the above are relatable to you, you might be struggling with codependency. A codependent relationship is evidenced by patterns in your relationships where you seek the approval of others or depend on others for your identity, self-esteem, and sense of worthiness. It is possible that one partner, or both partners portray these behaviors.
How do I know if I need therapy for my codependency?
Even healthy relationships can be hard work. Relationships turn exhausting or even unhealthy if you are feeling like you are staying or working on the relationship at the expense of yourself. If you are ignoring warning signs and red flags in the relationship, or find it difficult to find happiness anywhere outside of certain relationships, then therapy is highly recommended.
Anyone can become codependent. Relationships are important, and if we were not given the love and care we deserved as a child it is common to fall into relationships where you might be seeking that sense of safety. If you have been struggling with these behaviors for a long time, it is common to need extra support to:
- Get out of a toxic relationship, and/or
- Unlearn these behaviors and replace them with healthier behaviors that allow you to have the love and connection you desire.
How will therapy help me?
The impact of a codependent relationship can be exhausting and devastating. You might feel intense anxiety in your relationship and do not know how to function without this relationship or these behaviors. Your therapist is a nonjudgmental and safe person that will assist you in identifying the behaviors that are contributing to this cycle of codependency, and will guide you in learning healthier behaviors that better serve you in your relationships. You will also be able to reflect on past relationships with parents, partners, and friends that may have shaped the way you view yourself in relationships with others. As you begin to understand your codependent behaviors and where they come from, you will be able to develop a stronger sense of self and individuality that allows you to find happiness outside of other people. Therapy can help you discern what is healthy dependence on other people while empowering you to set boundaries with others.