Codependency is a term that is heard commonly these days. It is often associated with alcohol/drugs or toxic people. A codependent relationship is defined by the codependent who, in the case of an alcoholic, is the partner that tries to save the alcoholic from alcohol and themselves. However, a codependent relationship is not limited to these types.
A codependent relationship may also come in the form of being an overly generous and helpful friend or lover. Codependents are all about caring for another person instead of caring for themselves. Albeit, it doesn’t mean that we should ignore someone when they are in need. It’s about trying to make changes for someone when they need to make those changes for themselves.
The type of caring involved in a codependent relationship takes away another’s personal power and decisions over life. A true and genuine care for someone does not overstep these boundaries but rather encourages them. Letting people make their own decisions, even if they are the wrong ones, enables people to grow and make healthy life changes.
Parallel to this, the codependents in a codependent relationship need to focus on their own troubles in life. Learning to take responsibility for one’s own actions and feelings is a key ingredient to a healthy relationship. Being conscious of what you are feeling and being open to change is something that we all must learn. Otherwise, we tend to feel like we are a victim to others when it is us who create our feelings within. Blaming others for our own lack of self-knowledge can lead to major relationship and, sometimes, self-image problems.
Many people that have been part of a codependent relationship may discover the same problems in their next relationships if they don’t make any changes in their lives. Different people come and go or roles may get reversed, but the same problems will still occur – anger, lack of intimacy, resentment, feeling unloved and unloving.
The way to change this is to realize that a relationship heals once the individual does. In a codependent relationship, one person tends to control the life of the other before taking care of their own life. In a healthy relationship, the only person to control is one’s self. The ability to feel, decide, and change lies in oneself and not in someone else. Learning this is a key to making all relationships work.