Relationship Codependency – Breaking the Cycle
Relationships can be tricky – on one hand, we want to get close to someone and share their lives – but on the other hand, we don’t want to get TOO close – after all, keeping some independence and autonomy is healthy for both people. Issues such as codependency can arise when one person is the emotional and psychological support, with the other person relying on them to cater to their needs – so rather than an equal, supportive relationship, it becomes more like a parent/child dynamic – which isn’t great for either person. It can often be tough to break this cycle – but being able to identify the issue, and make changes to the dynamic, can help to make a relationship healthier and more equal.
What are some signs of a codependent relationship?
A major sign of codependence is that one partner is a ‘people pleaser’ who tends to overlook their own needs and feelings in order to cater to others – they might rely on approval and validation from those around them and feel guilty if they speak up about their own needs. A lot of this comes from a person’s upbringing, and if this was modelled to them – or reinforced for them in their family – this will just seem like part of who they are. The person who is doing the people pleasing might also feel strongly impacted by the emotions and moods of their partner – again, this is likely to do with their experiences growing up, and of a belief that it is their job to manage and soothe those around them.
What can I do if I’m in a codependent relationship?
The first thing to do is to be honest with yourself and your partner – if you’ve noticed that these issues are present in the relationship, consider where this came from – and the dynamic that you’d like to have. Relationship coaching apps such as Relish offer one-on-one Coaching that can help to deal with issues like this – often it is about finding ways to communicate with your partner about what needs to change, and raising their awareness of the situation and dynamic. They might not be aware of this issue, and may really benefit from an open discussion about how to make thing more equal in the relationship.
One important thing to remember if you are the ‘people pleaser’ in the relationship, is that it is very easy to fall back into old habits – so working on your relationship with yourself is essential too. Being able to tune into your own needs and instincts is important, as low self esteem and low self worth is common in these situations. If you are able to improve your relationship with yourself and disrupt the emotional habit of caretaking, you will see major improvements in your relationship, and with your wellbeing in general.
If you are interested in exploring therapy to address codependency in your relationship, but do not have the time or money to go to a traditional therapist, then you and your partner should explore Relish. Relish is a relationship coaching app meant for modern couples who want to address the struggles in their relationship, including struggles related to codependency.