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Are you in a co-dependent relationship?

Do you spend a significant amount of your time and energy thinking about and serving the needs of your partner in a one-sided relationship? Are your feelings and self-image tied to the amount of attention and communication you receive from your partner? Are you neglecting your life to enable theirs, even if it is to serve unhealthy, dysfunctional or addictive behaviours?

If you say yes to the above, you could be in a co-dependent relationship.

Co-dependency is characterised by poor self-esteem, whereby the co-dependent person is constantly comparing themselves to others, and they do not feel that they are ever good enough. It is also characterised by poor boundaries, where co-dependents are not able to clearly define where they begin, or where they end. Co-dependents may take on the responsibility of others’ feelings, or blame others for their own.

Another key symptom of co-dependency is caring or taking on the problems of others, to the detriment of your own feelings or well-being. For most it is natural to help those we love; co-dependents however put the needs of others beyond their own, to the point they feel personally rejected and devastated, if their help was declined.

Co-dependent individuals feel the need to be liked by others, in order for them to feel good about themselves. There is a need to control others and situations, so that the resulting behaviours or events serve their need to feel good about themselves. Co-dependents manipulate others through constant and unhealthy caregiving and people-pleasing, in a bid to control their own emotions.

Co-dependents are also in denial of their way of thinking and behaving. They are particularly sensitive to criticisms, reacting negatively to any perceived rejection or abandonment.

The above are just some of the key characteristics of a co-dependent person. If you suspect that you may be in an unhealthy co-dependent relationship, speak to one of our counsellors today. With professional help, you can learn skills to tackle unhealthy and dysfunctional thoughts and behaviours, and begin to live a life that honours who you are as an individual, one that is not intimately and dysfunctionally tied to someone else.