Am I In A Codependent Relationship?

Am I In A Codependent Relationship?

Isn’t it wonderful when your relationship is going great?  You’re all in love and things are just flowing nicely. Yeah, let the good times roll, right?

But what about when the relationship starts to go south?  The harmonious evenings cuddling on the couch watching Netflix occur less and less, and things like anxiety and yelling happen more and more.

  • Or maybe he starts staying out late, while you’re sitting at home lonely and bored.
  • Or, she’s drowning her work stress in Adderall and alcohol, leaving you to have to take care of everything.
  • Or, he starts pulling away emotionally and you’re freaking out.

It’s not always easy to know if you’re in a codependent relationship, as relationships go through bumps in the road and not every bump necessarily means problems.

Still, it’s a good idea to have an idea of what codependency is and be able to recognize if you’re relationship has fallen prey to it.

NOTE: Ok, so a lot of people are talking about codependency these days. It’s almost “hip” to talk about “working on my codependency issues”, except well, it’s not.

The issue is one of dependency. It’s totally ok to depend on your partner – to a degree – and for them to depend on you to a degree. We came to this planet hard wired for relationships, so as long as you and the other person are able to keep it at a healthy level, great!

But if you or your partner are relying on the other for a feeling of well-being, worthiness, etc., or if you’re in the habit of over-caring, people pleasing, wrapping your world around your partner – well, that is considered codependent behavior.

If you’re “enmeshed” (think of peanut butter and jelly all mashed together) where you don’t know where you end, and he/she begins, that’s definitive of a codependent relationship.

Childhood Attachments

Those who struggle with codependency characteristics tend to pick up such traits from childhood.

  • Maybe they had an unhealthy attachment with a parent and this caused insecurity.
  • Oftentimes, children will pick up codependent characteristics when they were raised in a home with a parent who had a substance abuse problem.
  • Or maybe there was some mental health issues going on, like narcissism or clinical depression.

So, how was your childhood? Do you think you had a healthy relationship with your mom and dad? Were they a healthy model for you when it comes to attachments?

If you’re wondering if you’re in a codependent relationship, chances are either you’re the one with the codependent characteristics, or you’re with someone who is struggling with some.

Ask yourself the following questions to get a clearer picture of the type of relationship you’re in:

***Is there a constant need for affirmation? 

If you or your partner is always in need of attention, affirmation, or reassurance, there’s some codependency going on.

***Do you sweep things under the carpet?

Is there some craziness going on and one or both of you sweep it under the carpet?  Maybe you have no idea how to communicate or you’re scared of conflict.  Either way, sweeping things under the carpet in no way means your relationship is clean.

***Do you define yourself by your relationship?

Do you lose all sense of purpose when your partner goes somewhere? Do you feel intense anxiety when you’re alone?  Are you “all in, madly and completely in love and nothing else in the world matters?” I don’t mean you feel part of the relationship; I mean the relationship is EVERYTHING to you and without it you’re nothing.

***Is there intense drama?

Oh boy, relationship drama.  Do you have intense highs and really low lows? Do you kinda like that roller coaster ride? Breaking up and feeling like a MAC truck hit you and then making up two days later more in love than ever?  Only to rinse and repeat a week later?

***Do you sacrifice your own wants and needs to satisfy your partner’s?

Do you know what your wands and needs are?  If so, do put them second to your partner’s needs and wants? Do you keep saying you’re going to practice self-care, but don’t?

***Do you have a tough time standing up for yourself in the relationship?

You can’t say NO when you really want to, and this can cause you so much grief and resentment. Or, you want to tell your hubby that his belittling you in public angers and hurts you, but you’re afraid of what he’ll say or do if you speak it.

Are You In A Codependent Relationship?

Now that you’ve answered these questions, what do you think? Do you see some codependent characteristics in your relationship? In you? In your partner?

If so, don’t be alarmed – but don’t blow it off either. Recognizing such characteristics can be a doorway to learning some pretty valuable lessons about yourself, others, relationships, and life in general.

Because we want amazing relationships, right?

And, we deserve them!

Dominica Applegate
Written by: Dominica Applegate

Dominica Applegate is an author, writer, and transpersonal spiritual teacher. Her teachings have helped millions of people experience emotional healing, relationship repair, and spiritual awakening. Earning her BA in Psychology and MA in Counseling, she worked 12 years in the mental health field before diving full-time into writing.

She runs Rediscovering Sacredness, an online portal that offers inspiration, essays, resources, and tools to help heal inner pain and experience more peace and joy.

Her books include:

Into The Wild Shadow Work Journal
Healing After a Breakup: A 50 Day Devotional & Guided Inner Work Journal
Goodbye Codependency: A 40-Day Devotional to Boost Self-Care
The Pain, It Shapes Her World {Poetry}