Codependent Meaning – Is Codependency Ruling My Relationships?
Codependent Meaning: What is It?
Is Codependency Ruling My Relationships?
Codependent meaning – The pattern of seeking external things, including people, for a feeling of self-worth.
Before we can implement various strategies to eliminate the dysfunctional patterns unique to codependency, we must know what we’re up against.
Are your relationships marked with codependency characteristics?
As we continue to seek a codependent meaning, let’s take some time to explore this question.
People who manifest patterns of codependency are not always just clingy with their life partners or worried about their loved one who struggles with addiction. Anyone who satisfies their needs or provides them with comfort and security is an “eligible candidate” for the role of “codependent” partner. That includes close friends, family members, coworkers and pretty much anyone who is willing to take the role of financial or emotional “provider”.
Codependency is something that can characterize the entire relationship.
Whether it’s a romantic relationship or a close friendship, the absence of boundaries and limits can have unpleasant consequences. We all need to have our own space. Just because we’re extremely close with someone doesn’t mean we can’t have our own inner world, our secrets, and our freedom.
Besides, a romantic partner, a friend or a family member is an individual with whom you grow personally, emotionally, spiritually, etc. and share good and bad experiences with. They’re not to be the center of your universe or the provider of all your needs.
I like what this scripture in Matthew 6:33:
Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
In other words, put God first. Let God be the center of your universe, and as you remain aligned there, your needs will be met.
Let’s look at just how codependency can bring pain to our lives.
The worst consequence of codependency
Let’s say your partner is your “significant other”- the one person in this whole world that completes you (at least that’s how you describe him/her).
Sounds quite romantic, right?
However, is that how a healthy and functional relationship looks like? Is that the kind of relationship that we should cultivate and nurture? Unfortunately, we can’t answer with a clear “YES” or “NO”. As always, there’s a significant number of variables to take into account, so the answer might be somewhere in the middle.
Best-case scenario is that you’re in a healthy relationship where you rely on each other to grow as a team and still enjoy a certain amount of freedom that allows you to grow individually.
Sounds great, right? To know you can go to your partner, knowing he or she has your back, yet at the same time being free enough to think your own thoughts, do your own thing, or feel independent. Trusted.
Sadly, this is rarely the case.
Many people who say, “We were meant for each other”, “He/she is my soulmate”, “We’re inseparable” and so on, are likely to confuse authentic love with codependency.
Slowly, but surely, they lose their identity and their original and unique self, and that’s the most tragic consequence of codependency.
The two partners are no longer two singular personalities working together to create something beautiful.
Instead, they become two pieces of a puzzle that, if separated, would lose all meaning. Even worse, they go on a frantic search to try to fill their emotional gaps or compensate for their personal shortcomings by entering codependent relationships with other partners that (they think) will make them feel “complete”. (Truly, this is a great definition for codependent meaning)
“So, what’s the problem with that?” you might ask.
First, a healthy individual should feel complete even in the absence of a partner. Being with someone who loves you and wants to contribute to your personal development is not the same as being with someone who takes care of your emotional needs because you don’t want to or can’t or someone who relieves your anxiety from a dis-connection from your true self.
Did you get that? Someone who relieves your anxiety that stems from your dis-connect with your true self and God.
Freedom is a crucial aspect of maturity, and if you trade yours in exchange for codependency, you’ll not likely be able to express your true self, your individuality, and uniqueness.
Second, losing your identity can easily trigger an existential angst that will only make your personal and relational life worse.
Since the meaning of your life somehow gravitates around your partner, losing them is equal to losing your thirst for life.
You somehow feel incomplete; you feel like something is missing and no matter what you do, you can’t fill that emotional void. In a sense, it’s the proverbial seeking “out there” to fill this inner void that only God/Spirit can fill.
But there’s a silver lining here, because some people manage to recover from this devastating loss by investing their time and energy in other areas of their life. Some choose to focus on their careers or spirituality, their relationship with God, others discover new hobbies, and there are those who rethink and reshape their entire personality.
In other words, they “do the inner healing work”.
Codependent Meaning – Learning helps you heal
Hopefully, you’re better able to get the gist of codependent meaning now. You’re learning a lot!
Regardless of how you decide to deal with the negative effects of codependency, one thing’s for sure – it’s time to get rid of the dysfunctional patterns that cause you to seek dependency (or those struggling with drinking or drugging) in every new relationship. If not, chances are you’ll follow the same trend as before and eventually end up in another codependent relationship, and another and so on.
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 Recycle Your Pain: It Has a Purpose, Into The Wild Shadow Work Journal, and a collection of poetry entitled, The Pain, It Shapes Her World.