Codependent Relationship Signs and How to Deal With Them

A healthy relationship is not just about giving or just taking. There has to be a balance for the relationship to stay healthy. But there are times when a person sacrifices a lot just to make their partner happy. This is a codependent relationship that you shouldn’t get into for the sake of your sanity. You might see compromise as a way to show your love. So if you’re wondering if you’re in a codependent relationship, check out the signs.

What is a codependent relationship?

A codependent relationship is basically a dysfunctional relationship where there is a clear power imbalance between two partners. Ritika Aggarwal, consultant psychologist at Jaslok Hospital and Research Center in Mumbai, explains that there are usually two roles in this type of relationship. One is the keeper (also called giver or facilitator) and the other is the taker. The caregiver prioritizes the thoughts, feelings, and needs of the other person over their own and spends a lot of time making sure the other person is cared for. The lessee, on the other hand, intentionally or unintentionally benefits from this custody.

Know the signs of a codependent relationship. Image provided by: Shutterstock

Codependent Relationship Signs

Some warning signs can help you identify that you are in a codependent relationship. Here is some:

1. People like

While it’s normal to want to please others, it becomes a problem if you focus all the time on pleasing the other rather than your own needs, explains the expert. Pleasing others can keep you from saying no, even if it interferes with something you need. So you might find it difficult to meet your own needs and desires or feel like you don’t have time for yourself.

2. External relations are affected

You find it difficult to spend time with your family and friends outside of this relationship. And even when you spend time with them or on yourself (including your hobbies), you tend to feel guilty or anxious for the same.

3. Poor self-esteem and self-image

You and your partner may have low self-esteem because one of you derives self-esteem from being able to please the other while the other derives it from first-person validation. One of you may also try to control the other out of fear that the other will leave you. It can affect their self image and they can lose touch with themselves outside of this specified relationship.

Couple in love
People in a codependent relationship may have low self-esteem. Image provided by: Shutterstock

4. Lack of boundaries

Both people in the relationship tend to have difficulty recognizing, respecting, and reinforcing their boundaries. In codependent relationships, one person may struggle to recognize and respect boundaries, while the other may not feel the need to reinforce boundaries, Aggarwal notes.

5. Maintenance

One may feel an overwhelming need to care for the other person in the relationship all the time. It’s not so much out of affection as out of fear that something bad will happen if you do. You can also feel hurt when your care goes unnoticed or unrecognized, the expert tells Health Shots.

6. Emotional Effect

When one feels responsible for the other all the time, they are more likely to react defensively or internalize their own feelings in the face of criticism. It can cause you to forget about your own needs and desires. One can also blame the caretaker for any issues that arise.

7. Miscommunication

One may not recognize their own needs and desires, which makes it difficult to communicate what you need to the other person in the relationship.

8. Dependency

Each person needs the other to meet a certain need, but it also prevents them from growing on their own. One may need help while the other may need validation.

Ways to stop being codependent

Do not lose hope, because there are ways to restore balance in the relationship. But it is important that both partners work on it together. Here are some ways to manage a codependent relationship:

• Identify and be aware that you are in a codependent relationship and need to work on it.
• Get the opinion of someone you trust if you are unsure if you are in a codependent relationship or if you are unsure.
• Rediscover yourself.
• Remember that you are not responsible for the actions, behaviors or feelings of others.
• Improve your communication skills and discuss your concerns with each other.
• Set limits.
• Expand your circle of support.
– Pursue your hobbies.

If you find it difficult to recognize your own needs or seek support from others, reach out to a mental health expert who can help you or your partner overcome them.

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