If you’ve been called needy or clingy in past relationships, this has probably sparked your attention. If you ask yourself, am I codependent or not, it’s about time you found out.
You see, relationships need a certain amount of reliance, but only in small amounts. If you become over-reliant on your partner, you risk losing yourself in the process. You also give them all the power in any situation, and that’s never a good situation to be in.
The whole ‘I can’t live without you’ thing has just gone too far. You should never feel like you can’t function, or god forbid, you can’t live without your partner. You don’t need them for your happiness, you want them. In effect, you choose them and that’s what makes a relationship so special.
So, if you’re struggling with codependency or you think that you might be moving a little too close to the line, let’s explore the subject to help you out. [Read: How to spot codependent behavior early & regain your self-identity]
Before we get into signs, let’s outline what it means to be codependent.
If you’re codependent, you’re overly dependent upon your partner for your emotional needs. In some severe cases, this can mean that a person plans everything around their partner and doesn’t think for a second about their own needs. Basically, the other person is always put before them.
It can be that the other person doesn’t see what’s happening or that they enable it. They maybe like having everything planned around them and everything done for them, so they play on it and keep it in place. Or, it could be that they find the over-neediness far too suffocating and it causes the relationship to turn toxic. [Read: 9 Effective ways to stop being so needy and insecure]
Either way, codependency is never a good thing. For sure, it’s good to put your partner’s needs first sometimes, but the key word there is ‘sometimes’. Not always. You have a life, you have friends, you have hobbies, you have emotional needs too. Also, your partner cannot be there to prop you up in life and help you with everything; you need to stand on your own two feet. [Read: 10 scary signs of codependency in your relationship]
Many people watch the movie Twilight and they’re totally into the idea of having a needy and controlling partner. The fact Robert Pattinson was attractive certainly helped push that narrative. You start to think that’s what a healthy relationship is all about, because it’s so mainstream. Aside from the whole vampire thing, that relationship is so abnormally toxic that it’s not something anyone should be aspiring to.
Love isn’t about dropping everything and focusing upon your partner to extremes. It’s about encouraging each other to be the best you can be, apart and together. You should totally be able to function with your partner, it’s simply that you enjoy it when they’re around! [Read: Am I toxic? How to tell if you’re the toxic one & not everyone else]
To help you avoid slipping into a spiral of codependency, let’s check out the signs to look out for.
By knowing the answer to ‘am I codependent’, you can take action to stop it.
It’s normal to be indecisive sometimes, but around your partner, you never make any decisions. You double-check with them on everything; things that don’t need double-checking. The fact that you can’t go with your own instincts shows codependency. [Read: 18 critical signs of an unhealthy relationship]
Listen, there are times where we make excuses for our partner based on embarrassment, etc. We’re only human at the end of the day. But if you constantly make excuses for their behavior, and never let them take responsibility, the boundaries have blurred.
Whether single or taken, you should always come first. How can you be a good partner if you don’t see yourself as someone important? If you come number two after your partner, you’ve become someone who’s only goal is to please their partner. This is a sign of someone who’s codependent. [Read: How to cope with one-sided love relationships]
You’re always willing to say ‘yes’ to your partner when it comes to almost anything. But, you never stop to think about how you feel and if it’s something you want to do. Instead, you prefer your partner is constantly pleased while you put your feelings to the side.
In the relationship, you give your partner 110% of yourself. But, this isn’t usually matched. If anything, you’re continuously giving your partner more and more without them meeting you halfway. Codependent people will always give more in a relationship than their partner in fear of rejection. [Read: How to pull back when you’re giving too much in love]
You’re not dating someone who’s well-rounded and balanced – that would be too easy and boring. Instead, you date a project; someone who comes with a lot of baggage and needs endless attention and support. Codependent people attach themselves to those with problems in hopes of “fixing” them.
When it comes to your relationships, this isn’t something new for you. Most of your relationships have been like this, and they’ve all ended the same way. It’s hard to change old habits, that’s for sure, but this is something to cut out. [Read: How to quit attracting unhealthy relationships]
When you’re in a relationship, it’s normal to have your own hobbies and interests that don’t involve your partner. But you’ve lost most of the things that bring you happiness outside of the relationship. Codependent people give up the things they enjoy for their partners.
Most of us are fear abandonment, but not all of us get to the point of codependency from the fear of being abandoned. If you find yourself doing things for your partner because you don’t want them to leave you, this is a solid sign of a deeper issue. [Read: Abandonment issues and how it affects your relationship]
When you’re around people, you often see yourself as being different from the rest. You want to be included so badly, and for the most part, you are, but you see yourself living outside of people’s lives. This is based purely on a self-esteem issue that can probably be traced to childhood.
You’ve noticed your codependent behavior, but you can’t seem to pinpoint the reason why. You’re not looking deep enough. Of course, go to a therapist and find the real root cause, because, most likely, it’s deeply rooted in you. [Read: 15 Ways to overcome the fear of losing someone you love]
When your partner goes through something difficult, you go overboard. Supporting them is fine, but you go a step further and take their pain as your own. You want to carry it for them. You feel responsible for other people’s feelings when you’re not.
When you have a disagreement, your partner doesn’t fight fair. Healthy relationships argue but should be resolved through communication and discussion. But if you’re codependent, your partner will use this against you. [Read: 10 relationship hang-ups and how to deal with them]
Despite your love for your partner, you know something is off in your relationship. You walk on eggshells in fear of being dumped, and deep down you know this isn’t what you want. If you notice these issues in your relationship, it’s the first step of your awareness of your codependency.
If you’ve asked yourself ‘am I codependent’ and you’ve noticed a few of the signs above in your own behavior, it’s time to fix the problem. You won’t be able to overcome codependency overnight but you will be able to see small signs of progress as you go along. [Read: How to overcome codependency & thrive on your own two feet]
It’s time to hold your hands up and accept that you have a problem with codependency. You can’t move on until you’ve admitted it to yourself. Then, you need to talk to your partner and explain how you feel and what you believe the problem is.
Do you know what is causing you to act in a codependent way? Perhaps keep a journal and identify any triggers for codependent behavior. Sometimes triggers aren’t too obvious and they only unearth themselves when you do a little digging. Once you know what the problem is, you can work to face it and overcome it slowly. [Read: Emotionally stable: How to find your zone of perfect calmness]
It’s important that you talk to your partner and keep the lines of communication open. They need to feel comfortable talking to you about your behavior and how it makes them feel. But, you also need to be able to do the same. You can overcome it together if you keep on talking.
By setting boundaries and both of you respecting them, you can slowly work in reducing and overcoming your codependent behavior. For instance, if your partner is going away on a business trip, you can set a boundary on the number of times you call them. You have to respect and stick to any boundary you set for it to be effective. [Read: How to set boundaries: 10 crucial steps to feel more in control]
Don’t keep things bottled up inside. The fact you’re asking ‘am I codependent’ means that you have a lot you need to get off your chest! Talk to your partner, talk to friends and family members – just don’t keep it all bottled up, waiting for the inevitable explosion.
Some people choose to see professional help when overcoming codependency issues. If that’s something you feel you would benefit from, go for it. There is nothing to worry about or fear in asking for help. It’s one of the strongest things you can possibly do. Then, you’ll be able to move on with your life, out of the shadow of codependency. [Read: How to be independent even if you’re in a relationship]
You can’t click your fingers and get rid of codependency overnight. However, you can identify the problem and work on it. Self-improvement is never a waste of time and when it comes to your relationships, you’ll notice a huge different in the weeks, months, and years to come.
[Read: How to stop being codependent and have a healthy relationship instead]
Am I codependent? If you identified with a couple of these signs, you probably found the problem. Now, time to find the solution.
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