The term “codependent” is usually used in connection with partners of substance abusers, but it can apply to other people as well. Someone is codependent when they cannot function as an individual, and organize their identity around another person; their self-worth is defined by the approval of their partner. Sometimes, people who are codependent have difficulty recognizing this quality in themselves. They usually identify themselves as “giving” people, and don’t recognize that they are constantly giving, and receiving little in return. While codependent relationships are unhealthy, there is hope. At Kentlands Psychotherapy in Gaithersburg, MD, we offer both couples therapy and individual counseling that can help individuals with codependency issues.
Here are some signs that you might be in a codependent relationship:
- You can’t live without your partner.
Despite what romance movies imply, it is not healthy to feel that you would die if you did not have your partner. In a healthy relationship, you are each whole and complete by yourselves, and come together because you enhance each other’s lives.
- You are always playing the caregiver.
If you are constantly caring for your partner as though they are your child, you may be in a codependent relationship. Each partner in a relationship should be taking care of themselves. A healthy relationship is between two adults, not an adult and an overgrown child.
- You think your happiness is dependent on your partner’s happiness.
Happiness does not come from anyone else; it comes from inside yourself. You may be codependent if your moods and emotions are dependent on what your partner feels and how they behave.
- You sacrifice everything for your partner.
You may be codependent if you find yourself continually making sacrifices for the sake of your partner, and getting little in return. You may adapt your schedule around your partner’s, and find yourself neglecting other aspects of your life in order to make your partner happy.
- You are terrified of rejection.
No one likes to be rejected, but if you live in fear of rejection and do anything you can to avoid it, you may be codependent.
- You find it difficult to identify what you are feeling.
Codependent people are so used to putting the feelings of others before themselves that they have difficulty being in touch with their own emotions. You may find that you cannot identify your feelings, or you have very delayed emotional reactions.
- You don’t feel free in your relationship.
You are codependent if you feel as though you have to behave in a certain way in order to maintain your partner’s affection. Maybe your partner does in fact have “rules” in place for you that you must follow to avoid consequences such as them giving you the silent treatment or breaking up with you. If you do not feel free to be yourself in your relationship, it may be codependent.
- You have difficulty communicating your needs and desires to your partner.
You may worry that if you are honest about what you need, your partner will be disappointed or refuse you. Therefore, you avoid expressing any sort of need or want, instead just going along with whatever they want and putting your own feelings to the side.
If you related to a majority of these statements, you may be in a codependent relationship. Fortunately, we can help. Call Kentlands Psychotherapy in Gaithersburg, MD for couples therapy or individual counseling for this problem.