What is Codependency In A Relationship?

Now this topic has always been an interest to me because I have suffered from codependency. What is codependency in a relationship? It is when a person has an excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, typically one who requires support on account of an illness or addiction.

Basically, codependent in a relationship is when one person can’t be happy unless they feel they are making the other person happy. They constantly need reassurance from their partner and may feel lost at times. They most likely try to please everybody so they can also be portrayed as people pleasers. It’s very unhealthy! 

Many people that are codependent usually are afraid of being abandoned. Their codependency stems from their childhood, something usually happened in their childhood that has caused them to become this way as an adult. The reason it can become so unhealthy to be codependent in a relationship is because the codependent person begins to care for everybody but themselves even if it means they aren’t really happy on the inside. They may also tolerate a lot of abuse from others just to be “liked” or feel “loved”. It’s sad when this happens. But there is help for anybody that does become codependent.

A codependent person doesn’t feel worthy or of value. They tend to compare themselves to everybody else. They think their opinion doesn’t matter and may have a hard time making decisions. They normally have very low self esteem as well. They always seek other people’s approval. They  ignore their feelings because they believe their feelings don’t matter.

what is codependency in a relationship


Examples of Codependent Behavior Can include:

  • obsession with a partner
  • manipulation
  • making excuses for bad or abusive behavior
  • people pleasing
  • caregiving
  • ignoring their own needs

I am sure there’s many more examples to add here but here are some common ones. 

Ways To Break Codependency

Yes! The good news is you do not need to be this way forever. There are actual ways to break codependency. You of course have to make the effort to do so. Codependency is a learned behavior, technically it can be unlearned. Here are some steps that can help you start breaking the codependency:

  • Stop Negative Thinking. This is a huge one! Start catching yourself when you start thinking negatively. If you are believing that you deserve to be mistreated stop thinking this and put yourself on a higher pedestal! I know it’s easier said than done but you can do this with practice.
  • Start being completely honest. If there is something you aren’t enjoying doing with someone then tell them you aren’t interested, don’t waste your energy and have resentment later on. Communicate honestly about what you want to do and how you feel.
  • Consider counselling. Talk to your partner about going to counselling with you, it’s always helpful to get a third party.
  • Don’t take things personal. This is a difficult one for sure.  Accepting the other as they are without trying to fix or change them is the first step.
  • Create Boundaries. Codependent people often have trouble with boundaries. We do not know where our needs begin or where the other’s end. We often thrive off guilt and feel bad when we do not put the other first.
  • Peer Support. There are groups that are dedicated to helping one another with codependency issues. The group is a recovery group for codependents it’s called CoDa (codependents anonymous). Click on this link for more information CoDa , you can find online meetings to help you get started.

Always remember that self care is very important, nobody can take care of you better than you. You know yourself more than anybody and know what you want, need and feel. You have to love yourself in order to actually love someone else in a healthy way. We can not have healthy relationships if we neglect ourselves to please others instead. 

I want to also mention that a person that’s codependent isn’t always addicted to a person or people. They can be addicted to drugs or alcohol, sex, money, working, and so many more things. I was just focusing on the relationship aspect here because I definitely can relate to this but now that I think about it I have also been addicted to drugs in the past and sex.  I hope this information can help you.