How do I know if I am in a codependent relationship?
Codependency is an addiction to a person and pleasing that person. In a codependent relationship, there is a loss of clear and healthy boundaries between the two people. The codependent loses a sense of self and “their voice” to speak out their unique desires and needs. The codependent is driven by a fear of losing the relationship and driven by a need to please the other person or “make them happy.” From a Christian worldview, this is actually a form of idolatry. That is, trying to find life in someone or something other than God.
To determine if you are in a codependent relationship, here are a few questions to ask yourself. Do you assume responsibility or guilt for the other person’s feelings or actions?
- Are you afraid to tell your partner what you want or need?
- Do you compromise your own values or integrity in order to avoid the rejection or anger of the other person?
- Do you stay in relationships because of loyalty, even though the person is abusive or harmful to you?
- Do you stay in an unhealthy relationship because you fear that “you could not live without this person?”
If you are in a codependent relationship, how can you change?
- The first step in acknowledging that you struggle with codependency.
- Ask God to show you the areas in which you have made idols out of codependent relationships with people. Ask for help to change.
- Setting clear and healthy boundaries in a relationship is essential. You can learn more about this in the book Boundaries, by Dr. John Townsend and Dr. Henry Cloud.
- Seek help from a professional counselor. A professional counselor will provide you with a safe and confidential place to work on your codependency. They are trained in how to identify codependent relationships and how to help people create healthier ones.