Remaining strong in one’s own identity in a relationship can be challenging and sometimes, in the attempts to save or secure a relationship, co-dependent patterns of thought and behavior develop. Discovering our co-dependent thinking is essential to strengthening a relationship as well as heightening the health of the individuals involved.
Co-dependency refers to one or both persons in a relationship identifying, in an extreme way, with their partner’s needs, feelings, situations and experiences in life. Their sense of self and how they see their lives is filtered through and invested in their partner’s perspective rather than their own. Often the person feels complete only when thinking about, fixing and fulfilling their partner’s needs. They attain a sense of power when controlling and attempting to have power in the other person’s life.
The co-dependent person develops a complex and organized framework within which they build their self-esteem and identity, directly dependent on the other person’s needs and feelings. Co-dependent people in a partnership identify with and are fulfilled through their partner and they become extremely invested in the other person’s experience. For example, they are happy if their partner is happy – in pain if their partner is in pain. Co-dependency is a process of fixing, focusing on, fulfilling and making sure the other person is okay. They very quickly sacrifice their own needs and well-being in order to stay hyper-vigilant to the other person. They give up their time, energy, goals and desires in order to fulfill those of their partners.
A co-dependent person sets up a system by which they gage their own level of success, power, inner peace, happiness, safety, achievement or failure determined by their partner’s view.
Co-dependency is directly attached to a person’s sense of self, filtered through doubts regarding their own value and worth and the inability to face their own inner turmoil. Co-dependent people often feel an underlying sense of guilt, intense self-judgment and high self-expectations. It can feel unbearable to look to their own inner turmoil and face the causes of the pain and so they redirect their attention towards another person and try to control their anxiety through them. Co-dependency is important to address in order to bring a relationship back to balance and health.
Transformative Counseling guides each person through their own self-awareness process. Having a clearly defined sense of self and personal identity is extremely critical to a healthy, strong relationship. Learning techniques to ease anxiety, allowing for a safe and supportive place to work through the issues creating inner distress.