Post at Apr 23, 2021
Many are unaware that they are crippled by Co-dependent Relationships whether as friends, lovers or parents. In co-dependent relationships, one person would be Sacrificing while the other takes the role of a Victim, one being a Giver/Supporter against all odds and another seeking mercy, fearing responsibility, and not having strength to face their own life issues.
EMOTIONAL TRIGGERS OF CO-DEPENDENT RELATIONSHIPS
- A need for Approval and Recognition
- A sense of Guilt in Asserting their Needs
- A Compelling need to Dominate or Control others
- Lack of Trust in Self-Reliance
- Difficulty in Identifying Feelings
- Dramatizing the Issues
- Extreme Anger
- Lying to Escape Challenges
- Impulsive Decisions
- Intimacy issues
- Unhealthy Boundaries
- Fear of being Abandoned or Alone
- Fear of Change
- Fear of Responsibilities
So let me share one such case that came to me from a city dweller – educated and smart but unaware of her own trappings!
Anay is an alcoholic and his addiction is kept well hidden under the rug by his devoted wife Meera. She makes excuses for him, ensures that he appears functional in the society and believes that with true love and utter dedication, she can bring him back on the right track. She left her job, her dreams, to take care of Anay and now he is everything to her. Anay has cheated on Meera multiple times in the past but she is way too much in love to let him go. So she ensures everything in her power to make him stay.
On the other side, Anay promises Meera every morning that he will be more responsible with his drinking and then breaks that promise every night. Too many times he has taken all that Meera does for him for granted – that frustrates her beyond limits but she stays mum. Behind his casual attitude, Anay hides the struggle with his shame and addiction.
What Meera and Anay don’t know is that they are in a co-dependent relationship with Meera being the “Benefactor” and Anay being the “Taker”.
Here Meera appears to be doing “the greatest service”, but the truth is far from that. As a benefactor, she is crippling the taker, while at the same time she is dependent on Anay for her own self-worth. Her whole life revolves around supporting and enabling her husband. Even though she has the best intentions, her actions are taking things in an entirely different direction.
This cycle is often formed when the benefactor’s lack of self-esteem and inability to take decisions for themselves creates this vicious cycle of ‘relationship addiction’ where the taker becomes so dependent on the benefactor that his sense of victim-hood becomes really strong.
They fail to realize that what the taker really needs is empowerment. And rather than motivating the taker and making them self-sufficient, a benefactor tends to keep them weak and dependent to feed their own fears of abandonment, a lot of times unintentionally.
CHECKLIST OF CO- DEPENDENT RELATIONSHIPS
- Does your sense of purpose involve making extreme sacrifices to satisfy your partner’s needs?
- Is it difficult to say no when your partner makes demands on your time and energy?
- Do you cover your partner’s problems with drugs, alcohol, or the law?
- Do you constantly worry about others’ opinions of you?
- Do you feel trapped in your relationship?
- Do you keep mum to avoid arguments?
No doubt, a certain degree of co-dependency is present in every relationship but if your relationship has reached a degree of co-dependency that it is crippling and damaging for both the individuals then it is the high time that you undo such tendencies.
4 STEPS TO BREAK-FREE FROM CO-DEPENDENT TRAPPINGS
- Take Therapy: People often resort to therapy as the final option but it is better to directly seek the help of a professional. A therapist will be able to guide you into establishing a proper communication channel. He will also highlight the habits or the behaviours that are unintentionally damaging.
- Converse Openly: Share your honest feelings with your partner but without playing a blame game. Share what is troubling you and work as a team to improve it together. Be equally accepting towards your partner.
- Self-Care: You cannot serve others if your own cup is not full. You must be able to take care of yourself and support yourself before doing that for your partner.
- Establish Boundaries: Lift your partner and support them but know where the boundaries are. Give both of you the space to be yourselves where you can be self-sufficient.
If you feel you need a Counselor to Release the Co-dependency issues as a Couple or as an Individual, we can start the Inward Journey to Understand the Roots of the Victim-hood…