You are in love. This is it, what you’ve been waiting for your whole life. They could be the one. No! They are the one. You’re sure of it. You never felt this way before. This one is different. You want to spend every waking moment with them. You want to know every little minute detail of their life. You cannot imagine your life without them.
Being in a “healthy” and happy relationship is one of the keys to happiness. It is a basic biological need to connect with others and feel loved. This internal drive is what motivates our species toward future survival. The question that most people fail to ask in this early stage of honeymoon is, “Can I be too close to my partner?”
Can you love your partner TOO much? Is that even possible? Most poets and romance enthusiast and love addicts would give a resounding, “Hell no!” Although getting too close to your partner can in fact be harmful to your SELF.
When we spend so much time thinking about the other person and their needs, we’ll put ours by the wayside. This is called Co-dependency. Co-dependency is “Any suffering or dysfunction that is associated with or results from focusing on the needs and behavior of others.” It leads to a process of non-living that is progressive.
This happens when you become enmeshed in a relationship. Enmeshment means you get so close to your partner that you don’t consider your own thoughts, feelings and actions in situations. The opposite spectrum of enmeshment is complete independence. With independence comes strong boundaries, selfishness, isolation and emotional numbness.
Some people might argue that co-dependency is natural in relationships. This is especially true with children. Children are fully dependent on adults because they cannot survive without their help. It is often alright to put others needs ahead of your own, but only if your needs are taken care of first. Co-dependents often neglect their own desires and dreams for those they “love”. They do this because there is an underlying fear that if they do not take care of their partner that their partner will leave them. Co-dependency is more common is anxious attachment styles.
How Do You Know If You Are Co-dependent?
“How do you know if someone is Co-dependent? When dying, someone else’s life flashed in front of their eyes.”
Procrastination, Perfectionism, Workaholism, Compulsions (Overeating, Shopping), Constant Anxiety, Depression, Hyperactivity, High Blood-Pressure
- Valuing other opinions more than your own
- Self-Esteem is bolstered by other’s influence
- Inability to acknowledge good in yourself
- Not knowing that being “vulnerable” is okay
- Having to be “needed” in order to feel valued
- Inability to decipher appropriate behavior
- Having Leaky or weak boundaries
- Over-reacting to change
- A lack of self-confidence in making decisions
- Fear of anger and criticism
- Dependency on others and fear of abandonment
- Isolation and fear of others (especially authority figures)
- Rigidity and need for control
- Taking responsibility for others’ actions
- Difficulty making decisions
- Allowing fear of others’ feelings to guide your actions
- Questioning your own likes and values in order to get close to others.
Thoughts That You Might Be Co-dependent
“Your actions dictate my desires.”
“I am more aware and sensitive to your feelings over my own.”
“I often mind-read how others feel.”
“My dreams for the future include you and your desires.”
“To connect with you, I put my values aside.”
“I value your opinion above my own.”
The basic underlying source of co-dependence is that, “We believe that something outside of ourselves can give us happiness.”
When two people come together, each with a clear definition of her or his own individuality, the potential for intimacy and commitment can be astounding. The similarities between two people may bring them together, but their differences contribute to the growth, excitement and mystery of their relationship.