Falling into the rhythm of a codependent relationship is much more common than you think. And one of the biggest challenges that lies therein, is first identifying that there is a problem and second, finding a way out.
The website Psych Central did a nice job of bringing some of these issues to the forefront. Article writer Michelle Kunz bravely opened up about her own history of unhealthy relationships. Through her experiences, readers are able to get a real firsthand grasp of the dangers of codependence and why it needs to be addressed.
“A codependent will typically go above and beyond what most people will do to help a relationship succeed,” Kunz writes. “Giving far more effort, time, energy, attention, and other resources than their partner does. They often end up feeling angry, resentful, exhausted, lonely, and bitter. And every now and then they will do really desperate things to try to control the outcome.”
The truth of the matter is, codependency is damaging on both sides. For the person who’s desperate to stay, there can be control issues, rage and physical violence enacted toward the other partner. For the one who wants to leave, guilt, shame and depression play a significant role, leading to entrapment and unhealthy feelings.
As Kunz explained, she had a very hard time letting go of a former boyfriend. Red flags that she signaled out were begging tactics, inconsolable crying, unsafe sex (in the hopes of getting pregnant) and suicidal threats. While she admitted that these ploys did keep her partner around longer than expected, the relationship ended on a very sour note.
She also rightfully pointed out that the root of codependent traits often lie in a person’s childhood. Issues of abandonment, for example, can play a huge role in not wanting a partner to leave. Being shamed at a young age also feeds into it. Many people who have low self-worth fear losing their mate will leave them perpetually alone.
Ultimately, it is those early experiences that Kunz advises people to look back upon. Through counseling and inner exploration, relationship healing can start to take shape.
“Find the child within and pay attention,” she concludes. “Give him or her what he or she wanted so badly when he or she was actually little. Take off the mask and cape you’ve been wearing trying to save a relationship and tend to your inner child. Isn’t it time that someone finally loves him or her?”