Friday, May 25, 2012

Co-Dependency in Relationships

Our collective consciousness, which is a shared belief system that operates as a unifying force within society, seems to actually encourage co-dependency with love songs such as “Can’t Live if Living is Without You.” 

Two types of co-dependents exist – the takers and the caretakers. The taker’s primary fear is that he has no power to make himself happy, while the caretaker’s primary fear is that he doesn’t have the right to make himself happy. When these two types of people come together, nobody ends up happy.


Each makes his love conditional, and the dependent needy feelings that exist always have strings attached. For example, statements uttered can include: 
       “I will love you if ….” 
       “If you really loved me you would .…” 

Over time, neediness begins to feels weak, and it can eventually turn into resentment  directed toward the person who was fulfilling the need. 

For example, a husband may have needy feelings, and he looks to his wife for her to fulfill them. He gets caught in a Catch-22. He wants his needs fulfilled, yet he feels "less of a man" having to depend on his wife, so he begins to resent her for giving him that for which he asked. There's no easy way out of that circle.

In another scenario, in the quest to fulfill her husband's needs, the wife may give it her best effort for as long as she can. However, when she reaches her limit and can no longer handle the constant drain on her energy and emotions, she may cut back on fulfilling his every need. Now, the husband has gotten accustomed to a certain pattern and when it stops he might begin to resent that fact and, consequently, feels unloved. 

Keep in mind that the man or woman who most often fulfills his or her spouse's needs holds power over the other, even perhaps unknowingly. This constant "doing" for the other is regarded as love. When the "doing" stops, it feels as if loving feelings are being withheld. Unhappiness is usually the result. (This is not to say that partners shouldn't do things for each other, only that the actions should not be conditional and should be given freely without expecting anything in return.) 

If the aforementioned pattern continues, and constant unhappiness becomes the norm, there exists the possibility it could be channeled into emotional, verbal, or physical abuse. This type of cycle perpetuates itself and each partner begins to feed off the other. The only way to break the cycle is by refusing to participate and with each partner taking responsibility for his/her own happiness.

It is equally as important to establish good boundaries and healthy patterns at the onset of a relationship before unreasonable and unsustainable expectations are established.

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