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Codependent Relationships

Why do codependent relationships prevent growth?  Do you know people who spend too much time and energy helping their partner at the expense of themselves?  Or maybe they are in codependent relationships with a family members or friends.  Sometimes people choose to be codependent because it gives them a sense of purpose, meaning, and fulfillment.  They might feel really good after they have helped in some way and recognize that they are good at care-taking others.  Being codependent and focusing on others takes the focus off of our own issues and problems.  However, often codependent relationships fail since resentment, hurt, anger, and/or dependency build up over time and result in detachment and disconnection.  People grow tired of always helping others and often over time the person being rescued resents being told what to do.

Codependent relationships occur when people are enmeshed in each others lives and rely excessively on one another for help, guidance, direction, praise, and approval.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with helping others, especially those we love and care for, but sometimes the line is blurred when we do too much and have no boundaries.  We justify our actions based on the need of the other person and don’t realize that we are preventing them from enhancing their own problem-solving skills, growing through failing, and developing a sense of mastery without others’ intervention.  Doing too much for others creates a feeling of inadequacy in them and negatively impacts their self-esteem.  What is the answer?

Think about ways to encourage, motivate, and inspire others to succeed in life without completely neglecting your own needs or preventing the other person from taking responsibility for themselves.  We can learn ways to only offer guidance when it is requested and not feel compelled to fix problems, but instead engage in a brainstorming process that requires them to find the solution.  Remember that their efforts to implement a strategy don’t always happen in our time frame or the way we would do it.  We can work on modifying our expectations and accept our limits of control.  Of course watching others fail or make bad decisions without offering an opinion can be extremely difficult and sometimes not the best choice.  Find a healthy balance and walk the fine line, but remember in your efforts to help others, don’t lose yourself.

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