Are you 'In Love' or just 'Codependent'?
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Temi Towry Coker MBACP(Accred)
28th October, 2010
Do you know someone who has been in an unhappy and ultimately unfulfilling relationship for a long time but cannot seem to end it? They tell themselves that they ‘love’ their partners can’t live without them and that things will get better eventually, but they never do. Is that person you?
Disappointment, resentment, anger, boredom, frustration and betrayal happen in some relationships because in life these things happen, however when these things become an everyday part of a relationship, the question is why you are in that relationship and what are you hoping to achieve by remaining in it?. Is it because you are ‘in love’? What does that mean exactly?
Love has been the preoccupation of the masses from the beginning of time and has been defined as many things. For the purposes of this article I shall stick to the dictionary definition; ‘A deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness.’
Do you have that in your relationship or something completely different? Are you ‘in Love’ or are you ‘codependent’?
Codependency is defined as an emotional and behavioural condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. It is also known as “relationship addiction” because people with co-dependency issues often form or maintain relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive and/or abusive. In these cases, disruptive relationships become the norm. How many people have you known to go from one bad relationship to another? It isn’t ‘bad luck’ or ‘bad taste.’ It simply is a pattern of engaging with the world and people in a manner which makes all relationships bad or simply choosing partners that are likely to bring about destructive behaviour. Codependent people are likely to choose partners who are untrustworthy and/or emotionally unavailable and in turn try to make these relationships work without examining their own needs. Even when a codependent person meets someone who is reliable and loving, he or she is likely to behave in a way that will create problems in that relationship and so on. Author Melody Beattie, in her book Co-dependent No More, defined a codependent person as "one who has let another person's behaviour affect him or her, and who is obsessed with controlling that person's behaviour.
The causes of codependency range from childhood neglect, abuse, oppression, overnurturing parents, bullying… The list goes on.
It is important to understand that it is not a disorder and it can be worked on by taking steps to change certain behaviours that are causing you problems and also finding a therapist or counsellor that will help you address these key issues.
Related articles from our experts
Cate Campbell MA, MBACP (Accred), MCOSRT (Accred), MAFT23rd March, 2017
- Reactive and responsive relationships
Graeme Armstrong MBACP21st March, 2017
- How psychodynamic therapy helps to break the cycle of unhealthy relationships
Margery Parsons, d.c.t.p., UKCP reg.20th March, 2017
Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.