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  • Sarah Rossmiller LPC

Spotting the Signs: 10 Key Examples of Codependency in Relationships

Codependency in a relationship involves an unhealthy reliance on one partner by the other for validation, support, or well-being. To help illustrate typical behaviors and dynamics in a relationship affected by unhealthy psychological reliance, here are 10 key examples of codependency:

  1. Excessive Caretaking: One partner consistently puts the other's needs ahead of their own, even to their own detriment. For instance, they might neglect their own health, work, or social life to take care of their partner.

  2. Difficulty Setting Boundaries: A codependent person might struggle to say "no" to their partner's demands, leading to feelings of resentment and burnout. They may fear that setting boundaries will cause conflict or rejection.

  3. Low Self-Esteem and Validation Seeking: A codependent partner often relies heavily on their partner's approval and validation to feel good about themselves. They may feel worthless or anxious without their partner's constant reassurance.

  4. Control Issues: A codependent person may try to control their partner's behavior, decisions, or feelings, believing that they know what is best for them. This can manifest as being overly critical, giving unsolicited advice, or being overly protective.

  5. Fear of Abandonment: Codependent partners might go to great lengths to avoid conflict or displeasing each other out of fear that they will be abandoned or rejected. This fear can lead to clinginess and dependency.

  6. Enabling Negative Behaviors: One partner might enable the other's destructive behaviors, such as substance abuse or irresponsible actions, by making excuses for them or covering up their mistakes to avoid confrontation or to keep the peace.

  7. Neglecting Personal Interests and Relationships: Codependent partners may abandon their hobbies, interests, and friendships to spend all their time and energy on their significant other, leading to a loss of their individual identity.

  8. Emotional Suppression: To avoid conflict or to maintain the relationship, a codependent person might suppress their own emotions, needs, and opinions, often pretending everything is fine when it is not.

  9. Rescuing or Fixing: The codependent partner may feel compelled to "rescue" their partner from their problems, taking on a caretaker role and believing they can fix their partner's issues, often at their own expense.

  10. Inability to Be Alone: The codependent individual may have a deep fear of being alone and might stay in an unhealthy relationship because they believe, on some level, that they cannot live without this relationship.

These examples highlight the imbalanced dynamics in a codependent relationship, where one partner's well-being is often sacrificed for the sake of the other's, leading to an unhealthy and unsustainable relationship. If you're struggling with codependent dynamics in your relationships, stay tuned for my next post where I'll share actionable strategies to break free from these patterns.

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