If you were to ask a codependent how they got where they are, they probably couldn’t tell you. Sure, you can look at their past and see a cause and effect relationship between their childhood rearing and where they are today. It is very uncommon for a codependent personality to become aware of their disorder before they are in a negative relationship. And they surely do NOT wake up and say, “Oh, I’m going to go find a raving addict to marry and live my life with!”
Relationships come and go as we grow up, from that cute little boy down the street that pulled your pig tails, to your first crush in high school, and your college sweetheart. Each one is a place for us to grow and learn what it takes to maintain a healthy relationship. For those who have started their lives with a stunted view of what love and relationships should look like these years can either help them learn the proper way to maintain a relationship, or they can lead to further decay of our views and patterns when it comes to being a good partner. That’s because it takes TWO to be codependent, while relationships between one codependent personality and one healthy personality may not be successful, that does not mean that the relationship in and of itself is codependent.
Kia was a straight A student in high school and on the Dean’s list in college. She had loving parents, and had a healthy idea of what a relationship should look like. Her dream was to grow up, find a loving man, get a great job, have a couple of kids and live happily ever after. She hoped to find a man that shared her view on the world as well as felt the same about marriage as she. Her parents both worked, shared household tasks and discussed everything with each other. While they had there moments of disagreement, they really were not a fighting family. Neither one drank; they had close friendships, as well as their own individual interests in life. THIS! This is what Kia saw for herself. As a result she did hold every man she met to a very high standard. When she met Brian he was all she dreamed of, he catered to her wishes and feelings. Took pleasure in helping around her apartment, and started spending more and more free time with her. The problems between them didn’t show up right away, in fact it wasn’t until they moved in together that Brian started to become more and more controlling. No more compliments, no more sharing, no more time for oneself. In a short time Brian became suspicious of everyone that Kia spoke with outside of her family. The man she worked across the aisle with was a threat to Brian, even though this particular man was happily married. Office parties were out of the question, and nights out with the girls flat out forbidden. Kia didn’t see the warning signs at first; she loved the time they spent together and the attention she received. However, as his demands became more and more prevalent she began to realize that she was not the woman she wanted to be and this was not the relationship she desired. So, she left. Kia did not allow Brian to cut her off from her friends and family, she didn’t allow him to keep her from her interests any more. The suspiciousness had come to head, she found him snooping through her phone looking for email or text messages he was sure she was hiding. He attempted to make her feel small, by telling her how awful she looked, that she needed to lose weight, and that no one but him would want her. Kia knew this was not true.
The difference between Kia and the codependent is that Kia was able to see the situation once it started to escalate….and she was able to leave. She was able to do this because she had a healthy expectation of what a relationship should be the strength to see that it was not going to happen with Brian, and the self worth to be able to move on alone. Why? Because Kia was not a codependent person, she was a strong woman, one who knew her worth, and loved herself for who she was, not the image someone tried to make her into.
This is why we say that it takes two to be codependent, had Kia been a different person she may have accepted the changes in her relationship with Brian. She would have isolated herself away from her friends, given up on her interests and allowed Brian to control every aspect of her life. He would have created a need for her to remain with him that she couldn’t escape. Resentment would have seeped into their relationship and the potential for one form of chemical abuse or another would have been likely.
If you find yourself in a relationship in which you feel that you are less than worthy of the love and affection of your partner, you must look into your heart and find the reason why. Is it because of the way they treat you? Do you find that you are afraid to leave your partner alone? Worried that you will never find another person to love you? Does the very thought of leaving the person you are with raise a sense of panic? If you answered yes to any of these questions then you need to find help. Stop the cycle before it begins again, and find the happiness that you deserve. Once you have seen the signs, and identified the problem in your relationship it’s time to seek out a life coach, therapist, 12 step group, or counselor to help you find the person you were meant to be. No matter how many relationships you have been in, there is hope. There are others who have been in your shoes and found the strength to more forward with their lives. The first step is the hardest…………but the rest will follow closely behind.