Co-dependency is often associated with alcohol and drugs and the counselling that goes along with drug dependents. A codependent relationship is defined by the codependent who, in the case of alcoholics, is the partner that tries to save the alcoholic from alcohol and themselves. However a codependent relationship need not be confined to the relationship between an alcoholic seeking guidance from a counsellor.
A codependent relationship may also come in the form of being an overly generous and helpful friend or lover. Co-dependents are all about caring for another person instead of caring for themselves. Although it doesn’t mean that we should ignore someone when they are in need. It’s about trying to make changes for someone when they need to make those changes for themselves.
The type of caring involved in a codependent relationship takes away another’s personal power and decisions over life. A true and genuine care for someone does not overstep these boundaries but rather encourages them. Letting people make their own decisions, even if they are the wrong ones, enables people to grow and make healthy life changes.
Parallel to this, the co-dependents in a codependent relationship need to focus on their own troubles in life. Learning to take responsibility for one’s own feelings are the key ingredients to a healthy relationship. Being conscious of what you are feeling and being open to change is something that we must all learn. Otherwise, we tend to feel like we are a victim to others and it is them that creates the feelings within. Blaming others for our own lack of self-knowledge can lead to major relationship problems.
Many people that have been part of a codependent relationship and have been left may discover the same problems in their next relationships if they don’t make any changes in their life. Roles may get reversed but the same problems still occur – anger, lack of intimacy, resentment, feeling unloved and unloving.
The way to change this is to realize that a relationship heals once the individual does. In a co-dependent relationship, one person tends to control the life of the other before taking care of their own self. In a healthy relationship, the only person to control is one’s self. The ability to feel, decide and change lies in one’s self and not in someone else’s. Learning this is key to making all relationship work.