Healthy Ways of Relating That Exclude Victim Triangle Interaction
The concept of codependency is one that many couples have become familiar with over the last decade or so. Although such terminology as addiction in the past has often been used in refererence to alcoholism or drugs this "addiction" is equally destructive. Psychologists have now come to realize that codependency can refer to any relationship that involves unhealthy emotional dependency. Codependency in relationships occurs when one person in the relationship
is credited with and responsible for doing all the giving, and the other partner is expected to take. Both are deeply entrenched and both are truly being hurt by the codependency. Codependency isn't just a problem between couples but also between parents and their adult children. Even work relationships can suffer from codependency.
Identifying codependency in your relationship may be one of the hardest things to do. This is because you want to hope that the other person will change and you want to support them through the change. In actuality you may not even realize that you are in an unhealthy codependent relationship. Sometimes they slowly build through time and before you know it, you are depressed and always sacrificing the things that you want out of the relationship.
A common codependent relationship that often gets missed and is the hardest to heal is the one between the parent and their adult child. Many parents don't want their 27 year old child living with them but they want them to get a job and be able to afford their own home. Therefore when the child needs money yet again to fix their car so that they can go job hunting, what is a parent to do? If the parent feels a bit of resentment at times towards their adult child still living at home, then that resentment often turns to guilt. This guilt leads the parent to give the child money or free rent which in turn builds up some more resentment. This leads to a vicious cycle in which the parent gets emotionally battered.
To identify if you have unhealthy codependency in relationships you have to critically analyze your relationships. If you keep finding yourself feeling guilty or making excuses for the other person then you probably have an unhealthy codependent relationship. Admitting you have an unhealthy relationship with your child or partner isn't an easy thing to do. It may be easier to see patterns of behavior if you write everything down in a journal or talk to someone you can confide in. Doing something for your loved one once or twice doesn't necessarily point to a codependent relationship. Unhealthy codependent relationships develop from a pattern of self sacrificing acts which leave us feeling guilty and sometimes even depressed. Identifying codependent relationships isn't an easy process but it is necessary for your own mental health.
Here are some questions to ask yourself while you are analyzing your relationships:
- Do you become obsessed with rescuing and helping needy people?
- Do you easily become absorbed in other people's problems?
- Does it seem that someone is trying to control you or that you are trying to control them?
- Do you always give to others and hardly ever get anything in return?
- Do you always look for approval or recognition from the person?
- Are you afraid of being alone? Does this fear lead to you doing anything to keep the relationship?
You can use these questions to help you analyze any relationships that you are questioning or to even analyze yourself to see how susceptible you are to developing a codependent relationship.
Now that you have analyzed your relationships, how do you go about healing codependency in relationships? Once you identify the patterns of codependency you can start to change these patterns but most people need help in making these changes. You can get help by joining a twelve-step program, talking to a counselor, talking to your doctor, or talking to a clergy member. Make sure that you are comfortable with the help that you seek out because this will be a long process and you are probably going to have to rely very heavily on your help from time to time. If you select a program or counselor that you are not comfortable with, you probably won't turn to it every time you need help.
Identifying codependency in relationships can be an uncomfortable process. You may need to keep reminding yourself that you are worthy of healthy relationships and you deserve people in your life that are going to treat you right. The outcome of this process doesn't mean that you will lose your relationship with your child. If they can't overcome their own feelings over being made to take responsibility of their lives, your relationship may be strained for a while. This is why it is best to seek counseling to help you with this healing process. The journey may not be easy but you will be a stronger person in the end.