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Does it ever seem as if your self-worth is linked directly to the relationship you have with your significant other?
Those in codependent relationships will find a disparity of influence between themselves and their partner. Often in a codependent relationship, there are two clear-cut roles: the Supporter and the Supported.
The Supporter finds his/her purpose in meeting the partner’s needs, whereas the Supported finds his/her value in the care and attention that the other partner provides. In a codependent relationship, both partners’ self-worth is entangled in the others’ role. Filling those roles replaces genuine connection and intimacy.
You may be in a codependent relationship if you can relate to the following:
- Feeling a pressure to keep your significant other in good spirits
- Battling stress over causing your partner frustration or irritation
- Struggling to say ‘no’
- Finding that your partner’s needs or wants supersede your own responsibilities
- Wishing you could change things about your significant other
- Having anxiety over the thought of your partner leaving or breaking up
- Sensitivity to your significant other’s feelings, but remaining disconnected from your own
- Blaming your partner for your own emotional struggles
If you are caught in codependency, there IS hope of breaking this harmful cycle.
To find freedom and develop healthier relational patterns, you will need to make your own needs a priority, to take responsibility for your personal emotional wellbeing, and to make the decision to accept your partner for who he or she is.
The first step in this healing process is to build a more secure relationship with yourself.
You might do this by:
1. Practicing self-compassion. This is key, because as your self-esteem increases, you will be less dependent on others to define your success. Extend grace and kindness to yourself, as if to a friend. Speak words of encouragement to your image in the mirror, develop a hobby you can immerse yourself in, or devote time daily to working out.
2. Journaling to reconnect with your wants, emotions, and needs. Try taking a moment to ask yourself: What is most valuable to me? How can I take care of my physical and emotional self today? What is an unmet need I have, and how can I go about fulfilling it?
3. Evaluate what power you do hold. While your partner makes his/her own decisions, your words and actions are entirely up to you. You can choose what to speak and just how to temper your behavior. You have the strength to process the outside world without taking offense. You have the ability to take personal account, and the opportunity to consider why certain situations cause distress.
4. Exercise saying ‘no.’ Make it a habit to check your motivation before agreeing to things. Are you saying ‘yes’ out of fear of disappointing someone, a sense of obligation, or because this decision will bring you happiness?
5. Realize that rescuing others does not increase your value, and relinquish your role as the fixer. Allowing your significant other to work toward his or her own solutions, even if it is uncomfortable at times, will ultimately give you both the space to grow as individuals.
6. Whether or not your partner makes the specific life changes you would desire, choose to love and accept him/her as is, without criticism or judgement.
Breaking the cycle of codependency and fostering connections as a healthy individual will take some effort. Examining and shifting your own role can be a challenge, but ultimately this process can bring about freedom and intimacy to your relationships that withstands the test of time. Often having outside support is essential to creating this new healthy dynamic. Schedule a call to get support HERE!