Co-Dependency is an unhealthy reliance on another person for every thought, action, and feeling. It consists of people who seem to be defined by another other person. One person relies so much on another person's opinion -- that the daily functions they once had as an individual are lost. That individual is no longer capable of making his or her own choices.
A person who is co-dependant is constantly striving to please another person and have made them selves so self-less that they begin to lose who they are. Their life becomes a sacrifice for another person.
A person who is co-dependant ceases to be them self and becomes part of two. A person's want for someone else in their life is overcome with the need to have someone else in their life in order to function. The person feels the need to spend every waking moment thinking about that other person, being with them, talking to them, or thinking of ways to make that person happier.
While a marriage should strive to do those items, there is a happy medium and for a lack of a better term, co-dependency could be considered as 'stalking'. The constantly calling them, seeing them, thinking about them, giving them things -- are traits of stalkers who feed their need off the presence of the other person.
If a person doesn't feel happy unless they are with their significant other, this is where the problem begins. To only gain a feeling of happiness by someone, an outside factor that you can't always control is unhealthy. A person must be happy with them selves and love them selves as a person, if you don't love yourself, how do you expect someone else to?
During the honeymoon stages of a relationship, it seems reasonable to want to always be with that person, talk to them, or think about them - but it is important to know that your life doesn't revolve around them.
My grandparents have been married 60 odd years. Their secret is that she gives the orders and he carries them out, this doesn't work in all relationships. If one were to die, the other would soon follow.
Every leader needs a follower and every follower needs a leader. But in relationships, there needs to be a bigger 50/50 balance of respect and understanding that for the first 18+ years of your life, you have lived as an individual and you have your own habits, both bad, as well as good. These habits aren't easily changed. While we strive to make ourselves better, there will always be something that drives the other person nuts.
As a couple, each person must live their own lives -- pursue their own jobs and hobbies.
I dated a girl I worked with, bad idea. Since I was in upper management, work was my life and I always wanted to talk about it. She on the other hand didn't. She couldn't figure out why I didn't focus more on school. Our priorities conflicted each other and shortly our relationship ended. We both have degrees now, but I have experience and after I left that job, she was let go.
One weekend after she and I had been dating, I was watching a movie at my apartment. Usually she went home (from college) on weekends, but had stayed in town that weekend. We had spent the past week together and I needed to take a break and be myself. She stopped by on Saturday and wondered if I was going to call her since she was in town that weekend. I hadn't planned on it, it would have been good to hang with her, but I didn't need to. She couldn't understand why I just sat there and watched a movie while she was in town and we could spend some time together. Watching movies was one of my favorite things to do, she usually studied, read, or slept.
My parent's relationship is a good example of a non-codependent marriage. They work overlapped hours, so they aren't together 24/7. My mom is usually busy with stuff for church, my dad is busy with other stuff for church and a community service club. At home, she works in her office and he works out in the sunroom. They are both home and happy that they know where the other person is. Every day at noon they call each other, it is more of a tradition than a need. They wouldn't be lost of the other person didn't call, it was just part of their daily routine. Every Friday night they go out to eat and maybe see a movie, after all, remember that they are friends. Sure mom does some things for dad that a mom would do. But that is her nature and it works.
They match as friends to the affect that her strengths are his weaknesses and vice versa. They compliment each other and have a happy relationship in which they are dependent on each other for love and shared memories and the wanting to spend their lives together. They can go days without the other person. But usually don't.
The couples that call each other six times a day and wonder where the other person is and why they aren't with them is where it becomes unhealthy.
A friend of mine was dating one girl who was very co-dependent. When he'd home from work, she would call just a minute or two after he walked in and would ask where he was. He would simply say that he just walked in the door and was resting and this would upset her. She expected him to spend every moment of his spare time with her.
She didn't give him any freedom to be himself. She lived in the fear that if he leaves, her life is nothing. Her needs in the relationship were based on a set of unrealistic expectations. She was so selfish in wanting her needs to be filled that she didn't consider his past and his needs. This was the basis for that relationship ending.
People need their alone time. Time to be by them selves to think. You shouldn't stress yourself out about the other person so much that you can't live as an individual. A relationship can bring happiness, but happiness shouldn't be grounded in another person.
I've been single for quite some time -- maybe by an unconscious choice, maybe conscious, maybe chance, or maybe by a Higher power. Being single has given me the opportunities to do what I want to do, be who I want to be, and discover myself. My plate is so full with wanting to write a book, to finishing a movie, to making short films, to getting my finances in order, building credit, getting in shape, and eating healthy -- that would be a lot to handle and try and maintain a relationship at the same time.
Aside from relationships, people can become co-dependant on drugs, alcohol, sex, painkillers, food, and so many more things. If it is considered bad to be dependant on those, then I would venture to say it would be bad to be co-dependant in a relationship.
That is another article.
Chad J. Bring is a rising author who just published his first novel, Left Standing in addition to co-writing a screenplay for an independent film through their RoomMate Productions film production company.
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