Codependency: Healthy Behavior or Love Addiction?

Codependency is often referred to as the addiction of love.  The negative effects of codependency are far-reaching and typically occur within a mismatched emotional relationship. Codependency is essentially, a coping mechanism used to lessen emotional pain.  It is a compulsive behavior that has been absorbed throughout life in order to avoid pain which may be perceived but perhaps not real.  If you are concerned about your own relationship currently, consider whether it is consistently an uphill struggle as you try to resolve issues.   Evaluate whether your relationship is forged on a basis of emotional conflict and whether you are constantly trying to resolve your partner’s problems for them by facing these burdens willingly. If yes, then this is fairly typical of codependent relationships.

Codependency quite simply is a relationship addiction, and can affect all types of relationships from family, to friends, to romantic relationships.  Within your partnership, you may feel that you are helping to overcome issues by being the strong assertive one, but in reality, you may be hindering your relationship with your partner. It may feel as if your own behavior is normal and that you are simply trying to help your partner to rebuild his or her life, but you need to establish whether you are simply being helpful or whether it is a pre-learned need within you to continuously help, to assume control and yet to put the needs of others first.  Doing this with complete honesty will help you determine whether you or not you truly have a love addiction.

If you feel that you might be in a codependent relationship, consider whether deep down, your self esteem and sense of self worth might be low as this is fairly typical, although often these negative feelings are kept hidden and a stronger persona presented to the world. If you cast your mind back to your own previous relationships, you may be able to detect any familiar patterns where you have assumed the strong, caring role in each of them. The external influences within each relationship may be very different but the cause can be deeply rooted and parallel.

To identify whether you are a codependent, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you spend a great deal of time and energy on caring for your partners needs?
  • Do you sacrifice your own needs to enable them to achieve theirs?
  • Do you find it difficult to say no?
  • If you were unable to help your partner, would you experience feelings of guilt and unworthiness?
  • Do you sometimes feel that you are caregiver as opposed to a partner?

If you feel that any or all of these questions are relative to you then it is worth acknowledging that you may need to speak to a professional counselor for help. If you start to feel introverted, confused and guilty, then stop and acknowledge that it is not your fault if you have become involved within a cycle of toxic relationships. Realization is vital and it will afford you greater clarity going forward.  Just remember that codependent relationships are not uncommon and you need to establish why you are drawn to certain people if you have any chance of leaving this addiction of love behind.

A codependency addiction may not be easy to cure, but the speed of recovery is very much on an individual basis and this is something that a counselor can discuss with you. Facing up to the reality is paramount and recognizing that you are not to blame will also help to start the healing process, but the most important part of turning your life around is having the will to do so. The healing process will truly begin once you become aware of the full reasoning behind your love addiction.  Once the negative aspects of codependent relationships can be controlled, new healthier patterns can be formed so that future relationships are based on equal emotional stability and input.