September 9, 2016 Felicia Durling

All Give and No Take: Characterization of a Codependent Relationship

All Give and No Take: Characterization of a Codependent RelationshipAs we travel down the river of life, there are ebbs and flows in its seasons. At times, the changes are drastic and abrupt, while at other times they are small and subtle, hardly noticeable at all. Sometimes things just change in relationships. Changes in relationships, though, seem to have a magnifying glass upon them unless we are otherwise equipped to embrace them. For various reasons, there is a misconception about the people with whom we engage in relationships and the relationships we create with them. The misconception is that things will not change, and that change is a horrible thing in itself. We believe that when it comes to our partner, they’re perfect as we’ve found them, the relationship is as perfect as it started, and things are going to be perfect in precisely this manner…forever.


Characterization of a Codependent Relationship

One cause for this kind of thinking is codependency. In a codependent relationship there is a need for the relationship to maintain an element of perfection so that it never has reason to be abandoned, or for that matter, for the codependent to be abandoned from it. Codependency can roughly be defined as a state of needing internal approval from an external relationship with another person. Lacking in self-esteem and individuated autonomy due to emotional abuses of the past, a codependent person will attach their entire being to a relationship, offering whatever sacrifices necessary to make sure that it stays perfect.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and in a codependent relationship, perfection is in the mind of the codependent. Often in codependent relationships there is a severe imbalance between the partners. One partner gives endlessly to every need, real or perceived, of the other partner, while the second partner simply takes (making them counter-dependent). Despite indications of an unhealthy relationship, the codependent will either ignore them, excuse them, or simply work harder to eradicate them. These signs can include negative behaviors, an inability to have independence, anxiety when the other person is not around. Additionally, when the holistic wellbeing of a person in a relationship gets continuously slighted in an effort to support the other partner, the codependent will not see it as troublesome.

Codependent relationships are not without reparation. With some counseling to understand underlying issues, healthy boundaries can be created that will allow each partner to spend time apart living independent lives.


The Center for Life Change understands how codependency can feel like an endless tunnel. We are here to bring you to the light. Call 951-775-4000 today for more information.

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