Everyone is codependent to greater and lesser extents. My definition of co-dependence is the following — anytime when you’re not taking care of yourself.
Here’s a self-evaluation checklist that will provide you with some answers to your question, ”How to save my relationship?”
- expressing passive-aggressive behavior or anger
- feeling sorry and guilty
- being responsible for the world
- trying to please
- being a martyr or a stoic
- having obsessive thoughts, actions, or addictions
- feeling rage, hatred, fear, depression, longing, despair, resentment, or helplessness
- being busy and overwhelmed — doing too much
- not expressing your needs, wants, or desires
- feeling that you’re unappreciated
- convincing your partner to see things your way
- doing a lot for your partner and everyone else but not for you
- saying yes when you mean no and vice versa
- giving but not receiving
- needing other people around you to make you feel okay
- telling yourself that things will get better but not reaching out for help
- playing the victim or rescuer
- feeling trapped, confused, or dependent
- having too weak or too strong boundaries
- looking strong but feeling helpless
- asking the question: Why does this always happen to me?
- living a life of shoulds or have-tos
- finding decision-making impossible
- suffering from perfectionism
You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t feel all of the above emotions from time to time. What’s important is how to take a self-inventory of qualities that persist, that become chronic, that come up for you time and time again. This daunting and sobering checklist will help you answer the question how to save your relationship.
If you have any characteristics in the above list that overwhelm your life, go to a CODA meeting. Codependents Anonymous is an organization dedicated to helping people realize the importance of taking care of themselves. CODA’s mission is to promote healthy and loving relationships. You will find information about locations of free weekly meetings in your area at CODA.ORG. I recommend CODA to my students because just about everyone needs help not being codependent.
I also recommend reading the classic book published in 1986 called Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others And Start Caring For Yourself by Melody Beattie.
This marriage cartoon is priceless. All teachers are codependent because we love offering advice even when it’s not asked for.