Help! My boyfriend is codependent with his sister (SOLVED)

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My boyfriend Max has been such a blessing in my life, and he’s stood by me through thick and thin.

I love him so much, I really do.

The problem is that Max is extremely codependent on his step-sister Amanda.

She brings out the absolute worst in him and he brings out the worst in her, and it pains me to see it happening.

I am talking about levels of toxic codependency that shouldn’t even be possible outside a crisis intervention.

I have had to address this growing issue with Max, and at this point, it is finally beginning to improve.

This is a list of what I did to approach the problem and begin to heal the toxic waste that was spewing into our relationship and stealing my boyfriend from me.

Help! My boyfriend is codependent with his sister (solved)

Max and Amanda grew up in a tough home situation. He became like her “protector” who helped her through her bad teenage years and mistreatment by her dad.

Their bond was strong, but Amanda started going too far with it. She expected Max to “fix” her life all the time. She asked him for loans practically constantly and she began showing up on his doorstep crying all the time.

I knew none of this when I started dating Max, but once I found out, I was forced to confront this festering problem under the surface.

Get at the roots

The first thing to do if your boyfriend is codependent with his sister is to get at the roots of the issue.

As I said, Max’s connection to Amanda goes back to their earliest years.

As the older brother (by three years older), he had a leading role in her early years and protected her from her dad (his step-dad) who was physically and verbally abusive.

This also traumatized Max watching his mother deal with an aggressive and abusive man and cemented his codependent bond with Amanda.

He was the protector and savior, she was the victim and small little girl who needed saving. At that time I have no doubt it was true and that Max rose above his young age to shield and emotionally comfort his little sis.

But as the years went on, Max fell into this role more and more. Enjoying a string of relationships where he became a provider type for women who used him and freeloaded off him.

He kept being taken advantage of and being a professional kind of fix-it artist to women who were really messed up. I’d like to think I’m not one of them.

But knowing the roots of Max’s story from what he has told me, I was able to see that his codependency with Amanda rested on a somewhat valid foundation. The key was in showing him that his need to shield her from life was no longer helping:

It was weakening and upsetting him, keeping her in a victim mentality and in playing a role that was actively disempowering her.

Talk it out

This issue is very sensitive for Max and I’ve respected his privacy and sensitivity on it as much as possible.

It reached a breaking point last year when Amanda kept showing up crying and apparently had a stint at rehab that went wrong.

I feel for her, I really do. Nonetheless, it became exhausting watching the apartment my boyfriend and I share to become a scene for some kind of live-in care home.

Most days when I came home I was greeted by the sound of intense sobbing or Max trying to talk her off a cliff. I was starting to feel like our lives were on hold for this poor young lady trying to find her way.

But I emphasized to Max that it wasn’t his role to fix his sister’s life and let him know that it was beginning to have a real strain on our relationship. I respected his relationship with Amanda and his deep love for her.

But I reminded him of our bond, too. Without putting on too much pressure, I got Max to open up to me more about what was going on and the pressure he felt to be there for Amanda.

I still didn’t agree, but I understood a lot more about the emotional forces tugging at him and that was pulling him away from me and back into a codependent cycle.

Ask for an outside perspective

Among the most helpful steps that I took with Max was getting a professional outside opinion.

While this article explores the main steps you can take for a partner who is codependent on a family member,  it can be helpful to speak to a relationship coach about your situation.

With a professional relationship coach, you can get advice specific to your life and your experiences…

Relationship Hero is a site where highly trained relationship coaches help people through complicated and difficult love situations, like somebody who is stuck in a codependent cycle.

They’re a very popular resource for people facing this sort of challenge.

They really helped me understand Max and process my own difficult emotions about observing him be dragged into old behavior that was bad for him.

After being lost in my thoughts for so long, they gave me a unique insight into the dynamics of my relationship and how to get it back on track.

I was blown away by how kind, empathetic, and genuinely helpful my coach was as well as how much she understood what I was going through!

In just a few minutes you can connect with a certified relationship coach and get tailor-made advice for your situation.

Click here to get started.

Talking to Amanda

Sooner or later it was bound to happen that I talked to Amanda. As the third piece of our relationship, in a certain way, that was inevitable.

When she’d been staying at our place she was a complete mess. She got back to rehab and eventually seemed a bit more on track.

But the next thing was a guy who raked her heart over the coals. The voice messages to Max became desperate and soon he was sending her a money transfer for $500 because Amanda’s “guy” had a “real situation, like *really* serious.”

I don’t doubt that it was, and the last thing I wanted to do was take time out of my busy schedule to wade into Amanda’s trauma-filled life.

But I did so because it was necessary, forming a bridge with her and going to see her at a small motel she was staying. I let her know I cared about her and loved Max and that we all wanted things to get better.

However, I also let her know that Max was very busy and that he was starting to suffer emotionally and psychologically as well from feeling so worried about her.

I told her that I knew it wasn’t her fault that things were going wrong but that I thought it might be better if she sought some professional help as well, through funding from the state for psychological and addiction recovery.

She was at least open to the idea and understood I was trying to help, although it was clear that it hadn’t fully sunken in or been accepted by her.

Old patterns are very hard to break.

Trigger his inner hero

The biggest breakthrough I had with Max was understanding his need to be there for Amanda and helping him see how she was misusing that noble instinct.

Instead of actually helping her, his constant sympathy, time, money, and listening ear was actually making her weaker.

Max had been blind to it because from a young age a fundamental part of his nature had been wrongly made to feel guilty. The fact is that all men need to feel like a provider and protectors in some way, but it just depends on where it’s oriented and how they use it.

You see, for guys, it’s all about triggering their inner hero.

I learned about this from the hero instinct. Coined by relationship expert James Bauer, this fascinating concept is about what really drives men in relationships, which is ingrained in their DNA.

And it’s something most women don’t know anything about.

Once triggered, these drivers make men into the heroes of their own lives. They feel better, love harder, and commit stronger when they find someone who knows how to trigger it.

Now, you may be wondering why it’s called “the hero instinct”? Do guys really need to feel like superheroes to commit to a woman?

Not at all. Forget about Marvel. You won’t need to play the damsel in distress or buy your man a cape.

The easiest thing to do is to check out James Bauer’s excellent free video here. He shares some easy tips to get you started, such as sending him a 12-word text that will trigger his hero instinct right away.

Because that’s the beauty of the hero instinct.

It’s only a matter of knowing the right things to say to make him realize that he wants you and only you.

Click here to watch the free video.

Shifting gears and growing up

Amanda still has many problems and is struggling, but she did end up getting help through a community group therapy and addiction program.

She took the message to heart and doesn’t expect Max to fix her problems quite as much anymore.

I think she also was hit by a realization of how much he’s done for her and how special that is.

Our relationship, meanwhile, has flourished more and more as we have found more independence and Max has been able to see Amanda’s situation improve.

I’ve also succeeded in getting him to see that he’s not responsible to live her life for her and that he can be my knight in shining armor in our own relationship in a non-codependent way.

Caring about someone doesn’t have to be codependent

The most important thing to understand if your boyfriend is codependent with his sister is that caring about someone is not the same as codependency.

Close relationships are natural and healthy, but when one person feels they are responsible for someone else or can’t live without them it can quickly become toxic. That’s true in family relationships just as much as it can be true in romantic relationships.

Making your boyfriend aware of that and encouraging the sister to get the help she needs is one of the best solutions.

If it’s your boyfriend who’s in the victim role, then encouraging him to stop depending on his sister is the flip side of this but the same general idea.

Be compassionate, not codependent

Compassion is a must. If I’d told Max to cut all contact with Amanda or forget about her it would have backfired on our whole relationship.

But if I’d been overly easygoing and only sympathetic it also would have enabled their codependent cycle in a toxic way.

By now you should have a better idea of why men can become codependent with a sibling in a way that’s unhealthy.

And also how that can negatively redound onto your own relationship.

So the key now is getting through to your man in a way that empowers both him and you.

I mentioned the concept of the hero instinct earlier — by appealing directly to his primal instincts, you won’t only solve this issue, but you’ll take your relationship further than ever before and show him that he can be your hero in a proactive way instead of fulfilling a distorted father role for his sister.

And since this free video reveals exactly how to trigger your man’s hero instinct, you could make this change as early as today.

With James Bauer’s incredible concept, he’ll see you as the only woman for him. So if you’re ready to take that plunge, be sure to check out the video now.

Here’s a link to his excellent free video again.

Can a relationship coach help you too?

If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.

I know this from personal experience…

A few months ago, I reached out to Relationship Hero when I was going through a tough patch in my relationship. After being lost in my thoughts for so long, they gave me a unique insight into the dynamics of my relationship and how to get it back on track.

If you haven’t heard of Relationship Hero before, it’s a site where highly trained relationship coaches help people through complicated and difficult love situations.

In just a few minutes you can connect with a certified relationship coach and get tailor-made advice for your situation.

I was blown away by how kind, empathetic, and genuinely helpful my coach was.

Click here to get $50 off your first session (exclusive offer for Hack Spirit readers).

Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash has years of experience writing relationship articles for single females looking for love. After being single for years with no hope of meeting Mr. Right, she finally managed to get married to the love of her life. Now that she’s settled down and happier than she’s ever been in her life, she's passionate about sharing all the wisdom she's learned over the journey.

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