Do you have a friend who you could swear hasn’t been acting right ever since they got into a relationship?
And it’s not like that being in a relationship has helped them get better—in fact, they seem to have gotten worse.
Listen to your instincts and look closer.
If your friend shows these 10 traits, that might be a sign that they’re getting too codependent in their relationship.
1) They sacrifice way too much for their relationship
It doesn’t matter that they’ve already got too much on their hands, or that they are long due for some well-deserved R&R. If their partner needs them for something, they’re there.
They want to be their partner’s everything and they feel bad setting boundaries. For example, they listen to their partner vent, even when they’re at wit’s end trying to handle their own problems.
They’re willing to sacrifice their time with their friends and family, too. They would cancel a night out with their friends even if they only see each other once a month if their partner wants their company.
They give and give and give some more. They try to provide their partner whatever they need even if they’re running dry.
2) They’re always afraid of rejection and abandonment
Being afraid of being abandoned or rejected by one’s partner is something that causes codependency, because it motivates them to tie their partner down to them at all cost.
At the same time, it’s something that is caused by codependency, and the reason is simple: When you’re codependent with someone, you have reached the point where neither of you are stable all by yourselves.
So the very prospect of splitting up with one’s partner comes with plenty of fear and insecurity.
How can they not be afraid when, at its worst, life itself becomes meaningless without their partner?
3) They praise their partners to an ideal
Some things you should look out for are phrases like “No one understands me like they do,” and “They’re so special, there’s no one else in the world like them!”
In general, you want to pay attention to excessive praise, especially praise that insinuates that their partner is perfect, irreplaceable, or even flawless and ideal.
After all, nobody is ever truly perfect, and nobody is truly tailor-made to be their partners’ perfect match—not without people actively trying to be that way, that is.
And the one thing that motivates people to conform to their partners’ ideas of a “perfect” partner is codependency and the pursuit of validation that comes with it.
4) They feel guilty at the thought of being “selfish”
Invite them to an outing without having their partner involved, and they get uncomfortable and might even suggest that they tag their partner along.
People in codependent relationships feel this compulsion to always be selfless and do things together with their partners.
Behind that feeling is the fear that if they start prioritizing their happiness, their partner will take it as permission to start being selfish too… and they don’t want that.
It’s not entirely their fault they’re this way. And hey, it’s something we all can relate to, am I right?
It’s very common to be in a codependent relationship.
Society has influenced us to love in toxic ways—that in order for love to be true, it has to be given fully. 100%, with no conditions and limitations whatsoever.
Luckily I was able to unlearn all these dangerous notions about love and intimacy through the masterclass of the world-renowned shaman Rudá Iandê.
By watching his mind blowing free video, I learned that real love and intimacy is not what our society has conditioned us to believe…and that there’s a healthier way to love.
So, if you want to help your friend (or yourself) get out of a codependent relationship, I recommend checking out Rudá’s advice on how to love better.
5) They can’t make decisions on their own
Now it’s a good idea to keep our partners in the loop when we’re making big decisions.
After all, the last thing we want is to make plans for a night out with our friends only to realize that it clashes with something our partners have planned.
The problem with people in codependent relationships is that they take this to an extreme.
Not only do they consult their partners over things where it makes sense, like vacation plans, they will consult their partner over petty things like the movies they watch and the food they eat.
At that point, you can more or less assume that there are control issues going on in the relationship, and those come with codependency.
6) They complain in excess about their partner
They would get upset when they ask their partner to do something and they say no or fail to do whatever they ask them to do.
And when they get upset, they get upset in excess. They’d sometimes lash out and say something like “I hope he rots in hell!”
They complain so much you might even find yourself thinking they’re complaining about their partner burning half their bank account on a bag of sweets!
They just can’t handle it when their partner has a life outside their relationship, and their excessive complaining is a sign of deep insecurity and control issues.
7) They are always worried about what others think of them
Or to be more specific, they’re incredibly concerned about being seen as the “perfect couple” by the people around them.
So they take great care never to argue in public, or to walk together with frowns painted upon their faces.
One could even argue that they’re willing to “perform” their relationship in the public eye. More so than everyone else, even.
They want to be seen as a great couple. After all, that’s all they have.
8) They get very defensive over their partner
Criticizing their partner in any way puts them on the defensive. It doesn’t matter if it’s something as simple as telling them that their partner has a bad taste in music or as severe as telling them they’re a bad influence.
It doesn’t matter if they themselves have complained about their partner to you at length. Anything that they might take as an attack on their partner might as well be a personal attack to them, too.
And this is because people who are in codependent relationships are so, well, dependent on one another that they might as well be one person. And contrary to how it might sound, this is not a good thing.
9) They cut their friends off for the sake of their partner
And it doesn’t matter if they’ve been friends for ages. If their partner asks them to stop talking with someone, they’ll do it.
For example, their partner might say “I don’t want you talking to another man!” and so they will do exactly just that by ghosting all of their male friends–even the closest ones!
It might not even need a command. Their friend could simply criticize their partner and they’ll cut them off on their own. Or maybe they will think that their partners are enough for them, so they ghost their friends.
People who get into codependent relationships are those who value their romantic relationships so much that all their other relationships might as well be expendable.
10) They stopped saying NO
If their partner asks them to bury a body, get rid of their cat, or to buy a new car for them, they will do it.
It’s almost like they have a compulsion to always do whatever their partner asks of them. And likewise, their partner never says no to anything they ask no matter how outrageous the request may be.
Being in a relationship is all about being there for one another and trying to make sure our partners are happy. But there should always be a limit for how far we are willing to go for our partners.
Dealing with codependency
Codependency usually happens when people get into relationships before they’re confident and mature enough to handle it. For some, it happens because of childhood trauma.
The best way to deal with codependency is to snip it in the bud. But while it’s harder when your friend is already in a codependent relationship, it’s not impossible.
Here’s some tips that may help you:
- Avoid calling them out or accusing them of being codependent directly. This will only get them defensive.
- Try to build up their self-worth and self-esteem. This can be hard if their partner is also trying to tear them down, but this is important.
- Let them unlearn what they know about love and intimacy. I suggest you recommend Ruda Iande’s Masterclass on Love and Intimacy (It’s free!)
- Don’t judge them. This can be hard if you can see that your friend is obviously being abused, but there’s a reason why they can’t break free.
- Offer them a safe, stress-free place they can talk and vent in. They’re vulnerable, so make sure they can trust you.
- Help them be aware that things don’t have to be that way. If you yourself are in a healthy relationship, you can set an example.
Codependency is a dangerous thing, but it’s a trap we’re all vulnerable to falling into. And the reason for that is that codependency happens when all the good things in a relationship are pushed to an unhealthy extreme.
This applies to all relationships, both friendly and romantic—though it is admittedly worse when romance is involved.
So if your friend is in a codependent relationship, it can be painful to just sit by and watch them being damaged by it. But at the same time, take care not to rush ahead blindly. You need a delicate hand to pry them out of it.
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.
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