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How Do We Get Into Codependent Relationships?


Codependency is usually associated with the term “enabling”. Enabling is doing something for someone that they can or should be doing for themselves. It is taking responsibility for others. I often hear people say “I like helping others”, “It makes me feel good”, “I am a good person”. Many people derive their sense of self-esteem by doing things for other people.

Oftentimes we will find ourselves in relationships where the other is dependent on us. They rely on us for driving them to places, handling their finances, paying their bills, completing tasks that are clearly their responsibility, not ours. We seem to attract this type of person who is needy and who requires a lot from others.

Rather than focusing on the other person, it is best to examine “Self”. Ask yourself, “What is it about me that always draws me into this kind of relationship,” “What is the reason I continue to put myself in this type of relationship,” “What am I gaining from this relationship?”

It has more to do with you than it does with the needy person in your life. You probably feel responsible for making another person or people happy, feel guilty for not helping them and find it impossible to say no, but unaware of your own motivating thoughts and feelings for being in this relationship.

Is this your way of seeking approval? Do you also need this relationship for validation? When we understand our part in a negative situation and do what we need to do, we can change the situation, or at least change ourselves. Even when a situation is someone else’s fault, we always play a part in that.

The attraction to the co-dependent relationship is a perfect match and reciprocal. The dependent is looking for someone to take care of them, and the other feels responsible and a need to be the caretaker. This type of relationship only works for some time. Sooner or later, resentment and anger begin to take over and the relationship ends poorly.

The healthiest way we can interact with those close to us is by being truly inter-dependent. This is where two people are involved with each other, however, do not sacrifice themselves nor compromise their values in order to maintain the relationship.

At The Hellenic Therapy Center, 567 Park Avenue, Scotch Plains NJ, we have a team of licensed professionals who can assist you with setting clear boundaries in your relationships. We are available day, evening and weekend hours. Visit us at or call 908-322-0112. Find me on Facebook

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