Think about the relationships in your life. Whether you’re thinking about your parent, a friend, one of your family members, or a coworker, think about how you act in those types of relationships. Is the relationship you’re thinking about benefitting both parties? Do you both give and take equally? Or do you feel like you’re giving everything, your heart and soul included, and you’re not getting much in return? There’s a good chance that the relationships in your life could seem like a mix of the two examples from time to time.
Here’s how to tell the difference between codependency and interdependency.
What is Codependency?
Codependency is when a person feels dependent on another person. People who are codependent often have a hard time forming healthy relationships. Typically, individuals in codependent relationships find their sense of value and self-worth through their partner instead of themselves. Decisions, emotions, and even moods will be dependent on the partner. Codependent individuals may often ignore or neglect their own personal wants, needs, and desires in order to focus on their partner instead.
What is Interdependency?
Interdependency is a shared, mutual dependence. Two people coming together to form a couple could be considered an interdependent relationship. You and your partner have the ability to find joy in your own interests and achievements, as well as together in your relationship. Boundaries are set and respected, but you’re both able to support one another as well.
What does a Codependent Relationship Look Like?
You may accidentally fall into a codependent relationship without even realizing it. It actually can happen to many people when they first start dating someone. It’s normal to spend a lot of time with the person you’re interested in. You’re getting to know them and discovering their interests, hobbies, likes, dislikes, and more. It’s easy to pay more attention to them and forget your own needs. This behavior can quickly lead to an unhealthy, codependent relationship.
These are the common signs of a codependent relationship:
What does an Interdependent Relationship Look Like?
Independent couples have a healthier balance between meeting their own needs and their partner’s needs. These are some of the most common characteristics of an interdependent relationship:
If you’re worried that you or your relationship may be a little too codependent, don’t stress. There are some things that you can do to change it into a healthy, more interdependent relationship. It’s just going to take a little time, energy, and work to make it happen.
Reaching out to an outside third party, like a professional coach, is a great way for you and your partner to explore healthier relationship styles. A coach can help you and your partner become aware of your negative thoughts and feelings into more positive ones for yourself and your relationship.
You and your partner may not even realize that some of your thoughts, actions, or behaviors are considered codependent. You may have accidentally fallen into a routine just from dating one another. The fact that you want to improve your relationship shows how much you care about yourself, your partner, and your relationship.
Kamini Wood, a certified professional coach, helps people take the courageous steps to identify their limiting beliefs, the reasons for their stagnation or feelings of not enoughness, so they can have what they want professionally and personally to live a fulfilled life.
She is the creator of AuthenticMe® and CEO of Live Joy Your Way, a coaching company helping high performers and overachievers who have seen success through old-rooted, traditional metrics, reestablish their relational self-awareness. Her best-selling book is Om: Life’s Gentle Reminders . For more information visit www.kaminiwood.com.