Codependent relationships are an expression of anxious attachment.
The fear of abandonment and clinging onto the relationship at almost all costs.
Someone with co-dependency is much more receptible to being in an abusive relationship because they tend to have few boundaries and focus on other people’s needs which is just what an abuser is looking for.
A support group for co-dependency is to a narcissist what a candy store is to a child.
A codependent relationship tends to be very one-sided, where the codependent gives far more than they receive.
A codependent can become more secure if surrounded by securely attached people as the responsiveness, and a secure base will calm the codependent’s nervous system and heal them over time.
The trap to watch out for is that the controlling and demanding behavior often found in co-dependency can push others away and become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The behavior meant to prevent abandonment as it did in childhood in adult relationships pushes people away and causes abandonment.
It’s common for a codependent relationship to form a dynamic of attack and withdrawal where the codependent attack gets a response and their partner withdraw as they feel controlled and you are demanding.
It’s like an old record that is stuck playing the same song repeatedly as codependent keeps being caught in this pattern of destructive relationship dynamics.
To break it, you must become self-aware of your behaviors and what you need to feel safe so you can
1. Step in and stop the destructive behaviors or demands, criticism, and control that is pushing your partners away and instead
2. Express your needs in a vulnerable way without blame or criticism so your partner can hear and accommodate them.
Unlike the self-help rubbish you might have been exposed to, this channel is based on fantastic research into relationships, and you do NOT have to love yourself to be loved in a relationship.
A relationship is a fantastic place to heal our attachment wounds and heal co-dependency.
You need a safe partner who cares about your boundaries and needs and encourages and supports you in your new practice, and someone who attune to your needs and response.
However, this is only possible if you are self-aware, so you can stop your normal controlling or attacking behaviors that push them away or make them try to defend themselves if they feel attacked or arrested.
Once you express your needs clearly and in a vulnerable way without blame or criticism, your partner can start the process that creates secure attachment, attune and respond to your needs. Over time, this makes a secure attachment for you, too, so the healing co-dependency has started.
It’s a beautiful process of co-creating and co-healing, and utilizing our brain’s healing and adaptable capacity.
This new dynamic can take a few years to integrate and rewire you for a new attachment style fully. Still, it’s possible, and as such, attachment styles and, therefore, co-dependency is not permanent and can be changed using the method I describe above.
The key is to select a securely attached partner, explain this dynamic and your needs to them, and get a supportive partner that helps facilitate your healing.
It often happens that codependent people pick an avoidant partner who causes their anxious attachment to worsen, so the negative cycle continues.
Now you know how to break it and form a new positive cycle of change that will empower you.
That’s enough for today.
If you are in the middle of this confusing and painful place, check out the comprehensive course I did on how to heal and flourish after dating a borderline, narcissist, or socio/psychopath.
Never forget. You are worthy of love, safety, kindness & mutuality.