We often mistake true, healthy and evolutional love with a fake love where our partner actually lives for and through us. They leave their needs aside, sacrifice themselves and put us first, they are there for us no matter of what we do - whether we victimize ourselves, have mental disorders or different addictions, have behavioral or emotional problems etc. - they want to help us more than it’s necessary, enjoying how much we depend on them. Maybe they do everything in our place to ease our life, they even know what is best for us and give us different advice but which, at a closer look, make us become more and more dependent on them.
“It’s so hard for you to work, you don’t have to work anymore, I make enough money for the both of us”, “stop meeting with your friends, can’t you see they treat you badly and they don’t appreciate you?”, “don’t do that, it’s easier for me to do it, and besides I do it with love because I love you”, “I love you as you are, imperfect, don’t try so badly to improve yourself”, “I love you and for me you are perfect even if ... (you are obese, alcoholic, a drug addict, you lose money gambling, you are an unhappy victim etc.)
Codependent relationships are the most dysfunctional relationships for any human being. Although the codependent partner seems to always be available for the other, helps and supports them in everything, the long-term consequences are devastating.
What does a codependent relationship mean?
A relationship where one of the partners (or both) helps or supports the other one "as they are" - even if they are addicted (alcohol, drug, food addiction etc.), they have mental or behavioral disorders, they don’t take responsibility, they are immature or they don’t have any kind of achievement on a professional, relational, social, material level etc.
A family (or a couple) where one partner accepts the other's disorders, is a codependent relationship. A partner who understands you don’t want to work, and they take all the responsibilities, who buys you alcohol although you are an alcoholic, who accepts your dysfunctional behavioral manifestations or psychic disorders - they understand that you are angry, depressed, anxious and they are there for you without urging you to seek specialized help etc., is a codependent partner.
Such a partner depends on the need of being useful, to help you, to control you, making you to depend on them by all the things they do for you. They have a low self-esteem, they need attention, affection and approval, even control and they sacrifice to get them from you.
A person who puts your needs above his or her own needs - who sacrifices for you, who accepts you as you are and doesn’t urge you to seek help, wants you to be dependent on them so that they have a purpose in life.
In alcoholic families, although we are tempted to blame only the person who consumes alcohol, their life partner is the one who has a great contribution to maintaining that addiction. You may have seen TV shows with obese people who couldn’t move out of bed having 200-300 kg, and their partner was next to them, loving them as they are and providing them food for satisfying their whims. These are just two very clear examples of codependent relationships, but in most cases codependence is less visible - there are those people who offer to do everything for you to ease your life, who know better than you or know what it’s best for you, who want to know everything you do, what you think, how you feel, what your pleasures are (whether or not they are healthy for you) and strive to meet them.
The more dysfunctional you are and the more you need help and emotional, material or other kind of support from such a partner, the more they will feel useful. If you are trying to change something, to ask for help, to get out of that dependent situation, the more desperate they will become (whether it’s a member of your family or your couple partner).
If you don’t need them anymore, they lose their meaning. But as pleasant as it seems at first glance to have someone who sacrifices for you, as much such a relationship disables you. You will give up your personal power, you will settle for mediocrity or you will continue to have all sorts of addictions which will endanger your life. Such a person will be nice to you as long as you are only theirs, and when you want to get out of this vicious circle, they’ll use emotional blackmail, manipulation and even aggression to keep you in the same state of dependency.
Think well if it’s truly good for you when your partner sacrifices for you, when they encourage you to be exactly as you are - when you know that what you’re doing isn’t right, that the only thing you have to do is to accept their help, if it’s worth the price you’re paying for your laziness and commodity and your refusal to take your life in your own hands.