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Unhealthy Relationship Codependency

Image of two fingers joined by a heart representing unhealthy relationship codependency.

Unhealthy Relationship Codependency

Recognizing and Healing From Codependency

  Written by Randi Fine, Narcissistic Abuse Expert

Narcissistic Abuse Awareness and Guidance with Randi Fine

Unhealthy relationship codependency is a disorder that develops over time. Dysfunctional childhood patterns that interfere with the person's ability to form healthy relationships lie dormant for many years; the problem only surfaces once the person begins to experience adult relationships.

Those suffering from relationship codependency do not recognize that their behavior is unhealthy, and so they go from one unsatisfying toxic relationship to another not believing they deserve a better relationship than the dysfunctional one they are in. These relationships always end in heartbreak without the codependent person ever recognizing the primary role he or she played in its demise.

Codependent people fear vulnerability. Feeling undeserving, unworthy of having others meet their needs, they put themselves in the role of perpetual caregiver, believing that they must earn love to get it, while at the same time feeling used and unappreciated by those they are trying to help. Whenever they try to stand up for themselves, they feel guilty for taking and needing rather than giving. The maze of heartbreaking confusion and disappointment becomes a trap they cannot see their way out of.

Those suffering from unhealthy relationship codependency fear that others will be angry with them and/or reject them for not measuring up to their expectations. This fear largely determines all their actions and reactions within their relationships.

They believe their survival depends on relationships with other people and that what they feel for these people is deep love. They do not understand that their attachment is in fact parasitic neediness; that they are love addicts and the other person is their drug.

Codependent behavior prevents people from finding peace and happiness with the most important person in their lives--themselves.

Relationship codependents must learn to get their emotional needs met without making others dependent on them. They must understand that taking care of their own needs before the needs of others does not make them selfish people.

Once this mental health issue is recognized it can be healed. The recovery process takes time, patience, and support; it takes honest reflection and great determination, but the efforts are well worth it.

Great freedom and serenity comes with healing. No longer codependent, people can easily embrace positive feelings such as love, happiness, and fulfillment. They can give when they want to; not out of insecurity or the expectation of others.

Many people enjoy helping and caring for others. The thing to remember in all our relationships is that there should always be balance and compromise. Healthy love is not a one way street.

Randi Fine is an internationally renowned narcissistic abuse expert and coach. She is the author of the groundbreaking book Close Encounters of the Worst Kind: The Narcissistic Abuse Survivor’s Guide to Healing and Recovery, the most comprehensive, most well researched, and most up-to-date book on this subject. In addition to helping survivors recognize their abuse and heal from it, this book teaches mental health professionals how to recognize and properly treat the associated abuse syndrome. She is also the author of Cliffedge Road: A Memoir, the first and only book to characterize the life-long progression of complications caused by narcissistic child abuse.

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