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Lost In Love: Recognizing And Dealing With Detrimental Co-Dependency

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

Part of a healthy happy marriage (or relationship of any sort for that matter) according to professionals is premised on not only love, but also respect and a beneficial balance between being co-dependent and independent.

While, according to counselors and experts men and women can expect placing all their emphasis on the other person in the beginning of the relationship is something normal to be expected, they suggest that normal progression SHOULD result in a tapering off of the surge of hormones and euphoria you initially feel and settle into a more relaxed and equally rewarding relationship free of “anxiety”, “butterflies” and the constant search and need to impress and gain affirmation and approval. While they (the experts) assert that there is nothing wrong with continuing to improve and strive to please you partner, perpetuating feeling of trying to live up to “unrealistic” and/or “unbalanced” expectations may signal that the dynamic may need fine tuning and may indicate that one person may be on the verge of losing himself/herself, feel diminished and ultimately give up his/her rights to stay true to who they really are or are working to be. Complete codependency, hence say experts, is the unnatural outcome.

1. Signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs: Experts suggest that the first signs of losing yourself to (rather than in) the relationship is feeling extreme emotions such as hurt, anger, euphoria, excitement and powerlessness based on the other person’s action or lack of action.

2. Control issues:

· You shift the “blame” (for your happiness or lack thereof) on your partner, noting that “if only they would (fill in the blank), then you would (fill in the blank)

· Your center of influence is based outside of your own convictions, allowing for others to determine (more often than not) what you do and how you act…and even to define your role and your desires.

· You consider others smarter, prettier, etc than you and their opinions override your own.

· You become disempowered and immobilized constantly anticipating someone else’s next move and trying to figure out what they want of expect before you act or make your next move. In fact, you become a chameleon giving up who you are or want to be for who and what others expect you to be and you tend to change depending on your sphere of influence.

3. You shift your focus onto others: Rather than improving yourself or doing things for yourself you are consumed by making sure you do pleasing things for others and focus on how you can help and/or accommodate them.

4. Your self-esteem wanes:

· You are convinced that you are “unworthy” because you just don’t measure up and make excuses (for not being accepted, loved, or lovable) based on not being “pretty enough”, “smart enough”, etc.

· You lose interest in normal healthy activities that make you happy and are waiting for the other person or persons to change in order to realize satisfaction.

5. You have frequent and unexplainable or unwarranted highs and lows:

· You daydream about how “someday” you life will improve

· You are feel trapped by the notion of disappointing your partner and putting the relationship in jeopardy (over even minor differences)

According to experts we all have bouts of doubting ourselves, trying to correct others and/or their situations, or losing interest in things we use to enjoy. The difference between a problem and a phase is that those going through a phase tend to experience a balance between the two and aren’t personally and negatively affected. They go on with their life as normal.

However for those who are overwhelmed by their dependency experts suggest the following:

· Facing your dilemma/addiction (to the other person) and seeking help to take back control of your life.

· Realize that while it’s imperative to “do as the Romans do, when in Rome”; you can’t be consumed about pleasing all of the people, or even your partner, all of the time. Also realize that being effective means first and foremost taking care of you.

· Take a chance (in doing something for you) and prove to yourself that you are worthy and capable.

· Realize that “needing” someone to “complete” or “define” you is not healthy, and perhaps a sign of “immaturity”, and that you need to surround yourself with safe people who boost your self-respect, self-awakening, and unique individuality, and suggest any corrections in a caring and loving manner rather than in a condemning and condescending one.

· Choose friends or associations that seem to have it together or that you admire and/or aspire to be more like.

· Get involved in activities that will boost your confidence, morale and image.

· Steer clear of negative, debilitating environments and people.

· Tune into your feelings and note when you are feeling “threatened” and when your character is under attack. Also learn to distinguish between healthy advice and constructive criticism and self-debasing comments and/or suggestions.

· Ask for clarification from the other party, without being critical of confrontational and be open to expressing and discussing your views and why you feel that way, while also being open to others opinions and perhaps a need to look at things a different way, but without feeling forced.

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