Do you ever feel lost in your relationship? Does your life revolve around fulfilling the needs of others rather than your own? If you’ve lost sight of who you are, then you may be showing codependent characteristics.
If you’re in a codependent relationship with a sex addict, you may be enabling their behaviors. The ability to recognize codependent characteristics means you can get help to stop these behaviors.
What is Codependency?
Codependency is when you lose sight of yourself to help another person. You can’t tell where the relationship ends, and you begin. Your entire focus is on the other person. You may make excuses for them. You also may hide their addictive behaviors or try to protect them from the consequences of their actions.
Codependency is most common with romantic relationships, but it can happen with friends or family as well.
There are even different types of codependent people. A lot of that results from your attachment style and upbringing.
The five types of codependents are:
- Oblivious. You’re unaware of your issues and hold fast to your delusions.
- Passive. As the “martyr,” you disassociate from your deep resentment by acting as a compassionate and generous person.
- Starving. You refuse regular intimacy as a way to protect yourself.
- Active. You actively try to persuade your partner to be loving and caring by constantly being around them.
- Self-Help. You are always reading the next self-help book and seeking transformational experiences to disassociate from your core trauma and wounding.
Regardless of which type of codependency you have, you want an authentic connection. You deserve to feel loved as an individual rather than only as part of a relationship.
Signs of Healthy Relationship
In a securely attached and well-balanced relationship, you and your partner can grow as individuals and as a couple. You feel connected even when you’re apart.
It is possible to change an unhealthy relationship if you and your partner are willing to make an effort. Building a healthy relationship takes open and honest communication and trust.
Signs of a healthy relationship include:
- Clear Communication. When your partner does something that annoys you, you let them know. Standing up for yourself and your needs isn’t a problem because you know you’re safe with your partner.
- Trust. You don’t go snooping through your partner’s phone or computer. When you’re apart, you check in a healthy amount without being overbearing. When your partner says they’ll be there, you know they mean it.
- Understanding. You understand how you want love, and you respect that your partner may understand it differently. You try to speak the other person’s love language. Doing so means you can show them affection in the ways they appreciate the most.
- Encouragement. When you have a dream or a goal, you know your partner will support and encourage you.
- Individuality. You may share some hobbies, but you also celebrate what makes the other person unique. You don’t share all your interests, and that is perfectly okay with both of you.
- Comfort. You get to be who you are all the time. Your funny quirks, your odd sayings, whatever it is that makes you unique, your partner celebrates. You feel content being yourself with them.
- Boundaries. You’re comfortable talking about important things together, including your values and boundaries. You’ve asked your partner to avoid doing or talking about specific things, and they respect it.
After the honeymoon phase of your relationship has come and gone, are you still happy? Do you feel loved, supported, and celebrated? If so, odds are you’re in a healthy relationship.
What are Codependent Characteristics?
Codependent characteristics look different for each person. If you or your partner show characteristics of being a codependent person, then change is necessary.
Codependent characteristics include:
- A deep-seated need for approval
- You’re demanding and controlling to the point of being obsessed with having things done the “correct” way.
- Excessive concern about a loved one’s habits or behaviors
- Consistent minimization of your own needs or desires
- Guilt or anxiety when you do what’s best for you
- An overwhelming fear of abandonment or rejection by those you care for
- A habit of taking on more than you can handle to either lighten someone else’s load or earn praise
- Avoiding conflict at all costs, which leads you to do things you don’t want to do
- You’re hyper-aware of other people’s problems and feel responsible for solving them
- Always putting yourself in the role of care-taker, advice-giver, or leader
- Feeling responsible for everything or everyone’s happiness at the cost of your own
- Moods that mimic those around you
- Either idealizing your loved ones or hiding their “imperfect” choices or behaviors
If you show codependent characteristics in your relationships, it may be time to reach out for help. When you’re always taking a backseat to other people’s needs, it becomes problematic.
You deserve the time and space to be yourself.
Codependency and Addiction
Codependent people often enter relationships with those with addictive disorders. These relationships can cause addiction patterns to escalate. As the codependent partner, you try to justify their behavior, make excuses, or cover it up. Doing this removes their responsibility from the equation.
You become an enabler and prevent your partner with addiction from succeeding in recovery.
With porn and sex addiction, being a codependent partner can create a volatile environment.
By nature, a codependent relationship is one of dishonesty. Covering up for your sex-addicted partner’s behaviors enables them to continue with their addiction.
You may feel responsible for your partner, but you are not. This constant coddling will only deepen and continue the compulsive sexual behaviors. They’ll never fully recover if you attempt to control them rather than let them learn how to control themselves.
Why Seek Help for Codependency?
A relationship between a codependent partner and one with sex addiction is incredibly toxic. Both of you need and deserve to heal separately as well as together. For this, Begin Again Institute offers a unique Partner Support Program. While the addicted partner heals at their 14-Day Men’s Intensive, you will recover in your program.
During the Partner Support Program, you’ll be able to uncover your codependent characteristics. You’ll examine your core trauma that leads to these traits. You’ll heal while learning the tools you need to support your partner’s recovery.
Both of you will gain the independence and the tools you need to create a healthy, loving, and nurturing environment.
Trying to be altruistic by putting others first actually damages the bond you can have with them. By never getting what you want in life, you’ll forget who you are.
Contact BAI when you’re ready to stop your codependent characteristics and build a healthy relationship.