The organic nature of relationships virtually guarantees that every human being will experience failure of some kind in relationships, because relationships are imprecise and require constant attention to attain and/or maintain health. A common problem in relationships is that of co-dependency, which occurs when one person, the “caretaker,” enables unhealthy behavior on the part of the other person in the relationship.
Co-dependency usually develops as a result of good intentions. Typically, a naturally caring person learns that their partner is suffering with some degree of dysfunction or difficulty and responds with obvious efforts to alleviate that dysfunction or difficulty. But co-dependency, by definition, means that some degree of the effort is either misplaced or applied in a way that encourages the perpetuation of unhealthy patterns of behavior.
Common Causes Of Co-Dependency
For the person with the unhealthy behaviors that prompt the co-dependent responses from the caretaker, the causes can be manifold. More recognizable causes can include a history of sexual, psychological, or physical abuse and/or an addiction to a substance. But unhealthy behaviors in relationships can, and often are, caused by insecurities, which in turn create unhealthy and unproductive patterns of behavior. And when two people with unhealthy patterns of behavior become a couple, it is possible that a co-dependent relationship will form.
Co-dependent relationships can be enormously stressful for the people in them. Many co-dependent relationships form as a result of the caretaker’s belief that it is their moral obligation to see things through to the end, regardless of the toll it is taking on them. And that, in turn, can discourage the person in the relationship who is experiencing the difficulty from actually seeking solutions to their difficulty. Rather than addressing the roots of the issues, the individuals in co-dependent relationships tend to encourage the perpetuation of the problems that create the appearance of a deep and abiding connection. And it is certainly possible for such connections to be present in the relationship, but the insidiousness of co-dependency is that it often appears as a result of those deeper connections and prevents the members of the couple from being with each other in healthier and more fulfilling ways.
A Coon Rapids Counselor Can Help You Find Relationship Stability
Being human also means that we experience problems in life. No caretaker is problem-free, in other words, both members of a couple can contribute to the persistence of co-dependency and developing relationship insight will help you find balance. Understanding ourselves is a great first step in limiting or eliminating co-dependency from our valued relationships. Consider contacting Laurie Grengs, a Minnesota therapist with more than three decades’ experience providing relationship help, helping people understand the patterns of their lives, and determining which patterns are healthy and which should be changed. Call 1-877-572-2326 for more information or to make an appointment.