Codependent relationships are a type of dysfunctional helping relationship where one person supports or enables another person’s addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or under-achievement. According to WebMD, these are some of the ways to recognize if you’re in a codependent situation:
- Are you unable to find satisfaction in your life outside of a specific person?
- Do you recognize unhealthy behaviors in your partner but stay with him or her in spite of them?
- Are you giving support to your partner at the cost of your own mental, emotional, and physical health?
Denying your own needs to make your partner happy, low self-esteem, lack of boundaries, denial there is a real problem and suffering from stress-related illnesses are all symptoms of being in this kind of unhealthy relationship. This behavior is often passed down through unhealed generations, children learning how to be codependent from their parents. Check out this blog to learn more, and this bestselling book.
My Experience with Codependency
I’m an adult child of an alcoholic, and we’re notorious for getting into codependent relationships. I tried to break this pattern but when I found myself in a marriage that tested me, I fell right back into it. My first husband found out he had an STD shortly before our wedding day, something he acquired before he met me. I first noticed the symptoms when we were engaged and insisted he see a doctor, he was in denial and didn’t want to deal with it. When a diagnosis was confirmed and treatment suggested, he became angry and still wanted to avoid it. He said he understood if I wanted to call the wedding off. I thought that would be heartless, and I believed he could be helped. After all, I had committed to a wellness plan that had healed me of what I had believed was a more serious health issue. Why couldn’t one of the many treatments available also help him?
What I learned into our marriage was that he didn’t have the same drive I had to heal. He preferred to avoid confrontation and deny how his problem was affecting our relationship. Scared I’d contract his STD, I remained faithfully celibate for the duration of our four year marriage which obviously thwarted my dream of starting a family. I was in my thirties and the idea of missing the chance to be a mom was making me feel depressed. His mother was an adult child of an alcoholic, and he was raised codependent. He once said to me after I healed from my own health challenges that he didn’t know how to be with me because he didn’t know how I needed him anymore. Big red flag of a codependent personality! We shouldn’t find our worth in a relationship based on how we can feel needed. It’s quite the opposite – we should feel free to be ourselves, take care of ourselves, learn, grow and evolve and celebrate this for our partner, too. We should not encourage our loved ones to be dependent on us. It’s a cruel thing to do in a world where change is constant and emotional independence and self-care is critical for creating a healthy life.
I became codependent by denying my own needs in the relationship and devoting myself to actively researching and arranging health care appointments for him, to which he either didn’t commit or didn’t follow through on. This only caused more resentment and frustration on my part, feeling he didn’t care enough about himself or me to actually do something about his situation. As the marriage went on, the untreated STD physically disfigured him and more issues popped up like his inability to be financially independent without his family’s help. I encouraged him to use his incredible talents, be successful and go for his dreams, but he lacked confidence and sound judgment which resulted in a series of financially devastating financial decisions that created more stress. He told my mother that he hoped my success would support him. His mother told me he needed to marry a rich woman, she knew I wasn’t one. Unfortunately, the fantasy of love blinded me from the reality that financial wellness is one of the foundations of a healthy relationship. My wake-up call happened when we lost our home to foreclosure. He couldn’t provide for himself, let alone a family. I wanted a teammate, not a dependent. He needed another mommy, not a wife. When the stress of living with his stuckness started affecting my health and work, that was my sign I had to go. He was never going to change. I was tired of pretending we were the cute, perfect couple when life with him was living like a poverty-vowed nun. Putting on a front to the outside world was exhausting and made me feel bad about myself because I was being inauthentic. Divorce was the only option for my well-being, and was the best remedy for a hopeless situation.
I’m sharing my personal experience as an example of how sneaky codependency is. You may think you’re over it, you’ve healed and then bang – there it is, showing up in your life disguised as an opportunity to love unconditionally, be more patient or be the bigger person when really the lesson is to stop enabling unhealthy behavior and settling for dysfunction. Period.
How Do Flower Essences Work?
Flower essences work vibrationally with your magnetic field, similar to homeopathy, enhancing the positive aspects of mind, emotion and personality. This plant-based system of healing was invented by Dr. Bach, a British medical doctor who discovered a keen interest in homeopathy when he felt frustrated by the lack of mind/body recognition in mainstream medicine. In the 1930’s, he left his successful mainstream practice in the city and moved to the English countryside where he focused on the healing properties of plants and flowers. He created remedies naturally from spring water infused with wild flowers, either by a sun-steeped method or by boiling. He began prescribing these flower remedies to patients and witnessed their physical symptoms improve when the underlying stressful emotions and beliefs were treated.
Flower Essences for Healing Codependency
Centaury helps you take care of your own needs and assert yourself if you find it hard to say no to others. These are the basic negative aspects of codependent relationships, and if healed, can help you stand up for yourself and focus on your own well-being instead of becoming lost in someone else’s issues.
Mustard brings back joy and cheerfulness when gloom descends for no obvious reason. You may not always realize how someone else’s problems are affecting you. You may find yourself feeling guilty, anxious or depressed even when you’re not around that person, there is still stress of the relationship lurking. This remedy used with the above will help strengthen your self-esteem and help you feel yourself again – separate from their suffering.
Olive restores energy when you are physically and mentally exhausted. Codependent relationships are mentally and physically exhausting. Olive can give you the strength to get through it and commit to your own self-care and doing what makes you feel healthy and happy.
I’ve found this combination extremely beneficial. You can put drops on your tongue or in your glass or pitcher of water. May peace with you now, may peace be with you always!