Is Your Relationship Codependent?

“…Your boundaries are both necessary for you and helpful for them. If you have been enabling them to be irresponsible, your limit setting may nudge them toward responsibility.” Henry Cloud

My client, B., had created a great deal of co-dependency inside her relationship with her husband.

  • He didn’t have to show-up as a father…because she was taking care of everything when it came to the kids and what they needed.
  • He didn’t have to manage his own insecurities…she just oriented her actions around making sure he was never triggered.
  • He didn’t have to communicate his feelings…because she would shut down the minute he showed anger.

B. did this to keep the peace in their life and their marriage. She didn’t like altercations or drama.

But her over-taking responsibility for him led to him under-taking responsibility for himself.

Why should he manage his own life, when she was willing to do it for him?

As human beings, we all look for the path of least resistance. That’s what he was doing by not showing-up for himself and his roles of husband and father.

That’s also what she was doing by adjusting her actions to avoid having the difficult conversations.

And in the process…

  • He became complacent and she became resentful.
  • The relationship became codependent.

To change that would require her to step back and create more space for him to take an active role in the kids’ lives.

It would mean she would have to stop over-taking responsibility for his emotions and his triggers; those would need to become his to manage.

It would mean she would have to have some difficult conversations and set new and healthy boundaries.

I know we’ve been taught that being “nice” or being “the good wife” means that we orient our lives to accommodate everyone else (even at the expense of ourselves). But in doing so, we enable our partner and create co-dependent relationships where neither partner steps into their power.

If you recognize yourself in this, then maybe it’s time to unwind the codependency inside the relationship. Let’s see if there’s a fit for you and I to work together.

Is Your Relationship Codependent?