Do you want to watch a movie with friends but get worried who will serve dinner to your partner when he or she comes home from the office? So you cancel your plans, stay at home and this is not the first time you are doing it.
While it is true that your partner occupies a special place in your life, letting him/her become the sole priority in your life is abusive to oneself as well as the other person. Becoming addicted to a single person often leads one to spiral into anxiety the moment one sees the possibility of a break-up or discord anywhere near the horizon.
Do you often find yourself looking at the phone of your partner? Asking him/her to stop talking to a particular person because you don’t like? Or have you ever asked your partner to quit a certain workplace for no strong reason except that you feel threatened by the person or workplace in question?
This is a subtle form of codependency. Extreme possessiveness, low self-worth and borderline sadism may often drive people to make such unreasonable demands from their partners. It is also a form of psychological violence.
It has been a hard day for you, you have returned from your office late, all tired and want to order food from outside. Your partner walks in and asks you to get ready for a movie. You want to say ‘no’ but you are unable to do so for fear you may anger him or spoil his mood.
Saying ‘no’ causes stress to people who are dependent on others. They usually go out of their way to accommodate their partner’s demands and often sacrifice their own desires.
If you don’t like a shirt your partner is wearing, do you find yourself telling him the opposite? Instead of saying, ‘I don’t like the colour’, you might pretend that it’s okay. A person in a codependent relation has trouble when it comes to communicating about how they feel. They are afraid to be honest with their partner for fear that they may upset them. Communication becomes dishonest and confusing when you live in fear of the other person.
You are a homemaker and your partner wants to study. He asks you to take up a job so that he can focus on his higher education. But you are unable to get a job and start blaming yourself for your partner’s failure to pursue higher studies?
It is important to remember that people in a codependent relationships oblige to their unreasonable partners not necessarily because of threat or intimidation. In most cases, it is out of a genuine need felt by the person to do so. This genuine need obviously stems from love and affection.
However, in many cases, failing to fulfill your partner’s unreasonable (and at times unethical) demands may trigger low self-worth, huge amounts of guilt and great mental trauma too! The person’s own sense of conscience and confidence gets eroded when he serves his partner's unjustified demands.
Remember, a healthy relationship is about creating partnerships that are defined by mutual respect and honesty. If you think that your partner is not respecting you and not putting in the same efforts that you are putting in the relationship to make it work, talk to them.
*To protect the identity, names have been changed and the person/s in the picture is/are models.
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