If you ask a bunch of different people what love is, you are most likely to get a bunch of different answers. People understand and express love in ways that are different from other people. It is this difference in the understanding and the display of love that drives how we react when other people express their versions of love to us. What I mean is this, to one person, love may be about the need to give even when it gets inconvenient. While to another person, love could be all about verbal expression and not necessarily the act of giving. The truth is that both persons are equally correct in their expression of love; however, the giver may not be able to understand the fact that the taker is always so vocal yet is never forthcoming in giving and vice versa.
This brings us to the human nature in terms of love. Humans are ordinarily needy my nature. It could be a need for validation, a need for recognition, or just a need to be needed. It is the same when it comes to love. Humans are needy in the aspect of love. However, this need is many times in excess, and as a result of this, many people find themselves being co-dependent when it comes to love. Do not get me wrong; there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be needed by your partner; this need for relevance is healthy. However, where this need goes wrong is when it is in excess. When your sense of satisfaction and complete happiness comes from being needed by your partner. This is where it becomes co-dependency.
What Do We Understand By Co-Dependency?
Co-dependency is simply when a person is excessively dependent emotionally or psychologically on another person. It could go further to be being dependent on someone for a sense of identity, or even simply for approval.
Co-dependency usually stems from the fact that people are made to believe in the power to be able to change anything or any situation to their advantage using nothing but their will power. While this would work for situations that can be controlled, it sadly does not work in uncontrollable situations. One of these very uncontrollable situations just happens to be the behaviors of other people. When we do not get to have our way with people, we will notice that this results in a sort of frustration that can ultimately lead you to get manipulative simply to find that sense of fulfillment that you would receive by having your way.
While generally in life, the motivational power of believing that anything can work to your advantage is fantastic and would help you to get to places in your career and education, it is a different ball game when it comes to relationships. This is simply because relationships deal with another individual and their behavior. This is not something that you can control.
A co-dependent relationship is one where one or both partners see the other persons need for them as their source of happiness and peace. In this type of relationship, the dependent party needs the other person to need them in order for them to feel whole or complete. Usually, people who find themselves in co-dependent relationships, do so out of a desperate need to be loved and to be happy. They usually forget that true love comes from loving oneself and true happiness comes from within you and is not dependent on anyone. Many times this kind of relationship is based on just an emotional infatuation and desperation of need but, because a lot of people do not know any better, it is many times confused for love.
The classic trait of a co-dependent person in a relationship would be that they would get upset over not being needed in the relationship. Let me put this into perspective; say for instance your partner is in the mood to go out or hang out. Now instead of calling you, they call their friends. They go out and are having an amazing time but, because you are not the one catering to that need for them, you get upset. You are upset that they did not make you feel relevant by allowing you to fulfill that need and because of that, you are hurting, and you want them to know that you are hurting. Now you result to manipulation, trying to make them feel bad for going out and having a good time without you and if they do not see reason, then it automatically means that they do not love you. You may even threaten to leave the relationship since they do not love you enough. Eventually, you end up making them feel horrible and begging you to stay, and then you feel better with yourself. This right here is classic co-dependency.
What is worse than being co-dependent is going through a co-dependent break-up. This is horrible in ways that are deeply emotional, and as a matter of fact, it can be downright traumatic. A co-dependent break-up leaves you incomplete, probably worthless and with a void that you are used to being filled. The void of being needed. In different ways, this can be healing, or it can simply push one to another extreme level. The level of interdependency.
Interdependency in a relationship is when both parties are dependent on each other equally to make up the relationship. It sounds great but, for someone coming from a co-dependent relationship, that person is most likely on guard and as a result of that, would flee at the slightest sign of hurt or trouble. Being interdependent may be more fulfilling than a co-dependent relationship, but it is not very healthy either because, here, there is still a void that needs filling.
What Is A Healthy Relationship?
A healthy relationship is one where both partners are clearly whole and independent on their own but, decide to share their lives with each other. This relationship is not to fill any needs or voids, but it is simply to share love and life with another person. It is in this kind of relationship that you can find true love. This is because love is a verb; it is an action, therefore, and it is practical. It means expressing yourself without being manipulative. It is about compromise and balance not about the need for fulfillment. In a healthy relationship, both parties are able to love each other wholly because they have first come to love themselves. They are also able to find their own happiness within themselves and then chose to share this happiness with their partners. You find that in this kind of relations, understanding is usually key next to communication. Both parties genuinely want to understand each other as opposed to trying to manipulate and control each other.
Relationships like these are rare because individuals who are truly completely within themselves are very rare to find. Many people in the world today are either trying to find fulfillment, hence being co-dependent or, are trying to avoid getting hurt and so, are either being interdependent or totally independent.
However, finding true love and a healthy relationship is very possible, rare but still possible.
Philip Markoff (Associate of Science) is an online influencer and thought leader on addiction education; he is known as his alias “CG Kid” who’s obtained a large audience primarily on YouTube as a vlogger and journalist. His current sobriety date from polysubstance chemical dependency is June 9th, 2013.