Did your partner give you a makeover? Because something about you has changed and the outfits you are wearing don’t seem like you.
Yes, I think it’s really sweet that he is interested in how I look.
I heard this interesting exchange whilst seated at a meeting last week and I started thinking how relationship anxiety can fuel codependency.
So what is it?
Codependency is a series of unhealthy, un-productive, and even self-destructive ways of relating to other people. Codependents are men and women who depend on others for their own sense of self- esteem. They are the over supportive boyfriend, or the loyal PA. There is nothing wrong about caring for others, being supportive or loyal, but this behaviour becomes co-dependent when it is misplaced, when reasonable judgement is lost, and the support or loyalty continues to the person when it is not deserved, or appropriate.
A person who is codependent will put their life, health and sanity on hold to please their boss or partner; they may work overtime, not get paid and turn down activities with loved ones to make their boss happy, who does not even thank them for their effort and takes credit for all their work.
They will let go of friendships, take back their partner who may have cheated on them countless times, and allow him/her to control their every movement and justify this by saying to themselves this person really loves me. No, they are manipulative and controlling.
Codependents are people who cannot live their own lives. The girlfriend who can’t let her man out of her sight, in fear he will have an affair; the mother who allows her child to abuse her and takes him/her back with open arms, or the employee who allows him/herself to be exploited by their boss.
These people have no sense of themselves, who they really are, or their own identity - they live vicariously through others. They attempt to control and manipulate by whatever way they can. They don’t say no and allow themselves to be treated like a door mat.
In the beginning, they may seem really caring, interested and supportive and as they slowly merge with you and attempt to take over your mind and body, you realise behind the saintliness is something more sinister. I think it’s also important for me to talk about the other type of codependent; the ones who once they have got you in their lair will be rude, make promises they never keep and take your time for granted.
Going back to the conversation I heard, I hoped that the young woman had just found herself a man who was interested in fashion, though I wasn’t sure.