Listen, I’m not a psychologist, but I do have too much experience being codependent in my relationships. Like, way too much. And so, because I think writing about it will help me heal and maybe help others, here are reasons why being codependent is negative in a relationship.
The biggest reason is that you should be the number one person in your life. It’s important to put yourself first and make your own decisions. When you’re codependent in a relationship, you’re relying on them to influence your decisions, even if it’s not what’s best for you. For example, if you have a lot of work to do but your partner wants you to come help them with laundry or something mundane, you skip your work and go help them. Even though they really don’t need your help.
This can cause a lot of different issues. You can fall behind in work or school, you can upset your friends by rarely hanging out with them, and you’re slowly destroying your mental health and confidence. As a single lady, I’ve realized how amazing it is to just go do something if I want to do it. I don’t need anyone else’s opinion or confirmation.
Another factor is that you stop taking care of yourself as much. All of your focus gets put onto your partner and you’re constantly thinking about them, what you’re doing with them later, what they think about you right now. And you put most of your energy into caring for them, not yourself. This is a big problem because you’re not caring for yourself and doing really any self care rituals.
Something that ties in with the previous issues is that you kind of stop thinking for yourself. Yes, you stop putting yourself first and you think of what your partner wants before making a decision, but you also learn their way of thinking and mannerisms and start to mimic them. You understand what they like and don’t like. Each day you start becoming a clone of your partner.
You begin dressing like them, your eating and speaking habits become similar, even your personal views change. This, to me, is the worst part of codependency. You really just lose yourself in the relationship. Relationships are supposed to be about building each other up and helping each other grow. Not becoming a shadow of your partner.
Elizabeth Gilbert discusses this in her book Eat, Pray, Love, and the lesson is more heartbreaking when you truly experience. When you and your partner split up, what do you have left? You’re left as a shell of yourself, because your personality and life has revolved around your partner. Even if you don’t completely lose yourself, you still change, and we don’t want this anymore.
For me, I started using the same slang as my ex. And then started dressing like him. Buying Nike sneakers that I never would’ve before and other streetwear that isn’t always me. And of course, I threw myself into taking care of him. I joke that I was like a mother to him, and unfortunately that’s not a good thing. Do I really want to be my partner’s mom? Did I really need to lose myself in caring for him and caring about his opinions to value myself?
No. I didn’t need that. And unfortunately a year after our breakup I’m still trying to put myself forward. It’s something I’ve always struggled with, but put everything I had and more into our relationship that it negatively affected my mental health.
But here I am – growing and becoming a healthier, stronger, and happier person each day. It’s not always going to be easy, but it’s something that I need to do. And something that I’m sure many of us can relate to.