Our relationships have a great deal to teach us, particularly the ones that are unhealthy, because within them, we’re confronted with unresolved issues and unhealed pain in direct and irrefutable ways. Our conflicts, misunderstandings and relationship problems all stand to teach us a tremendous amount about ourselves, about who we are as people, who we are as partners, and who we can be moving forward. When we are in codependent relationships, we tend to have very weak boundaries. We have poor communication and conflict resolution skills. We struggle to feel heard, validated and understood. Our relationships are full of neediness, attachment, obsessiveness and toxicity. We lack self-control within ourselves but want so badly to feel as though we’re in control in the relationship, so we will try to control and manipulate our partner, using manipulation and deceit as control tactics. We develop all kinds of defense mechanisms to try and protect ourselves. Our codependent relationships are a study in just how much we can be impacted by our interpersonal dynamics, and conversely how we impact them, particularly when they are unhealthy and don’t allow our needs to be met. What do our codependent relationships have to teach us about ourselves?
Our codependence teaches us where we have a hard time establishing boundaries, and why we have such a hard time maintaining them. They show us firsthand the ways in which we don’t respect ourselves and don’t demand respect from others. They show us very clearly that we are lacking in self-love, self-appreciation and self-worth. They show us that we have a very hard time being independent, perhaps in part because we’re afraid of being alone, and because we think subconsciously that we can’t survive without a partner, or that we’re not worthy if we’re not in a relationship.
When we finally leave a codependent relationship, we tend to want to put it behind us as quickly as possible. We want to rid ourselves of the painful memories. We want to pretend as if it never happened. We feel ashamed that we stooped so low as to be in such a toxic relationship. We feel embarrassed and disappointed in ourselves. Rather than being so hard on ourselves, let’s first remind ourselves that unhealthy relationships are a part of our evolution. Even our worst experiences are a valuable part of our stories that add to our growth and development. Then let’s take the time to explore the reasons why we were in this relationship to begin with. Why don’t we love ourselves? Why don’t we respect ourselves? What traumas caused us to be so self-destructive? What are we afraid of in terms of being independent?
When we ask ourselves these questions and open ourselves to learning from the answers, we see that our codependent relationships have many invaluable lessons to teach us. The more we can learn about ourselves, the better our chances of being able to have healthy relationships moving forward.
Riverside Recovery understands all of the emotional challenges of addiction recovery and is here to support you. Call us today for more information: (800) 871-5440.