Codependencey in Relationships: Romantic, Friendships, and Children

Codependencey in Relationships: Romantic, Friendships, and Children

Therapy and Young Children can be more effective when balanced with adult parental skills training.


Understanding and Avoiding Codependent Relationships 

Healthy relationships can significantly enhance our lives, but codependent relationships, characterized by drama and disruption, can negatively impact every aspect of our existence. Codependency can occur in romantic relationships, friendships, and even parent-child relationships. This unhealthy dynamic arises when one person cannot maintain a positive mood if the other is unhappy and feels compelled to “fix” the other’s problems. 


Codependency patterns often begin in childhood. As parents, if we allow our children’s moods to control the household atmosphere, we teach them to be codependent. They learn that their feelings can influence others’ emotions, leading to unhealthy relational dynamics. For instance, if your daughter is overtired and frustrated while getting ready for school, how you respond matters. Will you get frustrated too, or will you help her cope appropriately? 


If your emotions are always tied to your children’s emotions, they will replicate this codependent behavior in their relationships, becoming anxious when a friend is upset and unable to focus until their friend feels better. This teaches children they are responsible for others’ feelings, which is not true. People must be okay even if someone close to them is experiencing uncomfortable emotions. 


Everyone is responsible for their own feelings, which are influenced by their thoughts about a situation. While one person might enjoy a challenging problem, another might become frustrated and give up. Helping children cope and problem-solve differs from taking on their emotions. It’s also essential to teach children that they are not responsible for fixing our problems or walking on eggshells to avoid our frustration. They should not feel guilty or responsible for others’ emotions. 


Ultimately, a healthy relationship involves both individuals maintaining their own moods and coping with their feelings. It’s okay to vent and share feelings, but one should not expect the other to solve their problems. Empathy is important, but responsibility for emotions lies with the individual. If your mood depends on someone else’s mood, you’re in a codependent relationship. Seeking therapy can help understand the roots of codependency, maintain a sense of self, and interact healthily with others. 


These insights from Dr. Stacey Scheckner aim to help families develop healthier relationships and coping mechanisms. Consider exploring her full range of services and resources for more advice and support. 

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