Healthy relationships have healthy boundaries; enmeshed or codependent relationships do not. You’ve got one (or two) codependent people unable to set emotional and physical boundaries and it tears the relationship apart. How do you know if you are playing part in an enmeshed or codependent relationship?
- You base your whole life around your partner. You neglect other relationships with friends and family.
- You are only happy when your partner is right there giving you attention and things are going well.
- When conflict does arise, you experience extreme anxiousness or fear and do whatever you can to fix the problem.
- You base your self-esteem on the opinion of your partner.
- You base your mood on your partner’s mood.
- When you are away from your partner for too long, you begin to feel this anxious loneliness and NEED to see him or her soon.
- You take on your partner’s emotions. If he is angry, you become angry. If he is depressed, you become depressed.
How to set boundaries
Read up on how to set boundaries.
There are some pretty amazing books available to help you learn how to set and keep boundaries. Invest the time and energy into educating yourself and trying things out. You can also check out YouTube videos on the topic!
Get professional help.
You may need some outside assistant to help you learn how to set boundaries and come to understand codependency better.
Setting a boundary may cause a ripple in the relationship, so be prepared to lovingly discuss the boundary with your loved one. Set the boundary with love and kindness and stand your ground respectfully if your partner tries to resist.
For example, if your partner is used to freely demeaning you for one reason or another, politely say, “I really feel that your tone with me is demeaning and I won’t stand for that anymore, so I’d really appreciate it if you could talk to me in a respectful tone.” If you say this in a loving and kind way, it will go over much better than if you are angry and judgmental.
Spend time with friends and alone.
Getting used to being alone sometimes is healthy and also making and hanging out with a friend or two sometimes is healthy. If you have been neglecting friendships, let your partner know that you desire to make a friend and do some things out in the community with him or her; that it is healthy and needful. You cannot get all of your emotional needs met solely by your partner, so having others in your life is important.
Hit a 12 step meeting.
If you have a Codependent’s Anonymous meeting near you, make a commitment to attend once a week. You will learn a lot about codependency as well as how to set boundaries. It is nice to become accountable for others who are in the same shoes as you.
If you do not address the toxicity of enmeshed relationships, the life of the relationship will slowly die. The toxic attachment can take two people and make them miserable and sometimes they don’t even realize what is going on. Learn as much as you can about codependency and be proactive in recovering from it, because the truth is that YOU CAN!!
There is help for codependency.