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A One-Sided Relationship where you do all the Work is a Sign of Codependency

A relationship, by definition, is the experience that exists between one and two people or a group of people. Fair. Now if that relationship is one-sided, if one person is doing the majority of the work, if that person is doing the majority of the effort, if that person is doing the majority of majorities, it starts to become one-sided and it starts to become very old. Hopefully this is a wakeup call to say if you’re not going to change these patterns that you experience in life, if you’re not going to change and then it’s a simple decision, you decide. Do I want my life to feel different or am I just cool with the status quo? Am I cool with just everything I’ve experienced so far? The relationships I have? The quality of them or lack thereof?

Relationship Bank Account

A few weeks ago I shared with you a concept that I strongly believe in, and that concept is the following. It’s a simple metaphor that I want you to always remember when considering your relationships. And that metaphor is the following. Every relationship in life has a relationship bank account associated to it. A relationship bank exists in every single account of your life and here are the simple components of any bank account. There are two things. Number one, there are something called deposits, and number two, there are something called withdrawals. So when a relationship is new, when two people meet each other they’re constantly making deposits into that relationship. They’re asking each other questions, they’re finding out what their favorite color is, what their favorite food is, they’re asking what their fears are, what their hopes are, what their goals are, what their dreams are, and both parties are depositing a lot into this relationship bank. And as a result, the account of this relationship bank starts to become nice and full and both people say, “Oh this is a great relationship!” But here’s the kicker. In life if you’re not making deposits you are automatically taking withdrawals. So when that initial excitement and euphoria and motivation goes away the account starts to take withdrawals and when you start taking withdrawals from it the account balance starts to go down. And this is when codependency spikes up. 

The codependent starts to do all the effort, all the work. They start to deposit, deposit, deposit, but the other person keeps taking and taking and taking.

And now the resentful codependent says, “Don’t you see what I’m doing? I’m trying so hard to maintain this relationship, but you’re not doing your part. You’re not trying. It’s your fault.” And they get pissed off. So if you’re in a relationship that is heavily one-sided please don’t think it’s the other person’s fault. Start looking at yourself and saying, “Why am I overcompensating? Why am I trying so hard when the other person just isn’t trying at all?” I can’t tell you how many parents I’ve dealt with over the years that are trying to sign their adult children up to college classes. There’s this one, bless her soul, this one mom that for the past seven years that I know, every fall and every spring, signs up her child for Community College every year. Just two classes, just one class, a full class. One time she signed them up for five classes and this kid has not finished one class yet. And it’s like, “I’m trying so hard to help your educational future. How come you’re not trying?” At some point it ain’t the kids’s fault anymore. It’s like this weird addiction to a one-sided relationship. So one-sided relationships are very, very, very telltale signs of a codependent relationship. Nothing should be one-sided. It’s okay if sometimes it gets a little one-sided because maybe the other person is struggling with something, maybe the other person does need support. But if it’s every day, every week, every month, every year, something is wrong.

Overly Concerned about what the other Person is Doing, Thinking and Feeling?

The main key here is ‘overly concerned.’ It’s okay to be concerned or to think or to wonder if you have someone in your life that you love, what is it, what are they going through, how are they feeling, what are they thinking. That’s okay. That’s just kind of a natural connection, a human response to life in our relationship dynamics. But when you’re overly concerned that means it consumes you. That means that you do not think about yourself and what you’re doing and how you’re feeling. Because their actions, their thoughts, their words are more important to you than you are to you. That’s a big distinction. So please hear me when I say this. You might be saying I think that’s weird to not think about what someone else is doing or thinking or saying. I never said that. I said if that’s all you are concerned about there is a very very important red flag, and a telltale sign that something’s wrong. And the main reason we do that is because this individual believes that someone else’s thoughts, actions and feelings supersede their own, that they’re more important. When that is unfortunately categorically false. Who says that your thoughts, your actions, your behaviors don’t matter as much as the person you love? And this could even be true to the person you love the most in life and for many of you that potentially is your spouse, your parent, or your child. Even then, your thoughts, your actions, your behaviors are more important. Because without understanding what it is that you’re experiencing you will become lost in this world. It is impossible to show up for yourself when you don’t consider yourself. When your emotional experience is less important than the emotional experience of someone else, you cannot show up in life the way you need to.

Or do you try to Fix and Rescue?

When your need to fix or rescue becomes controlling, it’s a sign of codependent behavior. So let’s look at those words because it’s a pretty intense sentence in a short few words. Your need to fixing and rescuing is usually not a need. It’s something people could do. Like I could go fix something that’s broken even though I’m horrible at it. I’m not a handyman or if I go rescue something or someone that needs help in a situation I could do that, but it’s not a need. A need means like food, water, shelter, safety. That’s a need. So for it to become a freaking need that means something is significantly wrong. So if you need to fix something or someone, or you need to rescue something or someone, I’ll give you this once in a while. And once in a while means like a few times in a lifetime, that’s what once in a while means. It’s okay to fix or rescue somebody once in a lifetime. Twice in a lifetime it’s okay. But when you have to do it day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, for some of you decade after decade, you got to realize that probably that behavior is your drug. Fixing and rescuing is your drug or else you wouldn’t be doing it all the time. You’re highly addicted to that stuff and might say, “How the heck am I addicted to fixing and rescuing someone? It’s taking over my life, it’s destroying me, I can’t sleep at night.” Well, welcome to the world of addiction. Have you ever wondered how your kid continues to use their drug despite the fact that it’s impacting everything? Yet they continue to do it. Now and only now you might understand that fixing and rescuing and codependency is a drug, exactly the same way the drugs are used by those who use drugs. There is no need to fix someone. There is no need to rescue someone. If you just step back and allow them to be themselves, hopefully they will find a way to fix or rescue themselves out of a situation. See, when someone’s a child again I always premise this. You guys know I’m a family therapist and I understand human development dynamics. There’s children that kind of need this kind of support. A grown ass adult man or woman person does not. 

Also remember this my friends, when you control something or someone that is out of control it starts to become more out of control. The more you control and overcompensate the more it grows out of control. And also I want you guys to hear this. You have no control over the thoughts, actions and behaviors of other human beings. You might think you do, you might think that by controlling where they’re going or what they’re doing that you’re actually preventing it. It is completely categorically false. I mean, how many thousands and millions of parents have to control their kid from going to a specific house or a place to hang out with people and they think that they stopped it, come to find out that they went through the window of their room? Or they said they’re going to the library and then ended up there. If it worked it would work but it doesn’t work that way. See, the whole manifestation of control is an illusion that we use to bring our own anxiety down. When you think you know someone’s doing something it’s a anxiety tool but guess what? It’s not even working. It’s working in your delusional mind, or illusion of control and it doesn’t even work.

Call Buckeye Recovery Today!

Are you in recovery but not making progress? Recovery is not only possible but attainable, and it all begins with reaching out for assistance. By addressing both addiction and mental health issues, individuals can break free from the cycle of despair and embark on a path to a healthier, more fulfilling life. Contact Buckeye Recovery Network today and initiate your journey to recovery and improved mental health. Our dedicated team of professionals is here to guide and support you every step of the way.

Today is going to be the best day of your life.

Kelsey Gearhart

Director of Business Development

Kelsey carries multiple years of experience working in the substance abuse and mental health treatment field. Her passion for this field comes from her personally knowing recovery from addiction.

Prior to Buckeye she held titles of Recovery Coach, Operations Director, and Admissions Director. Kelsey was brought on at Buckeye Recovery as the Director of Business Development. She has a passion for ensuring every individual gets the help that they need, and does so by developing relationships with other providers.

Kelsey also oversees our women’s sober living environments – The Chadwick House for Women. She is committed to creating a safe, nurturing, and conducive environment for all women that walk through the doors of Chadwick.