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How Being in Codependent Relationships Affected My Mental Health

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Relationships change us — sometimes we choose to change and other times, it just happens. This can be a really great thing when we become better because of our other half.

However, sometimes we can lose track of who we really are and lose our identity. Most of my relationships in the past have been heavily codependent.

At the time, I enjoyed this. I liked having one person to share my life and all those wonderful memories with. I found it so hard to say goodbye or spend a night without my partner next to me, and I had no idea how much damage I was doing to myself.

There is nothing wrong with a little dependency — it can be nice to have the company and some things in life are just better with two. But when we rely completely on another person, it makes it incredibly hard to survive and adjust when you are alone. I know what it is like to be so obsessed with a person. Loving everything about them and wanting to do all you can to see their smile.

Without a flinch, I have spent more money than I had and jumped through hurdles I shouldn’t have. Fighting for love is romantic, it’s passionate — but is it right when it makes you miserable under those layers? Through all of my codependent relationships, I have learned now that it made me incredibly unhappy.

I would change my hobbies, my personality and just the whole of my identity so I could keep my partner, so they would always love me. I sacrificed hopes and dreams because I was too afraid to follow my own path, especially when it was only possible if I went it alone.

I missed out on so many opportunities and a long period of time when I should have been loving and respecting myself. When you start to lose who you are, it wreaks havoc on your mental health, especially when you don’t realize it — there is just something missing.

I make it incredibly clear with my husband as to what I want from life. I tell him my dreams and goals and we compromise so we can both live as two individuals who are in love. We encourage each other to keep the core and whole of what makes us individual but to enjoy every moment we do spend together.

When a relationship is healthy, you do not need to give up who you are. You should never give up on what makes you happy. We all deserve someone that wants the best for us and helps us achieve this — any less just isn’t worth it in the long run.

I am very lucky that my husband is so supportive and likeminded. I have had some negative responses in the past when I have spoken about my independence and “selfish” nature. However, to that I say, my mental health and my short time on this earth are not worth the cost.

We all have to give things up sometimes, say goodbye and put areas of our life to bed, but if you find that you are no longer living for yourself, if you live and breathe for everyone but you, that’s not right.

Unsplash photo via Pablo Merchan

Originally published: January 4, 2019
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