Bridge of Life

Codependence is developed in childhood by how we perceive and receive love from our parents. When we come from dysfunctional homes as many people do; we are often given contradictory messages about love by our parents, such as: ‘I love you; ‘Go away’; ‘you can’t do anything right’; ‘I need you’; ‘I will be there for you—next time’. These messages will lead us to grow up yearning to be loved but having no healthy idea of what love looks like. Often we become givers in order to merge with another person whom we believe will show us love. This is how codependence begins.

Feelings of vulnerability are often present when we receive and one way to avoid them is to be nice and consistently be the giver. Many of us are uncomfortable with receiving, and quite comfortable with giving, as receiving taps into our own fears about being loved or unloved. Codependent personalities find it challenging to allow love in and so will become a giver for fear of feeling unloved. Giving is a way of creating the illusion of love and feeling love for the time you are doing this.

Receiving requires a person to allow him/herself to be vulnerable. Many people are much more comfortable giving as it unconsciously creates a position of power.

One way to know if you are codependent in your relationship is to notice if you are willing to put up with almost anything to keep the relationship together. If this is true for you, chances are, you are giving consistently and over time you may feel resentment and most certainly will feel unloved eventually.

Need some more advice? There are free Codependent Anonymous groups in all major cities and other outlying areas that you can attend to learn more and understand yourself better.

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