Friends are supposed to be there for you when times get tough and for when times are fantastic. Having great friends is something that hard to come by and when you find the right ones life seems to be filled with fun memories and moments that will last a lifetime.
However, sometimes you might not even realize, but you may be dealing with codependent friendships. Codependency is defined in The Journal of Mental Health Counseling as “an unhealthy devotion to a relationship at the cost of one’s personal and psychological needs.” Check out these 5 ways to tell if you’re in a co-dependent friendship and how to get out of it.
You’re Their Go-To Source Of Emotional Support
Having your friends to be someone you go to and confide in is something that everyone needs, but when you become their primary source of emotional support things tend to get sticky. New York psychologist, Dr. Lauren Appio specializes in counseling for people pleasers and co-dependencies to help those struggling find their way out.
Appio wants to help people to “understand your self-worth does not depend on your ability to be useful to others.” In her counseling, she tries to break down the factors and causes of how you fell into this co-dependent relationship. Keeping in mind that being there for your friends is one thing, but sacrificing your happiness for theirs takes it one step too far.
You Have A Hard Time Saying No, Ever
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It’s so easy to be a people pleaser, but you need to feel empowered to say NO in order to make yourself a priority! 👏🏼🤷🏻♀️ On this week’s #FWords, @thetaylorkaye, @a_mantella and I discuss the power of “no” at work and at home. 🙌🏼 🙅🏻♀️🙋🏻♀️ Listen and tell us: Do you have trouble saying no? 🖤 #Podcast #LinkInBio
You always want to be there for your loved one, but sometimes saying no is actually the right thing. We all have that internal dialogue that tells us what we think is a yes, no or a maybe, but when you’re in a codependent friendship that dialogue sorta gets shut out.
Licensed Marriage and Family Counselor and writer for The Huffington Post, Andrea Wachter believes that while what you’re doing might make the other person feel good about themselves, and in turn do the opposite to yourself. Once you start to build the other person up you will forget about yourself and suddenly see them doing better and you’re still coasting along.
You’re Always There To Bail Them Out
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Sometimes in life you have to go through painful times to understand who is and isn’t there for you. I’m hugely thankful for so many people in my life but I’m aware of the people that are making life more painful for me at the moment. You should never feel guilty about getting toxic people out of your life, be they family or friends, because at the end of the day people are in your life for a reason. If your mind is aware and your heart open you can see the good that everybody has done for you. From this point I need to take care of myself and focus on the people who truly care and those I truly care about. As a side note I must say I have some of the most amazing people in my life that I am eternally grateful for. #toxicfriendships #toxicpeople #selfcare #workingonmeforme #liberating #support #surroundyourselfwithgoodpeople #quoteoftheday #blogger #mentalhealth #fearless #dontfeelguiltyfordoingwhatsbestforyou #lblogger #thepomcseries #friendships #cuttingoutthecrap
Anyone who is a good friend will always be there to help the other one out in a time of need, but when you become the only one they ask, and it’s a lot, they begin to use you instead of really need you. There then becomes this vicious cycle of you bailing them out of every possible situation without any thanks coming from them.
Dr. Appio believes that “When you’re around a person who needs additional support, you adapt by learning how to provide that care,” she states on her website. “Being caring, dependable, and reliable probably makes you a great person to be around, but being so focused on caring for others can also deplete your energy.”
You Always Put Their Needs First & Your Needs Last
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Being a good friend means putting your friends first when they are in need, but when you are always putting them first and struggle to even remember how to cater to your own needs, you need to take a step back. Author of Unhealthy Helping: A Psychological Guide to Overcoming Codependence, Enabling and Other Dysfunctional Giving, Shawn Burn, discusses what it takes to overcome this issue.
Burn describes “the difference between healthy and unhealthy helping and why some people are prone to unhealthy helping and giving.” He also discusses what codependence actually is and where it stems from. His book not only finds the root of the problem but give solutions on how to fix it.
You Simply Ignore This Being A Problem
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This is everything. You need to look out for yourself. You can’t let the fear of crisis & the false belief that you are responsible for someone’s safety keep you from walking away from what’s hurting you. How many months has it been since you felt like you can breathe? When was the last time you made a decision that didn’t revolve around the feelings of someone else? Even if they’re a good person, even if their illness is what’s hurting your relationship, even if their life is already difficult and you don’t want to make it worse, even if you said you’d never leave: Leave. ‼️ But most importantly: Nobody is obligated to: • be your counselor & help you with all of your problems if it’s bad for their mental health • be there for you 24/7 • remain friends with you if you emotionally drain them • maintain a negative relationship with you because you’ve been close for so long, because you’re related, or anything else • do anything that makes them unhappy or puts their health at risk ‼️ Teaching & practicing self-compassion is vital for our own happiness, but the sense of empowerment we feel with mantras, about what we don’t need to do or be for other people, should be able to be applied to those people & from their own viewpoint as well. Yes, it’s heartbreaking to lose a friend, and to feel like you’re not good enough, and to feel like you have all of these problems and that’s what pushed them away, & that it’s not fair. But maybe that’s why You can’t walk away from the people you care about that hurt you. You know they’re a good person, and you know that who they really are, deep under their mental illness, doesn’t want to hurt you. You know that they’re good enough and worthy of life & all of the good things. But that doesn’t mean that you need to sacrifice your own happiness for them, for the sake of your own health. Just as no one needs to sacrifice their own happiness for you, for the sake of their own health. Sometimes a friendship breaks not because of the kind of person each person is on their own, but the kind of people you are together. That doesn’t make either person a burden. This image is reposted from @becomingbodypositive ‘s repost from tumblr ❤️⬆️
Sometimes you see all the red flags waving right in your face, but you still continue your same patterns. There might be fear of losing them as a friend, upsetting them or feeling like you’re a lousy friend, but more times than not usually your gut feeling is the right one to follow.
According to Healthline.com, when you’re so wrapped up in codependency every little thing your friend does affect you. If their mood is off, your mood is off. If they messed up and are angry, you seem to get just as worked up and angry.
If this is the case, you need to find a way to take time away from this person to give yourself some piece of mind and them to find a better source of help.