Romantic Myths and Ending the Codependent Relationship

Photo Courtesy Wikipedia

Photo Courtesy Wikipedia

Codependents have a deep capacity for love, but they haven’t developed the capacity to love themselves enough to stop the pain an unhealthy relationship can cause them.  Codependents tend to believe that you should love unconditionally and that the unconditional love you give your partner should be returned.  This unconditional reciprocity is only possible with your infant or four-legged friends.

Codependents demand a lot from their romantic relationships and want their partners to fix their lives, to save them from sadness or to bring joy.  They expect their partners to make them happy in every way.  This is the codependents romantic myth; believing that finding someone special will improve all aspects of their lives.  This is an emotional trap!  Your unhappiness will not stop when a rescuer comes.  Because of this belief codependents feel consistently unfulfilled in relationships.  Rescue is always an “inside job.” It is your job to notice your needs and take care of yourself and give yourself love.   Believing your partner will complete you is a set-up for disillusionment and resentment.

An unhealthy person can have a powerful pull when a codependent is needy, unhappy, and trying to maintain positive energy and balance while in search of a loving relationship.  Entitlement to your own feelings allows you to see other people’s pent-up anger and emotions and to recognize whether a person is right for you.  Entitlement to your feelings is the end to codependent relationships. You cannot change others; you can choose to see emotional problems in potential partners so you are not  pulled into their darkness or bargain with your own well-being. You can move on to realistic thinking, new behaviors, and new emotions.  You can see beyond old patterns of personal consciousness that have trapped you in unhealthy partnerships.  You can stop victimizing yourself, let go of negativity, and become aware of your power to cope effectively with unhealthy people, thoughts, and situations.

Loving people have a deep need for connectedness, harmony and a sense of belonging. This need is attained only in the giving of love to ourselves and only in the openness to receive it from emotionally available partners.

 Tips for Ending Codependent Relationships

1. Invest in yourself: Life will be easier the more you know about codependency.

2. Struggle, fail, be confused and frustrated to discover your own truth.

3. If you are having difficulties that you want to work out, seek professional counseling.

4. Do not form relationships solely on the basis of attraction.

5. Work through your family of origin issues so you don’t find yourself working through them with the people you are attracted to.

6. Learn to go slowly and pay attention during the process of initiating and forming relationships.

7. Say how you really feel. Be entitled to your feelings!

8. Let go of your need for care-taking and control.

9. Create a solid sense of self and the courage to speak up when something bothers you.

10. Allow a partner to be who he/she is and don’t try to fix them.

11.Talk openly about changes you see happening in the other person and in yourself.

12. Learn to look for what’s good for you, instead of what’s good for the other person.

13. Monitor yourself and not your partner.

Each person who enters your life has a unique lesson to teach you.  When you find what’s good about you, you’ll find the right person, and the joy that person has to offer will make up for all the past hurts put together times ten!!!


Thank you for reading this article.  I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my experience.  In the past, I’ve sacrificed my emotional and spiritual well-being for perfectionism and looked to others for approval at the cost of trusting my  intuition and developing my self-worth.  As a result, I’ve learned a lot about abusive relationships and what it takes to put an end to self-judgment.  And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.

10 thoughts on “Romantic Myths and Ending the Codependent Relationship

  1. Pingback: Beware the borderline male | The Sprightly Writer

  2. I LOVE your web site Roberta! It is so helpful and beautifully put together! I’m just coming to my senses after almost two years of HELL with a man who is….who knows what he really is….but I honestly believe he is/ was abusive. My instincts told me something was very wrong from the beginning but I kept giving him the benefit of the doubt when he would make promises for improvement and showed me so much affection. Looking back, the writing was on the wall and now the reality is a terribly bitter pill to swallow. I’m crushed and probably a little in denial at the moment. it all seems so surreal and I miss him terribly. It’s as if Im talking about someone other than the person i tried so hard to love.
    I have deep abandonment issues from being adopted and from my adopted upbringing and he went right for the juggler. Im sorry……this is my opinion even though it may sound victimish…….I believe that emotional abuse and manipulation are the equivalent of getting someone drunk and date raping them. Some people are are just more vulnerable than others. Me personally…..mental/ emotional health problems, my own and in my bio family, several head injuries, Fetal Alcohol Effect issues, abandonment issues……I’m sure there are more. I have a very hard time with words and thoughts in the moment and he would twist and turn and invalidate things I’d say when I tried to confront him about inconsistencies in his words vs behaviors. It was a total mind f#@k….and even now I find myself questioning my self and wondering if I could have done something differently and had things turn out better. Like set boundaries and consequences and maybe he could have changed? I hate to think that he could have been playing some calculated power game or that he was just a player/ monster. I sincerely thought there were times when I saw genuine love and effort from him.
    Sorry to go on and on here…Im just at a loss and not sure how to proceed. I’m in therapy but really don’t know if I’m with the right person..
    Thank you for your articles.

    • Lake,
      My heart goes out to you. The recovery process from the emotional sadism you described is a big life test for you. I can relate to your statement, “I believe that emotional abuse and manipulation are the equivalent of getting someone drunk and date raping them.” Emotional sadism is a type of soul murder when you are in a relationship with a mean sick person. Fortunately you have left and now you build endurance to sit in the sadness as you become stronger. “Sick people make people sick” Protecting your neediness and longing for real love takes a recognition that you are good and worthy of protection. My intuition tells me that he came into your life so you could learn to not abandon yourself. I say this to you and recognize it in myself, that to go back to the familiar relationship pain when you have escaped is a form of emotional insanity. This recognition of insanity does not mean that you are defective; it means you are a vulnerable person. I am convinced that relationships come to us so we finish our unresolved dependency needs. You have met a great teacher. Allow the emotional pain to motivate change in your life. You can do it. You can show-up for yourself. I feel certain about this.


      P.S. Thank you for your kind words.

  3. I like ‎#9. Create a solid sense of self and the courage to speak up when something bothers you.

    I think this is great advice for anyone, even those that are not in a relationship. It seems that women are often encouraged to hide their true feelings and make everything easier. I’ve met a few men who do this too and it is a real turn off. Everyone should feel confident enough to stand on their own when the moment calls for it.

  4. I am guilty of being co-dependent in my past relationship. You described what I did perfectly: I was pulled into their darkness and my personal well being was compromised. I nearly lost myself. Now, I am focusing on my own darkness and needs, in hopes of being the best wife and mother I can be and want to be. Life seems more liveable. Thanks for the great post.

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