Does someone expect you to be there 24/7 and you are feeling you are losing your self? You need to be happy and whole by yourself before a relationship can even be entertained. Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net
Have you ever had the experience that you have thought you have behaved in an appropriate and fair manner with respect to being able to be yourself and have your needs met in a relationship, but somehow a stink is created when you do not do what another person wants you to do? You are not only being manipulated, but you could be in a codependent relationship. This is where one person is essentially a taker who uses another person to fulfil their emotional needs. The other person feels whole from fulfilling those needs. Roles may swap but essentially both partners in the relationship are scared be alone, because they may not be complete.
Manipulation can be so subtle that it can be hard to notice when it is occurring. For example, it can be a subtle withdrawal of affection when you spend a lot of time pleasing another, but when, for example, you do something for yourself there is almost an adult form of a tantrum?!
Some people may not mind relationships where you are expected to be there 24/7 to fulfil anothers’ emotional needs. However, I can’t stand them – I feel like I have no time to do what I want to do. I feel trapped, like I lose myself after a while. Of course, if you want this too, then there is no problem. However, when one person cannot accept that you have a life of your own which you crave but fear to have for fear of abandonment, it is a problem.
I believe people are interdependent. Complete independence, or spending all your time alone is not necessarily healthy. People by nature need people – we need them to relate to, to love, to give, to receive love… Dependency is not desirable – when we have to have anothers’ approval, presence, when we feel we cannot live without them. When two people are dependent on the other, this forms a codependent relationship.
We are whole in and of ourselves. We have our own likes, dislikes, interests, ambitions…And so does the person we interact with.
When one person in a relationship manipulates us, and we allow them to there is a power imbalance. We are essentially giving up a part of ourselves, giving it to the other person because of (a sometimes unconscious) fear of loss of their love or approval if we don’t fulfil their needs.
We should be spending time with another because we want to, not out of fear. Fear of rejection, disapproval, being alone, or their anger.
1. Have people who feel they can be honest to an appropriate degree. I am not referring to be able to spill your guts about everything, but being able to feel safe to say how you feel, what you need, what you can give, what you cannot…without fear of abandonment or disapproval.
2. Have a healthy give and take that is not manipulative, but voluntary, based on respect for another person and their needs and genuine, and love or liking. It is also balanced.
3. Have times where it is okay to spend time alone as well as together, without the other person saying they are being abandoned, thus causing the other to have to run back to them because of their insecurity.
4. The people feel they can be themselves, and not have to change to be what the other person wants them to be.
People have a saying that someone is another’s ‘better half’. However, as Alanis Morissette so eloquently expressed in one of her songs, “I believe one and one make two.”