Three sorts of relationships exist, co-dependent, independent and interdependent. Co-dependence is a win/lose situation, independence is a lose/lose situation and interdependence is a win/win situation. Let’s take a closer look at what our relationships should not be and then end off with what they should be. This is a fascinating subject and warrants an entire book dedicated to it. I will briefly touch on it as best I can, but please do your own further study and gain a healthy perspective on interdependency.
There are three main types of co-dependency.
These people need to be needed desperately. They relate to others primarily through giving, helping and nurturing. The co-dependent always feels responsible for other people and always feels compelled to solve their problems. The co-dependent does too much, feels stressed or pressured but at the same time victimized, unappreciated and used because they won’t ask for or accept help.
2. Relationship Addicts
These people need to be in a relationship, they can’t survive alone. They typically use caring and sex to gain acceptance. They stay in bad relationships for all the wrong reasons and are often prone to sexual problems. The co-dependent tries to control behaviour of others through approval-seeking and people-pleasing behaviour.
These people truly believe that if they don’t do it, it won’t get done. They try to make themselves indispensable. They typically won’t ask for help and take on more than they can cope with.
Co-dependents are worriers, lack trust, have poor boundaries, controlling behaviour and poor communication skills. It is very difficult to please a co-dependent and even more difficult to understand exactly what they really want or need. Most co-dependants come from a broken home and an abusive background.
Unresolved patterns of co-dependency can lead to more serious problems like addictions, eating disorders and other self-destructive behaviours. People with co-dependency are also more likely to attract abuse and often stay in stressful jobs.
Co-dependence Way Out
The first step to getting free from co-dependency is to let go. Co-dependents must learn to accept their powerlessness over people and events.
Marriage is not for independence. If you find yourself being self-sufficient, relying only on yourself and concentrating on your own individuality and freedom, then you are independent. Where the co-dependent doesn’t focus enough on themselves, the independent person is totally self-absorbed. The co-dependent places too much priority on the needs of other and the independent person feel that nothing and no one is more important themselves. The independent person feels suffocated by someone who doesn’t fit in with their plan to please and take care of themselves. They are very confident in themselves and will resent anyone who dares to stop them from being who they are.
The independent person is capable of providing their own needs, emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. Clearly, independence is harmful to any form of relationship as an independent person doesn’t need a relationship.
Independence can come from an upbringing of self preservation due to neglect or from being hurt one too many times and shutting the world out. You will often hear an independent person saying, “I don’t need you I can take care of myself!”
Independence Way Out
The first step to getting free from independence is to start connecting. Independents must learn to lean on other people and not do life as a ‘Lone Ranger’. If their independence is a result of hurt they must learn to open their heart and trust again.
Interdependence is a state of being mutually dependent on each other. It is the perfect balance for any relationship, especially a marriage.
Interdependence is that wonderful place where we recognise that sometimes we need to depend on our husband and at other times we need to give him some space. We give and we receive, care and are cared for, we are balanced between dependence and independence regardless of whom else is around or what anyone else thinks.
Let’s look at a wonderful relationship in nature that is interdependent – flowers and bees. Flowers and bees enjoy a relationship in which they both helped each other and both benefit each other. They probably could live without each other but the results would be disastrous and the whole cycle of life would be affected! Flowers produce pollen to fertilize other flowers. But for this to happen, pollen must get from the flower of one plant to another plant in order for fertilization to take place.
How does it happen? The flower needs the bee to make this happen. There is no way the flower can manage to fertilize another flower without the bee. A bee visits a flower and collects some pollen, then visits a different flower to collect more pollen, thereby mixing pollens and fertilizes the flower. This simple process is what causes the cycle of life to continue. Without the bees the flowers would not become fertilised which means they would not produce fruit, which would mean the end of the flowers! No more flowers!
“Independent thinking alone is not suited to interdependent reality. Independent people who do not have the maturity to think and act interdependently may be good individual producers, but they won’t be good leaders or team players. They’re not coming from the paradigm of interdependence necessary to succeed in marriage, family, or organizational reality.” (Stephen Covey, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, 1989)
If we are able to achieve interdependence then we will find ourselves bringing out the best in our husband and he will in turn bring out the best in us. Our lives will be fruitful as we build our marriage like the bees and the flowers build each other. In order to truly get all we can out of our marriage we have to strive for interdependence.
The possibilities are limitless when we begin to tap into the synergy that interdependence will create in our marriage.
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