If you had codependent parents, you’re very likely to have codependent friendships and a codependent marriage. But breaking codependency is possible with codependency therapy and codependency treatment.
I am a white male born in Canada and now living in the United States for half of my life. I only recognized my codependent behaviour 2/3’s of the way through life.
Toxic codependency had been running and ruining my life for all that time without me knowing. It took another 20 years for breaking codependency and full recovery from codependency.
Although I have visited India twice for spiritual development, I have little understanding of how codependent behaviour affects Indian men or women. However, the areas of codependency remain the same regardless of our culture. Therefore take what I say and apply it to your situation where you can.
I am led, however, to understand that some Indian men have behaviour described as the “Mama’s Boy”. I will talk about that later. I now give you a brief summary of my personal challenge with codependent relationships.
It has taken me many years of learning how to develop my inner masculine strength to stand in the truth of who I am while in a relationship with women. My codependent marriage pattern, until my relationship with my present wife, Lyn, has been a fear of judgment and being hurt for revealing my thoughts and feelings.
My fear kept me a prisoner to a codependent relationship. When my partner felt good, I felt good. When she expressed unhappiness, I fell into a pit of misery. Sometimes the woman became the persecutor berating me for lack of communication and I went into feeling victimized.
My mate, however, became just as victimized by the persecution of my icy, unloving silence. It has taken seeing my emotional patterns and a great deal of inner work to release these subconscious archetypes of past emotional pain.
It has taken listening to my intuition; letting go of control and trust. It has taken courage to go beyond my childhood experiences of feeling unloved and the trauma of an alcoholic codependent father.
How Toxic Codependency Harms Relationships
Codependency creates much suffering in relationships. I believe from teaching about codependency to groups for a number of years that over 90 % of American families have some degree of codependency, from mild to severe.
It could be different in India; however, I am unfamiliar with any studies. The questions still are: Are you or have you been in a codependent relationship? Can you recognize the behaviours of toxic codependency in your boyfriend or husband?
In her book, Facing Codependence, author Pia Melody writes about different types of boundaries – energy fields around us to keep people from coming into our personal space.
People who have been abused may use walls instead of healthy boundaries, walls of fear, anger, silence, or words for a feeling of safety and they can switch from one type of wall to another to remain invulnerable.
They (walls) do not allow for intimacy . . . . A wall can be appropriate, however, when a person needs protection from someone who is abusing them.
Codependency therapy counsellor, Robert Burney, describes toxic codependency as –
The above quotes describe the essence of toxic codependency related to feelings, needs, and boundaries. I will then list the five main areas of codependent behaviour.
1. Inability to recognize our needs.
2. Lack of taking care of ourselves, fulfilling our own needs.
3. Inability to know how we feel.
4. Lack of skill or fear of expressing our feelings.
5. Poor personal boundaries. Fear of standing up and saying “No.”
I will soon talk about the behaviour of some Indian men known as “Mama’s Boys.” I address this in reference to Indian women and how they might better handle it to achieve better emotional health for themselves.
First I will clarify my relationship with my own codependent parents. My father was a codependent alcoholic who staggered through life drunk much of the time, angry and shouting at my mother. I retreated inwardly and kept my mouth to protect myself.
Since my father chose to be absent a lot of the time, both physically and emotionally, I unconsciously as a child took on the role of my father to protect and look after my mother. You can see the roots of my codependent behaviour.
Rather than taking care of my own needs, I felt I needed to caretake the women in my life. I numbed my feelings and had no skill in expressing them. Last of all seeing the behaviour of my parents I had no idea of good personal boundaries.
Codependence And The “Mama’s Boy”
Let’s come back to the “Mama’s Boy” concept. This is an adult man still unhealthily connected to his mother. His mother is over-involved in her adult son’s life, emotionally needy, and demanding her son’s attention.
The mother makes financial, career, and relationship decisions for her son. She provides the emotional support that a girlfriend or wife naturally would fulfil. The son continues remaining a boy emotionally. Why would such a man need any other woman?
In the above codependent relationship, the son looks after the mother’s needs and feelings to the detriment of his own. He probably fears to express his own feelings and of course, we can see the unhealthy boundary issue.
This son places his mother’s happiness above that of any other woman. As a woman would you want your boyfriend or husband to treat you like a piece of furniture rather respecting and loving you? Would you like to feel invisible or be treated like a doormat?
Are you happy being codependent in a relationship and constantly competing for your partner’s attention and having your needs ignored while his mother controls and dominates him and receives all his love?
Will you let your codependent marriage or behaviour of your partner run or ruin your life? Here is a simple test to recognize your own degree of codependency and facing codependence.
When you find yourself attracted to or involved with a man who has a codependent relationship with his mother, will you stay and struggle as a third-class citizen, or will you say I deserve respect and love and leave that codependent relationship?
Your codependence will show up in all your relationships, whether codependent friendships or codependent marriage. You may need codependency therapy for breaking codependency with parents or overcoming codependency in marriage.
Need codependency treatment for overcoming codependency? Get free codependency therapy and relationship counselling on the AskSHEROES free online counselling chat helpline for women.
Michael David Lawrience is the author of Emotional Health: The Secret for Freedom from Drama, Trauma, & Pain and a certified Residential Coach III with over 13 years’ experience teaching teen’s self-awareness, self-esteem, and self-reliance.
He has over 35 years’ experience as a holistic health practitioner with a B. A. in Sacred Healing and has been a certified Bowenwork Practitioner since 2005.
His niche is emotional health with extensive personal experience related to codependency recovery, strengthening self-esteem, healing the inner child, stress management, and meditation which he has practised for over 40 years.