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Can Friendships Be Codependent?

Can Friendships Be Codependent?
Can Friendships Be Codependent?

Can Friendships Be Codependent?

Connection is a basic human need. That’s why friendships are great for the soul. But just like not all of the romantic relationships in your life will work out in the end, not all friendships can be a good thing too. In fact, some friendships in your life may be filled with big red flags that you may not have noticed before.

You may be aware that romantic relationships can be codependent, but can the same be said about friendships Let’s find out if friendships can be codependent.

What is a Codependent Friendship?

Codependency is unfortunately a common trait that can happen in all types of relationships. Yes, this even includes friendships. A codependent friendship is similar to a codependent relationship. With codependency, the friends will feel reliant or dependent on one another. One friend will act as the giver, while the other friend will be the taker.

The Signs of Codependency in Friendships

It may seem like a good thing to have a balance in a relationship between giving and taking, but that isn’t the case when it comes to codependency. Keep in mind that in this type of relationship, there is one person who is primarily giving and the other is usually the one taking. These roles rarely switch, so the scales are oven uneven. This can lead to boundaries being overlooked, dismissed, and ignored.

These are some of the most common signs of codependency in friendships:

  • Anxiety or fear is present throughout the relationship

  • Burnout and exhaustion are prevalent

  • Choices and opinions are made as a pair and rarely individually

  • The emotional need is high

  • Feelings of jealousy

  • Feeling used

  • One friend is constantly trying to fix the other friend and / or their problems

  • One friend feels the need to rescue or save the other friend

  • Outside friends are nonexistent

The Cause

The main cause of codependency is a person’s past and experiences while growing up. Anyone who experienced attachment trauma or a negative life event could develop codependent traits in their adulthood. If they were constantly seeking approval, validation, or attention from their caregiver as a child, they may have found ways to cope by relying on themselves or another individual. This type of interaction can easily be carried with them throughout the rest of their lives unless discussed and treated.

How to Overcome Codependency in Friendships

If you or a friend is showing signs of codependency in your relationship, it doesn’t mean it has to continue to be this way. No matter when the codependent traits started or what caused them to occur, there are ways to overcome being codependent in all types of relationships. Here are a couple ways that you can work on your own or help a friend overcome codependency:

Look at Your Past Self

This step may be easier said than done, but it’s important. You can’t expect to overcome codependency unless you dig deep inside yourself and try to figure out what caused it in the first place. Once you determine the specific cause, you’ll be able to work towards overcoming these negative thoughts and feelings. Over time, you’ll be able to shift those feelings and thoughts into more positive actions and interactions.

Practice Self-Care

Self-care is extremely important for anyone, but especially for those that tend to be a little codependent. Codependency can cause you to put the needs of others before your own. It’s time to put yourself first again. Make sure you’re eating healthy and well-balanced meals, getting enough sleep, moving your body, and finding ways to relax and unwind at the end of each day.

Next Steps

Any type of change is hard. No matter how long you’ve been showing signs of codependency, change won’t happen overnight. If you’re having difficulty managing it all on your own, help is available to you. A therapist can be a great support system for you. Reach out to us today to set up a consultation for codependency therapy or relationship counseling.


What Is Relationship Trauma? >

Are You Repeating The Same Relationship Mistakes? How To Stop This Cycle >

Setting Reasonable Expectations In Your Relationship And Why It’s Important >


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