It can be difficult for parents to accept their precious little one has developed into a full-grown adult. If you are independent and living on your own, it is past time to cut the umbilical cord. There is nothing more unattractive to a woman than a man whose relationship with his mother is clingy and needy. If you have started a family, make a mental note not to become a helicopter parent. What is a helicopter parent? A parent who lingers close by waiting to swoop down and intervene in the child’s life when needed.
Is it wrong to be supportive or available to your kids? No, but maintaining a healthy balance is key. Keep in mind an overly protective parent can inadvertently keep children from learning valuable life lessons that will develop them into strong and independent adults. This can produce dysfunctional behavior in both the parent and child. Consider the analogy below and highlight the symptoms stemming from an excessive and dependent relationship.
Rarely seen without the other, Marsha and Tyra acted more like sisters then mother and daughter. They shopped together, purchased the same type of car, and wore the same designer-label clothing. You may be wondering, what is wrong with that? Isn’t it common for families to share the same interests or purchase similar items? Yes, but not to the extreme of those bound in codependent relationships. Signs of unhealthy bonding began to surface when Tyra broke up with her long-term boyfriend Billy and then insisted her mother break off her relationship with Jessie, her fiancé. More troubling was Tyra’s bout with alcohol and her mother’s need to take care of her unending list of demands. Their days are spent at the neighborhood bar or alone in their two-bedroom apartment. Codependent, they remain bound together by the fear of rejection.
Simply defined, codependency is the need to hold on to a relationship even when it is unhealthy. Perhaps the best way to convey the meaning of codependency is to share some of its defining characteristics. Here are a few examples to better explain:
– A codependent person may abandon their friends, place their career on hold, or compromise their core beliefs to accommodate the desires of their partner.
– A codependent person feels responsible for the behavior or reactions of another.
– A codependent person will mirror the emotional responses of others.
– A codependent person exhibits extreme care-taking syndrome.
– A codependent person feels guilty exercising their individuality.
– A codependent person feels anxious when separated from their partner even for a short time.
– A codependent person needs approval from their partner before making decisions.
– A codependent person often exhibits other addictive behaviors.
Why have I taken time to discuss the issue of codependency? Because I have walked arm in arm with rejection. I am all too familiar with the underlying fear that questions, “Is there anyone who loves me enough to take care of me?” I have witnessed the agony of those who spend their life looking for someone to take care of them only to end up a caretaker to others. I have also watched dozens of people just like Marsha and Tyra remain trapped in another’s world, too afraid to live in their own. For these and other obvious reasons, codependent relationships are extremely unhealthy.