The 3 Deadly Sins of Codependency: Attentiveness

Apologies for the hiatus!  Back in full-swing is my next deadly sin of codependency…

Being overly attentive.

Often times, codependent people are some of the most giving people and are even described by others at caregivers at heart.  Without being asked, they rush to the rescue of whoever is in need.  They’ll offer their homes, time, service and money…even if they don’t have it.

A relationship I know of comes to mind. Her partner is pathological liar, so my friend motivates her to seek therapy.  Her partner has student loan debt, so she sits down and tries to help her figure out how to pay it off.  Her partner has holes in her socks, so my friend goes out and buys her a new pack.  None of this is being asked of her.  Her partner has her own steady job, she pays her own bills (and then some), and at the end of the day could:

A) Find her own therapist

B) Figure out her own finances and

C) Order her own damn socks.

And she would gladly do them herself…if they weren’t already being taken care of for her.

On the surface, this could just seem like a healthy, giving, and loving relationship.  After all, aren’t relationships about teamwork and helping each other out?  Unfortunately, this dynamic is usually one-sided for those who are codependent.

See, codependents who shower this much love and attention onto those around them are often left feeling under appreciated.  They give so much of themselves and expect the same in return.  Or in other words, they give 200% always.  The reality is that codependents are attentive on a level that isn’t reasonable for the normal person or relationship.  At first, they might enjoy showering their love with attention.  But in the long run, it’s unsustainable and can turn the entire relationship sour with resentment if reasonable expectations and behavior aren’t set.

If you’re feeling under appreciated in your relationship, the best thing to do is to reflect on what’s making you feel that way.  Is it that your partner doesn’t do enough?  Or, is the idea that your partner isn’t doing as much as you the dominant thinking?  Either might be the case without you being codependent, but it’s worth evaluating and then if necessary, discussing openly and honestly with your partner.

Read the last part of this series where we focus on the next deadly sin: Being overly attentive.

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