How do I know if I am acting codependent or loving? This is an excellent question and often confusing for many for different reasons. Let’s look at the definitions of codependent and loving and see what we find.
Love: An intense feeling of deep affection. For the purpose of this article, we will include some distinctions of love:
Codependency: Codependency for the purpose of this discussion is a recognizable system of learned personality traits that negatively affect knowing one’s self and others.
Codependents become dependent on “others” approval and control the situation in order to get this approval. Codependents often avoid honesty and confrontation, which can enable abusive behavior. Thus, the codependent does not require the abusive person to change or improve.
When we compare love and codependency, I believe we will find actions from love are different than codependent — actions that are based on fear. In general, it takes an emotionally strong person to live in love — not codependency.
As we said in our definitions: Codependents are driven by wanting other’s approval, so the fear of not having that approval is driving the behavior. People operating out of love are not driven by fear. Codependents may be blind to their codependency…and their fear. This way of being is just how they unconsciously decided they needed to act in order to survive.
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