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Is There A Better Boundary You Want To Have In A Relationship?

There’s this word tossed around from pop-psychology. The 12-step groups adhere to it. And many psychologists and psychiatrists I know hate it.

The word is co-dependency.

I’ve thrown around this term now for more years than I can count. I’ve read numerous books on it. I’ve questioned my own boundaries in my relationships and worried about being too enmeshed or too independent.

In my learnings, I hope to offer something:

There’s a level of dependency in ALL relationships. Our nature is to join with another.

Support and dependency to some degree is needed and necessary.

We may depend on another to pick the kids up from school when we can’t. Or to take us to the hospital when we’re having a surgery. Or in daily life to offer a hug or words of encouragement.

AND there is also something to be said about taking care of our own selves.

HERE’S A TIP:

Imagine in your mind’s eye two complete circles standing next to each other. Each circle represents yourself and the person you are in relationship with (ANY relationship — platonic, romantic or familial.)

When we are . . . needy and want someone to complete us or fill the holes we feel we lack, or try to run from loneliness or compromise our needs . . . those two circles end up on top of each other.

When we are . . . cut off, not asking for support, not offering our heart to another or open to receiving, going to other things out of fear of intimacy or believing we can do everything ourselves . . . those two circles stand separate from another.

But when we are . . . whole, taking care of our own needs and offering love and support to another, when we feel assured and secure, and contained in our own energy . . . those two circles overlap partly.

And then, we are co-creating.

Do you question if a relationship is the healthiest, most supportive relationship for you?

THE TRICK:

Take out a legal pad and draw a line down the middle.

Ask yourself, What am I willing to do in the relationship? And on one column, write those things out.

Then, ask yourself, What am I NOT willing to do in the relationship? And on the second column, write those things out.

This will help you get clearer on your boundaries. (There’s more on this in The Game of You too.)

Now, it’s up to you!

Wishing you a week of self-security!

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Lynn Newman