Codependency is a disease of the self. It’s our own misinterpretation of who we really are and of our significance in the world.

It’s a generational disease handed down from one to the next. It’s what happens when caregivers, sometimes intentionally and sometimes unintentionally, deliver unhealthy messages and beliefs to their offspring. These messages are conveyed through harsh treatment (verbal or physical), neglect, shaming, humiliating, making the child responsible for the moods and feelings of others and an assortment of other methods.

It’s no wonder that these children grow up to have difficulties in their adult relationships. They’ve been taught that they aren’t worthy of love, that they can’t just be themselves – that they have to give more, do more and be more than everyone else, just to be on a level playing field and they then develop unhealthy coping mechanisms to help them maneuver through these relationships. Consequently, I’ve compiled a list of things you should never do or give up in your romantic relationships.

7 Things Women Should Never Give Up In Relationships

  1. Never make someone else the primary focus of your life: Never, ever, allow yourself to be consumed with your partners goals, issues, problems… you are an autonomous being. Your primary focus should always be you and your goals. Codependency has taught those in its clutches, that they must suppress their own needs and wants in favor of another’s – that they aren’t as important. If you get consumed by your relationships you should stop dating until you have learned how to be an autonomous being, in a relationship with another autonomous being.
  2. Never dim your own light to make others more comfortable: Never give up or down play who you are because your partner can’t handle your success. If you have to give something up to make someone else happy, you are in the wrong relationship. Dysfunctional people always have to be in relationships that are all about them. They need attention and admiration and if you’re getting it all that makes them very frustrated and they will start a campaign to undermine you and your achievements. If someone can’t handle all that you are then that person is not for you.
  3. Never settle for a relationship where you are the only or major contributor: if you are in a relationship with someone and you are making all of the effort, doing all of the sacrificing, all of the spending, all of the work, then you are not in a relationship. In addition, if you are living with someone who can’t take care of themselves and they are living off of your resources, you are not in an adult relationship, you’ve become their parent. Healthy people are autonomous people. They’re not parasites. They don’t need to feed off of others. If that’s your mate you need to opt out.
  4. Never look to your partner to show you your worth: Codependents have been taught that they have to work hard for love and attention, that just being themselves isn’t enough. Consequently, they become people pleasers and hoop jumpers in an attempt to win the affection of their nearest and dearest. They’ve been conditioned to look outside of themselves for approval and for someone to tell them they are good enough and worthy of love.  The problem with that is that no one can give you self-worth. You are already worthy because you exist. They key having self-worth is to know that you can’t get it from other people, because they don’t have it and they can’t give you what they don’t have. Self-worth is an inside job and all you have to do is reach out and take it. That’s it. It’s that simple. Once you own your own worth, you understand that it’s a constant. It doesn’t change based upon someone else’s ability to see it. It’s yours and it’s your responsibility to protect it.
  5. Never permit being disrespected: We teach people how to treat us and if you allow someone to insult, belittle or shame you without calling them on it, you are opening the door for more of the same and harming your self-esteem in the process. Never allow someone to run roughshod over you. You’re not a doormat. Emotional manipulators need to make others feel small, so that they can feel big. They disrespect as a means of control. Never stand for it.
  6. Never give up your autonomy for a relationship: Never give up your life, city, job, friends, or family for a relationship. I don’t subscribe to the ole love conquers all bit. A healthy relationship can’t exist in a vacuum. For it to be healthy you need to have other interests, hobbies, and relationships. You need to be able to take care of yourself, have a support group and things that are important to you outside of the relationship. You need a life outside of your partner. Manipulators aim to isolate you. Moving you to another city creates dependency and gives them total control. Codependents are so used to making their relationship their primary focus and putting them in a situation where their relationship is the only thing they have is very dangerous. If someone is asking you to give up all you need to do some serious thinking and opt out before you hand in that resignation.
  7. Never make excuses and minimize bad behavior: If you’re doing this it’s a huge indication of your level of your emotional health. If you’ve given someone 10 chances and they’re still doing the same thing the problem is no longer theirs it’s yours. Codependents are masters of making excuses. It’s a trait they learned to explain away their caregiver’s abuse. No child believes their parents are bad, or ill meaning, so they develop this skill of rationalizing and making everything their fault. Pair this with a big dose of, ‘I’m not worthy,’ and you’ve got yourself a recipe for disaster in adult relationships. Bad behavior is bad behavior. Get into the habit of calling it what it is, never just accept it as, ‘the way it is.’ Then get into the habit of not permitting it. If you’re afraid of calling someone on their behavior, that’s indicative of its level of dysfunction and your cue to leave.


It’s not surprising that codependents find themselves in relationships like these and need to continually be reminded of boundaries that must be set. Because of their childhood trauma and their desperate need to be loved and accepted, they are extremely susceptible to the fake flattery and fake charm of a Narcissist and others, that mean to do them harm. When they hear kind and adoring words from a potential, romantic, partner, they can’t help but run with reckless abandon towards anything that even resembles the love they so crave. The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to learn what to look for, set boundaries in your relationships and make sure there are severe consequences for breaking those boundaries – like you leaving.

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