Relationship Problems: Yours, Mine, Ours?
Greetings. Welcome to my post. My hope and desire is that you will find these posts to be informative and helpful for you. Life is a journey filled with mountains and valleys in our relational life and in our personal life. Sometimes we can predict and make something happen. But sometimes we can never predict an event or relationship difficulty and we need to adjust and cope with these curve balls. At times life can be great but as you know, life can also be difficult and challenging.
One of the biggest difficulties and challenges is when you find you are in a relationship with someone who has a problem. Now we all have spiritual, emotional and relational problems. That is a given. The challenge is when you are with someone who has problems and you falsely conclude it is your role or job to try to fix that problem. But do you address the problem or do you address the person? Far too often, we choose the person by trying to fix or correct that person with that problem.
So, this only leads to this word called co-dependency. We become codependent because we allow the behavior of another person to affect our behavior so that we become consumed with that person and their problems. We don’t like someone to affect our lives, and we don’t want someone’s problems to affect us so that we are consumed with trying to fix it.
The most common problem is alcohol. Alcohol is freely available and any adult can choose to buy it legally at various places in your neighborhood or city. You initially meet someone and you notice he or she drinks. But as the weeks and the months go by, you start to notice that person drinking not something as a choice or a habit but as an addiction. Now you are married to this person and they not only have a problem but an addiction which overtakes their life.
As a spouse, you don’t like him or her drinking because their drinking affects their mood, their attitude, their lifestyle, and their approach to how they handle problems. Their drinking affects their behavior, mood and attitude so that how they talk to you, how they parent, or how they deal with job stress starts to affect the home environment.
So your obsession with their issue of alcoholism becomes debilitating and frustrating to you as you try and try to stop both the drinking and to get the person to stop buying alcohol or find a way to get them to slow down and not drink so much. But in your exhausting efforts and inappropriate amount of mental and emotional energy into this problem, it leaves very little energy and time for yourself. Instead of taking care of your problems, you try to fix their problems. Besides, you justify your attempt thinking that life would be good if only you could stop the other person from drinking.
But as you know, eventually you learn that despite your efforts to stop them, they do not stop. So, you co-own the problem and the other person becomes dependent on you to fix it and your strategy is to get the other person to become more responsible and take ownership of their drinking so they are not so dependent on you and you are not so dependent on them to stop drinking. Instead of you learning about boundaries, you end up only learning about how to fix, please, control, nag and rescue someone else thinking that your solution will solve the problem.
So let’s look at how you view a problem. Whose problem is it; yours, mine or ours. If it is someone else’s problem and you take on the role to try to fix the problem via various codependent behaviors, then you will always teach the other person that they can’t fix problems and you take on problems due to your grandiose view that you are the fixer. Trust me, that does not work, and you will only feel frustrated and depressed. Fix yourself and your response to their problem, versus trying to fix others problems. Stop the madness of being a co-dependent.