How My Codependent Friend Escaped a Bad Romance

Jason Henry
5 min readJan 7, 2020
Photo by Siavash Ghanbari on Unsplash

“The greatest hallmark of codependency is that someone else decides how you feel about yourself.” — Noel Bell

For as long as I’ve known “Greg” he’s had an aversion to relationships while at the same time desiring love. He finally got his first relationship and while I was very happy for him, I wasn’t so happy when I heard some of the traits of his partner.

She idealized him as perfect one second, then demonized him the next. She had a history of risky sex. Her emotional outbursts evolved into a physical altercation. All of this was neatly tied into a fear of abandonment and need to control.

The situation was dire and despite my warnings about this, I knew they would fall on deaf ears. At least for the time being.

Good sex is potent and it was reason enough to stay and weather the storm. And it can be dangerously potent when two people who don’t belong get together. Not only does it feel good, you’ll use it to “solve” your problems.

But at the latter stages, whenever Greg was asked about the relationship, the empty platitudes and proverbs of “relationships take effort” and “things take time to work themselves out” were being parroted.

He took a lot of abuse because he didn’t believe that he deserved better. He didn’t see how he was trying to say things in a certain way to control how she felt. He was blind to how his needs became more and more secondary to her demands. He couldn’t see the enmeshment. All of these are traits of codependency.

Eventually, things came to an even more worrisome state when she introduced substance abuse and threats to their dynamic.

But despite his relationship inexperience, he found a way out when so many get stuck.

1. He talked to people

It’s easy to get caught up in a love island dynamic when you’re in a relationship. It’s you and your partner. No one else matters as much. You isolate yourself and that’s never a good thing.

People who loved you without a partner still love you. Don’t forget them and make sure you maintain those friendships and bonds because you’re going to need them if anything goes south.

Jason Henry

Former Edu. Psychologist | Current Writer | Constant Learner | “By your stumbling the world is perfected.”