Codependency: A Love That Suffocates

By Marlena Tillhon MSc.

I used to think that codependency was love.

Which means that I didn’t know what love was.

So the love I knew felt suffocating, restrictive and stifling.

I found it hard to breathe.

I couldn’t relax.

I always felt on high alert.

Would someone want something from me?

Would I get told off for something I wasn’t aware of doing?

Would I have to go above and beyond to redeem myself yet again?

The love I knew felt exhausting.

I constantly felt drained.

There wasn’t a lot of joy in my life.

I guess that place was taken up by a lot of drama.

And when there was no drama, there was a lot of loneliness and boredom.

So what was that great love people were talking about?

Why wasn’t I worthy of receiving it?

What was so wrong with me?

And how could I fix myself?

But you see, that was exactly how I kept it going.

Because codependency teaches you that it’s about everyone else and that other people determine your worth: if you please them, you’re good. If not, you’re flawed and should be ashamed.

So you begin to hustle for worth, for love, for safety, for anything that makes you feel less like you’re about to crumble within yourself because there simply isn’t anything holding you up.

But how can there be anything holding you up when you’ve spent all your life trying to fix, save, please and love other people the way you wish you were loved?

Because what’s suffocating is the absolute denial of yourself in every relationship.

It’s never about you.

It’s always about how you can get someone else to think well of you, to like you, to love you, to never leave you.

And so, it kinda is about you but not really … it’s about your fears and your codependent conditioning.

A cancer of the soul.

The thing that stops you from experiencing real love.

Because real love allows you to breathe.

You exhale and feel relief and release.

You inhale and you feel energised and invigorated.

Love makes you feel alive.

It doesn’t strip you of your power.

It doesn’t stifle your laugh.

It doesn’t suffocate your soul.

It doesn’t turn you into a servant to other people’s needs or fears.

It doesn’t ask you to deny your needs.

Instead, it wants you to fully express yourself.

To open up to a new experience of yourself.

To heal and to grow.

To embrace your desires.

To receive what you’ve always longed for.

Love wants you to matter.

Codependency doesn’t.

That’s why it feels so bad.

But you can get the love you need.

You can be in an amazing relationship.

People who want to love you for being who you are exist.

Codependency wants you to believe otherwise so that you stay stuck in the codependent cycle so that you keep it alive.

You keep it alive while quietly suffocating.

It’s time you purposefully and intentionally stop sacrificing yourself to keep your codependent conditioning going.

Your life matters.

You matter.

You deserve to experience real love and create a reciprocal and mutually enjoyable and fulfilling relationship. 

Make today the first day that you allow yourself to breathe freely and fully.

And with each exhale, you let go of more and more codependency.

Your time is now.

With Love, Marlena

Psychotherapist, Codependency Expert & Relationship Coach. Outgrow codependency by learning how to have a healthy relationship with yourself, healing old wounds, calming insecure attachment and developing healthy relationship skills so that you can finally create the relationship you long for and get the love you need.

1 Response

  1. Thanks for sharing this insightful piece, Marlena! Your perspective on codependency as a suffocating form of love really hits home. It’s a stark reminder that love should be liberating, not restricting. Your analogy of codependency as a ‘cancer of the soul’ is particularly powerful. It’s a wake-up call to recognize and break free from unhealthy relationship patterns. Your message about the importance of self-love and establishing healthy relationships is both empowering and hopeful. It’s a great read for anyone struggling to understand the dynamics of their relationships. Keep up the great work!

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