Codependency takes a toll on relationships because it makes people behave in ways that focus more on others than themselves. A wife lives through trying to please her husband or children, a boyfriend stays with his girlfriend who has an addiction because taking care of her makes him feel valued.
Codependency arises when you ignore your own needs and focus your energy on someone else. Some of the signs of codependency are: A lack self-awareness or self-esteem, a need to feel in control in an out of control situation, insecurity, compensating for someone else's issue, or a lack of clear boundaries. The common denominator is that you don't control your own life because you're living through someone else.
The good news is that you can redirect your energy to build yourself up instead of always worrying about others. Clearly defining who you are and what you need helps you break away from living through someone else. For example: The mom who says, "I live to make cookies for my kids," is often not living for herself because she needs constant reinforcement from the outside to make her feel valued whereas the mom who actively works on finding out who she really is and pursuing her own dreams is more likely to find meaning inside herself.
You can feel better about yourself and stop living through others by doing things that make you feel positive about you. The next time you feel obsessed by what someone else is doing, remember that you can't live through someone else and your happiness doesn't depend on them. Try doing something positive that builds you up and increases your self-awareness. Feel good about the person you are without outside validation. Once you learn how to take care of yourself you can build healthy, two-way relationships rather than codependent ones.