Reality vs. Fantasy.
Healthy relationships are based in reality. Each person is aware of his own strengths and weaknesses. There is no need to hide or to try to fool the other. Each person is also aware of the other’s strengths and weaknesses. There is no need to pretend that problems don’t exist or to tiptoe around “unmentionable” areas. If the partner is weak in some area, he or she accepts it and helps accommodate or strengthen it. Unhealthy relationships, by contrast, are based on fantasy. What could be or should be replaces what is. The elements of unreality become the focus. The relationship is built on a foundation that isn’t really there.
Completing vs. Finding Completion.
In a healthy relationship, each person finds joy in sharing in the other person’s growth, in playing a role in “completing” the other. In an unhealthy relationship the focus is on completing oneself. This selfish dynamic is at the heart of codependency. Too many people fling half a person into a relationship, expecting that it will be completed by the other. It never works. No one can ever meet such expectations. It is only a matter of time until substitutes are sought – either in the form of other relationships or in the form of dysfunctional and addictive behaviors. [Read more…]