3 stages of a relationship – codependent, independent and interdependent relationship.
Relationships, as in any human social interactions, are quite messy. They have different ways they succeed, different ways we think they have succeeded and a million different ways they can fail. But there is an underlying pattern going on with relationships. Certain elements make a strong emotional connection and a stable relationship while others tear it down.
It is like the Tolstoy quote: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” So we will explore the elements which create a “happy relationship”, but to do that, we need to show you what kind of relationships we even have.
There are three different kinds of relationship: codependent, independent and inter-dependent.
This is a term coined by the late Dr. Stephen Covey and we will borrow this classification for the article being.
So let’s jump in.
This is what around 90% of people in the world experience in day to day interactions. These codependent relationships are not only a classification for romantic relationships, but also for every single relationship we have.
Family, friends and even business relationship can and most of them fall into this category.
A codependent relationship is a relationship where both sides are not good enough or complete enough by themselves so they need to find someone else out there (a family member, friend or a boyfriend or girlfriend) to fill a hole in them and make them whole.
If this above sounded romantic in your head, it means that the mainstream media has succeeded. Every single god damn romantic movie we have seen has had a codependent relationship be the main type of relationship. And even worse, they show that kind of a relationship as a successful, happy and fulfilling one! This is one of the most damaging things out there.
And the movies always portray some super insecure guy who in a miraculous way gets the girl, loses the girl and gets the girl back all the while having so much drama around him, her and their entire relationship.
But the reason Hollywood portrays this kind of relationship is drama. A codependent relationship is full of drama, crazy and unexpected things happening and occurring. They are simply fun to watch because there are a million reasons they could go wrong (remember the Tolstoy quote).
But let’s see what actually creates a codependent relationship.
All of us have, in form or another, been in a codependent relationship. That is just we humans make it in this world. When you are an infant, you are not self-sustainable, you need your parents to give you shelter, provide you with food and water just so you can survive.
But the problem occurs when we transfer this kind of behavior in our relationships later on. When you are starting to grow up and still displays behaviors of an infant, then you will surely end up in a codependent relationship. If not with your parents, then with other people around you.
Codependent people are not self-sufficient, they usually live in a state of 0 control of their lives, they have a deep victim mentality (someone else is responsible for my life) and complain quite a lot. This means that all of our needs are to be met by someone else because we, as individuals, are not capable of doing that by ourselves.
We seek someone out there who would love us because we don’t love ourselves. We seek someone out there to gives us a job because we want someone else to be responsible for us. We seek out friends who will only tell us nice things and go with the flow because our self-confidence would otherwise shatter to pieces.
And when you turn around left and right, you see people like this everywhere.
Reason? Because it’s easy!
If I told you right now that it’s not your fault where you are in life, you would feel at ease. Because there would be someone else who we could point a finger. But if I told you that it’s not your fault where you are in life, but as sure as hell is your responsibility, you wouldn’t be that calm.
A codependent relationship is the same- you always blame the other person when things go awry, they never love or respect you enough and the entire fault for everything in a relationship is always their fault.
There are a million other reasons why these relationships suck and why they are so widespread (thank you for the quote Tolstoy), but we won’t spend any more time here.
I will give you a quick shortcut to get to stage 2 – independent relationship.
Listen to this single sentence to come to stage 2:
When you take radical responsibility for everything that happens in your life, you will reach stage 2 – independent relationship.
We finally moved from the majority of people and entered a small, mere 10%, a minority of people who experience independent relationships.
Some people would call this a scale where the extremes are codependent and independent relationships but I would disagree. And the reason is that you need to grow as a person to reach independent relationship, while codependent ones are a default state of the world today.
Okay, so what is an independent relationship?
An independent relationship is a relationship where both sides are fully independent and can cover all of their needs almost by themselves. They have the deepest respect and love for themselves and are self-sufficient.
Independent relationships are what happens when two people who work and grow themselves meet up and form a relationship. This happens with friends and romantic relationships as well.
It is when you internalize the quote by Jim Rohn “The greatest gift you can give somebody is your own personal development. I used to say, “If you will take care of me, I will take care of you. “Now I say, I will take care of me for you, if you will take care of you for me.”
But there are certain problems that occur here and it’s connected with independent people.
As someone who spent years in this area, I am more than qualified to tell you all the shit that happens here and why it’s 10 times better than the codependent relationship but 10 times worse than the interdependent relationships.
When you took full responsibility for your life and saw the world as the place where you do have control, everything shifted. You started seeing everything with different eyes and suddenly, you had control over your life. You became proactive, started new businesses and hobbies and in general, you picked your shit together.
You felt so powerful and mighty that you thought that it was the best feeling in the world. You love and respect yourself, have self-confidence and think that you are enough. But the problem is that you can’t do everything yourself.
It’s like the quote by Werner Heisenberg which states ” The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.”
You realize that there are certain areas of your life where you need to lose control and give up control. Because you can’t do it by yourself and you need someone else to create something bigger than yourself. It’s like finding your purpose. Even though it is your purpose, it is in fact not your purpose but something that belongs to a higher force you believe in.
And when you let go of control, you finally enter stage 3 – interdependent relationship
And we have finally reached the best of the best, the type of relationship practiced only by 1% of the world population- the interdependent relationship.
An interdependent relationship is a relationship where both sides are self-sufficient, love and respect themselves but decide to share their lives with someone else to create a synergistic effect which is bigger than the sum of their parts.
And the easiest example for synergy I could give to you is having a baby. You have one male and one female (which is two people) who create a third person, a baby, which is something they couldn’t do by themselves alone.
Interdependent relationships are a place of self-love and respect not only for yourself but towards the other person. You didn’t have to love the other person, you chose to love that person. You deliberately let that person in your life and decide to share yourself in the relationship. This is the biggest difference between an independent and interdependent relationship.
Independent people think they can do everything by themselves while interdependent people know that they can’t and carefully choose people who could have a synergistic effect on their lives. This is about choosing both with your head and with your emotions.
If you love a girl but she has been a heroin addict for the past 3 years and has failed multiple rehab attempts, do you stay with that person? And if you do, is your relationship a codependent one where none of you can’t rely on her because the drugs are taking its toll?
Not to say that you shouldn’t stick with people when they are having problems in life. On the contrary, you need to stick and help them but only if you see that there is a desire to change that.
The last quote, or better yet axiom, I will use for this article is the famous Jim Rohn’s “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” So be really careful with whom you spend it, because you will one way or another end up as those people.
We have seen the three different types of a relationship – codependent, independent and interdependent. Now you have a clear way how you can get to the interdependent relationship and you have seen the perks in that stage. So what are you waiting for? Get yourself moving to interdependent relationships in all areas of your life.