Your Intense Codependency May Be a “karmic Relationship”
If you’ve ever experienced one of those “can’t live with you, can’t live without you” relationships where your connection feels hot and heavy but also rife with problems and tension, chances are you were in a karmic relationship.
“Despite what many people believe, karmic relationships are actually a type of relationship with soul mates, but not necessarily with a happy ending,” says Charlotte Kirsten , a trauma psychotherapist. “It is filled with all-consuming chemistry, passion, turbulence and many obstacles. By definition, they are easy to enter but very difficult to maintain due to their intensity and complex nature.”
But the problems are not so bad. Kirsten says these relationships often act as a giant mirror for the partners involved, bringing out each other’s deepest fears, desires, and even desires so they can heal. Taylor Carr , a clinical hypnotherapist, says that karmic relationships are “relationships that continue to write the story of your upbringing. These relationships are meant to compress the feedback loop about how often you go through the same storyline over and over again. They bring many lessons. Non-karmic relationships won’t be familiar at all, while karmic relationships will feel familiar simply because you’ve been in the same loop all your life.”
So, are you in a karmic relationship? To give you a better idea, Carr and Kirsten give you some key signs to identify and what they are ultimately trying to teach you.
You have deep chemistry
The butterflies and chemistry in a karmic relationship will be off the charts because they “have a tendency to start relationships very quickly due to lust and obsession with each other,” says Kirsten. “Many will wonder how they used to ‘live’ without this person in their lives.”
There are red flags galore
Despite the immediate attraction that you have for each other, according to Kirsten, relationships start to deteriorate very early, perhaps even within a week or two of dating. “[The karmic relationship] seems too good to be true,” she says. “Love begins to become all-consuming and bordering on obsession. Love bombardment, gaslighting, codependency—all of these can show up within days or weeks of dating. Often a karmic partner will say, “I love you” at the first meeting.”
Exciting love with many ups and downs
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Kirsten says the karmic connection is often used as external validation, as a means of rapid dopamine release for both parties. “Unless it was a recipe for disaster, there are usually a lot of communication problems, heated arguments and a general sense of frustration,” she says. “If you feel deeply misunderstood every time you try to get your point across, or feel like you have to explain why you feel a certain way every time you enter into a conversation, you are probably in a karmic relationship.”
Another sign, according to Carr, is “constant periods of time in a relationship that create chaos and dependency that feels like intense love.”
Repetitive behavior and loops
“I call it the groundhog loop. Even if you blame each other for the behavior that you don’t like, it still continues to prevail in the relationship, ”says Kirsten. “High and low cycles go on no matter how hard you try to ‘fix’ it. But it’s not all doom and gloom. This is actually a good hint of what your karmic lesson is with this partner.”
An example of this, according to Carr, is that you grew up with an addicted father and continue to attract addicts into your life. Or having a narcissistic mother and constantly finding yourself with a narcissist in a romantic relationship or in a group of friends who have a big impact on you and your self-esteem.
They bring out the worst in you
If you feel like this relationship has made you a completely different person, but not in a good way, Kirsten says it’s most likely a karmic contract. “Many report losing their sense of self while in a karmic relationship, and when they look at themselves in the mirror, they see an empty, empty version of their being looking back,” she says. “You feel drained and like you’ve aged quickly.”
Carr adds, “It will feel like you’re with someone who seems to constantly reinforce your flaws and insecurities rather than making you feel at ease.”
What are the lessons of karmic relationships?
Karmic relationships are without a doubt addictive and potentially destructive. So what can people learn from these intense connections?
“Often the lessons of a karmic relationship are to help you let go of the patterns you keep repeating so you can move up to the next level,” Carr says, “whether it’s an ending of an addiction pattern, a bad attitude in a relationship, a lack of self love. or any other loop you repeat. This will help you evolve beyond your current self and move closer to self-actualization or higher consciousness.”
They can also help you figure out what you want and don’t want in a relationship. “[Karmic relationships] push our boundaries and test our definition of love,” says Kirsten. “Of the karmic couples I have witnessed…they tend to become toxic, overly codependent, and fizzle out as quickly as they started. This is why many of those who have entered into karmic relationships, who were previously looking for that fast-paced, exhilarating love, are now looking for a steady, slow, steady connection.”