How to stop being codependent

Codependency is a dysfunctional relationship pattern in which you rely on your partner for your happiness, approval, and sense of self-identity.

If this sounds like you and you’re in a similar situation, keep reading. This article will explain how to stop being codependent, even if you are currently in a codependent relationship.

Codependency, often known as “relationship addiction,” is an emotional and behavioral disorder that makes it difficult for a person to have a healthy, mutually gratifying relationship.

It can be difficult and damaging, but there are steps you can do to learn how to break free from codependency.

The word codependency was used to characterize an addict’s partner, whose bad decisions enable or encourage the addiction to continue.

However, throughout time, it has been expanded to include those who are in one-sided, emotionally harmful, or abusive relationships, which do not have to be romantic.

Signs of Codependency

Codependent people have the best of intentions. They wish to help a family member who is in need. Their efforts, however, become obsessive and harmful.

As a result of their efforts to rescue, save, and assist their loved one, the other person becomes even more reliant on them. Giving provides a codependent personality a sense of fulfillment as long as they receive recognition. They enjoy being “required.”

However, their decisions frequently backfire. They may feel enslaved and resentful. They may feel powerless, but they are unable to leave the relationship or alter their interactions.

Over time, the relationship tends to disintegrate. Rather than love and comfort, it’s typically filled with tension, frustration, and pity.

Codependent relationships become the norm for certain people. They seek out friendships or love connections that inspire them to act as martyrs.

As a result, they dedicate all of their time to caring for others and lose sight of their own priorities. 

Codependent behaviors can manifest themselves in a variety of ways. However, the foundation of a codependent relationship is when one person loses sight of their own needs and wants, to the harm of both themselves and the other.

 how to stop being codependent

What is Codependency?

Codependency is developed through observing and mimicking the conduct of other family members.

It is frequently passed down through the generations. As a result, a child who grew up witnessing a parent in a codependent relationship may follow in their parents’ footsteps.

In dysfunctional families, people frequently experience anger, pain, fear, or shame, which is denied or disregarded.

The following issues could be at the root of the dysfunction and codependency:

  • Drug, alcohol, work, food, sex, gambling, and relationship addictions are all examples of addictions.
  • Discrimination (physical, emotional, or sexual)
  • Illnesses of the mind or body that last a long time
  • Family issues are never discussed.

The codependent person would then take responsibility for the partner’s condition and care for them as if it were their own.

A codependent wife buying beer for her alcoholic husband to keep him calm or a codependent parent saving their adult child from the financial consequences of their bad decisions are two examples.

These partnerships are characterized by one-sided codependence. Codependent people give far more than they receive, resulting in an unhealthy codependence balance for both.

The codependent partner feels emotionally drained as a result of the partner’s inability to cope with the complex situation.

Codependency has evolved into more of a “personality type” than something that just exists within a partnership.

People who were raised in a dysfunctional or emotionally toxic environment may become codependent and seek out more codependent relationships.

Individuals who are codependent do not bring up the fact that they have problems. In order to care for the person who is struggling, family members suppress their emotions and ignore their own needs.

The individual who is abusive, sickly, or addicted receives all of the attention and energy. The codependent person frequently neglects their own needs in order to care for a family member who is suffering.

They usually experience social, emotional, and physical consequences as they disregard their own health, welfare, and safety.

Maybe I am in a Codependent Relationship, now what do I do?

Learn:

Research more about codependency, including what it is and is not.

There are several self-help books available on codependency.

It will become easier to recognize when your ideas and actions are codependent and need to be modified so you may think in a healthier way and prevent codependency as you learn more and admit your codependency.

Melody Beattie’s Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself is an excellent place to start.

Recognize:

As you have a better understanding of codependency, be on the alert for codependent words, feelings, ideas, or behaviors.

Recognize and reframe your codependency-related ideas. My spouse is enraged today, but I am not responsible for his happiness. I don’t have to be concerned because he’s having a difficult day.”

That’s an illustration of how you can prevent codependence by rephrasing a previously codependent thinking.

Regroup:

Once you’ve discovered a codependent thought or action, find a healthy replacement.

It will be tough to resist codependence at first, especially if your partner has come to rely on you for unhealthy support around their issue, but learning to prevent codependence will make you feel healthier and more confident.

 how to stop being codependent

How to stop being codependent?

1. Identify your codependent patterns.

If you’ve been in a codependent relationship for a long time, accepting that you can’t alter another person may be difficult.

Someone in a codependent relationship with someone suffering from alcoholism or drug addiction, for example, often believes that if they just say and do the right things, their partner will stop drinking or using drugs and get their life back on track.

The desire to recover control over an out-of-control situation leads to codependency. It’s crucial to realize that you’re the only one who can make a difference.

2. Look for signs of a healthy relationship.

Some people are able to break free from codependency on their own. Some people may be able to change their behavior just by learning what it is to be codependent and the harm it causes. You can overcome codependence by taking the following steps:

Look for indicators of a happy marriage. To break free from codependent habits, you must first comprehend what a healthy, loving connection entails. Making time for each other, retaining independence, being honest and open, displaying affection, and having equality are all signs of a healthy relationship.

3. Set boundaries for yourself.

Having healthy boundaries and limits is important. People in healthy relationships are supportive of one another while also respecting one another’s boundaries. In a relationship, a boundary is a restriction that specifies what you are ready and unwilling to accept.

Read more about setting and maintaining healthy boundaries:

Spend some time considering what you consider appropriate. Work on listening to the other person’s concerns, but don’t let them overrun your life.

Find methods to deny requests that go beyond your comfort zone. Set boundaries, then work to enforce them.

4. Take care of yourself

Make sure you look after yourself. People who are in codependent relationships have a low sense of self-worth.

To break free from codependency, you must first value yourself. Find out what makes you happy and what kind of life you wish to have. Spend time doing the activities that you enjoy.

Replace self-defeating thoughts with more positive, realistic ones to overcome negative self-talk.

Also, make sure you’re taking care of your health by obtaining the nutrition, relaxation, and self-care you require for emotional well-being.

Professional Therapy

Codependency, on the other hand, frequently necessitates professional help. It’s treatable with conversation therapy.

According to research, a variety of therapy treatments can help people improve their quality of life and learn how to avoid being codependent.

Group Therapy

There are a variety of group therapies for codependency that may be useful. Individuals can build healthier relationships in a safe environment thanks to the group dynamic.

Giving positive feedback and holding people accountable are common in group therapy.

The methods used in group therapy may differ. Some of them incorporate cognitive behavioral therapy, in which participants are taught specific skill-building techniques.

The 12-step program is followed by other codependency groups. Individuals learn about their relationship addiction in the same manner that other 12-step groups do.

Goals could include improving self-awareness, self-esteem, and emotional expression.

Family Therapy

The dysfunctional family dynamics are the focus of family therapy. Members of the family learn to recognize their problematic tendencies so that they can improve their relationships.

A common goal of family therapy is to improve communication. In therapy, issues that have never been handled in the family may be brought up.

When one person makes a change (such as getting sober or pushing someone to be more independent), the entire family dynamic might alter.

Cognitive Therapy

The ideas that contribute to dysfunctional relationship patterns can be targeted using cognitive therapy.

For example, someone who believes, “I can’t tolerate being alone,” is likely to go to considerable lengths to keep the relationship going, even if it is unhealthy. Learning to accept unpleasant feelings and correcting erroneous thinking may be the emphasis of therapy sessions.

The goal is most likely to result in good behavior adjustments and allow the other person to take more personal responsibility for their actions.

Because most codependent people model their relationships after the ones they saw as children, treatment may dive into a person’s childhood. Therapy can help someone reconnect with their emotions and re-experience a wide spectrum of emotions.

If you need a crisis hotline or want to learn more about therapy, please see below:

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