* I generally write using the pronouns he/him when referring to narcissists, but females are just as likely to be narcissists or exhibit narcissistic traits. So please don't think just because article uses the word him or he that it could not be a woman in that same role.
Codependency is a dysfunctional relationship pattern in which you rely on your romantic 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 take to learn how to break free from codependent tendencies.
The word codependency was used to characterize an addict’s partner, whose bad decisions enable or encourage the addiction to continue.
However, overtime, it has been expanded to include types of relationships that are one-sided, emotionally harmful, or include abusive behaviors that do not have to be romantic.
Table of Contents
- How To Stop Being Codependent?
- What is Codependency?
- what are the signs of a codependent Person?
- How do you break the cycle of codependency?
- How to stop being codependent?
- Professional Therapy
- Continue Reading About Narcissistic Personality Disorder
How To Stop Being Codependent?
- Identify your codependent patterns.
- Look for signs of a healthy relationship.
- Set boundaries for yourself.
- Take care of yourself.
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.
What is the root cause of codependency?
Codependency is developed via observation and imitation of other family members who exhibit similar behavior. It’s frequently passed on from generation to generation. As a result, a child who grew up seeing a parent in a codependent relationship may follow in their footsteps.
People who were raised in a dysfunctional or emotionally toxic environment may become codependent and seek out more codependent relationships.
In dysfunctional families, members frequently experience anger, anguish, fear, or humiliation, which is typically denied or disregarded. There may be underlying factors that contribute to the dysfunction, such as:
- Drug, alcohol, job, food, sex, gambling, and relationship addiction
- Abuse of power (physical, emotional, or sexual)
- Physical or mental disease that lasts a long time
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.
what are the signs of a codependent Person?
Codependent people have misplaced good intentions. They wish to help a family member or romantic partner whom they feel is in need. Have you ever wondered what a codependent person acts like?
Their codependent tendencies, however, become obsessive, harmful, and unhealthy behaviors.
As a result of their efforts to rescue, save, and assist their loved ones, 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.
For certain people, codependent relationships become the norm for them. They seek out friendships or love connections that inspire them to act like martyrs.
As a result, they dedicate all of their time to caring for others and lose sight of their own feelings and emotional needs. These behaviors result in a cycle of codependency.
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 do you break the cycle of codependency?
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.
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 your previously codependent thinking.
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?
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 Codependency and Relationship 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.
Codependency, on the other hand, frequently necessitates professional help. It’s treatable with conversion therapy.
According to research, a variety of therapy treatments can help people improve their quality of life and learn how to avoid being codependent.
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.
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.
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 maybe 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:
- RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) – 1-800-656-4673
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-8255
- National Domestic Violence Hotline – 1-800-799-7233
- NAMI Helpline (National Alliance on Mental Illness) – 1-800-950-6264
For more information on mental health, please see:
- SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) SAMHSA Facebook, SAMHSA Twitter, SAMHSA LinkedIn, SAMHSA Youtube
- Mental Health America, MHA Twitter, MHA Facebook, MHA Instagram, MHA Pinterest, MHA Youtube
- WebMD, WebMD Facebook, WebMD Twitter, WebMD Instagram, WebMD Pinterest
- NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health), NIMH Instagram, NIMH Facebook, NIMH Twitter, NIMH YouTube
- APA (American Psychiatric Association), APA Twitter, APA Facebook, APA LinkedIN, APA Instagram