How To Stop Being Codependent: What You Need To Know To Take Control Of Your Life
Updated September 23, 2021
Codependency can have an immense impact on your life if you allow it to. But there are things that you can do to take back control of your own life. As long as you’re willing, that is. While codependent relationships build over time, they aren’t necessarily one-sided. In fact, there are many of these types of relationships that are two-sided in several ways. It could be that both parties are codependent toward each other, or it could be that one party is encouraging the codependent behavior of the other. But let’s back up a little bit before diving into what you can do about it.
What Are Signs Of A Codependent Person?
The American Psychological Association defines codependence as being psychologically dependent on another person who lives with a type of pathological addiction or a mutual, emotional dependence between two people on one another.
This means that codependent behavior can occur in several different ways, and it may or may not be encouraged by the other person. In fact, some people living with addiction may not want a codependent relationship because it could negatively impact their ability to continue the addiction. On the other hand, some codependent people become so reliant on the addict that they will do whatever it takes to keep them happy, including enabling the addiction.
Some of the symptoms of codependence can include:
- Low self-esteem
- People-pleasing behavior
- Lack of boundaries
- Overreactions/overly emotional
- Intense self-control
- Difficulty communicating
- Obsessive thoughts and behaviors
- Intimacy problems
- Strong desire to be liked
If you experience these types of symptoms, it is possible that you are codependent or that some of your relationships are codependent. But to improve your emotional well-being, it’s essential to look for ways to resolve those codependent behaviors.
How To Stop Codependency
The process of stopping codependent behavior is not going to be easy. But it will be worth it when you are successful. That’s because you’ll be able to regain full control of your life. And you’ll be able to build healthy relationships that help you become a better person.
Be Honest With Yourself
The first thing you need to do to work on your codependent behaviors is to be completely honest. The adage that the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. Well, there’s a reason that adage has been around so long. To overcome your codependence, you need to be able to admit that you are codependent. And that will take a lot of courage. It’s not an easy thing to admit to.
On top of admitting this to yourself, however, you’ll also need to admit it to your partner or to whoever it is that you are codependent with. If you and your partner are codependent upon each other, this is something that you will both need to acknowledge. To truly resolve the relationship's codependence, you’ll also need to be willing to make changes.
For those who are codependent upon someone else who is not codependent themselves, it’s still crucial to acknowledge your behaviors to the other person. This is the first step in changing your relationship's dynamics, and it will allow you to open up about how you’ve been feeling and why you’ve been acting the way you have. It also lets you open up about how you want things to change and improve.
Let It Go
One of the hardest parts about being codependent is that things in your relationship seem to affect you more than they do other people. You might find yourself feeling extremely emotional due to what others might tell you is a slight or a minor issue. But the feelings that you’re experiencing are very real to you, and they are significant to you as well. This is part of the behaviors that go along with codependence.
When you can learn to let those feelings and emotions go, you can release some of the codependence. Now, it’s not easy to just ‘let it go,’ and you may find yourself struggling to do so. When an event happens or your partner says something that affects you strongly, it’s good to let yourself feel the emotions. Just because you’re learning how to calm your emotional response does not mean you should ignore emotions entirely.
Instead, let the emotions come in and acknowledge them. But instead of allowing them to take control, you want to take a few moments to reflect on just what the situation really calls for and respond in a more calm and controlled way. You can explain your feelings and your emotions in this way, and you’ll be able to get a better response from your partner. That means the two of you will be able to discuss things instead of arguing or getting upset. Also, on reflection, you’ll find that some of those things can just be released.
Bring In Friends
It’s not a good idea to bring friends into your relationship in most cases because this can actually cause friction between you and your partner. However, it may be essential to bring someone into the situation to provide a support system if you are in a codependent relationship. Remember, overcoming codependent behaviors is difficult, and having a friend who will help you may be the difference between success and setbacks.
You want to find a friend who will be supportive and encouraging, rather than one who will bring you down if you make a mistake. Working through your codependent relationship requires you to put in a lot of hard work and effort, and it is entirely understandable and expected that you would struggle. The right friend will be there to keep pushing you forward, even if that happens.
Create Strong Boundaries
Boundaries are one of the hardest parts for someone working through codependence, but it’s also one of the most critical elements. Setting boundaries means deciding what you will and won’t do for your partner. If you’re in a relationship with someone who has an addiction, this might mean putting your foot down about specific behaviors you used to accept or ignore. If you and your partner are both codependent, it could mean boundaries that keep you from letting their emotions bring you down.
Setting your limitations is essential, but it’s also highly personal. You are the only one who can decide what boundaries you are ready to set and when you want to set them. It’s also important to continue adding to your limits as you work through your codependence. You may not be ready to make the ultimate steps right away, but as you continue working on your thoughts, feelings, and yourself in general, you may find even more hard limits that you want to set.
It may be necessary for you to walk away from the codependent relationship, whether only temporarily or permanently. Once again, you are the only one who can decide if the relationship you are in has a chance to move forward. Still, there is an excellent chance that you will need a break before you can truly enter into the relationship again with a clear head and a strong level of self-care.
Walking away temporarily gives you the time to work on yourself in many different ways without having to work on your partner as well. It takes you out of the problematic situation of having to make decisions every day that are either in line with your new goals or not. And it gives you the ability to be strong and firm in your choices, even if they’re not being put to the test at the moment. Just having the conviction of your beliefs and your wants will help you to grow.
Once you have gotten stronger in your own life and are further along your ex-codependence journey, you may return to the previous relationship, provided the other person understands that the relationship will be different. But whether you decide to return or not will ultimately be up to you.
Counseling is a great way to learn some of the techniques discussed throughout this article. By working with a counselor, you will gain more substantial insight into your own thoughts and feelings. You’ll also have the opportunity to learn ways to be more honest with yourself and your partner and how to let go of some of the overwhelming emotions that can otherwise get the better of you.
A counselor will give you the freedom and opportunity to sit down and share your thoughts and feelings in a safe environment and can provide you with feedback in the form of exercises, techniques, and more. These things are designed to give you the strength you need to start taking control and coming to conclusions to help you in your life.
If you want to learn more about stopping codependency, seeking professional help could be the next logical step. Reach out to ReGain to find out more about the options available to you and what you could achieve if you could take back control of your life. This service could be the key to helping you create the life that you’ve always wanted and built the relationships that you deserve.
Codependence can be challenging to overcome; however, it is also challenging to live with. Regaining your own strength and taking back control of your life will significantly impact you and your future. And you deserve the amazing life that’s waiting for you once you do it.
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