Codependency in Relationships

It is important to understand codependency in relationships. What codependency is, the warning signs, and how it affects relationships.

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codependancy in relationships


Codependency in Relationships

According to Counselling Directory, “Codependency is a type of relationship in which both people are mutually dependent on fulfilling a particular role in relation to each other. Often that role serves the self-interests of one person at the expense of the other – but is presented as an act of caring and devotion. To fully understand if and why you are in a co-dependent relationship, you first need to understand your attachment style.

 Codependency in relationships may feel like unconditional love, but it is in fact predicated on a desperate sense of helplessness. Codependency in nature comes from a lack of boundaries.

Signs You Are Co-Dependent

If you do not have boundaries or a lot of self-respect, you may find yourself in a repeating pattern of codependency in relationships. According to the psychotherapist, Sharon Martin, there are some signs that point towards a person who is likely to be codependent. 

  • You focus on other people’s problems and needs in the form of caretaking, controlling, advice-giving, and worrying about others.
  • Intimacy, open communication, and trust are difficult because you didn’t have role models for healthy relationships and you’ve probably been hurt and betrayed in your relationships.
  • You’re reactive. Anger and resentments build up over time causing you to seemingly overreact at times.
  • You act like a martyr, taking care of everyone else, giving without receiving, and then feeling angry, resentful, and taken advantage of.
  • You’re very hurt. For some, the pain is close to the surface and for others, it’s buried underneath anger and denial. The pain of being abused, lied to, cheated on, ignored, cursed at, rejected, or invalidated has never fully healed.
  • You feel guilty and ashamed. Guilt and shame are the roots of low self-worth and low self-esteem. For a long time, you’ve felt there was something wrong with you. Perhaps someone told you this directly or you may have come to this conclusion based on how you’ve been treated. For example, Jasmine’s mother repeatedly invalidated her feelings and called her a “greedy little slut”; she grew up feeling unlovable and like there’s something wrong with her.

Overcoming Codependency in Relationships

Codependency, like much else, can be overcome with a little self-patience, love, and understanding of the issues at hand. Educating yourself on the issue beforehand and allowing yourself to feel how you feel are the first steps to overcoming codependency. 


1). Be Nicer To Yourself: 

The only way to change your relationships with others is to do so with yourself first. This means being kinder and more understanding towards your feelings, instead of being critical and judging yourself harshly. As you change your self-talk, you will notice that you start to relate to yourself, and others, in a new way.


2) Go Inside And HEAL:

 Our pasts can influence how we survive in the present. Codependency might have been your unhealthy coping mechanism to deal with past trauma. Pay attention to your patterns, because the way you learned how to survive may not be the way you want to live. Heal and continue to grow.


3) Feel your feelings:

 You have to understand that it’s okay to have emotions. Learning how to feel your feelings without letting them control you is powerful when it comes to overcoming codependency. When you are in the midst of your co-dependency, it often is difficult to know how to best manage and regulate your emotions. As you grow and recover from codependency, you start identifying and naming your emotions which makes it easier to understand why you are feeling them. It is best to respond to your fears and insecurities with self-compassion and kindness rather than shame and embarrassment.


4) Set new healthier boundaries: 

As said above, Codependency in nature comes from a lack of boundaries. In enmeshed boundaries, your needs blend in with the needs of your partner. Often when we set poor boundaries and say yes to things when we should’ve said no, it leaves us feeling angry and resentful. These emotions can signal to you that you just violated your own boundaries. It’s important to remember that it’s perfectly okay for you to say no to something you don’t want to do. 

5) Let go of control:

The fact is you can only control yourself, not the other person or the outcome. Recovery from codependency means redirecting attention back to you. Letting go of perfectionism starts with accepting that as human beings we are meant to have flaws and imperfections. We can let go of expecting ourselves to be perfect.



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