How to Stop Being Codependent

Codependency1 is a grave situation, and wondering how to stop being codependent is not an unnatural idea. When you are in any relationship, it often affects your behavior and how you function. Codependency is a condition dominated by emotional and behavioral factors that bars a person from developing a healthy relationship.

1. How are Codependent Relationships?

Irrespective of with whom you have codependent relationships, it can get quite frustrating and emotionally abusive. A codependent individual usually tends to mean nothing but good to their partners in the relationship. One of the leading causes behind this is substance abuse which leads to addiction. The relationship does not necessarily have to be a romantic one as it can also involve any of your family members.

All they want is to love and support the ones they care for and make them feel better. But the problem arises when the efforts made to save and rescue the struggling person make the situation unhealthier. This pushes the person to be even more codependent, which goes on to destroy their individuality. They start to like the idea of “being needed” at all times; a constant need for validation dominates.

Therefore, it can also hamper the formation of a mutually respectful relationship, leading to the worsening of the relationship. Eventually, the sheer presence of love and comfort vanishes from the relationship. The relationship gets complicated and mainly starts to rotate around frustration, pity, and anxiety. Oftentimes, in making attempts to keep the codependent relationship alive, individuals put all their efforts into it.

Individuals tend to lose themselves and begin to overlook or forget what matters to them and what makes them happy. There may be several reasons behind two individuals engaging in codependent behavior. But, the origin of a codependent relationship rests when the individuals are ignorant of themselves. Moreover, such a relationship can also pose severe consequences for both the individuals in the relationship.

2. What Can be Termed As the Signs Of Codependency?

Some of the common instances that can be a sign of codependency 2can be classified into two ways. One is if the relationship exists between you and your family member. While two is if it is between you and your romantic partners.

Codependency with your family member can be experienced when:

  • Parents do not allow their children to do anything by themself.
  • Giving up on everything to take care of the parents or family members.
  • Getting everything done for an adult who should be doing things alone.
  • Neglecting other relationships as well as responsibilities to attend to your parents or a certain family member.

Codependency with your romantic partner can be experienced when:

  • Justifying and/or covering up the partner’s mistakes and trying to safeguard them.
  • Devoting a lot of time and energy to caring for a partner who suffers from alcohol or substance abuse problems.
  • Not paying attention to self-work, self-care, or any other relationship.
  • Not letting the partner take any responsibility without help.

3. What Can Lead to a Codependent Relationship?

Codependency is a trait that often runs in the family, and thus how to stop being codependent is essential. If a child grows up seeing their parents in a codependent relationship, they may struggle with a codependent partner.

Often such a relationship is dominated by members experiencing anger, fear, pain, and even some underlying or pronounced shame. Individuals with codependent tendencies usually have the following reasons behind them:

  • Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse.
  • Addiction problems involving alcohol, drugs, work, sex, food, gambling, etc.
  • Some mental or chronic illnesses.

When dealing with a codependent person, especially in the family, confronting them can be a pretty tough call. Even in a codependent relationship, you may start to feel responsible for your partner. Individuals tend to spend all their time and energy on a person who is ill or abusive.

How to stop being codependent and try to lead a happy life becomes a big question. A codependent relationship can lead to a lot of risks and issues:

  • Chronic anger
  • Poor communication skills
  • Having trouble setting boundaries
  • Lying frequently
  • The constant fear of being left alone
  • Problems in getting intimate
  • Lack of trust in people
  • The constant need for approval and recognition
  • Facing troubles while trying to change

5. What are the Best Ways to Stop Being Codependent?

When you have realized all these issues, it is time to find ways to stop being codependent. Being able to overcome a codependent relationship can be a big challenge. Learning and understanding how adversely a codependent relationship has been affecting you are essential.

Once you have understood these, overcoming codependency will be the next step. The following are some effective ways to be able to achieve it:

  • Taking Care Of Yourself: You need to pay utmost priority to care for yourself. This is a great way that will help you in recovering from codependency. Valuing yourself is extremely important. You can start by doing things that make you happy—work towards overcoming self-demeaning thoughts3 and taking good care of yourself and improving your emotional well-being.
  • Involving Self In A Healthy Relationship: freeing yourself from codependent people can seem to be tough. This is why you need to learn what a loving and healthy relationship feels like. Being in a codependent relationship for a long time can affect your general feelings towards any other positive relationship. A relationship that exhibits signs like showing affection, maintaining independence, and having equality is a healthy one.
  • Maintaining Healthy Boundaries: To break out from the chain of codependent dynamics, you need to set a couple of boundaries. In a healthy relationship, these boundaries define what you are willing to accept while still supporting each other. This includes giving time to your partner and listening to their problems but not letting those problems affect your life.

6. Conclusion

Being able to form strong dynamics with your partner or your family members is crucial. This avoids any chance of getting entangled in a codependent relationship. Upon thinking about how to stop being codependent, the solution is always on handling the relationship.

The good news is, codependency can be overcome with the help of professional help. You can work towards improving your standards of living while keeping yourself happy.

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  1. Morgan Jr, James P. “What is codependency?.” Journal of clinical psychology 47.5 (1991): 720-729. ↩︎
  2. Fuller, Julie A., and Rebecca M. Warner. “Family stressors as predictors of codependency.” Genetic Social and General Psychology Monographs 126.1 (2000): 5-24. ↩︎
  3. Paiva, A. C., Cunha, M., Xavier, A. M., Marques, M., Simões, S., & Espirito-Santo, H. (2013). Exploratory study of risk-taking and self-harm behaviours in adolescents: prevalence, characteristics and its relationship to attachment styles. ↩︎

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Subham Mukherjee

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