Do you want to know how to stop being codependent in your relationships? It is not going to be easy, but it is possible.
Ultimately, we all desire relationships that make us happy feel loved, and, most importantly, realize our worth. But when it becomes toxic and does the exact opposite of what is expected, the problem starts.
When we feel worthless in our relationship and fail to see why we even exist, it is time to discuss and communicate our problems.
Relationship problems are on the rise these days. Codependency is one such issue. This problem worsens with every passing day, damaging the relationship and harming the codependent’s individuality.
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What is Codependency?
One or both partners are codependent when overly devoted to their partners, leaving the self-sufficient individual to manage life independently. In such a relationship, the codependent partner’s happiness becomes the only motive in life.
This type of codependency is not synonymous with occasionally sacrificing for loved ones, expecting them to stay, and seeking solace from their presence.
The codependent only indulges in activities involving their partner. Every other thing seems useless because all they want to do is make them happy. As the name implies, partners become dependent on each other.
Codependents devote all their efforts and time to pleasing their partners. Over time, the other person becomes dependent on the opposite partner to fulfill all of their needs and gradually loses their independence.
Codependency appears to be an imbalance where the opposite partner is grossly involved in one partner’s happiness while the other partner is independent. Yet both are dependent on each other since the one who gains an advantage is also gradually reliant on the other for their own needs and requirements.
Codependency may seem like a phase, but it can last a lifetime because the codependent partner gets so involved in their partner that they may forget about their own life. They cut themselves off from everything because they cannot think of anything else as the only motive of their life revolves around their partner.
Untreated, codependency leaves a lasting impact. As a result, they lose others in their lives, and eventually, they have no one to hold them together.
Codependency can also be destructive to careers because a codependent partner cannot focus on anything but their partner and neglects their career. With time, they become lonely because there is no one left in their life, and there is also no one left to get them out of their relationship rut after realizing the toxicity of their relationship.
After their partner leaves them, they are left with no one to support them and share their feelings with, and they are more prone to depression. With time, they feel that their life is worthless, and suicidal thoughts arise.
What causes codependency?
Codependent attitudes are often the result of early life experiences, but there are numerous reasons.
- A person’s family background dramatically influences their behavior. Unless a person comes from a mentally healthy family, it is rare for them to become codependent.
- People who grow up in dysfunctional families begin to believe they are unimportant and that their feelings and existence are worthless. They develop the trait of never sharing their feelings with anyone, including their partner.
- When parents are overly strict, their kids are forced to please them. In a relationship, they always do their best to make their partner happy, just as they do when they’re growing up.
- When the parents expect impossible things from their children and want them to become perfect, this leads to codependency in a relationship. The environment in which they operate makes them feel unworthy, and they think of themselves as the issue.
- When parents are incompetent, the codependent person becomes a caretaker when assuming their siblings’ guardian roles. Adulthood follows the same pattern, resulting in codependent behavior in a relationship.
Signs of a codependent person
At first, it is difficult to identify a codependent person because they may seem to be just madly in love with their partner. The problem arises when this behavior escalates day after day, and the individual starts losing their independence.
- They become overly involved with their partner’s happiness, disregarding their joy and individuality.
- By denying themselves contact with family, friends, coworkers, etc.
- Their career graph falls each day because they don’t concentrate on it.
- Having to rely on only one person, they become anti-social and lonely.
- They feel guilt when they take care of themselves.
- Their mood depends on the mood of their partner.
- They persist in their codependent behavior even when told it should stop. Although they may recognize their codependency, there is always this conflict in their minds about whether to end the relationship.
- Keeps their feelings, needs, and desires aside.
Can codependency be addictive?
The answer is yes. Codependency can gradually become addictive. At first, the person may seem madly in love and do things out of love, but it is their codependency in reality.
Codependents think it is wrong to express their needs and desires. If they do not give their partner even a moment’s attention, they feel guilty. It’s hard for them to digest it when someone points out their strange behavior.
No matter what they realize, they have a conflict in their minds over whether they should end the relationship or keep it. They don’t know how to overcome codependency.
How to identify a Codependent behavior pattern
One can observe the following characteristics in codependent behavior:
- The key characteristics of a codependent person include poor decision-making skills, trouble communicating, poor self-esteem, inferiority complex, a sense of guilt, and most importantly, a partner identifies them.
- While they realize that they are being neglected, they become so addicted to their partner that it becomes hard to pull them away from what they have become.
- They sacrifice to get validation for their efforts.
- A codependent individual cannot find fulfillment outside of their partner’s life.
- They sacrifice their health – whether physical, mental, or emotional.
Ways to Stop Being Codependent
If you wonder how to stop being codependent in a relationship, you must know how and why it happens. Then, follow these steps.
Realize your worth
The key to self-worth is to realize it. It is essential to think about your own life and consider other aspects because there is a whole world outside the relationship, and such a relationship is not worth it if you do not have your importance.
Now is when you should start loving yourself because that’s what you need right now. Try to do little things like shopping, going to a spa, pampering yourself, and taking up hobbies to start.
Seek professional help
No matter how difficult it may seem, consulting a professional can actually help you quit, even if you know it all.
Talk to someone
Talk to someone close to you, like your parents or a close friend, and try to understand what they are telling you. Seek their help, and talk to your partner about how you feel.
Put distance between you and your partner. Take one day at a time. Then increase the period. Consider other aspects of life and find happiness in them.
Learn to say NO
Once you begin to be strong and say no, you will gradually gain strength even if it hurts at first.
Set healthy boundaries
Limit your exposure to things you don’t feel comfortable with. Learn the art of politely refusing, stop trying to fix people, and question yourself if you really want to do something. You will have a hard time at first, but you will learn to honor your boundaries as you practice.
Respect your needs
Ask yourself: what do I really want? Take the time to identify your own needs and desires, independent of anyone else’s.
Focus on yourself
Take the time to focus on other vital aspects of your life, such as your career, health, and hobbies. When you divert your attention to something else, your codependency problem will automatically start to disappear.
Bonus: read books related to codependency
- Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself by Melody Beattie
- Codependent No More Workbook by Melody Beattie
- Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents by Lindsay C. Gibson
By following these ways, you can stop being codependent in relationships and start living your life to the fullest. A relationship is about loving and receiving love, not being a full-time job. Self-love is also an essential part of a relationship. Be where you feel strong because it is your life, and you should spend it on your terms. Codependency isn’t so difficult to overcome after all. Love everyone, but put yourself first.