Do you want to know how to stop being codependent in your relationships? It is not going to be easy, but it is possible.
We all want relationships that make us fulfilled, feel loved, and, most importantly, what makes us realize our worth. But when it becomes toxic and does the exact opposite of what is expected, that is when the problem starts.
When our relationship makes us feel worthless, and we do not realize the importance of our existence, that is it is time to discuss and communicate the problems to our partner.
Nowadays, there has been an increasing amount of relationship problems. One such issue is codependency. It increases day by day, and not only does it cause harm to the relationship but also the individuality of the codependent person.
What is Codependency?
Codependency is when one or both partners are overly dedicated to each other, leaving the codependent with their own life. In such a relationship, the codependent partner’s happiness becomes the only motive in life.
Codependency should not be mistaken with occasionally helping and making sacrifices for loved ones, not wanting them to leave, and finding comfort with their presence.
Codependent ones only indulge themselves in activities related to their partner. Every other thing seems useless because all they want to do is make them happy. As the name suggests, partners become dependent upon each other for themselves.
The codependent one dedicates all their efforts and time to please the other. The other one, too, after a while, gets dependent upon the opposite partner for the fulfillment of all their needs and gradually loses their independence.
That is how codependency works where, on the face of it, it seems like only one person who is grossly involved in the opposite partner’s happiness is being dependent. Still, both of them are being dependent because the one who is getting an advantage is also gradually becoming dependent on the other one for their needs and requirements.
Although codependency may seem like a phase, it can be lifelong because the codependent partner gets so much involved in their counterpart that they may forget 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.
If not addressed in time, codependency and can leave a lifelong impact. It damages other relationships with friends, families, etc., and eventually, there is no one left in their life.
Codependency can also damage careers because a codependent partner cannot concentrate on anything other than their partner and neglect 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.
When their partner leaves them, they are left with no one to support them and share their feelings, and they become prey to depression, and gradually, their life seems worthless, and suicidal thoughts start to emerge.
What causes codependency?
There can be many causes for developing a person’s codependent attitude, but most of it stems from their early life. While these causes may vary from individual to individual, some general reasons apply to most codependent persons.
- The family background of a person impacts the behavioral aspects of that person significantly. It is rare for a person to become codependent if that person belongs to a mentally healthy family.
- When a person grows up in such a dysfunctional family, they start believing that they are not important, and their feelings and existence are of no value. It makes them develop a trait where they do not share their feelings with anyone, including their partner.
- Overly harsh parents make their kids please them. While growing up, they want to please their parents, and in a relationship, they always think about their partner’s happiness.
- When the parents expect impossible things from their children and want them to become perfect, this leads to codependency in a relationship. In such a surrounding, they think that they are the problem and feel unworthy, along with other negative traits.
- When the parents are not capable, and the codependent person has to take up the guardian’s role for their siblings, they acquire this trait of a caretaker. The same follows to adulthood and, as a result, the codependent behavior in a relationship.
Signs of a codependent person
At first, it is tough to recognize a codependent person because it may seem like the person is just madly in love with their partner. Still, when this behavior increases day by day, and the person starts losing individuality, it becomes apparent that they are becoming codependent.
- The person becomes grossly involved in the happiness of their partner, neglecting their joy and individuality.
- Cut themselves off from every other relationship like family, friends, co-workers, etc.
- Do not concentrate on their career, and the graph of their career lowers day by day.
- They become anti-social and lonely because they are only left with their partner.
- Do not give importance to themselves or feel guilty when they do so.
- Their mood depends on the mood of their partner.
- Even when someone tells them to stop their codependent behavior, they continue to pursue it. They may also realize their codependency, but there is always this conflict in their mind about whether to leave the relationship.
- Tends to keep aside their feelings and needs, and desires.
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.
A codependent person thinks it is wrong to express their needs and desires. They feel guilty when they do not dedicate even a moment to their partner’s happiness. Even if someone tells them about their strange behavior, they find this fact hard to digest. Even if they realize it, they have a conflict in their mind about whether they should get out of the relationship or not. They just do not know how to overcome codependency.
How to identify a Codependent behavior pattern?
In a codependent behavior pattern, one can notice the below characteristics:
- A codependent person has difficulties in decision making, communicating, undervalue themselves, poor self-esteem, inferiority complex, sense of guilt, and the biggest of all, their partners identify them.
- They realize that they are being neglected and losing their importance, but they become obsessed with their partner that it becomes challenging to pull them out from what they have become.
- The sacrifices they make are expectations for validation.
- A codependent person is unable to find satisfaction outside the life of their partner.
- They give their partner support at the cost of their health – be it mental, physical, or emotional.
- They tend to gravitate towards those who are always in need of help.
Ways to Stop Being Codependent
If you’re wondering how to stop being codependent in a relationship, you will need to understand the how and why of the issue. After that, follow these steps.
Realize your worth
Realize your worth because it is all about self-worth. Think about your own life and think about other aspects of it because there is a whole world outside the relationship, and such a relationship is not worth it where you do not have your importance.
Start loving yourself because self-love is all you need right now. Start from little things like a day out on your own, shop, get a spa, pamper yourself, and start pursuing hobbies.
Seek professional help
Even if you find it hard to stop despite knowing everything, seek counseling or therapy because external professional support can actually work.
Talk to someone
Talk to someone close to you like parents or a close friend and try to understand whatever they are saying, seek their help, and talk to your partner about the way you feel.
Try to separate yourself from your partner. Start with one day. And then increase the time span. Start thinking of other aspects of life and extract happiness from other things.
Learn to say NO
Start being strong and learn to say no, even if it hurts initially, you will gradually start feeling your strength.
Set healthy boundaries
Set a limit around things you are not comfortable with. Learn the art of politely refusing, stop trying to fix people, and question yourself if you really want to do something. It will be tough at first but with practice, you will start honoring your boundaries.
Respect your needs
Ask yourself: what do I really want? Give yourself time to identify your own needs and desires, independently of anyone else’s.
Focus on yourself
Start indulging yourself in other essential things like your career, your health, and your hobbies. When you distract yourself from some other things, you automatically start to overcome your codependency problem.
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. Relationship means to love and receive love, and it is not a full-time job. Self-love is also part of the relationship. Be where you feel strong because it is your life, and you should spend it on your terms. Overcoming codependency isn’t so hard after all. Love everyone, but give yourself the priority.