Overcoming codependency is a journey. But first, you need to take a step back to learn what it is and why it’s damaging. Consider the following and ask yourself if it sounds like you or someone you love. You go above and beyond to please another person, even at your expense. If someone asks who you are, you struggle to answer. You might also ignore dishonest, manipulative, hurtful, or dangerous behavior. Your partner may be a brick wall emotionally. Or they could use their emotions to control you. They may gaslight or shame you. But you want to be with them or feel obligated to stick around. It could also be the other way around as people in codependence swap roles at times.
Recognizing you are codependent is only the first step in healing. Codependency can affect mental health, hamper day-to-day activities, and even lead to or worsen substance use disorder. Integrative Life Center understands the complexity of identifying and overcoming codependency. We realize codependent individuals need customized therapy so they can learn to recognize their behaviors and learn positive and healthy coping mechanisms.
Who Can Be Codependent?
Codependency–it’s not just a couple thing. It could be any relationship, such as:
- Mother/Father and child (any age)
- Business partners
Why Is Codependency Damaging?
Neither can reach their full potential. That’s because the other person becomes a crutch. The relationship feels comfortable because it’s what you both know. Being without this person may feel scarier than putting up with harmful behaviors.
However, drug abuse, bad money habits, cheating, abuse–if you’re enabling them, this other person doesn’t have the room they need to grow. Neither do you. You may also shut out family and friends who criticize your partner or this relationship. Because you have blurred boundaries, it feels like a personal attack.
Steps to Overcoming Codependency
There are five basic steps in moving away from codependent relationships:
- Set Boundaries: There should be a clear line between your emotions and those of your partner. Your likes. Their likes. What you want to do. Then what they want to do. Sharing interests and goals can signal an interdependent (healthy) relationship. But if these are always the same, you likely have blurred boundaries.
- Challenge Feelings of Worthlessness of Self-Doubt: Your strength is not in this other person. The strength is in you. Find it. Celebrate it. Then nurture it.
- Notice Your Judgements: Note when you judge yourself harshly or judge the other person.
- Identify Your Role and Responsibility: If you’re judging yourself harshly, then what steps can you take now to begin healing and making the situation better? Next, take action. If you’re judging the other person, then consider your responsibility. Are you enabling them? Are you not telling them how you feel? Note, responsibility is not the same as blame. Blame is used to shame and degrade. Responsibility empowers you to make better choices.
- Realize It’s Okay to Need Help: The above may sound simple. But they take practice and will-power. The two of you may need family or couple’s counseling. And be prepared for that other person to say you’re the only one who needs to see a therapist. But when you take that first step toward healing, often the other begins to heal too.
Overcoming Codependency Is Possible
The Integrative Life Center in Nashville helps individuals, couples, and loved ones living in codependent relationships, particularly when those relationships involve addictions. You can find the support you need to overcome codependency among people who care and with proven therapies, such as:
If a codependent relationship is stunting your personal growth, please call us at [Direct] to learn about our programs.