How to Fix a Codependent Relationship
By Jennifer McDougall
It’s estimated that four out of five people have experienced codependency at least once. This cannot be easily overcome, but it is possible with the help of others and professional therapy.
Here are some steps you can take if you’re involved in a codependent relationship:
First, identify the characteristics of codependency.
Codependency is a pattern of behavior that develops when someone feels incapable of meeting their own needs. They may think they’re helpless, have no self-confidence, or cannot decide for themselves. This can happen when you’ve had some trauma in your life and haven’t been able to recover from it yet. Codependent behavior can be present in relationships with friends, family members, and romantic partners. Both situations involve people who rely on each other for support and validation.
Notice the relationship patterns you’ve developed.
If you’re in a codependent relationship, it’s essential to notice the patterns that have developed. This is not a new phenomenon; people have been labeled as codependent since the 1970s. However, many people still don’t feel like they can identify or change their behavior in this area.
If your relationships feel strained, ask yourself:
- Do I always give more than I get?
- Do I often try to fix other people’s problems or care for them instead of letting them take care of themselves?
- Am I worried about how others perceive me and my actions because it impacts their opinions about me?
Write down your feelings when relating to the other person.
Writing down your feelings is an effective way to get them out of your head. Once you can see what’s causing the stress, it will be easier to figure out ways to deal with it. Here are some tips for writing a journal entry:
- Write complete sentences or paragraphs instead of just jotting down phrases or words. This will help you organize your thoughts and make it easier for someone else to read later.
- Use metaphors, similes, and other literary devices to describe how you feel (e.g., “My heart aches like a broken toy”). It may sound silly when written down, but these types of descriptions will put more emotional distance between yourself and the situation at hand than just plain old factual statements would do, so there’s less chance of getting upset over something minor because it’s more likely that someone else would have similar experiences under similar circumstances. Hence, they’re likely not going mention anything about this unless asked directly, which means if they don’t ask why then there isn’t any actual harm done by having said something wrong because then we’ll know who their friends were based on whether they kept around after hearing those remarks or not rather than being surprised later on when those same people leave me behind without any explanation whatsoever).
Gather support from others in your life.
The next step is to get support from others. You are not alone in this journey. Talking about your feelings and knowing that you are not always responsible for the relationship and your partner’s behavior is essential. Sadly, many people with codependent tendencies keep their problems to themselves because they feel ashamed or fear judgment from others. While it can be difficult, it is essential to open up about what you’re going through so that you do not feel as isolated.
There are many resources available for people struggling with codependency issues or related mental health concerns such as anxiety or depression. Friends, family members, and professionals such as therapists or social workers can play an integral role in helping a person work through these problems by providing guidance and support while also respecting boundaries when appropriate (e.g., if someone decides that they don’t want help).
Discuss your feelings with the other person in your codependent relationship.
In a codependent relationship, being honest with your feelings and open to the other person’s perspective is essential. You’re both responsible for your own emotions, and though one of you may have more control over them than the other, that doesn’t mean that they can’t take responsibility for their actions or reactions.
It’s important to remember that while both people are involved in this codependent cycle, each partner has different needs and wants. You may want to do things together all the time because it makes your partner happy — but what makes YOU happy? What about when doing things with others becomes more stressful than fun? It’s okay for one person in a relationship to need space sometimes!
If one person feels like their needs aren’t being met by another person in their life (and vice versa), there should always be an open dialogue between them about how they feel about each other as individuals and partners. Disagreements should never lead to fights; instead, focus on finding common ground between yourselves so that conflicts become productive conversations instead of arguments, which only hurt both parties involved even more than not speaking would’ve done initially.
Seek professional help, preferably therapy.
If you are involved in a codependent relationship and want to improve your situation, it’s best to seek professional help. Codependency treatment can help you understand your feelings and change your behavior.
Therapy can also help you identify triggers that lead to unhealthy behavior and teach you how to avoid them in the future. A therapist may also be able to provide insight on how to build self-esteem or develop better coping mechanisms so that when problems arise, they won’t affect your relationships as much.
Suppose you’re experiencing difficulties with trust issues within a relationship but aren’t sure how they started or why they continue despite your best efforts. In that case, therapy might be able to shed some light on these issues while providing techniques for improving trustworthiness over time.
Many people in toxic or codependent relationships fall into habits of substance abuse or self-medication.
If you notice you or your partner is abusing substances, whether it’s alcohol, drugs, or prescription opioids, it’s crucial to get help as soon as possible. Drug and alcohol abuse can lead to emotional distress and a lack of confidence. It can also lead to unhealthy and dangerous behaviors.
Many people in unhealthy or codependent relationships often turn to substances to help relieve the pain and discomfort that come with these conditions. It’s essential to know that drugs and alcohol only mask the problem and never solve it.
Burying your feelings and avoiding discussing your issues with your partner only leads to more problems down the road. A mental health specialist can help you understand why you are acting the way you are and help you learn how to cope with your feelings in healthier ways.
It’s possible to overcome codependency with some work and help from others.
You can overcome codependency by talking about it.
One of the most important things to do when overcoming codependency is, to be honest with yourself and others, including your partner. If you’re in a relationship with someone who tends to lean on you too much, have an open discussion about what’s happening between the two.
Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable; ask them if they feel they depend too much on your strength or energy. By having these difficult conversations early on, both parties will learn how to better support each other by being more independent in the long run.
It’s also helpful for people who suffer from codependent relationships to seek help from others outside their immediate circle — from therapists or friends who know them well enough, not just as lovers but as individuals struggling with self-esteem issues that may have led them down this path in the first place.
While you may be in a codependent relationship, it does not mean you cannot overcome the situation. There are many things you can do to get out of this type of relationship and improve your life. Remember that overcoming codependency is not easy, but it’s doable with help from others and professional guidance.
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