How to Recognize Codependency and Heal Your Codependent Relationship

Codependence is the natural way we enter this world. As babies and very young children, we are highly dependent on those around us. But, that dependency should slowly shift into independence and partnership. Adults that stay in a mode of codependency will end up in unhealthy relationships that result in clinginess, jealousy, unhappiness, and even danger.

I have spent a lot of time in my own life working through issues with codependency that stemmed from my childhood. I was only able to access true affluence and well-being by changing my approach to loving myself, my understanding of reality, and my inner balance.

What is Codependency?

If an adult becomes overly reliant on another person, the relationship can take on a toxic nature. A codependent relationship requires at least one person to have an unhealthy view of themselves, believing their value is determined in some way by the relationship. Typically, the other person in a codependent relationship is either taking advantage of that desire to serve or enabling the self-hate.

Showing Support vs. Codependent Relationships

Sometimes, it’s difficult to tell the difference between a supportive partnership and codependency. One clear sign is if one partner is always jumping in the driver’s seat to control the other person. Over time, the other person may start to rely on the help and do fewer things for themselves.

In a codependent relationship, one person’s needs always take priority. This could also include one person’s family, job, events or relationships consistently trumping the other person’s.

Examples of Codependent Behavior

There are many ways codependency can creep into a relationship. In a romantic relationship, it may mean:

  • Making excuses for the other person’s bad behavior
  • Investing a lot of time and money into a continually relapsing addict
  • Enabling destructive behavior or delusion from your partner
  • Not requiring your partner to take responsibility in their own lives
  • Taking away independence (including money and relationships)

For a parent-child relationships, a codependent tendency might include:

  • Offering a grown child a financial safety net so they never face failure
  • Doing everything (laundry, dishes, tidying up) for a child who should be independent
  • Dropping everything to fulfill the whim or request of the parent
  • Neglecting important responsibilities in order to meet a parent’s demands
  • Feeling uncomfortable with talking about problems in family relationships

What are the Signs of a Codependent Relationship?

Codependent relationships can form between couples dating, married partners, parent bonds, friendships, working relationships, and more. Here are several signs of codependency.

Inability to Hold Ground

Compromise and meeting in the middle are how we sensibly work through conflict with a family member, coworker, or friend. Codependency often pushes aside our own wants to meet the needs or desires of someone else. If you are constantly being pushed aside for someone else’s perspective, wants, or needs, then you are participating in a codependent relationship that you are afraid to lose if you stand your ground.

This kind of unhealthy relationship breaks us down, causing serious problems. If you aren’t allowed to hold your ground, you aren’t able to care for yourself or place a high value on your perspective. Your physical and mental health is at stake here!

Value Set in the Relationship

You are valuable beyond any friends, family, partner, or position. If your worth is tied to another person, then you will start an unhealthy codependency. You might not realize you are assigning such high value to a relationship, so examine your feelings closely here.

Deep down, a codependent person does not believe they are worthy of being loved, so they accept the poor conditions of the relationship. Check out my book Remembering Wholeness. In chapter 10, I covered “10 Lies We Think are Love,” including:

“…I have to suffer to get love.”

“…I have to fix people to be loved.”

“…I have to control you to make it safe to make you love.”

“…I have to please others to be loved.”

Lack of Independence

Babies are codependent because they are unable to fend for themselves. Adults become codependent when they feel unable to fend for themselves and don’t want to take responsibility for their own behavior. But you are powerful and capable. You can make decisions that don’t align with other people in your life.

A codependent pattern of requiring full obedience or alignment it is not love-it is toxic behavior. Also, your mood shouldn’t be dependent on how your partner is feeling or acting.

What are the Causes of Codependency?

A healthy relationship has disagreements and compromises on both sides. One person shouldn’t hold all the power over reconciliation and joy.

How Does Codependence Develop?

We start in a mode of codependence because we need everything from our caregivers as babies. However, growing up means learning healthy independence.

In some cases, toxic relationships are learned behaviors from watching our parents display codependency. This kind of toxic relationship is often passed down from one generation to the next. It also frequently stems from underlying issues:

· Substance abuse, including drug abuse and addiction

· Physical, emotional or sexual abuse

· Chronic pain, disease or mental illness

Your codependency can hurt others around you. You may turn to criticism and resentment, which can be unleashed on others around you that are less demanding. This vicious cycle of codependency can push people away, leading to an even heavier dependence.

Break the cycle of codependency! This way of creating unhealthy relationships could easily pass on to the next generation. Your children are watching you to set their basis for what a relationship should look like. You aren’t going to be perfect, but you can be honest, hold self-worth, and have a realistic view.

9 Tips for Ending Codependency

Codependent relationship patterns are learned behaviors that hurt relationships. The natural way of maturation is to move past our need to rely so heavily on another. By addressing your tendencies, you can naturally progress to a healthy state of independence and self-confidence.

1. Be Honest with Yourself and Others

You have to start speaking up for yourself and voicing your opinion. Staying silent to avoid conflict with a loved one builds resentment. The more you practice, the better you will get at honestly expressing your perspective.

2. Set Healthy Boundaries

Do not feel pressured to do anything for anyone (or one person in particular). If you feel pressured to do everything what a codependent person needs, then let go of that thinking. Boundaries shouldn’t stop you from caring for others, but they should stop you from killing yourself to meet every whim of those around you.

3. Stop Negative Thinking

You don’t deserve to be treated badly. You are valuable. You are worthy of love. Focus on the true, positive thoughts, and don’t let the negative ones that cause codependent tendencies control your mind.

4. Remove Your Emotion

The way people treat you says a lot more about them than you. They are struggling with their own issues, and you can’t take their attacks or anger personally. Work on yourself and try to remove thoughts that take the actions of others personally.

5. Take Breaks

Part of setting boundaries should include taking regular breaks so you don’t reach a point of crisis. If your partner is a trigger (which is very common), you may need to take a break with them until you can better control your responses.

6. Take Care of Yourself

Practice self-care and explore who you are outside of all relationships. You are your own person with your own likes, dislikes, wants, needs, and perspectives. If you aren’t sure of yourself, you will slip right back into codependency.

7. Work through Your Past

The past isn’t always the cause of codependency, but it commonly is. Look at your relationship with your parents and their relationships with others. If you know you have past trauma that impacts your relationships now, I highly recommend you join my Healing Center to work through those deep causes of pain and insecurity.

8. Practice Independence

As you are discovering yourself, practice making choices without checking in. It is good to keep your partner in the loop, but practice letting go of the need to get input every step of the way.

9. Don’t Over-Channel Energy into Others

You will have a lot of pent-up energy from avoiding those triggering relationships. It is important here not to just turn other relationships into points of codependency. You want to get to a place where you can help someone without “fixing” them and then relying on them. Practice channeling that energy into all parts of your chakra centers, using meditation or Yoga.

Clearing Session for Codependency

One of the therapies I use most often with codependency is Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) Tapping. It will help release the pain and tension caused by emotional distress.

This is a powerful healing technique that will help you align your thinking with reality and release the toxicity you bring to relationships. You can use this clearing session as often as you need it or feel yourself slipping back into old habits of negative thinking.

· Start by setting an intention, like: “I’m easily and effortlessly clearing my deeper beliefs and clear out these codependent patterns.”

· While tapping your forehead, chest and shoulders, repeat affirmations to release the expectations, unhealthy patterns, misplaced guilt and lies you’ve told yourself.

· Place your hand over your heart and forgive yourself.

· Tap on the K27 points to reset your thinking and tell yourself: “It is safe to be my true self in a relationship. It is safe to have my own needs met. I am experiencing giving and receiving in my relationships. I’m creating healthy relationships that will honor me.”

You are on a healing journey.

Don’t expect healing overnight. You are on a journey towards healing, and it is ongoing for all of us. Record your progress to get it physically out in front of you. Forgive yourself for bringing toxicity to relationships. And forgive anyone (like your parents) that may have caused you to turn to codependent behaviors.

Learn how to fix codependency with your kids, and improve your relationship patterns moving forward.

You do not need to be a wounded child any longer-you are a powerful adult now. Join my Healing Center, and let’s work through that Childhood Wounding with my 4-Week Healing Plan.

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