By: Amanda Wiegert, LMHC, NCC
Are you noticing that most of your relationships are one-sided or emotionally destructive? Do you find yourself getting involved with the same types of unhealthy relationships over and over again?
If you answered yes to the questions above, then you may have characteristics of a codependent relationship. What is codependency, though?
“A codependent person is one who has let another person’s behavior affect him or her, and who is obsessed with controlling that person’s behavior.” according to Melody Beattie, a well-known author in the area of relationships.
If you want to learn more about codependent characteristics then check out my last article.
The next step after learning about codependency is to recognize codependent tendencies. After recognition comes small changes to break the cycle. How do you do that?
Here are 5 tips begin to overcoming codependency & have healthier relationships:
When we are involved in a codependent relationship, you often lose sight of ourselves. You spend the majority of your time and energy trying to fix the other person. To move forward and create healthier relationships, it will be important for you to take time to explore yourself.
Explore your likes, dislikes, needs, desires, thoughts, and feelings. It will be detrimental if you don’t take the time to understand what you need from a relationship. If you don’t take the time, you will slip back into the pattern of taking care of someone else.
Learn to be independent.
Start doing things by yourself without feeling like you always need to be around your partner. Take yourself out to dinner, go to the movies alone, or pick up a new hobby. Typically, people who experience codependency find it very difficult to spend time by themselves.
Codependent people have grown to be dependent on others for self-fulfillment. Learn to be content with being alone rather than fearing it. This is powerful in overcoming codependency.
Set realistic expectations.
If you place unrealistic expectations on your relationships then you will be let down. Expecting someone else to fulfill you is only setting you up for heartbreak. Learn to be happy with who you are as a person. That way, you don’t have to expect someone else to be the sole provider of your happiness.
Practice setting boundaries.
Codependency in relationships often means there are very few boundaries in place. Chances are, you have spent a lot of time worrying about other people. And, you have let go many of the important boundaries in your life.
Therefore, it is important to learn how to say “no” to people or situations that are not healthy. Saying “no” does not mean you are being selfish or disrespectful. Saying no means you are looking out for your well-being.
Deal with your past.
Sometimes your tendency to codependent behaviors are a result of past trauma. Take a look at your family relationships, abuse, and/or neglect, or other events that may be stopping us from being comfortable with who you are. It is uncomfortable to think about digging things up from your past, however, it is necessary to be able to move forward.
If you feel like you may have tendencies toward codependency, it is important to recognize that you can break the cycle! You can have healthier relationships! And, you can work toward overcoming codependency! Break the cycles by working on your self-care and by learning how to be more independent. Lastly, set healthy boundaries and realistic expectations to create healthy relationships.
Often times, codependency comes from past trauma or relationship experiences. Therefore, it is helpful to talk with a professional to work through past traumatic experiences. This process can be uncomfortable, but you should not have to go through it alone! Please call Life Counseling Solutions today at 407-622-1770 to schedule an appointment or a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation with me.
About the Author: Amanda is passionate about helping people navigate all stages of life. She believes great healing can emerge from trauma and challenges if we allow ourselves to be open to learning and exploring new ways of dealing with difficult life experiences. Read more about Amanda.