Codependency is a situation in which you rely excessively upon a relationship to meet your needs. After recognizing the signs of codependency, it is time to make changes in your life. These changes include letting go of negative thoughts and habits while adding positive qualities to your life.
Let Go Of These 5 Things to Address Codependency
- The desire to fix the other person. We are all imperfect, and that’s okay. Let go of your instinctive need to fix others. Instead, repeat to yourself: “This isn’t my problem, and it’s okay not to fix it.”
- Shame and guilt. Shame and guilt keep you trapped in a pattern of codependency. When you feel ashamed or guilty, explore the situation that elicited those feelings. Ask yourself, “Should I really feel guilty about this?”
- Walking on eggshells around the people in your life. You are a complex person with nuanced thoughts, feelings, and needs. Let go of the worry that expressing those feelings will cause other people to reject you or turn away.
- The need to control others. When you feel the urge to jump in to fix a problem or “win” someone’s respect, take a step back. Let the person figure out their own problem, even if they struggle. Giving others this autonomy helps to rectify the imbalance in your relationships.
- The belief that you can do it all on your own. People in codependent relationships often place a lot of pressure on themselves to make things run smoothly without “bothering” other people. However, relying on a broad network of people — friends, family members, mental health professionals — is a healthier way to cope with life stressors.
5 Strategies to Add to Your Life for Healthier Boundaries
- Express your feelings. Codependent people often numb or suppress their emotions. Learn to label your feelings and express them: “I feel ______ when you ______.”
- Learn how to set boundaries with loved ones. Boundaries are critical in healthy relationships. Think about your own limits, and express them to your relationship partner. Then, be prepared to enforce boundaries with assertive language. Saying “no” is not a bad or shameful thing! Setting clear boundaries is a way to protect yourself.
- Engage in self-nurturing activities. Self care is essential to breaking the cycle of codependency. Long walks, bubble baths, meditation, healthy eating, or joining a group are great way to nurture your inner self.
- Recognize your worth. Low self-esteem contributes to codependency. Sit down and make a list of things you are proud of or like about yourself. When you feel stressed and anxious, return to that list to remind yourself of your own value.
- Go to counseling. Being in a codependent relationship is stressful, and it can have a negative impact on your mental health.