How to Stop Being Codependent: Tips and Tricks
Codependency refers to an imbalanced relationship in which one person mentally, emotionally, physically, or spiritually relies on a friend, partner, or family member. It’s often referred to as “relationship addiction” because codependent people often form or maintain relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive, or abusive. The term was first used to describe a person’s relationship with someone who’s addicted to drugs or alcohol. However, it’s been expanded to include people in one-sided relationships that are abusive and enabling. If you’re in this position, our tips on how to stop being codependent can help.
In sociology, codependency is also characterized by imbalanced relationships in which one person enables another person’s self-destructive behavior. Simply put, a codependent relationship involves one partner who needs the other partner, who in turn needs to be needed.
Usually, the people in these relationships who are codependent mean well. They want the best for the other person. However, in their willingness to make the other person happy, they neglect their own needs and end up engaging in enabling behaviors that do more harm than good.
As a Palm Beach rehab, we often see codependency in relationships between people with substance use disorders and their loved ones. In fact, this issue most commonly affects spouses, parents, siblings, friends, and even coworkers of people with drug or alcohol addictions.
As we mentioned, codependent people often have good intentions. This could be a mother who always defends her truant child, a father who “pulls strings” to keep his child from suffering legal consequences, or a wife who covers for her alcoholic husband’s behavior.
Codependency can also stem from what seems like harmless caretaking. Dedication to caretaking can quickly spiral out of control, becoming compulsive, controlling, and defeating. This is why most people who are codependent on others have low-self esteem and “need to be needed.”
The codependent person may eventually take a martyr’s role and become the person’s benefactor, making them feel as if they’re always responsible for everything and must always put aside their own needs to care for the other person. However, in the end, repeated rescue attempts only enable the individual to continue engaging in self-destructive behavior.
As this reliance increases, the codependent person experiences a sense of reward from being needed. Eventually, the caretaking becomes compulsive and choiceless, making the individual feel helpless and trapped in this cycle.
Tips on How to Stop Being Codependent
Codependency is learned by watching and imitating family members or other people you grow up with who display this type of behavior. It’s usually passed down through generations. This means that kids who grow up witnessing a codependent relationship between their parents are more likely to repeat this pattern.
Being codependent can become physically and mentally exhausting. A once-loving and rewarding relationship can quickly feel like a ball and chain. Unfortunately, codependency is rarely ever addressed in these kinds of relationships.
But we want to change that. If you’ve ever wondered, “how do I stop being codependent?” we can help. Below are some tips on how to stop being a codependent person that can help you break out of this vicious cycle and regain control of your life.
Identify Your Codependent Tendencies
The true definition of codependency is often misconstrued in our hyper-independent society. Nowadays, if you aren’t all about yourself, then you’re not focused on yourself enough.
When stopping codependent behavior, it’s important to separate the true signs of codependency from selfless acts. For instance, it’s okay to self-sacrifice for a higher good or to put others’ needs before your own. It’s only when these things get in the way of a healthy relationship or your peace of mind that it becomes a problem.
Also, codependency doesn’t mean you’re weak. It just means you’ve survived a tough relationship. This condition is also psychological and usually develops in early childhood when merging your needs with the needs of others allows you to connect with caregivers who weren’t all that caring.
So, all this to say that in moments where you feel as if society or yourself or anyone else is making you feel as if you’re “less than” for struggling with codependency, show compassion to yourself.
Learn About Healthy Relationships
To stop codependency, you have to first understand what a healthy relationship is like. Signs of a healthy relationship include making time for each other, maintaining independence, being honest with each other, showing affection, and maintaining equality in a relationship.
If the other person is constantly relying on you to do things they can do on their own, then it’s a problem. If they aren’t valuing your needs as much as you value there’s, then there’s a lack of balance that can later contribute to codependence.
Create Healthy Boundaries
Establishing healthy boundaries is crucial in stopping codependency. Boundaries encourage respect, honesty, and equality, all of which are key aspects of a rewarding and healthy relationship.
A boundary is a limit that establishes what you’re willing and unwilling to accept in a relationship. Whether you want to work on a current relationship or want to prepare for a new one, dedicate time to thinking about boundaries that you want to create.
Also, work on listening to the other person without making their problems your own. A huge characteristic of codependence is always putting the needs of others on your shoulders, but this can put too much pressure on your shoulders.
Don’t let the other person’s problems consume your life. Find ways to decline requests that overstep your boundaries. Set limits and work on ways to reinforce them.
Identify Your True Needs
Distinguish your true needs from avoidance. Do you need to avoid the person’s disapproval at all costs, or do you need to make sure that you don’t burn yourself out from over-delivering?
Do you need to avoid making a mistake, or do you need to give yourself some grace and accept that you’re human? Make it a regular practice to take some time and check-in with yourself, and make sure you aren’t doing more than you need to or can handle.
Practice Clear Communication
Learn to be direct in the way you communicate with others, leaving as little room for interpretation or manipulation as possible. For instance, if someone asks you, “Can you go to the store with me tonight?” and you can’t, say, “No, I can’t go to the store with you tonight,” instead of something like, “Well, I’m feeling tired from work today.”
Clear communication prevents the other person from misinterpreting the conversation or finding a way to corner you into agreeing with their request. And if they persist, stand your ground.
Many codependent people often neglect self-care. This stems from the compulsive desire to put the other person’s needs ahead of their own.
One of the most important steps to stop being codependent is to learn how to value yourself. Learn more about the things that make you happy and the kind of life you want.
Work on identifying and replacing negative self-talk and thoughts with more positive ones. Be sure to take care of your physical and mental health, as well. Eat a healthy diet (with some treats in there for the soul), incorporate rest into your routine, and do things that make you happy.
Get Help For Yourself
Codependency is a psychological condition that runs deeper for many people than self-care. Many who are codependent need the help of a professional, and that’s okay.
If you’re struggling to find help, our treatment center in Palm Beach offers help for families of addicts, including individual and group therapy options that address codependency, enabling, and more.
It may also be helpful to speak to loved ones about your relationship and your codependence. Those who haven’t been affected by this issue or are in healthy relationships can offer you additional support and keep you accountable as you heal.
Addiction and Codependency Treatment at BHOPB
Codependency is most common in relationships involving drug or alcohol addiction. Fortunately, Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches offers codependency treatment for the loved ones of addicts as well as specialized addiction treatment to help the individual recover.
In addition to implementing codependency treatment strategies for the friends, families, and spouses of people addicted to drugs and alcohol, we also offer addiction treatment in Palm Beach that includes various levels of care, such as medically monitored detox, inpatient drug treatment, and more.
Our holistic treatment center in Lake Worth also values the efficacy of natural remedies, such as a nutritional diet and talk therapy, which is why we also utilize holistic treatment methods like life skills therapy and gourmet meals to help our patients heal from the inside out.
To learn how our specialists can help you or a loved one recover from the impact of addiction or mental health, call us today at 561-220-3981.
(This would be a great infographic to add to the blog: https://www.bhpalmbeach.com/addiction-blog/infographic-on-codependency-intervention/)