How to Overcome Codependency

Codependency is excessive emotional reliance on someone. It often comes with an inability to see someone from enough distance to understand their faults, and puts you in a position to blame the world for their problems. This is particularly dangerous when that person has a mental disorder or addiction problem, because it creates a scenario where the sick person is supported by a well person. This often allows the sick person to get a lot further with their disorder than they would if they were allowed to fail without being helped by their codependent ally. If you see yourself supporting someone who has constant problems, it often requires you to take a big step back before they will get the help they need. This will require overcoming your codependency. Here are some tips on how to do this:

Find Value in Yourself
Often, part of the reason that codependency begins is because someone has a hard time believing in themselves, and so they believe instead in the support they can give to another. If this sounds like you, then the first step you need to take is to start finding value in yourself outside of what you do for your loved one. Start with your hobbies and talents, and other things you are good at. Cultivate some goals, and achieve them. Find groups of people who share those goals and dreams, and begin spending time with them outside of this person. As you begin to better understand who you are outside of this person, you will be better able to help support them in a healthy way.

Get Outside Assistance for your Loved One
If your partner, child, parent, or other codependent loved one has an untreated issue, then getting them help is a big step in severing the codependent portion of your relationship. This may mean getting a counselor or other mental help for someone who is mentally ill, or staging an intervention for someone who has emotional, behavioral or addiction problems. If the help means that this person will spend some time physically away from you, this will also give you a better idea of what your life will be when you are separate, and you can focus on how to make your own world better when you stop enabling theirs.

Watch for Blowback
One of the hardest things about a codependent relationship is that you often feel really bad when the other person is better. This may mean that you may unconsciously try and sabotage their healing because of a fear of who you will be without it. Awareness of this may help you to stop yourself, or to realize when you are the one who needs counseling support to continue your emotional growth.

Cite this page: N., Pam M.S., "How to Overcome Codependency," in PsychologyDictionary.org, February 9, 2016, https://psychologydictionary.org/article/how-to-overcome-codependency/ (accessed March 20, 2019).
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