Break Free from Codependency

Break Free from Codependency

At the heart of codependency is a lack of valuing one’s self. People who are codependent value others more than themselves and this contributes to relationship problems. Their lives revolve around helping, fixing or saving others at their own expense. Relationships become very unbalanced.

Recovery from codependency involves changing your behaviors and your thoughts. It requires strengthening your self-esteem and feeling like your feelings and needs are equally important to those of others. Awareness of your unhealthy behaviors is a start. Real change involves practicing new behaviors repeatedly until they come naturally and feel “right”.

You hold the key! photo from freedigitalphotos.net

You hold the key!
photo from freedigitalphotos.net

Becoming less codependent, means you need to tolerate and accept that others won’t be happy with you all the time. Stop trying to keep the peace and please everyone. As I’m sure you’ve experienced, trying to make others happy never really works. Discord ends up happening anyway.

You will need to establish boundaries and begin to say “no”. Boundaries mean a separation between yourself and others. It means establishing what you are and are not willing to do. It means that I don’t have to feel upset just because you’re upset or that I’m not willing to give you a ride after 9 pm.

It is also important to get to know yourself and become more independent. Part of recognizing your separateness is reconnecting with yourself. It’s time to get to know yourself again. Spend time thinking and exploring who you are, what you enjoy, what your goals are. Chances are you have gotten lost in your relationship. Your life has become all about others. You are more than your relationships and you need to restore balance through learning to value and enjoy yourself.

Changing well established behavior and thought patterns is a lot of work. I strongly suggest seeking the support and guidance of CoDA (Co-dependents Anonymous) and/or individual therapy.

Sharon Martin, LCSW © 2015

Sharon Martin, a licensed counselor and psychotherapist in the San Jose area, specializes in helping adult children of alcoholics and others who struggle with anxiety, perfectionism, and self-criticism. She has a private psychotherapy practice in CA where she is available for online counseling. Sharon is also the author of The CBT Workbook for Perfectionism and write the blog Conquering Codependency for Psychology Today.