Small But Effective Ways to Manage Codependency
Codependency is the excessive and unhealthy emotional and/or psychological attachment to another person, which can be a romantic partner, a family member, or a platonic friend. The term was developed to describe the destructive relationships that often develop between people who are suffering from substance abuse and their loved ones. However, over the years, codependency has been used to refer to any relationship regardless of whether substance abuse is present or not. Getting codependency therapy is one of the best ways for people to heal their relationships with themselves and their loved ones. However, if your therapy appointment is still days or weeks away and you want to get started now, or if speaking to a therapist currently isn’t an option for you, don’t worry since there are ways to manage codependency on your own. You can start by taking the following steps:
Determine if codependency is present in your life
Evaluate your relationships and determine if they’re codependent to some degree. You’ll know that they are if you often find yourself wanting to control or direct your loved ones’ behavior to achieve your desired results and/or you feel a sense of satisfaction or fulfillment when you make sacrifices for them. You might also be codependent if your mood usually depends on how your loved one feels or acts.
Identify patterns in current and past relationships
If you’ve realized that one or more of your relationships are codependent, take a step back and look for patterns that these relationships share with each other and with past ones. Do you usually attract people who need help physically or emotionally? Do you often feel unworthy if you can’t serve others? Did your parents provide validation when you did things for them and you now find yourself looking for this validation in friends and partners? Identifying these patterns is important since it can help you find the path to healing. Pro tip: Get the help of a holistic psychotherapist if you’re having a hard time identifying codependent patterns. A professional therapist can shine a light on any underlying factors that might be contributing to your codependent relationships.
Set (and honor) your own boundaries
Healing from codependency is primarily about acknowledging that you’re an individual person who has their own needs, wants, and dreams — not just an extension of your loved ones. You can assert your individuality by setting boundaries for yourself and ensuring that they are always honored. Listen to your loved ones with empathy, but don’t provide solutions if you’re not directly involved with the problem. If you decide to do something for others, question what your motives are and determine if you can take action without depleting resources for yourself or putting your needs on the back burner. If the answer is “No”, learn how to politely deliver refusals and stick to them even if you’d get a negative response.
Take these steps to effectively manage codependency and reduce its toll on your mental health. To speed up the healing process, it’s advisable to get the help of the experts at The Holding Space. Our licensed, experienced, and professional therapists are trained and certified in codependency therapy, and they can help you unlearn unhealthy behaviors and know how to build healthy and sustainable relationships. Book an appointment with us today!