By: Fardeen Rafique
Date: 15th January 20222
We all have certain individuals that we tend to rely on more than we rely on the others. But how does this reliance become a cause for concern is what we need to know and understand. Recognizing signs of codependency early on can help in breaking a pattern that may have been established without even you being aware.
What Is Codependency?
Codependency refers to a mental, emotional, physical, and/or spiritual reliance on a partner, friend, or family member. Today, codependency covers a much broader spectrum.
What does Co-Dependency look like?
Codependency describes one person’s behaviors and attitudes rather than the relationship as a whole. Someone who is codependent often builds their identity around helping others. They may “depend” on others to validate their self-worth. A codependent person may deny their own desires or emotions to get this approval.
Common symptoms of codependency include:
● Low Self-Esteem: Codependency may cause feelings of shame and worthlessness. A person may believe they do not deserve happiness. If a person does not value themselves, they may try to get others to value them. The sense of “being needed” can prompt internal gratification, even if the recipient of care does not show gratitude.
● Poor Boundaries: Codependent people often feel responsible for others’ happiness. They can have a hard time saying “no” or putting their own needs first. They may hide their true thoughts and feelings to avoid upsetting others.
● A Need to “Save” Others: Codependent people may feel it is their duty to protect their loved ones from all harm. If a loved one does something wrong, they will likely try to fix the situation on loved one’s behalf. Such behavior can prevent others from becoming independent or learning from their mistakes. It may also enable abuse or addiction to persist unchallenged.
● Self-Denial: A codependent person often prioritizes others’ well-being over their own. They may deny their own needs for rest, emotional support, and self-care. They may feel guilt or anxiety when asserting their own desires. Codependent people can feel uneasy when others offer support.
● Perfectionism: Codependent people often project an image of self-reliance and competence. It is common for people to take on more responsibilities than they can handle. When they make an error or receive criticism, they may grow insecure.
● Control Issues: A codependent person may link their own self-worth to others’ well-being. If a loved one fails, a codependent person may feel as if they failed themselves. Their attempts to make others’ lives better may shift into controlling or possessive behavior.
Note-: Not every codependent person will show all these symptoms. But if a person shows many of these traits, they may be codependent.
How to Stop Being Codependent
- Look for signs of a healthy relationship. In order to break out of codependent patterns, you need to first understand what a healthy, loving relationship looks like. Signs of a healthy relationship include making time for each other, maintaining independence, being honest and open, showing affection, and having equality.
- Having healthy boundaries. People with good relationships are supportive of each other, but they also respect each other’s boundaries. A boundary is a limit that establishes what you are willing and unwilling to accept in a relationship. Spend some time thinking about what is acceptable to you. Work on listening to the other person, but don’t allow their problems to consume your life. Practice finding ways to decline requests that step over your boundaries. Set limits, then work on enforcing them.
- Couple/ Individual/ Family Therapy
There are several different group interventions that may be effective for codependency. The group dynamic gives individuals an opportunity to form healthier relationships in an appropriate space. Group therapy often involves giving positive feedback and holding individuals accountable.
Group therapy methods may vary. Some involve cognitive behavioral therapy, where members learn specific skill-building strategies.
Other codependency groups follow the 12-step model. Similar to the way other 12-step groups are run, individuals learn about their relationship addiction. Goals may include increasing self-awareness, self-esteem, and the expression of feelings.