How to Overcome Codependency (steps)

Often people ignore their own needs to please others, they take the responsibility of other people’s behavior and emotions and feel to set healthy boundaries in relationships.

People spend all their time making other people happy and in doing so they themselves are left sad.

You may call this love or care but in real terms this is codependency. 

This blog helps you acknowledge ways in which you can overcome codependency but before that, let’s have an overview of codependency, causes of codependency and it’s signs that can help you identify whether you are co-dependent on your relationships or not. 

What is Codependency?

Codependency is referred to as constant behavioral conduct in which an individual finds himself excessively dependent on the other person’s approval.

Such an individual depends on his romantic partner or any other relationship to evaluate his own self-worth and his identity.

Codependency is a condition in which the individual sees himself from the eyes of the other person only.

Causes of Codependency 

Codependency is often a result of childhood experiences.

An individual who struggled emotionally in his childhood is likely to experience codependency in his later years.

Such people had experienced a lack of expression, emotional neglect, abuse, or unfulfilled emotional needs in their childhood.

The parents of codependent people are mostly abusive, ignoring, or selfish, who ignore the needs of their children and focus on their own needs only.

This results in an unusual behavioral pattern in individuals, under the influence of which those individuals repeat their childhood off trying to create and maintain relationships even when their partner or spouse is hard to understand, vacated, and emotionally unavailable.

Often individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD) are seen to be codependent on their relationships.

However, it does not mean that all codependent individuals have a borderline personality disorder (BPD).

How to Tell if You’re Codependent

If you think you are experiencing codependency in your relationship, you can take a look at your actions and feeling to confirm whether you are co-dependent on others or not.

Read the following statements carefully. If you agree with these statements that means you might be co-dependent.

  • You are more liable to love people that you can rescue and show compassion to. 
  • You are more liable to take responsibility for the actions and feelings of other people. 
  • You give more in a relationship then you should, for the sake of keeping the peace. 
  • You fear being left alone or abandoned. 
  • You feel you are responsible for the happiness of your partner. 
  • You require the approval of others for recognizing your self-worth. 
  • You find it difficult to adapt to the changes. 
  • You doubt yourself and face difficulty while making decisions on your own.
  • You experience trust issues. 
  • You find a fluctuation in your mood according to the thoughts and feelings of people that surround you.

20 Signs Of Codependency

There are numerous signs of codependency. The following constructs are found to be correlating with codependency (Marks et al., 2012): 

  • Poor self-esteem 
  • Family issues 
  • Depression 
  • Stress 
  • Minimal narcissism 
  • Anxiety 
  • Very little expressions of emotions 

Some other signs of codependency are as follows (Lancer, 2016; Mental Health America): 

  • Facing difficulty in saying ‘no’ 
  • Establishment of poor boundaries 
  • Expression of emotional reactivity 
  • Experiencing an urge to take care of others 
  • Feeling a need to control others 
  • Experiencing problems while communicating honestly 
  • Fixation on mistakes 
  • Feeling an urge to be liked by everyone 
  • Feeling a need to remain in a relationship always 
  • Contradicting one’s own needs, feelings, and thoughts 
  • Experiencing intimacy problems 
  • Experiencing confusion in pity and love 
  • Exhibiting fear of isolation or abandonment

How to overcome Codependency?

Since codependency is a learned behavior, and all learned behaviors can be unlearned, codependency can also be unlearned.

If you want to maintain healthy relationships with your spouse, family members, friends, coworkers, or other relatives, you need to overcome your codependency.

The following are some ways in which you can overcome codependency:

1. Be Honest with Yourself and Your Partner 

To overcome codependency, it is essential, to be honest with yourself and your partner.

Performing actions and saying things that we must not do and say not just wastes time and utilizes energy, but also creates irritation and dissatisfaction in relationships.

It hurts when we say things that we do not mean because it makes us realize that we are living a fake life.

Therefore it is very important, to be honest in your communication and express your true self to the other person.

2. Avoid Thinking Negatively 

Negative thinking affects us negatively.

Therefore it is very important to identify your thinking patterns and catch yourself whenever you feel you are starting to think negatively.

If you start thinking that you do not deserve the best and you should be treated badly, get yourself, and restructure your thoughts instantly.

Think positively and expect good in each and every case.

3. Refrain from Taking Things Personally 

Avoid taking things personally.

A lot of energy and time is required for a co-dependent individual to avoid taking things personally especially in the case of an intimate relationship.

Therefore it is advised to stop taking things personally and accept the other person as he is without making an effort to change them according to yourself.

4. Take Breaks 

It is okay to take breaks from your partner. It is fine to have friendships other than your partnership.

Hanging out with friends helps us redirect ourselves and reminds us of our real worth.

5. Consider taking counseling sessions 

If you find it difficult to heal from your codependency, you and your partner can go for counseling sessions.

A counselor is a non-judgmental, unbiased person that helps resolve conflicts between partners.

Counselors help individuals identify their hidden codependent tendencies and actions.

Counselors give directions to the individuals and provide them with the feedback you motivate them to heal because a change is not possible unless the individual himself tries to bring the change in himself.

6. Establish Healthy Boundaries 

Codependency is mostly experienced by individuals who fail to establish sound boundaries.

We are often unaware of where are needs start from and where the other person’s needs end.

We experience feelings of shame and guilt when we fail to put others before us.

This is not good, you have to establish healthy boundaries, keeping in review your needs and the needs of other people which you have to take care of, in order to heal from codependency.

7. Be Assertive 

Be assertive and learn to say no. It is not your duty to please everybody every time.

It is good to be compassionate but putting others before yourself is not healthy.

You have to learn it is not good to think only about your partner’s needs, only his happiness, and only his demands.

Be assertive and work on fulfilling your needs first.

8. Confront your Fears

Often people fear that they will end up being alone and will be abandoned if they do not keep others before themselves.

It is important to confront all the fears in order to heal from codependency.

Your mental, emotional and physical health matters, so work on it to ensure your well-being.

You should also learn How to get over a crush so you don’t hurt yourself emotionally and physically, if he doesn’t loves you back.

Recommended Books

The following is a list of some of the best books on codependency.

These books are a very good source of increasing knowledge about codependency and acknowledging ways to overcome codependency.

These guides, books, and programs can help you identify codependency sings and work on the healing process to overcome codependency.

All of these books are easily accessible on the Amazon Store.

Just click the book you wish to study and you will be redirected to the page form where you can access it. 

  • Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself by Melody Beattie, Christina Moore, et al.
  • Facing Codependence: What It Is, Where It Comes from, How It Sabotages Our Lives by Pia Mellody, Andrea Wells Miller, et al.
  • Rapha’s 12-Step Program for Overcoming Codependency by Pat Springle  | Nov 1, 1990
  • You’re Not Crazy – You’re Codependent: What Everyone Affected by Addiction, Abuse, Trauma or Toxic Shaming Must Know to Have Peace in Their Lives by Jeanette Elisabeth Menter, Pam Ward, et al.
  • The Codependency Recovery Plan: A 5-Step Guide to Understand, Accept, and Break Free from the Codependent Cycle by Krystal Mazzola MEd LMFT

Is codependency a mental illness?

Codependency is defined as behavioral conduct in relationships where one individual supports the addiction of the other individual, his poor mental health, irresponsibility, immaturity, or under-achievement.

Relying on another person’s approval before doing or saying anything is one of the basic characteristics of codependency.

How do I stop being codependent?

There are multiple ways of overcoming codependency.

Some effective ways of healing codependency include: understanding the meaning of codependency, exploring the roots of your expectations with relationships, establishing relationship boundaries, controlling oneself from feeling a need to control others or asking for approval of others, and prioritizing one’s own needs for personal growth. 

What is the root cause of codependency?

The root cause of codependency is the childhood of codependent individuals.

Oftentimes children are brought up in environments where they are not given freedom of emotions and are either ignored or excessively punished.

This emotional ignorance may result in poor self-esteem f children and they may experience feelings of shame and guilt.

They might develop a schema that they are not worthy at all. 

Are codependents controlling?

Most commonly the individuals who are engaged in codependent relationships, let others control them and in return, they wish to control the controlling individual.

Due to the lack of control over one’s own life experienced by the individual being helped, he tries to control the helper by demanding him to give this individual both his time and energy.

Do codependents really love?

Since codependents experience poor self-esteem and sense of insecurity, they cannot express their true selves rather they spend their time and energies in pleasing the people around them to seek love from them.

Hence, the codependent individual sacrifices his own needs for fulfilling the needs of other people.

How do you deal with a codependent friend?

A codependent friend can be helped by opening up to him and sharing your views with him.

Therapy sessions with spouse or consulting books related to healing codependency can help a codependent friend overcome his codependency.

Anonymous meetings offered to the codependent friend and buying him books on this topic can also do great help to him. 

This blog aimed to help you identify how to overcome codependency.

The blog explained in detail the concept of codependency and the signs of codependency that can help you identify whether you are in a codependent relationship or not.

If you have any queries or questions regarding this blog, let us know through your comments.

We will be glad to assist you.

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

What we recommend for Relationship & LGBTQ issues

Relationship counselling

  • If you are having relationship issues or maybe you are in an abusive relationship then relationship counselling could be your first point of call. Relationship counselling could be undertaken by just you, it does not require more than one person.

LGBTQ issues

If you are dealing with LGBTQ issues then LGBTQ counselling may be a great option for you. Maybe you are confused as to your role and identity or simply need someone to speak to. LGBTQ counsellors are specially trained to assist you in this regard.


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