5 Steps To Work On Your Co-dependence

Do you find you accept responsibility for a loved one’s emotions or actions? Are you constantly trying to please others? Do you neglect your own needs and have difficulty setting realistic personal boundaries? Do you often feel resentful yet have difficulty stepping away from a dysfunctional relationship?

These are some of the symptoms of codependency. Codependent people look for external cues from others to tell them what they should feel, need and act like. While most would agree that sensitivity to others is a wonderful trait, codependents take it to an extreme because of an inability to create healthy boundaries.

Healthy boundaries draw a line of distinction and responsibility between our own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and those thoughts, feelings and behaviors of others.

Here are steps toward breaking patterns of codependency.

1. Recognize Any Denial

The first step to recovery is to be honest with yourself and acknowledge the problem. There is a very good chance you have rationalized your codependence over time. While it can feel scary to admit to being involved in a dysfunctional relationship, honesty is the first step toward creating more fulfilling relationships.

2. Study Your Past

Take a look at your family history to uncover experiences that may have contributed to your codependency. What is your family history? Were there events that led to you disconnecting from your inner emotions? Were you preoccupied by keeping someone in the family taken care of, even when you were a child?

This can be a difficult process and one that involves reliving childhood emotions. You may find that you feel guilty or angry for admitting you were impacted by unbalanced relationships in your developing years. This type of work can be difficult and is best done in a safe counseling relationship.

3. Detach from Unhealthy Involvements

In order to truly work on ourselves, we have to first detach from our preoccupations. Personal growth will require giving up the over-involvement with trying to change, control or please someone else.

This means letting go and acknowledging we cannot fix problems that are not ours to fix. We can do this by recognizing those moments in which we feel the impulse to jump in, say something, or save someone from their own destructive behaviors.

4. Learn Self-care

Giving up your excessive attempts to please others and take care of others is a good start to healing, but learning to take care of yourself is an absolute must. It’s important that you begin to become aware of your own thoughts, feeling and needs, and learn how to communicate them in a relationship. This may feel very wrong at first, as if you are being incredibly selfish. But that’s okay. It’s expected given your long-standing patterns.

In order to form healthy relationships with others, you must first form one with yourself.

5. Get Good at Saying “No”

One of the best ways you can begin to set healthy boundaries is to learn to say no to situations that are detrimental to your own well-being. This will feel awkward at first, but the more you do it, the easier it will become.

Seeking the guidance of a psychologist or counselor will be beneficial as you work your way through these five steps. They will be able to help you safely explore your painful feelings and experiences and learn healthy ways of relating to yourself and others.

If you or a loved one is codependent and interested in exploring treatment, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.

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Karin Lawson

2312 Wilton Drive, Suite 22
Wilton Manors, FL 33305

karin@drkarinlawson.com
954-336-4049