Moving Beyond Co-Dependent Relationships

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Moving Beyond Co-Dependent Relationships
Being in a relationship with other people always involves some give-and-take, some times of making sacrifices, and times of taking care of each other. This willingness to help somebody else and care about their needs is an essential part of any healthy relationship.

However, this positive trait can become harmful if one person takes it too far. Codependency is a dysfunctional relationships in which one person is so reliant on another person’s approval that they support unhealthy habits such as addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, or irresponsibility.

In a healthy loving relationship, people support each other of their own free volition, but in a codependent relationship, one person abandons free agency,“giving” even at the expense of his or her needs and well-being. Furthermore, codependency is not truly helpful for the recipient, because it can enable negative lifestyles and habits.

For example, if your partner is addicted to alcohol, you could continually exhausting yourself trying to protect him or her from the consequences of drinking and hiding it from the rest of the world, but it would end up only entrenching the addiction and making it harder for that person to realize the need to get help. If your relationship is falling into codependent patterns, here are some ways you can move on to a healthier sense of boundaries and mutual care.

Rediscover Yourself:
Codependency is sustained as you lose a sense of who you really are. You have spent so long pressured to conform to someone else’s expectations, that you have lost sight of who you really are.

So, an important part of recovery is learning to regain a sense of who you really are. This means that you must take time to concentrate on your needs, your values, and your feelings. Take some time away from other people, so that you can get in touch with the voice inside of you.

Journaling, or regularly writing down your thoughts and experiences in a private, judgement-free space, can be a helpful way of processing through your inner thoughts and feelings. Mindfulness meditation, or simply allowing thoughts to come and go with awareness but without judgement, can help build the habit of learning to recognize your true self and become more gentle with it.

In addition, you can make room to do enjoyable activities on your own, trying to carve out space to push yourself and do something enjoyable on your own. Sometimes this can take a lot of courage, breaking long-standing habits. However, over time, you will become more aware of your own feelings, and learning how to nurture yourself.

Relax With Your Self:
One important way to rediscover self-love is learning how to relax, and stop the flood of worrying thoughts from overtaking your brain. 5 or 10 minutes a day focusing on your breathing, with eyes closed and sitting in a relaxed position can be potentially useful way to help you relax past stressful situations.

Pay careful attention to your own emotional state. When a thought or feeling comes up, learn to label the experience “I am thinking,” or name the emotion you are feeling. At first, stented self-knowledge and repression may make this more difficult. However, over time, you will learn how to recognize your own feelings. Think about things you can do that can help you cope and feel better, whether it’s calling a friend, doing something enjoyable, or exercising. When you find things getting overwhelming, turn to one of these coping tools.

Reach Out:
You are not the only one who has lost themselves in a codependent relationship. Lots of people have had to face, and overcome issues similar to yours. This means that you are not alone. Lots of people can offer you support, encouragement, and advice in your need to change your behavior.

There are a variety of support groups, including Codependents Anonymous and Al-Anon that you can look to for other people facing similar issues. If your relationship partner is going to a recovery group, you can also look for a related group for partners of people facing that same issue.

Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. One of the biggest lies of codependent patterns is to make you ignore your own issues and think you are self-sufficient. A large part of your healing will come by learning to accept help from other people.