One the pitfalls of human behavior is that we tend to try to be as supportive as we can when it comes to people we love. While that may seem to be a good virtue, we inadvertently fall into a pattern of codependency.
What is Codependency?
Codependency, in its strictest definition, is the over reliance on a person for support or affirmation. This is something that usually occurs because of addiction or an underlying mental issue. When experts were studying the concept of codependency, they found that this is commonly found between someone struggling with addiction and an enabling significant other, family member, or friend.
There are several signs that point to a codependent relationship. Here are a few of them:
- Feeling of being trapped
- Repressing voicing your thoughts out of fear of an argument
- Inability to say no to a partner’s demands
- Consistently making excuses or covering up a partner’s problematic behaviors
Cutting off Codependency
There are several ways in which you can start your way toward actual healthy relationships. Here are a few steps:
Recognizing the codependent behavior
It can be quite easy to think that something you are doing “out of love” or “out of respect” would not have any negative consequences or was something that was entirely normal or even expected in a relationship. However, the trouble occurs when one cannot tell the difference between loving behavior and feeding an unhealthy set of habits.
When you recognize the existence of codependent behavior, you are well on your way to setting healthy boundaries and recovering your sense of wellness.
Choosing to challenge any self-defeating thoughts or actions
People in codependent relationships are often carrying thoughts that are often self-defeating. They believe that they should refrain from trying to change the situation because “it won’t change anything” or the partner will be angered by it.
When you choose to challenge such thoughts, decisions, or actions, you empower yourself and start to break away from the cycle of unhealthy behavior.
Codependency is something that is developed. This means that it is also something that can be wholly unraveled with the right decisions and set of habits. So while there are other steps that can help you break free of codependency, those would be something that you can discover with your support group or your chosen therapist.
Consider the facets of your relationships; are you in a codependent one?