Have you ever experienced codependency? It’s a kind of a psychological addiction that is peculiar to almost everyone, because we live in the world where people and processes are mutually dependent to some degree. Codependency arises when two psychologically addicted personalities establish interpersonal relationships. But what’s the origin of this problem? People become psychologically addicted, because many of them have been raised in dysfunctional and autocratic families with bad parenting habits and unfavorable psychological environment.
Children’s psyche is very sensitive to constant stress, emotional abuse and disrespect. At the age of 2-3, children either enter a new stage of psychological development, and become psychologically independent or not. The birth of the ego teaches psychologically independent children to take responsibility for their actions, express their feelings, handle fear or anxiety, assert themselves and control their behaviors. Those kids who fail to enter this stage of development remain psychologically dependent on their parents or other people.
I can state with assurance that like many other psychological disorders, codependency is treatable. The duration of the recovery period depends on you and your desire to change your life. I hope these techniques and pieces of advice will help you break painful emotional ties and feel free in a while.
1. Define emotional boundaries
This is going to be the first confident step toward your emotional freedom. Some people say that time heals everything. Sure, it heals, but when it comes to psychological issues, then it may not help. Sometimes it can even intensify the problem, if you don’t make any attempts to change your mindset, attitudes and protect your mind from fears, stereotypes or addictions.
But how can you protect yourself from codependency? All people who suffer from codependency have one common feature. They have poor emotional boundaries that make them extremely sensitive and mentally vulnerable. If you’re one of them and you feel very responsible and blame yourself for other people’s troubles and feelings, you should establish emotional boundaries for the sake of emotional well-being.
Just draw an imaginary line between you and other people’s pain, needs, dilemmas and sufferings. Don’t let others dump their emotions on you, because it’s incredibly harmful to absorb negativity. Remember that your parents and other members of the family are no exception. Let them know that you support, respect and love them, but you’re not going to swallow and analyze their inner conflicts.
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2. Become autonomous
Instead of placing reliance on somebody, you’d better do your best to become autonomous and independent in all aspects. It often happens that emotional codependency is the consequence of financial dependency. In autocratic families, parents often limit opportunities for their children, because it’s incredibly difficult to keep successful and financially independent children under the thumb.
Many codependent women, who once prioritized children and refused to combine career and family, often find it difficult to make a confident step toward independence, because they’re totally financially dependent on their husbands.
If you’re codependent and you’ve no idea how to break it, you should prioritize financial independence and plunge into work. Let everyone know that you’ll never live up to their expectations, because you’re a free and independent personality. Of course, financial independence won’t handle the situation at once, but it really works. It will quickly boost your self-esteem and increase your resistance to stress, social criticism and emotional manipulations.
3. Reclaim your reality
As the creatures of habit, people usually get used to both good and bad things happening in their lives. When kids grow up in dysfunctional families, they think that stress, sufferings, tears, fights, disrespect are a normal and essential part of life. A bit later they repeat the same mistakes and imitate the behaviors of their role models. However, emotional sufferings and abuse aren’t normal.
If you want to change your life for the better, you should try to reclaim your reality. It’s high time to realize that there’s no more place for negativity and stress in your life. Just look around and analyze how highly successful and happy people live. Pay attention to their behaviors, manners, values, traditions and interests. It will help you create a new, correct vision of reality. Then you’ll be able to turn over a new leaf and look at everything from a different angle.
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4. Become self-oriented
Without a doubt, kindness, responsiveness and understanding are wonderful human qualities, but codependents usually go too far. They often put other people ahead of themselves and try to help them regardless of everything. If you always have an obsessive desire to support and please the people you care about, you should stop for a while and realize that you’re making a mistake. It’s okay to give a helping hand to other people, but if saying “no” causes you anxiety and makes you feel guilty, it means that your self-esteem is in danger.
If the process of your ego formation had been failed in childhood, then it’s necessary to accomplish it right now. Promise yourself that you won’t sacrifice your needs and happiness for the sake of others anymore. It will certainly break the vicious circle of codependency and make you self-sufficient and confident. The main thing is not to run to extremes, if you don’t want to turn from a diffident and codependent person into an excessively selfish and unmindful one.
5. Accept the problem
Many people, especially codependents, haven’t even the remotest idea how codependency can affect their lives. They tend to deny their needs, feelings, desires and even problems. They find it easier to complain, shift responsibilities and play the blame game, instead of realizing that the true problem is inside their heads.
Don’t fear to accept that you’re emotionally dependent person, because codependency isn’t a terrific and unrecoverable mental illness. It’s just a psychological disorder. But you’ll never find solution to this problem until you accept it, because it’s almost impossible to deceive yourself.
6. Involve your dearest and nearest in a family therapy
Psychologists say that in most cases individual therapy doesn’t produce the desired results, because codependency is the problem of the whole family. Instead of beating a dead horse, it’s necessary to ask all family members for help, if they’re amenable to change.
Family therapy has always been one of the most effective approaches that can radically change and improve the relationship between family members and open their eyes to the issue. Parents should once and for all understand that mental well-being of their children is in their hands. They should always take up the running and be ready to leave the comfort zone for the sake of their children. People who just stick to their guns and don’t make any attempts to come to a compromise make a terrible mistake they’ll regret about later.
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7. Believe in your victory
Overcoming codependency requires much time, patience, efforts and serious life changes. Unfortunately, the statistics show that many people aren’t strong enough to surmount psychological barriers in their minds. I’ve already bid farewell to that annoying psychological disorder and I can state that nothing is impossible. First of all, you should overcome the fear of uncertainty, open your mind to a change and believe in your own victory, no matter what others say. Once you finally recover from codependency, you should stay away from abusive and codependent relationships in future.
The statistics show that more than 98% of modern people suffer from codependency. I wholeheartedly believe that you’ll have the strength to become emotionally free, healthy and independent person. Do you have the symptoms of codependency? Do you believe that it’s possible to quickly recover from it? Share your point of view with us.