Understanding Codependency: More Than Just a Relationship Issue

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Relationship problems



Panic attacks

Imagine the partner who always stays too long, forgives too easily, the friend who can't say no, the parent who can't let go. These are the individuals who find themselves in the role of the perpetual pleaser, the fixer, the one who must hold everything together. They are the codependent ones, and their stories are more common than we think.

Codependency can manifest in various relationships, not just romantic ones. It can occur between friends, parents and children, or even colleagues. The core behaviour patterns remain similar, characterized by an excessive emotional reliance on others for self-worth and identity.

How does a codependent person act?

A codependent individual might express sentiments like, "I really want to be needed, irreplaceable to you, because you are the centre of my life. As you think of me, so I think of myself." This highlights their need for validation and fear of abandonment.

Their dialogue could also include phrases such as, "You are responsible for how I feel and what I have done for you," indicating a transfer of emotional responsibility onto others, be it a family member, friend, or coworker. This reflects their belief that their emotional state is contingent on how others perceive and treat them.

In terms of their self-perception and decision-making, they might say, "I guess others know what they want better than I do. The opinions of others, especially those I care about, are more important." This demonstrates a tendency to prioritize the wants and needs of others over their own, often leading to a loss of personal identity and autonomy.

Their approach to relationships can be contradictory and manipulative. They might express, "I have several tactics, either do everything to make others love and need me or get angry and manipulate if the first tactic doesn't work." This reflects a fluctuation between self-sacrificing behaviours and manipulation, aimed at maintaining the relationship and their sense of being indispensable.

Codependent individuals often struggle with the independence of others, saying things like, "I don't understand how others can be happy or carry on normally when I feel bad." This illustrates their belief that their emotional state should significantly impact others in their life.

They might engage in controlling behaviours, under the guise of care or concern, saying, "I control the actions of my loved ones as I only want them to be happy. I often anticipate their wishes and create favourable circumstances so they don't think anyone else could be better for them." This control is an attempt to ensure their indispensability in the lives of those they care about.

Their tolerance for mistreatment is evident in, "I can understand and justify actions that bring me pain because we are all imperfect. Actual actions are not as important as my opinion about the ones I care about." This reflects a willingness to excuse or rationalize behaviours that may be harmful or neglectful.

Finally, a sense of disillusionment is common, as they might lament, "People let me down so often... Why don't I stop hoping they'll start behaving the right way?" This shows a continual hope for change in their relationships, despite a pattern of disappointment and unmet expectations.

The Roots of Codependency

To truly understand codependency, we must trace its roots. Often, it sprouts from family dynamics where children learn to value themselves only through the act of being useful or pleasing to others. It's a survival strategy that transforms into a subconscious script, guiding them into adulthood where they replay these learned behaviours in their relationships, creating a cycle that is hard to break.

In these families, love and attention were commodities — awarded for meeting expectations and withdrawn as punishment. As adults, codependents continue this transactional dance, believing, sometimes unconsciously, that their worth is measured by their capacity to sacrifice and endure.

The Dangerous Spiral of Codependency

The consequences of unchecked codependency can be grave. It's not just about staying in a relationship that doesn't serve you; it's about remaining in situations that can escalate to emotional and physical harm. It's the wear and tear on one's mental health, the gradual erosion of self-esteem, and the loss of one's sense of self.

10 Essential Steps to Overcome Codependency and Reclaim Your Life

Breaking free from codependency is no easy feat. It requires the deconstruction of long-held beliefs and the building of new, healthier ones. It involves setting boundaries and discovering that self-care is not an act of betrayal but of bravery. It's learning to say, "I matter, my feelings matter, and I deserve to be treated with respect."

10 steps to take if you're addressing codependency in your life:

1. Recognize Codependent Behaviours: Acknowledge your codependent patterns and educate yourself about them.

2. Notice Your Sacrifices: Pay attention to when you're neglecting your own needs for others.

3. Develop Self-Awareness: Regularly check in with yourself to understand your feelings and needs.

4. Set Healthy Boundaries: Learn to say no and respect your own limits.

5. Value Yourself: Recognize your intrinsic worth independent of others.

6. Focus on Self-Care: Redirect energy and time towards activities that nurture you.

7. Seek Support: Consider therapy or support groups to connect with others and get guidance.

8. Tolerate Discomfort: Accept that discomfort is part of the change process.

9. Practice Assertiveness: Express your thoughts and needs respectfully and clearly.

10. Envision a Balanced Life: Define what a healthy, fulfilling life looks like for you and strive towards it.

How Meetelp App Can Help:

Therapist Matching: Meetelp’s algorithm can connect you with therapists who specialise in relationship issues, ensuring you receive tailored support.

Scheduling and Reminders: The app automates appointment scheduling, helping you stay committed to your therapy sessions.

Secure Communication: Whether it’s a live or remote session, Meetelp offers secure channels for communicating with your therapist.

Mood Diary: Grow your self-awareness.

Keep in mind, every small act of self-awareness and self-care you embrace marks significant progress in cultivating healthier relationships and achieving a more harmonious life. In this transformative journey, Meetelp serves as an invaluable ally, offering structured support and resources that are specifically designed to meet your individual needs. You deserve to be happy!

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