Updated: Nov 15
What is Being Codependent?
Being codependent refers to a dysfunctional, learned behavior pattern that often manifests in relationships. Codependency is characterized by an excessive reliance on others for approval, identity, and a sense of self-worth. People who are codependent often prioritize the needs of others over their own, and their well-being is closely tied to the approval and validation they receive from others.
Common traits and behaviors associated with codependency include:
Excessive People-Pleasing: Codependent individuals often go to great lengths to please others, sometimes at the expense of their own needs and desires. They may have difficulty saying "no" and fear rejection if they don't meet the expectations of others.
Low Self-Esteem: Individuals struggling with codependency often have low self-esteem and seek external validation to feel worthy and lovable. Their self-worth is contingent upon the approval and opinions of others.
Difficulty Setting Boundaries: Codependent individuals often have weak or unclear boundaries. They may struggle to assert themselves or communicate their needs, leading to a pattern of overextending themselves in an effort to please others.
Fear of Abandonment: There is often an intense fear of being abandoned or rejected, which can drive codependent individuals to cling to relationships even if they are unhealthy or detrimental.
Lack of Autonomy: Codependent individuals may have difficulty making decisions independently. Their sense of identity is often entwined with others, making it challenging for them to function autonomously.
Enabling Behavior: Codependency may involve enabling the dysfunctional behavior of others, such as covering up for someone's mistakes, making excuses for them, or taking on responsibilities that aren't theirs to bear.
Difficulty Expressing True Feelings: Codependent individuals may find it challenging to express their true feelings and needs. They may fear conflict or rejection and, as a result, keep their emotions suppressed.
Dependency on Relationships for Happiness: Codependent individuals often believe that their happiness and fulfillment depend entirely on their relationships. This can lead to a cycle of seeking external validation rather than finding satisfaction from within.
It's important to note that codependency exists on a spectrum, and not everyone who exhibits some of these traits is necessarily codependent. Additionally, codependency is often rooted in early life experiences and learned behaviors. Recognizing and addressing codependency typically involves self-awareness, therapy, and a commitment to developing healthier relationship dynamics and a more authentic sense of self.
Can I fully heal from being codependent?
Yes, it is absolutely possible to fully heal from codependency with self-awareness, commitment, and therapeutic support. Healing from codependency is a journey of self-discovery and personal growth. While the process may take time and effort, many individuals have successfully overcome codependency and developed healthier, more fulfilling relationships. Here are some key steps to support your healing journey:
Acknowledge and understand the patterns of codependency in your life.
Reflect on your own needs, values, and boundaries.
Identify the underlying beliefs and experiences that contribute to codependent behaviors.
Seek the guidance of a mental health professional, such as a therapist or counselor, who specializes in codependency and relationship issues.
Therapy provides a safe space to explore and understand the root causes of codependency, develop coping strategies, and learn healthier relationship dynamics.
Educate yourself about codependency and its impact on relationships. Understanding the patterns and behaviors associated with codependency is a crucial step in the healing process.
Learn to set and maintain healthy boundaries in your relationships.
Practice saying "no" when necessary and communicate your needs assertively.
Cultivate self-compassion and self-love. Be kind to yourself and recognize that everyone has areas for growth and improvement.
Focus on developing a strong sense of self and independence. Engage in activities and pursuits that bring you joy and fulfillment.
Incorporate mindfulness practices, such as meditation and deep breathing, to stay present and centered in your experiences.
Foster and prioritize relationships that are based on mutual respect, support, and shared values.
Surround yourself with people who encourage your personal growth and well-being.
Regularly assess your thoughts, behaviors, and emotions. Be open to ongoing self-reflection and growth.
Acknowledge and celebrate the progress you make along your healing journey. Recognize that healing is a process, and every step forward is a significant achievement.
Remember that everyone's healing journey is unique, and there is no fixed timeline for recovery. Be patient and compassionate with yourself as you navigate the challenges and celebrate the victories along the way. If you find the process challenging, seeking professional support can provide additional guidance and assistance tailored to your specific needs.
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About The Author:
Dr. Nikki LeToya White MSEd-TL, Ph.D. RHN is the founder, director, and full-time board-certified trauma-informed nutritionist, folk herbalist, and wellness consultant at Spiced Life Conversation Art Wellness Studio and Botanica. She created Spiced Life Conversation, LLC Art Wellness Studio, and Botanica to provide the Metro Atlanta area with counseling and coaching services where clients are carefully matched with the right program for healing abandonment and childhood emotional neglect trauma that cause codependency, emotional eating, financial stress, and imposter syndrome as it relates to the fear of success and being abandon. We help you begin your emotional healing journey with ease. Recently, we have expanded to include an online membership site so we now provide support to people living all over the world. All of our recovery coaches provide at least one evidence-based treatment to assist in your recovery. Dr. White is a big proponent of self-care and helping people live a fulfilling life! She has been in full remission with both codependency and emotional binge eating disorder since 2016. In living a life in recovery from sugar addiction. I love my low-sugar balanced lifestyle.
Dr. Nikki LeToya White