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Understanding Codependency in Relationships and Recovery

If you are struggling with addiction and problems in your relationship, you might need help recognizing codependency in your relationship and becoming less codependent on your partner or family member.

What is Codependency?

Codependency is any situation where you have too much psychological or emotional dependence on a family member or partner. There is a strong risk of codependency in relationships and recovery, particularly where one partner is addicted to drugs or alcohol or lives with mental health issues.

Signs of Codependency

There are different signs of codependency in relationships and recovery, including the following:

  • You tend to feel good about yourself when you get approval from others
  • You spend most of your mental energy solving issues for others
  • You spend an inordinate amount of your attention on your loved one or family member, manipulating them so they do what you want or trying to get protection from them
  • Your confidence and self-esteem is boosted when you get rid of someone else's pain or solve a problem for them
  • You spend time on the interests or hobbies of another, putting your personal interests aside in exchange
  • You don't know what it is you want, and instead, you always ask others if it is what they want
  • Your dreams about the future are linked to someone else's dreams, with none of your own
  • You value the opinions of others more than your opinions
  • Your quality of life is based on the quality of someone else
  • You feel safe in your relationship when you give of yourself 

Codependent relationships happen when both individuals become mutually dependent on the other. One usually ends up serving the wants and needs of the other person at the expense of theirs. This can look like devotion or love, but it leaves one person seeking approval and validation of their personal self-worth from the other partner. 

Tangentially, the same individual might enjoy being needed despite the fact that the care and devotion come from a place of helplessness and don't actually come from a place of love.

How to Overcome Codependency in Relationships

Overcoming codependency takes time, but with professional help and some tips and tools at home, you can tackle things that might be holding you back from a healthy and otherwise fulfilling relationship.

Identifying Your Needs

You need to start by figuring out who you are and what your needs are:

  • Set some time aside to think about the things that you enjoy doing, the things that make you happy
  • Ask yourself whether the choices and ideas that you come up with when someone asks you what you want, what you like, or anything else about you are actually related to someone else and not yourself

Challenging Beliefs

Things like individual and group therapy might be a great place to start in terms of identifying your needs, and working with a therapist can help you move into the next step, which is challenging the beliefs you may have held as true and determine whether changes need to be made. This can include things like:

  • Take time to reflect on how you really want to respond to yourself and to others
  • Challenging your automatic thought patterns
  • Reevaluating thoughts and opinions that you thought were yours but may have been based on someone else's beliefs, desires, or thoughts

Being Assertive and Practicing Self-Compassion

It's also important that you learn how to be more assertive and meet your needs. This means boosting your self-esteem, putting self-care ahead of the needs of someone else, and setting healthy boundaries. Consider doing things like the following:

  • Determine how you want to spend your free time and do the things you wish to do
  • Take time to realize that your needs are just as important as everyone else's
  • Give yourself comfort by speaking kindly to yourself instead of punishing yourself for being assertive, voicing your opinions, or setting time aside for self-care

Finding Tools to Deal with Codependency in Relationships and Recovery

With our drug rehab in Los Angeles, we offer clients personalized care, which includes therapy and holistic tools to better understand codependency in relationships and recovery. A big part of our program involves understanding what codependency is, learning to recognize the signs and symptoms of codependency in your relationships, and applying tools to set boundaries and avoid falling victim to the same traps of codependency after treatment.

Overall, codependency in relationships and recovery can happen to anyone, and learning to identify the markers of codependency can give you the skills to put an end to unhelpful relationship patterns. With the right type of treatment program, you can get help for your addiction and mental health disorders while also creating healthy relationships As you move forward.