The term “codependency” is often tossed around in conversations with a joking tone as people become more dependent on technology and the conveniences of our modern world. True codependency, however, is often at the root of the addiction and can take control of a person’s life without them noticing.
Codependency puts a strain on a person’s self-worth, health, and ability to prioritize themselves within relationships. When identified, confronted, and processed, codependency and its effects on your life can be transformed into healthy, thriving relationships and deeper connections with yourself and the outside world.
What Is Codependency?
Codependency is defined as an “excessive emotional or psychological dependence on a partner.” A codependent relationship between two people often presents itself with a caretaker and a person who takes advantage of the caretaker’s time, emotional well-being, and health. In many cases, the caretaker enables the other person’s addictive behaviors. For both parties, the codependent relationship usually stems from childhood experience.
Caretakers were often thrown into caretaker positions at children, while the enabled may have suffered unresolved childhood trauma. Usually, both parties are reenacting patterns they were exposed to early in life, making it especially hard for one to see their own codependency. Luckily it is possible to break cycles of codependency and regain your autonomy in any relationship.
Signs of Codependency
Whether a codependent relationship relies upon illness, addiction, or psychological factors, there are certain key signs to spot in codependent relationships.
- Poor self-esteem and a lack of self-image may lead one to lean on others for validation
- People-pleasing that ignores one’s own needs, desires, and values is one of the most common signs of codependency
- A lack of boundaries that results in a lack of respect for other’s feelings and autonomy can result in one party in a relationship not recognizing boundaries and the other not enforcing them
- Feeling you have to take care of everyone and fix other people’s problems is often codependency from childhood experiences
- Reactivity such as defensiveness or internalizing criticism are common side effects of people-pleasing behavior
These are only some warning signs of codependent relationships. Often these relationships manifest through cycles of addictive behaviors, which, when confronted and healed, release both parties from their codependence.
How to Overcome Codependency
The first step to overcoming codependency is recognizing the social patterns and signs of dependency within your relationships. Seeing your life and behavior from the lens of codependency can point to childhood trauma you may be ready to heal. Various forms of psychological and behavioral therapy and addiction support can provide the structure and expertise you need to move from codependency to autonomy in each of your relationships. By healing codependency, you can free yourself from people-pleasing behavior, low self-esteem and ultimately experience fewer stressful relationships, leading to a happier and healthier life.
Begin Healing from Codependency Today
Realizing you or a loved one is in a codependent relationship can be both eye-opening and daunting. Often, women are at a higher risk of codependent relationships because they often fill caretaker roles. Finding treatment and support for women suffering from codependency can be overwhelming. If you or a woman in your life is ready to overcome codependency, look no further than Soledad House. Based in beautiful, oceanside San Diego, our faith-based women’s rehab center specializes in drug treatment, women’s 12 step programs, and various forms of therapy, including EMDR to heal childhood patterns of codependency. To begin overcoming codependency, reach out online or contact us at 866.314.3222 today. Soledad House is here to support you regain autonomy every step of the way.