How to stop being codependent and become independent
Have you developed a codependent relationship with your partner? Not just your partner, do you find yourself attached to someone in an unhealthy way? Whether it is a friend, a sibling, a parent, you can attach yourself to someone in an unhealthy way such that it becomes co-dependency.
A codependent relationship is one in which a person is attached to the other in an unhealthy way. You could be feeding off each other whereby one party in a relationship is always putting in the effort to make the other party happy.
You may think it is true love or friendship when you are practically joined at the hip with the other partner. However, when you can’t seem to quit each other or survive individually, then you are in a codependent relationship.
You have also helped co-dependency when you feel that it is your responsibility to fix the problems of the other person or expect them to fix your problems. When your behavior affects the other party such that it brings them down when you are down, this is co-dependency.
While it is good to rely on another person emotionally, it can get to an unhealthy point. If you feel that you rely on the other party for your emotional, esteem needs, and overall happiness, then you are codependent.
Here is how you can tell if you are in a codependent relationship.
If you are a codependent partner, you can stop being codependent and become more independent. You can learn to be your authentic and unique self without feeling the need to have another person to validate you. How can you achieve such independence?
How can you stop being the codependent party in a relationship and become more independent
Abstain from pleasing others
Stop feeling the need to be constantly pleasing to others. The need to please people constantly comes from seeking approval, something you may have been starved in your childhood. If your parents did not approve of you or appreciate your efforts, chances are you constantly seek approval from others and you are constantly trying to please others.
As I have written before, you can correct the mistakes in your upbringing by reparenting yourself. If you recognize that you are always seeking to please others, and therefore develop a codependent relationship with them so that they give you approval, learn how you can reparent yourself and stop this behavior. If you don’t need others to approve of you, then you will not depend on them in an unhealthy way.
Learn to detach yourself
Learn to detach yourself from others. No matter how close you are to a friend or a partner, remember that you are a unique individual and detach yourself from them. Don’t be constantly trying to control them to do things your way. If by controlling them is the way you feel validated, note this, and start correcting yourself.
Codependency develops from not knowing what you want or what you stand for and needing to rely on others so that they can give you a sense of direction. Some codependence is developed when you need an esteem boost from being associated with someone else.
For example, you may feel that your esteem is wanting when you don’t have a partner. So you develop an unhealthy relationship with someone simply so that you can feel like a valid person because you are in a relationship.
By becoming self-aware, you realize that you don’t need other people to become confident. You can be a unique, authentic self and be confident no matter what association you have with others. Self-awareness will also help you fight all the negative self-talk and know your self-worth well enough that you don’t feel the need to be validated by others.
Accept yourself for who you are. This way, you don’t need to be associated with someone else for you to feel worthy. With self-acceptance, you fully take pride in who you are, the good and the bad, and become fully confident with who you are.
With full self-acceptance, you don’t feel the need to depend on someone else to make you feel good about yourself. You will not form unhealthy codependent relationships simply because you need someone else to tell you nice things about yourself.
Learn to form boundaries
Form healthy boundaries in all your relationships. Sure, you should love others and accept them into your life, but know when boundaries are being crossed. Also, be aware of crossing the boundaries others have set. I wrote about how you can set healthy relationship boundaries.
The importance of boundaries setting is because you will know when your relationships are slipping from being healthy ones to codependence. For example, when you find yourself not being able to function without your partner, you can recognize when you are starting to be codependent.
When you find yourself being unable to feel self-worthy without being approved by another person, then you recognize that you are being codependent.
I have learned to reparent myself every chance I get and I keep encouraging others to do so. Reparenting comes in when you become self-aware enough to recognize areas in your life that are holding you back. Once you do so, you simply take yourself as a child and start reparenting yourself all over again.
For example, if you recognize that you have a boundaries issue, you can start searching for the root of this issue. Your parents probably didn’t teach you how to form healthy boundaries and hence you don’t know how to do this. Knowing this, you start working on how to develop healthy boundaries and teach yourself to do so.
Learn all about reparenting and how you can do it here.
You can become an independent person from a codependent person simply by working on yourself.
I came across this table online that broke down moving from codependence to independence so well:
|Moving from co-dependency to independence using the Four A’s Approach|
|Abstinence||Abstain from people-pleasing, obsessing over others, and trying to control them. Learn detachment.|
|Awareness||Be aware of your negative self-talk, and reverse it. Work to build your self-esteem|
|Acceptance||Self-acceptance lets you reflect upon yourself without judgment. This grows self-confidence|
|Action||Set personal boundaries. This shows that you respect and honor yourself|