I think we all agree that codependency is never good for a relationship. In fact, most codependent people aren’t even aware of their condition and that unawareness is slowly ruining their relationship.
However, if you think that you or your partner might be dealing with this issue and want to know how to stop being codependent, stay with us because we’ll help you deal with it in a few very simple steps.
You know how beetles can destroy our plants? They eat them, chew holes and damage plants completely.
It’s the same with codependent behavior in relationships. It harms our relationship every day more and more, until it completely ruins it.
Codependency is definitely NOT a sign of a healthy relationship and it’s NEVER a way to prove or express your love to your partner.
Those codependent individuals lose themselves totally when in a relationship and become defined by their partner.
But the thing is, most of them are actually afraid of maintaining their independence because they think it’ll affect them negatively.
Trust me, nothing or no one is worth more than you and you should never allow anyone to become more important than you.
Below are some great and efficient methods on how to stop being codependent for all the people who are currently struggling with codependency issues.
How to stop being codependent in a relationship
Codependency will weaken the bond between you and your loved one. It may even make the other side start to think about a breakup. That’s why you should put an end to this toxic behavior ASAP.
Take a deep breath and accept your issues
So, the first few steps to breaking the cycle of codependency are recognizing, accepting and finding the root cause of your codependent behavior.
In order to do that, you’ll have to go back to the past. Did someone you loved in the past hurt you badly? Do you think that could be a reason why you became so emotionally dependent on your current partner?
This kind of behavior may also be caused by substance abuse or some other addictions or even due to some mental health problems.
You’ll probably have a hard time accepting the truth but it must be done if you really want to save your relationship.
Trust me, no matter how much your partner loves you, this kind of behavior simply can’t be tolerated.
And if they don’t honestly love you, they’ll only use it to try to control you and then your relationship will become completely toxic and unhealthy.
Self-talk is very important in these situations. You must first admit that you have a problem and only then will you be able to try to find a way to cope with it.
Talk directly and honestly with your partner
After you admit you have codependency issues, the next step will be talking to your significant other.
Tell them that you’re aware of the fact that your relationship has been becoming unhealthy because of your behavior but that you’re also ready to change.
Sometimes these things happen, especially in long-term relationships. One partner becomes so invested in the other one that they just can’t function properly without them.
If you’ve figured out the cause of your codependence, you can share it with your partner and ask them to help you get rid of it as soon as possible and make your relationship healthy again.
You must try to deal with it and overcome it together because you must share everything in a relationship, even those not so good moments and issues.
At the end of the day, the only important thing is that you honestly love each other and that you’re ready to fight for your relationship.
Bring back the word ‘NO’ to your vocabulary
You must learn to say NO when you don’t want to do something or if you aren’t okay with your partner’s opinion.
Don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself. It won’t damage your relationship; on the contrary, it’ll only make your partner cherish and appreciate you more.
Being a people pleaser won’t bring you anything good.
Maybe you do it because you’re actually afraid of being rejected, you just want to avoid a fight with someone or you’re just trying to be nice but it’ll only make the people around you use it to control you.
You must prioritize your own needs over anyone else’s. You must work on recognizing your self-worth.
You have to make your own decisions and have your own perspectives on some things and those will probably be different from your partner’s sometimes but it’s perfectly okay.
We’re all individuals with different opinions and views about certain issues.
But believe me, those little differences are exactly what will bring you and your partner closer and it’ll also strengthen the bond between you.
Understand that your relationship isn’t the only source of your happiness
You should never allow your romantic relationship or your partner to become your everything or cause you relationship anxiety. That’s exactly why most people become codependent on their emotional partner.
As long as you have your family, friends, job, pets or some other things that make you feel happy and loved, your romantic partner should never become your everything.
I made that mistake once too. Before I got married, I was in a relationship with a man whom I loved with my entire heart. I gave myself away completely in that relationship.
Our relationship became the center of my universe. I lost my power and helped him to have complete control over me. That man literally became everything to me in the end.
You know why? I lost all of my friends because of it and most of my family members were angry at me. They realized what was happening and tried to warn me so many times but I just didn’t want to listen.
It was like I had blocked out all other people around me and he was the only person in this world for me. Oh, how wrong I was and how many bad things it brought me.
Now I’m married to a wonderful man who truly loves and respects me but I promised myself I’d never even say to him that he’s my everything because I learned my lesson so long ago.
Rebuild your sense of self-worth
Just because your partner makes more money than you or is more successful than you, it doesn’t mean they are worth more than you.
We all have different interests, even when we’re in a relationship with someone, and we’re all good at something. Maybe sometimes you get the feeling that you’re unworthy of being loved but that’s not true. We all are.
Your partner might make you think that way but that only means they’re a toxic person who wants to have control over you.
Don’t allow it because you’re way better than that. Codependent partners mostly become that way because they’re dealing with low self-esteem issues.
You must take better care of your physical and mental well-being. And indeed, the best way to boost your self-esteem is to be kind to yourself.
You must know that you’re worthy of love and if your partner wants to make you believe otherwise, then it’s definitely time to cut them out of your life.
Schedule some ‘me time’ more often
Just because you’re in a romantic relationship with someone doesn’t mean that you have to be with that person 24/7, nor that you must do everything together. Sometimes you must step away from everything and everyone.
Having some alone time is actually vital for a healthy relationship.
I think that most couples who start spending too much time together are the ones who break up very fast.
We’re all unique individuals with different needs and interests.
When you’re dating someone, you must respect those little differences and you shouldn’t make your partner do something they don’t like just because you don’t want to spend a minute without them.
It’s so wrong and it will definitely ruin your relationship. If you like something that your partner doesn’t, take some alone time and dedicate yourself to that activity.
After some time, you’ll probably even run out of things to talk about. Your relationship will be stuck in a routine and it’ll become boring for both of you, which will lead you to end your relationship.
You’ll see once you start spending some time with yourself that you’ll learn to enjoy your ‘me time’.
Also, it’ll give you time to think about your problems and issues and you might even get some answers on how to cope with them.
Your own needs are important too
I get that when you love someone, their needs become just as important as your own.
However, the thing is that they should never become more important because it would totally give your partner the power to control you and you would completely lose yourself in that relationship.
It’s okay that you want to prove to your significant other how much they mean to you by making your needs equal but you should be very careful with this because you might end up prioritizing theirs after all.
If you really want to get rid of that codependent behavior, you should definitely start prioritizing your own needs, no matter how much you love the other person.
Being in love with someone is an amazing feeling but do you know what’s even more beautiful than that? Being in love with yourself.
There is nothing wrong with loving yourself and putting your needs first. That’s not selfish, that’s essential for a happy and fulfilling life.
Also, spend more time with other people close to you
The thing you really, really must understand is that your partner isn’t the only important person in your life.
There are so many other people who are in your life because they have proved to you that they love you and want nothing but the best for you.
You can’t behave like you and your partner are the only human beings on this planet. There are so many people you have neglected and who truly miss you.
You have become codependent on your loved one and probably forgot your friends and neglected your family. Now, it’s high time to change that.
First of all, you must call your friends and those family members you neglected and tell them you realized that you’ve been unfair and offer them an apology.
Of course, they’ll forgive you and you’ll forget about it immediately. Then you should invite them to your place or ask them to hang out.
The more you hang out with them, the more you’ll stop being codependent on your significant other. They’ll remind you that there is a life for you outside of your relationship.
Stop asking for permission
Why do you have that strange need to ask your partner for permission about everything you do? They aren’t your parent and you’re definitely not a little girl.
You’ve grown up and become an independent person who doesn’t need anyone’s permission to do something she wants.
You must learn to be strong-willed because it’s a quality that every strong woman should have. If you firmly decide to do something, no one should affect your decision or make you change your thinking or intention.
If your partner made you think that you mustn’t do anything without asking them first, it’s time to do one thing without their permission; it’s time to leave that controlling, toxic monster in the past.
Stop seeking validation from your partner
Your constant need to seek approval from your partner is definitely a sign of codependency. The only person you should seek validation from is YOU.
In order to do that, you’ll have to work on the relationship you have with yourself. You must work on your self-confidence because you wouldn’t be seeing validation from others if your confidence was already high.
None of us is perfect and that means you aren’t either. It’s a fact but that is perfectly okay. You should accept this as soon as possible because that will also greatly improve your self-worth.
If you feel that you need to ask for your partner’s validation all the time, that means you trust them more than you trust yourself and that’s not good.
Remember, you’re the only person you can be sure will never betray you. Again, I’m talking from my own experience. I was completely sure that my ex would never betray me and I trusted him completely.
However, I learned my lesson. Once I started seeking validation from myself only, my life got a whole lot better and I truly felt so much better because of it.
Shift the focus onto yourself
It’s time to shift the focus back onto yourself. You need to understand that you must be at the top of your priority list and that place shouldn’t be taken by anyone else except you.
Do you have any passions or interests? Do you have any dreams or goals for the future? Well then, it’s time to start pursuing those.
Perhaps there is something you always wanted to do or learn? Maybe there is a place you always wanted to visit? Well, go for it.
But the important thing is that you should do it alone so you can prove to yourself and to others that you can do things without your partner.
Putting others before yourself must stop right now. Trying to please others must stop immediately. The most important person in your life must be you and only you.
Build and maintain healthy boundaries
This is something that needed to be done at the beginning of your relationship, so you wouldn’t now have these kinds of issues. Setting boundaries is essential if you want to make your relationship good and healthy again.
However, fortunately, boundaries can be rebuilt too.
Once you and your partner make some clear boundaries and draw the line about certain things, you both must respect each other’s boundaries and you must never cross those lines.
Setting boundaries will also help you with your self-esteem and it may also reduce stress and help you with anxiety or depression issues.
Even when we’re in an emotional relationship, we must maintain our personal space. It’s definitely something that will make you feel more happy and pleased in a relationship.
Not being able to set boundaries means that you aren’t confident enough to make such a strong decision.
Fear of rejection and fear of losing someone’s love can also be the reason for an absence of healthy boundaries in your relationship.
Stop being a people pleaser
Trust me, no man loves it when a woman is a people pleaser.
That means that she must neglect herself and put the needs of others before her own and she does it all because she has a strange need to be liked by everyone else.
It’s a fact that people pleasers are problem daters. They’ll do whatever you want from them but in return, they’ll always want to be in the center of attention.
If you do it because you don’t want to hurt other people’s feelings, it’s not healthy either. There
is always a way to do it in some other way and without hurting anyone’s feelings.
It’s time to start making your own decisions
When you’re in a healthy relationship, both partners must be included in the decision-making processes.
However, there are some decisions that don’t concern your partner, nor your relationship and those kinds of decisions, you’ll have to make on your own.
Of course, it’s nice to talk to your partner and consult them before you make a decision. That’s how you’ll show them that their opinion matters to you. BUT you should never allow them to make a decision in your name.
That kind of behavior is controlling and that kind of relationship would be toxic. You don’t need it. You’re a smart woman who’s capable of making decisions about her own life.
Remember, there’s a life outside of your relationship!
I think that the best answer to the question ‘how to stop being codependent’ is that you should remind yourself more often that you have a life outside of your relationship and that there are other people in your life who love you too.
You should put your partner in second place on your priority list, right after yourself, as making them the only priority in your life will only create an unhealthy relationship.
You must be each other’s biggest fan and motivation in life and respect each other’s individuality.
Consider couples therapy
You should also talk about couples therapy. A professional will definitely help you get through these tough times in your relationship.
Have you heard about a program called Co-Dependents Anonymous? It’s some kind of recovery program for people who have codependent tendencies toward another person.
It’s a 12-step program for all couples who want to save their relationship. There, you’ll be able to talk to other people, listen to their issues about codependency in the relationship and share your own.
What causes a codependent relationship?
Well, truth be told, there are many factors that may cause codependent behavior. However, most of those causes come from the past, such as a childhood trauma or being raised in a toxic environment.
Sometimes love makes us blind and we aren’t able to think clearly. We put our partner at the center of our universe and that person becomes everything to us.
We are afraid they might leave us someday and that’s why we became codependent on them, thinking how that’s the way we are going to keep them in our life.
The most often causes of codependent behavior are:
Toxic parent-child relationship
Being raised by an addict
Childhood emotional neglect
Controlling emotional partner
Being in an abusive relationship
Setting unrealistic expectations in a relationship
10 genuine signs of codependency
As I already said, unfortunately, many people aren’t even aware of their codependent behavior or they deny it and won’t accept it because they know that it’s toxic and unhealthy.
But instead of staying in that process of denial, they should be trying to overcome it and save their relationship before it’s too late.
Sometimes it’s very difficult to distinguish a codependent person from a person who is just too needy or clingy. However, the signs below can tell when a person has codependent tendencies.
Also see: 6 Obvious Signs That You’re In A Codependent Relationship And How To Overcome It
A chronic people pleaser
A person with codependent tendencies feels the need to be the caretaker in the relationship. They think that the best way to prove love to their partner is by putting their needs ahead of their own.
That person is not able to say NO to their partner. However, the other side might use that and take all of your power to have complete control over your life.
You must respect yourself as much as you respect your partner. Don’t neglect your own needs just so you can fulfill all of theirs.
Not being able to make a decision on your own
As I already mentioned, it’s important for both sides to participate in decision-making processes but some decisions you have to make on your own.
If you don’t trust yourself or aren’t sure what you should decide, it’s always a good idea to consult the person you trust the most, assuming it’s your partner.
However, if you ask them to help you with each and every decision you have to make, it will only mean you’re giving them the power to decide for you.
You must learn how to trust yourself more. You’ll make mistakes for sure, just as we all do, but the best thing is that you’ll be able to learn from your mistakes too.
Fear of being rejected
I think this is the most common reason why someone becomes dependent on another person.
A fear of being abandoned or rejected also comes from low self-esteem. You’re ready to do whatever it takes to keep your partner in your life because you feel like you wouldn’t know how to live without them.
It’s very simple actually. Even if they leave you, you’ll be able to live without them just like you lived before you even met them. Remember that you’re the only constant in your life, all other people may come and go.
A codependent person usually has trust issues from the past.
Once they find a person they feel they can trust completely, they become totally codependent on them, thinking about how they’ll never be able to find anyone else they can trust.
They start idealizing their romantic partner and put them on a pedestal. However, that can lead to even more serious problems that will ruin the relationship completely.
Avoiding alone time
A person who has this kind of behavior doesn’t like to be alone. They want to spend 24/7 with their significant other.
That puts so much pressure on their partner because the other side will probably have the need for some personal space.
As much as you hate being alone, you must take some time for yourself sometimes and more importantly, you must respect your partner’s alone time.
This is connected to the fear of being abandoned and self-esteem issues. You feel the constant need to check with your partner that everything is okay and whether they are happy in the relationship.
Even if you doubt your partner’s feelings, you shouldn’t constantly ask them to say how much they love you because that can become very exhausting for both of you.
Seeking reassurance from time to time is actually a good thing and pretty normal too because we all like to be reminded how much our partner loves us.
However, if you constantly seek it, it only proves that you are insecure about your partner’s feelings and your relationship.
Problems with setting boundaries
A person with codependent behavior doesn’t know how to set healthy boundaries in their relationship.
They’re actually afraid to even try to do so because they think that the other side won’t like it or that it may damage their relationship, which is a huge mistake.
Fear of intimacy
Most codependent people struggle with intimacy issues and they can’t bond with someone easily because of them.
Once they find a person they can trust and bond with, they become codependent on them and immediately lose their autonomy in the relationship.
Anxiety or depression
People with some mental health issues like anxiety or depression are prone to having codependent tendencies.
They find the comfort they need in their partner and they become absolutely everything to them. They like to isolate themselves from others and that’s why that relationship becomes their safe place.
People who are in codependent relationships constantly deny that they have a problem. They don’t want to admit it because they are afraid of how it may affect their relationship.
They don’t know how to communicate in a healthy way, which is mostly the main cause of why their relationship has become that way.
You must know that the sooner you admit you have a problem, the sooner you’ll be able to overcome it and save your relationship.
Always have in mind that you’re the only person who can help you with your codependency issues. Your partner, their love and your relationship can all be your motives but only you can cure your codependency.
There is a fine line between codependency and true love! Don’t think that giving too much of yourself into your relationship will make your partner love you more.
No, no. It’ll only make them think that you’re needy and clingy and those aren’t exactly the qualities that men are looking for in women.
Self-care isn’t and must never be selfish. Don’t think that dedicating some time to yourself every day makes you selfish or that it may ruin your relationship. It most definitely won’t.
It’s actually a very efficient way for all of you who really want to know how to stop being codependent in a relationship.
There is still some time left to save your relationship because your codependent behavior will ruin it if you don’t do something and put an end to all of it right now.
Follow the above simple steps and enjoy your healthy relationship again.