Co-dependency is a term that is often used to describe a type of relationship in which one person is emotionally and mentally dependent on another person. This type of relationship is often characterized by codependent individuals who are unable to function normally without the other person.  A dysfunctional relationship pattern in which an individual is psychologically dependent on (or controlled by) a person who has a pathological addiction, e.g., alcohol, gambling)-codependent.

Co-dependency can develop in a variety of different types of relationships, including romantic relationships, friendships, and even parent-child relationships. In a romantic relationship, for example, one partner may become dependent on the other for emotional support, validation, and a sense of self-worth. This partner may also feel a sense of responsibility for the other person’s happiness and well-being, and may go to great lengths to keep the relationship together.

Co-dependency can also develop in friendships, where one person may become reliant on the other for emotional support and validation and may feel a sense of responsibility for the other person’s happiness. In a parent-child relationship, a parent may become emotionally dependent on their child, and may feel a sense of responsibility for their child’s happiness and well-being.

Co-dependency can have negative effects on both parties involved. The codependent person may feel a sense of helplessness and insecurity and may have difficulty making decisions and standing up for themselves. They may also become emotionally and mentally exhausted from constantly trying to please the other person.

On the other hand, the person on whom the codependent person is dependent may feel smothered and constrained by the codependent person’s constant need for attention and validation. They may also feel a sense of responsibility for the codependent person’s well-being, which can be emotionally draining.

Here are five things to look out for if you feel you are codependent, or questions you can ask yourself in order to understand whether or not you are codependent.
  • Putting other’s needs above your own;
  • Saying Yes when you want to say No;
  • Having muddy boundaries;
  • Do you feel trapped in your relationship;
  • Do you avoid saying what you are thinking in order to avoid arguments?
Here are some steps you can take to help you to break the habit or get out of the habit of being codependent:
  • The first step in breaking the habit of being codependent is to recognize the signs of codependency in your own behavior. Some common signs include feeling responsible for the other person’s happiness, having difficulty making decisions, and feeling helpless without the other person
  • You have to take care of yourself before you take care of others’ needs.  It’s important to practice self-care, taking care of your physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
  • You respond rather than react to others.  Don’t immediately respond but give yourself time to think through what someone is asking of you.
  • Be patient with yourself and try to give yourself mercy, not being as hard on yourself if you slip up.
  • Keep your boundaries clear and think about how you want to be in the future. Learn to set healthy boundaries, for example, learning to say “no” when necessary and not allowing others to take advantage of you.
  • Focus on developing a sense of self-worth: One of the main reasons for codependency is a lack of self-worth. Focus on developing a sense of self-worth and self-love, so you are not dependent on others for validation. This includes, not letting others bully or treat you badly.  Recognize when a relationship is not healthy and do something about it.  Work on it with that person or walk away.
  • Therapy or counseling can be very helpful in breaking the habit of being codependent. A therapist or counselor can help you understand the root of your codependency and provide you with tools and strategies to break the habit.   Or joining a support group can be a great way to connect with others who are also trying to break the habit.  A group can be a safe space to talk about your feelings and the challenges you encounter.
Your time and your energy belong to you!  I’m not saying to never help a friend, or never do something kind for someone else.  I’m just saying know your boundaries and know when you are healthy.  Know when the situation is not healthy and pull back.  We teach others how to treat us.  We need to take this teaching to a new level and start treating ourselves better so that others treat us better.