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Updated: May 1

Codependency is an unhealthy relationship dynamic where one partner becomes reliant on the other partner to meet their needs – both emotional and physical. Codependency can occur in any relationship - between family members, friends, partners, and coworkers. The individual in the codependent relationship may look to the other person to provide them with feelings of value, personal validation, security, and identity.

Signs of codependency may include:

  • Obsessively worrying about and monitoring the other person

  • Difficulty saying “no” to the other person

  • Feeling an excessive need to “fix” or “help” the other person

  • Feeling immense guilt or shame when the other person is not happy

  • Feeling resentment or anger when the other person does not meet their expectations

  • Needing to change or control their behavior or actions to please the other person.

What you feel when you are in a codependent relationship:

• Responsible for the other person’s feelings and actions

• Like you can’t be yourself without the other person

• Like you need to be in control of the relationship

• Like you need to be needed by the other person

• Like you can’t make decisions without the other person

• Like you can’t be happy without the other person

• Like you can’t do anything right without the other person

• Like you can’t be successful without the other person

• Like you can’t be independent without the other person

• Like you can’t be complete without the other person.

It can develop over time as a result of unhealthy communication patterns, such as one person constantly seeking approval or validation from the other, or one person taking on too much responsibility for the other person's feelings and actions. It can also be caused by a lack of boundaries or an inability to set healthy limits. To become codependent on another person, it is important to recognize the signs of codependency and take steps to address them. This may include seeking professional help, setting boundaries, and learning healthy communication and coping skills.

The relationship becomes dependent on the other persons emotions. It can have an unhealthy dynamic in which one partner needs the other in order to feel okay and releases control. In these relationships, both partners may become overly dependent on the other, making it difficult to set boundaries, speak up, and make decisions for themselves. The other partner may also become controlling, manipulating, or abusive in order to maintain the status quo. As such, codependent relationships can lead to feelings of insecurity, depression, stress, and lack of self-worth for members of the relationship.

What to do if you find yourself entering a codependent relationship?

1. Start by recognizing what codependent behavior is. Knowing the signs of codependency and being able to identify them in your relationship will help you recognize the patterns of behavior that are unhealthy and need to change.

2. Have an honest conversation with your partner. Explain how your codependent behavior has been negatively affecting your relationship.

3. Set boundaries and express your expectations.

4. Establish independence. Focus on developing your own hobbies and interests and on taking care of your own needs.

5. Focus on self-care and healing.

6. Make sure to practice self-acceptance and forgiveness. It is important to give yourself grace, as you learn to make changes in the way you interact with your partner.

7. Seek support from friends and family. Talking to other people who are not in the codependent relationship can help you gain perspective and clarity.

8. Ask for professional help if needed. If you feel that your codependency is getting worse and you can't find a way to manage it, it is a good idea to seek out the help of a mental health professional. You can find help here. Contact one of our mental health coaches for more information. Remember you deserve to be happy, healthy, and you! We all struggle in life, we all need help at times. We Are One.


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