Understanding codependency and breaking free of toxic relationships

Understanding codependency and breaking free of toxic relationships

Relationships | Intimacy | Love

Nia Bennett | Nov, 17 2019

Codependency is a serious disorder when one partner is obligated to help, feels responsible, supports or relies on their other half for everything. This includes enabling various addictions, supporting irresponsible or immature behaviour or accepting emotionally or physically destructive behaviour. 

When you accept your partner talking down to you and sweep it aside and tell yourself, ‘he/she is having a bad day’ you have welcomed codependent behaviour and on the first sign of this, you need to tell yourself to acknowledge and put a stop to disrespect and abuse. 

A real relationship is based on respect, trust and compromise. No one should ever feel like they are the load bearers in a relationship.

Understanding if you are codependent

Codependency is love and romantic relationships is very common and often gets brushed aside but it is not considered as serious. But when one partner starts identifying with the needs, seeking approval or supports the needs of the other partner over their own, codependency addiction becomes a habit.

Signs of codependency

  • Valuing the opinion of others and brushing aside your opinion and thoughts
  • Constant validation from others or partner
  • Poor self-esteem
  • Lacking the ability to resolve problems in relationships or poor communication
  • When one partner is abused and held responsible for every underlying problem in the relationship
  • When two people in a relationship cannot function as two separate individuals

How to recover from a codependent relationship

  1. Work on your self-esteem

Low self-esteem is the root cause of many problems, including alcohol addiction, abuse, unhealthy eating habits and life choices. You need to know that you are not alone, many people in the world suffer from self-esteem issues time and again - the simplest and most powerful way to deal with this is to be kind to yourself. 

You must have made mistakes, maybe you hate some decisions you made in the past - but who doesn’t have regrets. The key is focusing on the present and finding ways to build your confidence and find ways to be positive.

2. Learn to figure things out and set clear boundaries

We don’t mean you shouldn’t ask for your partner’s opinion before doing something important. Clear and honest communication is important in relationships but is equally important to check if your needs are met. If you feel you need to do something, give yourself permission to figure out what you want. If your partner respects you, they will listen, understand and support you in your journey as an individual and a couple.

3. Make self care a habit

This often happens to women but isn’t by any means restricted just to women. Sometimes we tend to give too much to our loved ones: our partner, children, dogs, parents - but all the giving can seriously be damaging if you don’t have self-check times. Unashamedly make it a habit to schedule some time to do things you enjoy. Communicate with your partner and tell them you need some time and let them take on your role for the day. Love isn’t just about giving, love works on compromise and care. 

No matter how busy you get, doing things you love will help you stay in touch with your inner needs and passion.

Codependent disorders and addictions do not go overnight but the key to accept and understand codependency is the first step towards self-recovery. 

Let love be a natural process which is filled with self-respect, trust and kindness and if you are in a relationship where you feel addicted to each other then just find small ways where you keep the passion intact but also ensure your strong identity is never compromised.