How to Stop Being Codependent: 3 Ways to Feel More Secure in Your Relationship
In the beginning of a relationship, there’s that sense of uncertainty. Does he still like me? Am I doing something wrong? Is he going to break up with me? This is completely normal, but we tend to move past it. Sometimes we move so far past it, though, that we end up becoming codependent.
By definition, codependency means “excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner.” Of course in any relationship, we want to be able to rely on someone to be there for us. But there’s a fine line between relying on someone and depending on someone. More often than not, it’s not something we notice right away. The codependency may not even hit you until something extreme happens like a break-up. This is especially true in long-term relationships when things have gotten comfortable.
If you’ve ever felt like you’re needy or a people-pleaser, this codependency could apply to you. In these situations, there’s typically a deeper issue of insecurity that leads us to these behaviors. Behaviors can show up in the form of wanting to spend an unhealthy amount of time with your partner. Or a more severe situation like an abusive relationship — where the abused partner sticks around because they don’t think they can live their life without the other. Certainly those are only two of many example, but just know that codependency comes in various forms.
If you have even the slightest hunch you may be codependent on your partner, it’s a good thing you came here. We all live busy lives and have a lot going on, but it’s important to take a minute to pause and practice some self-reflection. We want you to be able to find that balance of being able to receive support from your partner without having your life depend on it.
Feeling secure in a relationship while not being codependent is absolutely possible. With couples counseling being a specialty here at Empowered, this is a common issue we see time and time again. So, don’t think you’re alone here. Although couples therapy is always an option, here’s a few steps you can take to regain your independence.
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Remember that not all of you is codependent
Think about all of your other relationships – friends, family, co-workers. Do you feel codependent with them as well? Chances are your codependency doesn’t show up in every relationship you have. Knowing that it’s only part of you, and not who you are, is a step in the right direction. Now let’s take this to another level and try talking to this codependent part of you. Search for the deeper meaning of why this codependency exists in the first place. Where does it stem from? A previous relationship? An early childhood memory? Be honest with yourself. Once you’ve established this conversation within, set an intention. Make sure it’s positive and specific. “Stop being codependent” isn’t going to cut it. Maybe it’s to spend more time with friends and family so you can prove to yourself that you don’t have to do everything with your significant other. Find something that makes you feel independent and focus on that.
Know that you can’t please everyone all the time
Some people need more validation than others. When codependency gives us that validation, the cycle just continues. However, when you can accept that you will not be able to make your partner happy 100% of the time (and that’s okay!) you’ll get one step closer to that independence. This is especially difficult when it comes to decision-making. Part of you wants to make the choice that’s in your partner’s best interest, while you still need to make a decision that works for you. Unfortunately, the decision isn’t always one in the same. And when you’re the one who has to make the decision and live with it, ultimately you have to choose what’s right for you. When you’re more self-directed (making choices that are in your best interest) this almost forces you to become independent. On the contrary, in a co-dependent relationship, one might hold back in order to control the emotional reaction of the other. Like everything in life, finding that balance is essential.
Love yourself first
Most importantly, a healthy relationship can only occur when the individuals each have a healthy mind. When you are not okay with yourself, your relationship will not be okay either. If you’re spending all your time trying to please others, what time does that leave for you? It’s not easy to suddenly become confident and independent. So take things one step at a time. Just like it’s important to find the things that make you feel independent, it’s healthy to spend time doing things that boost your confidence as well. After all, they do go hand-in-hand. When you find something that makes you feel indepednent, it will likely make you feel confident too. Once you can feel both confident and independent, that codependency will disappear. At the same time, you’ll feel more secure than ever in your relationship….because you’re secure with yourself. When you love yourself enough, the love of others is just an added bonus and not a necessity.
We realize ending codependency is way easier said than done. It takes time, effort and a lot of self-reflection. Don’t beat yourself up because you’re not getting there as quickly as you’d like. Be patient. And of course we at Empowered Therapy are always here to listen. If you’d like to speak to a professional, schedule an appointment with marriage therapist Emily Nikolaus, or any one of our skilled therapists today.
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Are you looking to regain your independence (in your relationship and beyond)? Schedule a couples counseling or individual therapy session today.