How to overcome codependency 


In a healthy relationship, there’s a balance between independence and interdependence. Individuals maintain their identities and boundaries while also fostering a supportive and mutually beneficial connection. In contrast, codependency can lead to emotional distress and significant challenges in connecting with others.

Here are a few ways to overcome codependency and develop healthier relationships:


Spend meaningful time alone

Spending time alone provides the opportunity to develop a stronger sense of self and cultivate a fulfilling, individual life outside of codependent dynamics. Engaging in hobbies, taking walks in nature, or pursuing individual interests are excellent ways to foster independence.


Develop positive coping skills

Positive coping skills, which are healthy ways to manage stress and emotions, play a crucial role in relationships. 2022 research indicates that codependency is linked to negative coping behaviors. Focus on cultivating positive coping mechanisms like mindfulness, exercise, or engaging in hobbies. These skills enhance emotional well-being and reduce reliance on unhealthy behaviors or relationships.


Establish clear and healthy boundaries in your relationships

Setting boundaries is crucial for individuals with codependency. One way to do this is by clearly communicating personal limits and expectations in relationships. Let’s say your friend often calls you late at night, disrupting your sleep. Instead of continuously accommodating this behavior, you can assert your boundaries respectfully:

“I love talking with you, but I really need to get some sleep. Can we schedule our talks during the day?”


Practice disagreeing

Recognize that meaningful disagreements aren’t relationship threats; they’re opportunities for respectful expression. When you feel the urge to share your opinion, go for it! Use “I” statements to convey feelings without blame. Suppose a close family member expresses a political opinion that you disagree with. Instead of simply agreeing, you can say something like:

“I appreciate hearing your perspective on [the political issue], and I see where you’re coming from. I have a slightly different take on it, though. In my opinion, [share your perspective]. What are your thoughts on that?”

This way, you express your disagreement respectfully, acknowledge their perspective, and invite further discussion without creating animosity.


Work on developing openness

According to a large study from 2016, the personality trait of ‘openness to experience’ was linked to stress reduction, effective coping, and resilience in wives of individuals with substance use disorders. For those dealing with codependency, enhancing self-awareness and openness to change is crucial. Consider engaging in activities that promote exploration, such as practicing daily gratitude and seeking diverse perspectives.


Build a support network

Building a social network is vital if you experience codependency. It helps break the pattern of relying solely on one person for emotional support. Consider calling up an old friend and start meeting for coffee each week, or join a new club to meet new people.


If you’re dealing with codependency, it’s important to identify the signs and actively work on overcoming these behaviors. Begin by dedicating meaningful time to yourself, establishing clear personal boundaries, and developing positive coping skills. Keep in mind that recognizing your needs and, if necessary, seeking professional support can pave the way for more satisfying, balanced relationships and overall personal well-being.