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Leaving Codependency Behind

depressed young ethnic lady touching head and looking down sitting near wall

When people think about codependency, they often picture someone with low self-esteem who has become obsessed with another person.

But this is not always the case.

Codependency is actually a set of unhealthy and unbalanced behaviors that develop in response to being in a relationship with someone who exhibits narcissistic, antisocial, or dependent personality traits, or as a result of growing up in an environment where one or both parents are narcissistic or codependent.

Despite popular belief, codependents aren’t weak; they are strong and resilient individuals who have been forced to adapt to an unhealthy dynamic.

Codependence isn’t something that can be easily fixed by simply dating the right person or going on vacation. It is a lifelong process that requires dedication and hard work.

Many woman who are, or who were, in a toxic relationship, usually don’t speak about it because they didn’t realize they are in a toxic relationship.

In a controlling and manipulative relationship most survivors will tell you he would control her space as an example; by limiting her contacts with friends, saying she’s not home when she is, or by refusing to allow her to invite others over.

There was once a woman named Katie, and she shared how he would control her intellectually by using arguments to wear her down in a discussion or by interrupting her.

Susan, said he would define her reality. It’s a type of abuse that completely discounts the partner’s experience by defining “what is true.” Following are some examples.

That’s not what you said.

That’s not what you did.

That’s not what happened.

That’s not what you saw.

That’s not what you felt.

Each one these statements would violates the partner’s boundaries and is very verbally abusive.

Samantha, was 17 years old when she first met him. He was her next door neighbor and he was so charming.

As her story continued she said:

“I thought I was in love. I didn’t know then that he was just manipulating me. For the first few months, everything was perfect.

He was always telling me how much he loved me and how lucky he was to have me. But then things started to change. He became possessive and jealous. He would check my phone, go through my emails, and follow me when I left the house. I felt like I was being suffocated.

I tried to break up with him, but he would beg and plead with me to stay. He would promise to change and be better. I believed him and we would get back together.

This cycle continued for years. I would leave him, he would promise to change, and we would get back together. The verbal abuse started slowly. At first, it was little put-downs here and there. But then it became constant. He would call me names, tell me I was stupid, and tell me I was worthless. I started to believe him.

I thought I deserved the abuse because I must be as bad as he said I was. The physical and emotional abuse started after we had been together for about 10 years. He would hit me, push me, and shove me.

I was scared to leave him because I didn’t know what he would do to me. I felt like I was walking on eggshells all the time. I was afraid to do anything that would set him off.

I finally mustered up the courage to leave him after 17 years of abuse. I was scared and I didn’t know what to do, but I knew I had to get out.

I packed up my things and moved out of state. It was the best decision I ever made.

Looking back, I can see how much my self-esteem and self-worth were damaged by the abuse. It has taken me a long time to recover, but I am finally starting to love myself again.

If you feel like you might be codependent, understand that there is hope for your future.

Read on for some helpful insights into identifying if you are codependent and what you can do about it

What is codependency?

A codependent relationship is one in which two people rely on each other in unhealthy and unbalanced ways. One or both partners may exhibit addictive, controlling, or abusive behaviors. The non-addicted person in the relationship may try to control their partner’s harmful behaviors by denying their own needs and reality, which can cause codependency to develop. Codependents are also prone to other forms of mental illness, such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and low self-esteem. Codependents may have experienced trauma in their childhood, such as growing up with a parent who is dependent, addicted, or abusive. In this case, the child may have learned to deny their feelings to avoid the harmful attention of their parents. This leads to a misguided sense of self, where one believes that they are not worthy of love and attention.

Why does being codependent feel so bad?

People often think that codependents are unhappy because they are focusing too much on other people and not enough on themselves. But actually, it’s the opposite: the codependent person is so focused on themselves and what they should be getting out of the relationship that they are incapable of receiving love. They feel a constant urge to please their partner, but they are often too afraid to ask for what they need in return. That feeling of emptiness may be so intense that the codependent person starts looking for love in all the wrong places — i.e., abusive relationships. Codependents often feel like they don’t deserve love and that they are “bad” if they ask for what they need out of a relationship. But the truth is that people who love and support you will want you to be healthy and happy.

5 Signs You Might Be Codependent

– You have low self-worth – Feeling like you don’t deserve love is a sign that you might be codependent. Codependents often push others away with their constant need to please others and their difficulty in asking for what they need.

– You have trouble setting boundaries – Healthy relationships require that you know your limits and communicate them to your partner. If you have trouble standing up for yourself, you may be codependent.

– You have trouble feeling joy or pleasure – You may be so focused on satisfying others that you forget to take care of yourself. Make sure to take time out of each day to do something that brings you joy.

– You always feel anxious or scared – Fear can be a useful emotion, alerting you to potential problems in a relationship. But constant anxiety is an unhealthy sign that you need to change your situation.

– You feel trapped – Codependent relationships often feel like being in a cage. If you feel like you can’t leave a toxic relationship, you probably need to take some serious steps to heal.

3 Steps to Leaving Codependency Behind

– Set Boundaries

– If you feel like you don’t have any limits in your relationship, you need to set some boundaries. It’s important to let your partner know what you are and aren’t comfortable with and to stick to those limits, even when your partner pushes back.

– Develop a support system – One of the best ways to leave codependency behind is to find people you can talk to about your problems and heal with.

– Focus on taking care of yourself – It can be easy to fall into the trap of focusing too much on others and not enough on yourself. It’s important to make sure you are taking care of your mental, emotional, and physical health.

Conclusion

Codependency is a serious issue, but it can be overcome. By identifying codependent traits in yourself, setting boundaries, developing a support system, and putting your own needs first, you can break the cycle and leave codependency behind.

Are you constantly trying to please other people, or are you the go-to person for other people’s problems? Maybe you stay in an unhealthy relationship out of fear of being alone or abandoned, or maybe you’re so busy helping others that you’ve lost yourself?

Codependency is a condition that occurs when you put others’ needs before your own, resulting in a loss of self. You can’t be everything to everyone, and you’re a human doing, not a human being.

I am so excited to share with you that I created a course, and with the help of this course, “Road Less Traveled” you’ll not only learn how codependency affects you, but you will also learn how to repair it so that you can live the life you want on your own terms.

People like you who are compassionate, giving, and loving are needed in the world. However, you also deserve to be cared for in the same way. Codependents often have one-sided relationships, making it difficult for them to receive and give.

Even if you have the best of intentions, you deprive the person you are protecting of the lessons they need to learn and grow when you continue to enable them.

You can only give so much for so long before you start suffering. A dynamic like this holds you back from your authentic path and purpose

Lot’s of love,

Nancy Duarte

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