Being in a codependent relationship can be tiring and frustrating. Learning tips for overcoming codependency can help you change your relationship and help those around you get the help they need.
What Is Codependency?
Codependency is when one person is so desperate to hold onto their partner that they go to painful, often dangerous lengths. Signs of a codependent relationship include denial that something is not quite right. This can be anything from being abused to ignoring an addiction your partner has. Instead of saying something assertively, you might dance around problems or say nothing. If you’re codependent and not addicted to anything, you may be an enabler. While the person struggling with addiction continues to behave inappropriately, you may cover it up to maintain the image of functional life to others.
What Happens When You’re Codependent?
These are some of the common things you may do if you’re in a codependent relationship:
- You let yourself be manipulated and controlled by someone else.
- You care so much about someone that your needs cease to matter.
- You sacrifice what you need for someone else.
- You lose a sense of your identity.
- You take responsibility for other people’s mistakes.
- You hold onto the relationship at all costs.
- You have trouble speaking assertively.
- You attempt to be perfect.
- You have a hard time being honest about your feelings.
- You engage in risky, dangerous, or illegal behaviors.
- You might even buy drugs for a significant other.
If you’re with an addict, you’ll sacrifice all your own needs to care for them. This can include managing the life they have dropped due to their addiction.
Being in a Relationship with Someone Struggling with Addiction
When you’ve become caught in the cycle of a codependent partner, you may enable your partner to continue their addiction. You may do so because you’re afraid to talk to them, or it may be an issue of fear that you’ll lose what you have. They can become dependent on you to help cover up the damage they’re doing. You don’t want to lose your family or your life.
Codependency, in part, entails enabling your partner’s addiction to continue holding onto them. While codependency can happen in any relationship, it is most commonly known as a partnership that involves addiction. Denying the problem while attempting to control their substance abuse or covering up for them allows the person struggling to continue using without consequence. The codependent partner often feels needed and wanted, which is a gap they’ve tried to fill their whole lives.
Find Your Inner Strength to Let Go of Codependent Behaviors
As someone in a codependent relationship, you likely haven’t used your inner strength. Doing so will push you into helping your partner or family member regardless of your fear. Even if you haven’t used your inner strength in the past, once you do, you’ll be able to move past the fear holding you in the dysfunctional life you’re leading.
Regardless of what your partner says, you’ll be able to finally hear your intuition which will guide you to make truly loving choices. To get in touch with your inner self, consider the following tips for overcoming codependency:
- Join a support group – Some twelve-step groups can be helpful.
- Meditate – You can start doing daily affirmations or visualizing the kind of life you’d like to have.
- Visualize – Imagine that your partner is a loving person that you don’t have to take care of through addiction any longer.
Getting in touch with yourself is a crucial step in escaping codependency.
Stop Being a Partner in Their Disease
If you have a partner who struggles with addiction and you ignore the obvious signs, you are enabling them to continue. This is exactly what codependency is, allowing yourself to go through pain to save someone else. You turn a blind eye when they do hurtful things to you to get their fix. You stay with them and continue to say nothing as they spiral downward. You may believe that you are ignoring the situation and continuing the codependent relationship out of love. You strengthen their habit of using because it conveys that you’re accepting what they’re doing. Your satisfaction comes from taking care of others which could include managing your addicted partner’s life.
There is a big difference between what you think you’re doing for your partner and the reality of your actions. When you change your behaviors, you start to help your partner. In a sense, you’re throwing a wrench in their plan to continue ignoring the addiction. Once you find your power, you’ll find it easier to set boundaries for yourself. Knowing what is no longer tolerable and not allowing things to go unsaid will start to change the dysfunctional dynamics. When your partner realizes they no longer have a partner to protect their disease, they are more likely to seek help or progress through addiction alone. That is their choice, of course, but at least you’re no longer helping them hurt themselves.
Find Help at Northpoint Recovery
We are happy to offer more tips for overcoming codependency if you are struggling. With our support, you can start to take control of your own life and stop enabling someone else’s addiction. You don’t want to lose your family or your life, so reach out today for assistance. We’re here to help. Contact Northpoint Recovery at 208.486.0130 for more information about overcoming codependency.