Codependency: What Is It? Steps to Fix It.

What is Codependency?

“It is an emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. It is also known as “relationship addiction” because people with codependency often form or maintain relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive and abusive.”

Breaking codependency begins with acknowledging the problem.

In my practice, I have seen a lot of Codependence. It can be hard for a Codependent to accept their label. They have grown up or have learned to cope with life by taking care of others, to an extreme.

How to Spot Codependency?

They are the martyrs. They are the ones always cleaning up after the party. They are the ones smoothing over a narcissist’s consistently inappropriate behavior. They are one making excuses for others. They are the ones putting themselves last but everyone else first.

Can I be real? Codependents make great employees and church members. They will get the job done without setting boundaries for themselves.

Melodie Beattie authored the infamous, “Codependent No More”.

“Beattie’s view of codependency starts from the (counter-intuitive) premise that rescuing someone, in the sense of solving their problems for them, is a less benevolent act than it might at first seem. To avoid the destructive aspects of enabling in the guise of helping, she highlighted how “Co-dependents are caretakers – rescuers. They rescue, then they persecute, then they end up victimized”.”

How Do Codependents View the World?

They hold the constant thought that if someone else would change or do what they wanted, their lives would get better.

“If only __(insert name here)__ would ________, I would be better.”.

Or often say things like, “You make me feel ______.” “You are doing this to me _______.”

It’s the confidence that they must fix others, and that the boundaries between others and themselves are non-existent.

Steps to Fix Codependency

1)   Acknowledge it. How often does your mind (or even prayers) quickly turn to solving other people’s issues?

2)   Learn about it. The more you know how codependence manifests, the easier you will be able to see yourself heading down the road. A therapist familiar with codependence can be amazingly insightful. For example, how did you end up this way, why do you continue to seek out relationships with those who use your codependency to their benefit?

3)   Find a support group and try at least 6 meetings. Al-Anon and CODA are two great support groups for dealing with co-dependence. (Al-Anon only asks that you have a family or friend that is/was an alcoholic. That covers about 90% of the population right there). Many times a parent or spouse was an alcoholic at one time, but the effects are there even 10-30 years later.

4)   Read the literature from a support group and make it part of your daily reading.

5)   Work the steps or program with a sponsor or therapist.

6)   Learn to take care of yourself. What are your needs and desires? It’s called self-care (this is not a selfish choice, codependents have to practice on finding fulfillment for themselves). Examples include: do things you like, get your nails done, read something you want to read, go to eat where you like to eat. Hang out with your friends and enjoy other’s company simply by being you. Don’t keep trying to solve their problems for them.

7)   Understand that ignoring codependence will one day lead to extremely low levels of self-esteem.


Want to come and talk with a therapist in Roswell about Codependence? Call Psychotherapist Steve Roswell at 770-641-8726. Offices are conveniently located in Historic Downtown Roswell, GA.