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4 Signs Of Codependency And Tips For A Healthier Bond

Written by: Maria G. Alcaraz, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 
Executive Contributor Maria G. Alcaraz

Codependency is a relationship where one person is overly reliant on the other for their emotional and mental well-being. This type of relationship can be unhealthy and can lead to a range of negative consequences for both parties involved. As a psychotherapist, I've witnessed countless individuals struggling with the emotional toll of codependent patterns. We will explore four key signs of codependency and provide valuable tips from a therapeutic standpoint to help you build a healthier and more balanced bond.


Rear view of couple's hand tied with metal chain at outdoor.

Sign 1: Excessive caretaking


One of the common signs of codependency is an excessive focus on taking care of your partner's needs while neglecting your own. This behavior is often rooted from fear of abandonment or a need for external validation. In a codependent relationship, you may find yourself constantly sacrificing your own happiness, time, and even personal goals to ensure your partner is content.


Tip 1: Practice self-care


While it's important to be supportive of your partner, it's equally important to take care of yourself. Make a list of your own needs and desires, and make time to meet them. This can include exercise, meditation, therapy, spiritual activities or spending time with friends and family. Remember that taking care of yourself is not selfish but essential for a healthy relationship. Openly communicate with your partner about your needs and boundaries.


Sign 2: Loss of individual identity


Codependency can lead to a loss of individual identity, where you begin to define yourself solely through your relationship. You might find it challenging to make decisions independently or even identify your own interests and goals. This intertwined sense of self can be detrimental to both your personal growth and the health of the relationship.


Tip 2: Reconnect with your identity


To break free from this sign of codependency, focus on rediscovering your goals, interests and passions. Reconnect with hobbies, friendships, or activities that once brought you joy. By nurturing your individuality, you'll not only feel more fulfilled but also bring a healthier, more authentic self into the relationship.


Sign 3: Codependency and the fear of conflict


Codependent individuals often go to great lengths to avoid conflict, even if it means suppressing their own feelings and needs. This fear of conflict can lead to resentment building up over time and hinder effective communication within the relationship. It's important to recognize that conflict is a natural part of any relationship and can be an opportunity for growth and understanding.


Tip 3: Embrace healthy communication


Learn to communicate openly and assertively with your partner. Practice active listening, express your feelings and needs honestly, and encourage your partner to do the same. A trained therapist can be extremely useful in helping you develop effective communication skills and addressing underlying fears that contribute to codependent behavior.


Sign 4: Emotional dependency


Emotional dependency is a core characteristic of codependency. It involves seeking emotional validation, security, and self-worth primarily from your partner, which are often harmful to your own emotional well-being. Relying solely on your partner for your emotional needs can create an unhealthy imbalance in the relationship.


Tip 4: Build a support system


To overcome emotional dependency, work on building a support system outside of your relationship. Cultivate friendships, connect with family, or seek therapy to develop a healthier sense of self-esteem and emotional resilience. This external support can help you navigate the challenges within your relationship more effectively.


Recognizing the signs of codependency and taking steps to address them is crucial for fostering a healthier bond. Remember that change takes time, and seeking the guidance of a trained therapist can provide you with valuable tools and insights on your journey towards a more balanced and fulfilling relationship. By prioritizing self-care, reclaiming your individual identity, embracing healthy communication, and building a support system, you can break free from codependent patterns and build a more balanced partnership.


If you’d like to learn more, Unity Therapy Services is here to help. Our goal is to help you reach your full potential by giving you access to effective therapeutic solutions tailored specifically for you. Through our unique approach, we’ll strive to empower you with the tools you need to achieve success in both your personal and professional life. Let’s connect!


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Maria G. Alcaraz Brainz Magazine
 

Maria G. Alcaraz, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Maria G. Alcaraz is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with experience working in various settings and populations, including working with foster youth, young children, transitional aged youth, and adults struggling with life difficulties which can include and not limited to concerns with stress, anxiety, depression, relationship issues, family problems, and trauma etc. She is the CEO & Founder of Unity Therapy Services, Inc. a mental health practice located in California. Her goal is to help her clients to move towards a hopeful balanced future and regain a sense of normalcy.

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