Codependence in an individual can be defined as the person having low self esteem who looks outside themselves for their happiness. These individuals usually look towards other people, often loved ones. A codependent individual has the tendency to see themselves as saviors.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that codependency poses more of a health risk to women more than men, but men can also be codependent. Some of the symptoms of codependency are:
- Low self-esteem including feelings of inadequacy and self doubt.
- Poor or zero boundaries including lack of separation between the individual and their spouse or partner, children, or friends who are addicts or abusers.
- Poor communication skills which is the inability to communicate thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
- Emotional imbalance leading to anxiety, guilt, fear, shame, depression, and despair,
- drug and alcohol use and abuse.
- Caretaking behavior where the individual puts taking care of others above themselves.
- Intimacy problems.
Tips to Stop Being Codependent
Writing down all the signs of codependency that the individual has can make be a start in dealing with their issues. Using a journal to write down thoughts and feelings through the day. According to psychologists, keeping a journal is an excellent way to relieve stress and sort through feelings.
Building Self Esteem
Low self-esteem is a huge problem in the United States. Self esteem issues are not restricted to those individuals who are codependent, but codependency is largely a self esteem issue. This is why building self esteem is important. Some ways of building self esteem are:
- Changing the way they think about themselves by recognizing their strengths.
- Reading and watching uplifting materials.
- Creating an atmosphere of self improvement and self forgiveness.
- Writing down one positive thing about themselves every day.
- Being aware of negative thoughts.
3. Allowing for Consequences
Part of codependency is continually saving others from themselves. But the codependent individual needs to let others face consequences. Recognizing when helping someone is beneficial and when he or she needs to fend for themselves is an important step in recovering from codependency.
Knowing boundaries is one of the hardest things to correct. The individual needs to learn when to set limits and when it’s ok to cross them. Especially when it comes to other people, it is important they know what the boundaries are to be able to respect them.
Focusing on Oneself
Positive changes can come about when the individual starts focusing on themselves rather than others. Try taking a class to learn something new, or attend an event. Shifting the focus to what makes the individual feel good can lessen codependency.
The individual doesn’t have to make these changes by themselves. There are ways to get help for codependency issues. There is no shame to ask for support from medical professionals, treatment centers or community based organizations.
Recovery is hard work but you don’t have to do it alone. Call The Villa to find out how we can support your goals for sober living.