10 Minutes

Edited & medically reviewed by THE BALANCE Team
Fact checked

Codependency is a relational dynamic in which you over-rely upon others’ opinions of you, fail to recognize and value your own needs, and have a hard time feeling as different and independent from others.

The well-being of your partner becomes profoundly tangled up with your well-being in codependent relationships. You may become perplexed as you try to make decisions and choices. It feels safer and simpler to focus on your partner’s real or perceived reactions and replies rather than on yourself, especially during important, emotionally intense moments. When your desires differ from your partner’s, it can be difficult to create, respect, and acknowledge your own and others’ boundaries, as well as know & honor what you want.

codependency in a relationship

Getting over codependency can be difficult. The following are some of the key tips essential for breaking codependency.

Put Your Codependent Tendencies In Context.

In the present hyper-independent society, codependency gets a bad reputation, which is why it is suggested that people who are struggling with it start by developing compassion for themselves when they become stuck in codependent cycles. Many of the attributes that individualistic societies consider “codependent” are celebrated in communalistic civilizations. For instance, putting everyone else first, self-sacrifice for the greater good, and a profound understanding of others’ needs. Codependency does not imply that you are weak or imperfect, or that you have “failed” to look after yourself. It denotes your status as a relational survivor.

Codependency has a psychological purpose as well. It usually starts in early childhood, when this habit of “merging” with others’ interests provided you with the safest and greatest method of keeping attached to caregivers who, despite their best intentions, have been unable to emphasize you and your needs.

Look for ways to more completely appreciate these aspects of yourself. There are several loving-kindness audios and meditations available on the web and through various phone apps that may be beneficial.

Incorporate Little Acts Of “Smart Selfishness” Into Your Daily Routine.

Keep in mind that codependency is a continuum. It’s not a rigid, absolute classification. Most of the same pro-social, thoughtful, and kind actions that are labeled “codependent” are also pro-social, gentle, and intelligent. Growth for persons on the opposite end of the codependency continuum, those who are counter dependent or stuck in a narcissistic mindset—entails developing the talents you’re already good at relational sensitivity and responsiveness to others’ needs.

Observe patterns in your comments about people you care about to prevent yourself from going too far on the opposite end of the spectrum. Could you react differently in the long-term and feel good? Allow yourself to engage in small acts of “wise selfishness”—acts that recognize your needs, interests, and emotions for the sake of your relationship’s long-term health. When you’ve pushed too far in putting everyone else first, use your knowledge to identify it and try something new. Don’t berate or judge yourself.

Find Out What Your Genuine Needs Are.

Differentiate genuine needs from avoidance and fear. Is it more important to avoid someone’s condemnation at all costs, or is it more important to prevent burning oneself out by giving too much? Is it more important to avoid making a mistake, or is it more important to offer yourself some compassion and let yourself be human at this moment? Slow down, soothe yourself, and check-in with what you truly require on a regular basis.

Communicate In A Straightforward And Direct Manner.

When feasible, learn to be bravely direct in your communication with people, leaving as little opportunity for interpretation as possible. Whether someone asks you if you’re free tonight, respond “No, I’m not available tonight,” rather than “Well, I’m starting to feel a little weary.” Clear communication starts with communicating clearly with oneself. Allow others to perceive you for more than your peacekeeping, “pleasing,” or diplomatic persona.

Keep Your Distance From The Other Side Of The Fence.

When you find yourself worrying about how others view you or what they think about anything you said or did, remember that you have no say in what goes on in other people’s heads. People should be trusted to find their own path and find solutions. Even when you fail others, your inner kindness shows through.

Develop Your Own Unwavering Self-Love.

Our capacity to love ourselves and others are harmed by self-judgment. Self-approval should be practiced. Remind yourself:

  • “These unpleasant sensations are acceptable to me. They’re a part of what it is to be human.”
  • “I accept my own perplexity since I can’t be clear-headed all of the time.”
  • “I accept the challenges I’m facing because they’re part of this journey.”

Even if you wished things were different, you can accept what is happening. Always find something to be proud of in oneself, even if it’s difficult.

Let Go Of The Stories You’ve Been Telling Yourself.

Identify stories about worst-case situations as they arise in your imagination. This is one of the best things you can do in fighting codependency. Things keep you stuck in a painful cycle of seeking to control people when you should be connecting with your own emotions, interests, desires, and principles. Letting go of tales honors life, opens you up to new possibilities, and honors the rights of others to be on their own unique growth path separate from yours. 

Allow Yourself To Let Go Of The Outcome.

It takes a willingness to bear the unknown and live with uncertainty to let go of connection to the outcome. When trying to overcome codependency, it’s vital to practice this on a regular basis. The dread of upsetting someone whose opinion is important to you, or of being “despised,” is part of what keeps the loop of codependent behaviors going. Learning to accept the prospect of disappointing people who matter is all it takes to achieve a releasing outcome.

Yes, you may let people down. Yes, people may have bad feelings toward you for a short period of time. You don’t have to like this prospect, but you should practice tolerating it so that you can be more yourself.

Cultivate habits that place you in a greater field of being, so you’re not burdened by existential despair or fear of failure. Make happiness a priority. Assure yourself that your value and worth are not dependent on the happiness of others. Connect with others via meditating, praying, journaling, and connecting with others.

These present-moment techniques can help you feel more “flow” in the present moment while reducing your concern about the future. As a result, you can have more faith in your own current or present-moment experience. This is where you can live your life to the fullest.

One of the most important questions that couples in a relationship ask is how to be independent or how to heal from codependency in a relationship. Recovering from codependency can be a long-term process and involves self-awareness and psychoeducation. 

Codependency and anxiety go hand and hand and so the realization of codependency can cause anxiety initially and if appropriate codependency exercises and practices are not initiated, this transient anxiety can progress to long-term anxiety.  

Learn What A Healthy Relationship Looks Like

Although not all toxic relationships are codependent, they are all unhealthy in general.

This isn’t to say that codependent relationships can’t work. It’ll simply take a little effort to get everything back on track. Learning what a balanced, non-codependent relationship looks like is one of the first stages of doing so.

Healthy love is characterized by a cycle of contentment and comfort while toxic love is characterized by a circle of anguish and despair.

A few other signs of a happy relationship are:

  • Partners have faith in each other and in themselves
  • Both spouses are confident in their own values.
  • Partners are able to compromise

Your spouse should be concerned about your feelings in a healthy relationship, and you should feel free to express your feelings and needs. You should also be able to express an opinion that varies from your partner’s or refuses something that is incompatible with your personal desires.

Set Limits For Yourself

A boundary is a barrier you set around something you don’t like. They aren’t always easy to establish or maintain, especially if you have a lengthy history of codependency. You may be so used to making others feel at ease that you are oblivious to your own limitations.

It may take some effort to be able to consistently and firmly respect your own limits, but the following techniques can help:

Pay attention with empathy, but don’t go any further. Don’t provide answers or try to solve the situation for them unless you’re directly involved in it.

Make courteous refusals a habit. “I’m sorry, but I’m not available right now” or “I’d rather not now, but maybe later” are two options.

Inquire within yourself. Ask yourself these questions before you do anything:

  • Why am I acting in this manner?
  • Is it something I want to accomplish or something I feel obligated to do?
  • Will this deplete any of my assets?
  • Will I have enough stamina to fulfill my own requirements?
  • Always keep in mind that you can only manage your own behavior.

Wanting to control someone else’s behavior rarely works well. However, if you consider your ability to assist and look after your partner to be a source of validation, failing to do so can make you very unhappy.

Their unwillingness to adjust may irritate you. You might be bitter or frustrated that your efforts to help were ineffective. These feelings can either make you feel worthless or make you even more driven to try harder and repeat the cycle.

What can you do to break this cycle?

Remind yourself that you are the only one who has control over you. It is your job to control your own actions and reactions. You are not accountable for your partner’s or anyone else’s behavior.

Provide Wholesome Assistance

While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to assist your partner, there are methods to do so without jeopardizing your own needs.

Support for a healthy lifestyle could include:

  • Having a conversation about a topic can help you see things from a different perspective.
  • Paying attention to your partner’s problems or concerns
  • Instead of advocating for them, we should talk about alternative solutions with them.
  • When asked for suggestions or recommendations, step back and allow them to make their own decision.
  • Compassion and acceptance are offered

Remember that you can express your love for your partner by spending quality time with them and being available to them rather than trying to control or influence their conduct. Couples should value one another for who they are rather than what they do for one another.

Make An Effort To Value Oneself

Low self-esteem and codependency are frequently connected. Developing a feeling of self-worth that isn’t based on your capacity to care for others can be difficult if your self-worth is based on your ability to take care of others.

Higher self-worth, on the other hand, might boost your self-confidence, happiness, and self-esteem. All of this can help you articulate your needs and establish boundaries, both of which are essential for resolving codependency.

It requires learning to value yourself. These pointers can help you get started:

Hang out with people who are considerate of you. Even when you’re ready to move on, it’s not always simple to leave a relationship. Meanwhile, surround yourself with good individuals who respect you and are willing to embrace and support you. Limit your interactions with people that sap your energy and make you feel lousy about yourself.

Engage in activities that you enjoy. Perhaps the time you’ve spent caring for others has kept you from engaging in hobbies or other pursuits. Whether it’s reading a book or going for a stroll, try to set aside time each day to do things that make you happy.

Take good care of yourself. Caring for your body might also help you feel better emotionally. Check to see if you’re eating on a regular basis and getting adequate rest each night. These are basic requirements that you are entitled to have met.

Negative self-talk must be let go of. If you have a tendency to criticize yourself, confront and recast these negative thoughts so that you can instead affirm yourself. Instead of telling yourself, “I’m no good,” remind yourself, “I’m trying my hardest.”

Define Your Own Needs

It’s important to remember that codependent patterns often start in childhood. It’s possible that you haven’t given much thought to your personal needs and desires in a long time.

Ask yourself what you want out of life, regardless of what others want. Do you wish to be in a relationship? Is there a family? Is there a specific position that you’re looking for? Is it possible to relocate? Try writing in a notebook about anything that comes up as a result of these questions.

Trying new things can be beneficial. If you’re not sure what you want to do with your life, start with something you’re interested in. You may discover that you have a gift or expertise that you were previously unaware of.

Think About Going To Therapy

Codependent characteristics might become so ingrained in your personality and conduct that you may struggle to recognize them on your own. Even when you are aware of them, codependency can be difficult to overcome on your own.

If you’re trying to combat codependency, Biros suggests seeing a psychotherapist who has expertise in working with people who are recovering from this difficult problem.

They can assist you in the following ways:

  • Recognize trends of codependent behavior and take actions to address them.
  • Increase your self-esteem by working on it.
  • Find out what you want out of life.
  • Negative thought patterns should be reframed and challenged.

When you keep focusing your attention outside of yourself and you will find yourself powerless. This can lead to emotions of despair and helplessness over time, which can lead to depression.

Codependency is a difficult problem to overcome, but with little effort, you can conquer it and begin to form more healthy relationships that meet your needs as well.



The Balance RehabClinic is a leading provider of luxury addiction and mental health treatment for affluent individuals and their families, offering a blend of innovative science and holistic methods with unparalleled individualised care.


a successful and proven concept focusing on underlying causes


0 Before

Send Admission Request

0 Before

Define Treatment Goals

1 week

Assessments & Detox

1-4 week

Psychological & Holistic Therapy

4 week

Family Therapy

5-8 week


12+ week

Refresher Visit

Codependency Insights

latest news & research on Codependency


British Psychology Society
Institute de terapia neural
pro mesotherapie
Somatic Experience


Woman & Home
National World
American Banker
Marie Claire
La Nacion
Metro UK
General Anzeiger
Live Science
Mallorca Magazin
Apartment Therapy
Express UK
Manager Magazin
Entrepreneur ME
Khaleej Times
Business Leader
The Guardian
Daily Mail
Mallorca Zeitung
Mirror Uk
The Times
The Standard
The Stylist