We have previously written about co-dependency, what it entails, and what the symptoms of co-dependency are. Codependency can occur in relationships characterized by, for example, drug problems or mental disorders. Codependency is not widely discussed and therefore unknown to many, but it is still a widespread problem. Many are unsure how to deal with it, others are not even aware that it is possible to work through it. Because what happens when you understand that you are codependent? What is the next step from there? Is there treatment that can help? We will look a little at these questions and what you can do yourself to start the work of treating co-dependency.
A person with codependency problems often acts emotionally through other people. It is therefore a lot about changing the perspective on one’s own value. By not recognizing one’s own value, one’s own needs and one’s own wishes for one’s own life, feelings such as anger, anxiety and constant worry will develop for many.
1. Recognize that you are important, and to practice prioritizing yourself
The first thing you might want to do is set aside time that should be your own time . You can consciously set aside an hour in your calendar for quality time with yourself. Here you have the opportunity to shift the focus in. This means that you focus a little on your inner life, such as feelings, thoughts, reflections and choices. Codependency means that the focus is often directed outwards towards other people or other events. When you set aside time just for yourself, you can allow yourself to feel what you like to do. Furthermore, you can look at what you yourself want for the future and how you can make yourself feel good.
However, it is important here to understand that all situations are different, and for some it becomes unrealistic to start dreaming about the future. Then you can rather focus on what you can do today to make this day good for yourself. When you have worked on strengthening your self-esteem, it will feel easier and more natural to think about what you dream of for the future.
2. Acceptance and awareness, daring to see the situation for what it is
In order to have the ability to work through a problem, we must first acknowledge that there actually is a problem. The good thing is that it often becomes a virtuous circle as a result. By recognizing that you have a codependency problem, you will become more aware of actions that are symptomatic of this, and increase the experience of self-worth and opportunity for growth. By being able to see your own patterns and to catch yourself in it when the action or behavior occurs, you have now got a golden opportunity: Here you can look at your behavior and reflect on what happened. Furthermore, you can try to understand that it was part of the pattern that you want to break. Then make a conscious choice to try to do it differently in the future.
Here it is important to mention that even if you are able to quickly both accept and see your own destructive patterns, it is not necessarily as easy to change them. It is therefore important to be patient with yourself, forgive your own mistakes and then continue. Not giving up when you make a mistake is an important step, although it can be a big challenge for many. But by being aware of your patterns, aware of your individual journey, and thus aware that there will be some ups and downs, you will be more equipped to deal with it.
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3. Behavior change
Points 1 and 2 involve a lot of inner work. You work on allowing yourself to get to know your own wants and needs. You allow yourself to set aside personal time . In addition, you start to listen more to yourself, and not just listen and observe what is happening outside. You recognize the problem, work on being aware of patterns of action and being patient with yourself. Challenges still arise when all thoughts and reflections are to be put into practice.
We humans are creatures of habit, and changing behavior in the same environment where the old behavior originated is challenging. It may therefore be a good idea to get help on this point. Often we need an objective view of our own actions. This way we get the opportunity to let go of thoughts or actions we are not aware are there.
This is where it can often become challenging for people with co-dependency problems. Asking for help can be a challenge in itself. Much of the core of the codependent is to help others and thus feel valued and valuable. Furthermore, it is common to base one’s value on how much others need the help that is given. It may therefore be wise to start with points 1 and 2, and to work on accepting the idea that help is both wise and, in many cases, necessary.
The importance of asking for help
Addiction and mental disorders affect many people around you , even in cases where the addict starts to get better. It is not the case that co-addicts get rid of their suffering in parallel with that of mental illness or addiction. That the addict gets better often means that the dynamics at home or in the relationship change. The codependent may feel neglected or failed because there is no need for the same type of help.
Some may feel that they are losing control. For many, this is a painful experience when they see progress in the person they love, but feel discomfort or inner pain even because of it. This is natural, but underlines the importance of help for co-dependents as well.
In families and other relationships that are important in our lives, it is about creating an environment around us that is healthy, well-functioning and that supports our personal growth. The more secure you are in yourself, and the better you know yourself, the more you will contribute to establishing a good environment for those around you. This means that if challenges arise, you can get through them by working on yourself.
Some, however, have problems that are permanent and more challenging to process. It is still possible to get better and to make positive progress over time. But you have to be willing to work for it. And you should work on getting comfortable with getting help along the way. Remember: The way out of codependency is a journey, and the journey you take is the destination itself. By starting and not giving up, even if you stumble along the way, you have already won.