Leave Your Dysfunctional Life Behind
Recovering from codependency is a journey. You may find yourself lingering in a codependent relationship after you’ve seen the light. You’ve come to the realization that you are in a self-destructive situation. You understand that you should do something, but changing life-long patterns of behavior is a daunting task. So once you recognize that you have been codependent, how do you recover?
First, think about what’s keeping you in this relationship. Are you afraid to be alone? Is it just too much to go through all the work of a break-up? Are you so dependent on your partner that you find it hard to feel good about yourself? Has your dysfunctional relationship eroded your self-esteem? Do you sabotage your own needs for the sake of your partner? Are you so fearful of making a change that you remain in a relationship that’s not healthy for you?
Love Isn’t Pain
Take a moment to reflect on your relationship. You are comfortable in this dysfunctional partnership because you no doubt grew up in a dysfunctional household. It’s not your fault. It’s not your family’s fault. Many people do grow up in an unhealthy environment. But that doesn’t mean you have to continue. You equate the painfulness of dysfunction with love because that is what you know from childhood. But now you are an adult and you are learning that you do deserve to be happy and loved.
Be Kind to Yourself
Be at least as kind to yourself as you would be to your nice neighbor. Cut yourself some slack. You didn’t know better before, when you got into a codependent relationship, but now you do. Be compassionate with yourself about your past and understanding of yourself when you make mistakes in new relationships going forward. Because you will. Everyone does. But you are maturing emotionally and you are ready to make an important change for a better future.
Muster Your Courage
Yes, moving out of a codependent relationship is scary stuff. You’ve been comfortable like this your whole life. But when you are brave enough to make a change, you will feel good about yourself. And bravery encourages bravery. You can build upon it. When you have negative thoughts, remind yourself that you have already done the hard work of identifying the self-destructive patterns in your life. You have committed to making a change. And that takes courage. Keep it up.
Visualize Being Loved
Imagine yourself in a relationship in which your needs are met. With a partner who loves you for who you are, and not what you can do for him. A relationship in which you don’t have to walk on eggshells and rush to please. A relationship in which you don’t have to constantly put someone else’s needs before yours to your own detriment. A relationship that is mutually respectful, open, giving and loving.
Accept Help from Others
Recognize that it is a mature sign of strength—not weakness—to accept help from supportive friends, counselors or therapists while you undergo this change. Know that the risk you are taking is worth it because you are leaving a dysfunctional life behind. You are creating opportunities for finding the love and happiness you really do deserve. And it’s helpful to have support as you take this important step.
Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: http://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact-us.