Breaking Free: 7 Effective Strategies for Treating Codependency
If you are reading this article, chances are you, a family member, or another loved one are in a toxic or unhealthy relationship — and it’s probably not the first time. Codependent relationships typically recur, with individuals finding themselves entangled in one dysfunctional relationship after another.
Repeatedly entering relationships where you put the other person’s needs above yours, often to the detriment of your physical or mental health, is a codependent behavior. Codependency undermines the dynamics in relationships and can interfere with your ability to develop mutually satisfying relationships.
Continually engaging in codependent relationships can develop into a relationship addiction. Like any addiction, when your actions cause low self-esteem and interfere with your well-being, it is time to seek help.
Codependency Treatment Goals
Recognizing and acknowledging self-destructive patterns is the first step on your journey to break free from being codependent and prioritize your health and happiness. You can break the cycle of codependent relationships by seeking help from a therapist or treatment center that specializes in addiction and codependency.
The primary goal of codependent treatment is to empower codependent individuals to cultivate healthy relationships. You will get tools to help you understand and recognize the signs of codependency and pivot away from them by learning how to establish appropriate, healthy boundaries with others.
Codependency Treatment Plans & Strategies
You can learn how to stop being dependent and break free of the anxiety and stress of one-sided, emotionally taxing relationships with the right strategies, mindset, and treatment plan.
Contact a Therapist or Treatment Center
Since it is common for a person with codependent tendencies to have other mental health issues or co-occurring disorders, getting a thorough assessment from a mental health provider is an important first step. The treatment plan will include multiple approaches for helping you regain your independence and health.
Care and treatment may include the following:
Individual Therapy: During one-on-one talk therapy, your counselor will help identify the root causes of your codependency and help you understand the situations that contribute to this behavior. The discussions will help you develop alternative coping mechanisms and make healthier choices. Your counselor may also use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to help you change your ways of thinking and put a stop to codependent patterns.
Family Therapy: Support from family is a vital part of recovery. Therapists help guide the patient and family by examining and understanding how codependency impacts the mental health of the patient and their relationships. During the sessions, the family will learn to identify and address behavioral patterns to support you.
Group Therapy: Discussing your codependency among a group of peers struggling with the same issues lets you know you are not alone. Group therapy is led by a counselor or therapist and is designed to have participants share their stories and experiences and learn from similarities in other’s lives.
Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT): If you have codependency along with an alcohol addiction or other substance use disorder, you may benefit from MAT or other addiction treatments to help manage substance withdrawal symptoms.
Define What You Want
How do you want to be treated? What does an ideal relationship look like to you? What makes you happy? Should you fix your relationship or leave? Answering these and similar questions will give you insight and guidance on how you want to live and interact with others. Envisioning a life free of toxic relationships and stress can keep you motivated to address your codependency and other mental health needs.
Focus on Self-Care
Once you recognize the signs of codependency, you can employ specific mindfulness and self-care strategies to help prevent a spiral into another incident or an unhealthy relationship. Exercise, go out with friends, visit a library, or do anything you enjoy. This will put your needs first and improve your mental and physical health.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports Americans are flocking to yoga to ease symptoms of stress and depression and create mental clarity and calmness. Meditation can help reduce stress and increase your ability to remember things more clearly.
Join a Support Group
Codependents Anonymous (CODA) is one of the most popular support groups for codependent recovery. CODA invites anyone with “a desire for healthy & loving relationships” to virtual and in-person meetings. CODA follows its own 12-step program and encourages self-awareness, personal responsibility, and mutual support among members. Ask your therapist or trusted confidante for other support groups in your area.
Set up a Support Structure
Have an open, honest conversation with your family and friends regarding your codependency and request their support. Be specific in what you need from them and be receptive to their input and care when they offer it. Your road to recovery will be challenging, and you will be leaning on your circle of friends and family more than you think.
Change Your Narrative
Change your mindset from a victim mentality to empowerment. Fight the urge to use negative-speak or put yourself down when things go wrong in a relationship. Focus on positive thoughts and a can-do attitude.
Establish guidelines on your wants and needs and how you want to be treated. Practice saying “no” or “I want,” and work on pushing aside your fear and anxiety of rejection when focusing on yourself. Clear, unambiguous communication — and holding firm on what you say — helps establish boundaries for a more balanced relationship.
Caron Can Help: Treatment for Codependency
Recovery from codependent tendencies can be a long road. Going it alone isn’t easy, and may not be successful. Let the professionals at Caron Treatment Center help determine your best treatment options.
We can increase your chances of breaking free from codependency and addiction.
Treatment Program: Breakthrough at Caron
Available in Florida and Pennsylvania, the specialized Breakthrough at Caron program offers workshops focused on enhancing well-being, authenticity, and connection, offering individuals a chance to rediscover themselves and improve their relationships. This is especially effective for those dealing with codependency issues. These workshops leverage emotionally focused therapy and other therapeutic techniques guided by master’s level licensed clinicians. This approach helps individuals in recovery to establish and maintain emotionally healthy and mutually satisfying connections.