The Truth About Codependency in Family: Putting Your Life on Hold

By Yasmin Kerkez.

Codependency in family can be a deeply ingrained pattern of behavior that can affect individuals in a multitude of ways. At its core, codependency is an emotional and behavioral condition that can develop in people who have had to adapt to a dysfunctional family system or other stressful environments. The term “codependency” was first coined in the 1980s to describe a particular pattern of behavior that is characterized by an excessive focus on the needs and wants of others at the expense of one’s own needs and wants. This can lead to putting your life on hold while you prioritize other’s needs before your own, which can have serious long-term consequences. In this paper, we will explore the truth behind codependency, why it can be so damaging, and how to break free from this pattern of behavior.

Understanding Codependency in Family:

Codependency in family can be a difficult concept to grasp because it is often rooted in childhood experiences that have shaped the way individuals think, feel, and behave in their adult lives. The term “codependency” can be used to describe a range of behaviors and attitudes, including:

  • An excessive need to please others
  • Difficulty setting boundaries
  • A tendency to put other people’s needs before one’s own
  • Difficulty expressing one’s own needs and wants
  • A sense of responsibility for other people’s emotions and well-being
  • Fear of rejection or abandonment
  • Low self-esteem
  • Difficulty with intimacy and connection

These behaviors and attitudes can be especially prevalent in families where there is addiction, mental illness, or other forms of dysfunction. Children growing up in these environments may learn to prioritize the needs and wants of their parents or other family members over their own, in order to avoid conflict or to feel safe and loved. This can lead to a pattern of behavior that persists into adulthood, even when the original stressors are no longer present.

Codependency in family also occurs as a result of people believing it is their duty as a “good and caring family member” that they always care for others in family before themselves. For this reason it is also essential that guilt is removed during the healing process.

The Effects of Codependency:

Codependency in family can have serious long-term effects on individuals. By prioritizing the needs and wants of others over their own, individuals may neglect their own emotional, physical, and mental health. They may become so focused on taking care of others that they forget to take care of themselves, which can lead to feeling burnt out, exhaustion, and a sense of emptiness and frustration.

Additionally, codependency can lead to a sense of stunted personal growth. When individuals are constantly putting their own needs and wants on hold to take care of others in their family, they may find that they never have the time, energy, or resources to pursue their own goals and dreams. This can lead to a sense of regret and unfulfilled potential, as well as a deep sense of frustration and resentment towards others.

Breaking Free from Codependency:

Breaking free from codependency can be a difficult and complex process, but it is possible with time, effort, and the right support. Here are some steps you can take to start breaking free from codependency:

1. Recognize the problem:

The first step in breaking free from codependency is to recognize that it is a problem. This can be difficult, especially if you have been living with these behaviors and attitudes for most of your life. However, acknowledging that you have a problem is the first step towards making positive changes.

2. Set boundaries:

A hallmark of codependency is difficulty in setting boundaries. Learning how to set clear and healthy boundaries is an important step in breaking free from this pattern of behavior. This may involve saying “no” to requests from others, learning how to communicate your own needs and wants effectively, and learning how to identify and respect your own limits.

3. Practice self-care:

Codependency can make it difficult to prioritize your own self-care. However, taking care of yourself is an essential part of breaking free from codependency. This may involve taking time for yourself, engaging in activities that bring you joy and fulfillment, and making your own well-being a priority.

4. Seek support:

Breaking free from codependency in family can be a challenging and emotional process. It can be helpful to seek out support from friends, other family members, or a mental health professional who can offer guidance, encouragement, and support along the way.

5: Learn new coping strategies:

Codependency is often rooted in maladaptive coping strategies that were learned in childhood, or young adulthood. Learning new coping strategies can help break this pattern of behavior and create healthier ways of relating to others. This may involve learning how to communicate effectively, practicing mindfulness, and developing new problem-solving skills.

Breaking free from codependency in family can be a challenging process, but it is also an essential step towards living a more fulfilling and meaningful life. By recognizing the problem, freeing yourself of guilt, setting boundaries, practicing self-care, seeking support, and learning new coping strategies, individuals can break free from this pattern of behavior and start living life on their own terms.

In conclusion, codependency in family can lead to putting your life on hold while you prioritize other’s needs before your own, which can have serious long-term consequences. With time, effort, and the right support, individuals can break free from codependency and start living life on their own terms.

Codependency is very common in family, and if you experience this, you are certainly not alone. Getting help with codependency issues can help you reclaim your life.

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1 Response

  1. Rita says:

    You just described my life in detail… I am now 72 years old and have lived my whole life as a codependent. I was raised to be codependent. I always felt that in my family I had to be a people pleaser and had to do every little thing that my my mother and older sister told me to do, even if I didn’t want to, or else I would be ridiculed, mocked, shunned and abandoned in my home. I was always trying to get the approval and LOVE of the two most important people in my life. I was always afraid, discouraged, disappointed, blamed, betrayed and broken hearted…

    Is personal therapy options offered or is there only self help and newsletters available?

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