The Chains of Codependency: A Barrier to Living Fully

By Susan Ball, Abuse Recovery Mentor.

For most of us, the desire to belong and to be invited into the lives of others is an intrinsic part of being human. However, there is a fine line between a healthy desire for connection and codependency, a toxic attachment that keeps you from living a full and vibrant life. Codependency, often masked as loyalty or devotion, can make you feel like a prisoner in your own life, constantly waiting for someone else’s permission to live, feel, and experience joy. This article aims to shed light on how codependency hinders your personal growth, and how healing from codependency can illuminate the power of your free will, enabling you to lead a life full of joy and fun on your own terms.

The Trap of Codependency

At its core, codependency involves an excessive reliance on others for approval, self-worth, and identity. This need to be needed can often feel like a trap, causing you to suppress your own desires and needs to avoid conflict or rejection.

Codependency leads to a lack of self-awareness and personal growth, because you constantly seek validation from others rather than cultivating your own self-worth. It can lead to feelings of resentment and anger because you feel like you are always giving and never receiving. Over time, codependency can cause you to lose sight of who you are and what you want, making it impossible to lead a full and satisfying life.

During my recovery, I discovered that I had left behind and ignored most, if not all, of my wants, needs, and desires. If someone didn’t approve of what I was thinking of doing, I would immediately do what they suggested. I wanted approval, belonging, and validation so badly, I gave up on everything I wanted. And because of that constant need, I did not live the life I wanted. I lived my “should” life and that’s sad.

The Power of Healing

Healing from codependency involves acknowledging and confronting the ways in which you have relinquished your power and autonomy in your relationships. It involves taking a hard look at your past and present relationships and understanding the patterns of behaviour that have kept you trapped. As you begin to unpack and address these patterns, you can start to reclaim your sense of self and re-establish healthy boundaries.

One of the most empowering aspects of healing from codependency is the realization that you have the free will to shape your own life. You do not need to wait for an invitation to belong or to experience joy. You have the capacity to create a fulfilling life on your own terms. This may involve exploring new hobbies, making new friends, or simply spending time alone and learning to enjoy your own company.

Tips to Break Codependency

Cultivate Self-Awareness: Understand, be honest, and honour your own needs, desires, and emotions. Reflect on your past and present relationships to identify patterns of codependency and where you have given and given when you wanted to say no or choose a healthy response for you.

Establish Healthy Boundaries: Learn to say no without feeling guilty. Communicate your needs and desires clearly and assertively. Boundaries are self-love, compassion, and a healthy form of self-validation. 

Seek Professional Help: Therapy can be an invaluable tool in understanding and overcoming codependency. Working with someone who can help you reveal your patterns and provide support, resources, and tools, is incredibly important for your future.

Practice Self-Care: Make time for yourself and prioritize your own well-being. Make dates with you, write them in your diary, and keep them! Don’t let yourself down by changing or skipping your date. Set the stage for all your relationships by showing up for yourself first and foremost.

Build a Support Network: Cultivate relationships with friends and family who support your growth and encourage your independence. You want a circle that loves and appreciates your quirks, understands your deepest desires and helps you achieve them. Celebrates with you and doesn’t try to talk you out of what you want and how you’re going to get there.

Tips to Honour Your New Freedom

Explore New Interests: Take up a new hobby, join a club, or pursue a passion that brings you joy. Be curious and open-minded. Just go do stuff – you never know what you will love!

Cultivate Self-Compassion: Be kind and gentle with yourself as you navigate this new chapter of your life. You are a human and humans are perfectly imperfect. Be kind and let your perceived mistakes go without judgement. Remember the lesson but don’t hold your mistakes against you. 

Embrace Alone Time: Learn to enjoy your own company and appreciate the peace and freedom that comes with solitude. Being alone is a great way to get to know who you are, what you want to achieve, and how you’re going to get there. Your thoughts and time are free-range and open to all the possibilities – enjoy.

Celebrate Your Progress: Acknowledge and celebrate the progress you have made in your journey towards healing and independence. Every tiny step you take is important and worthy of a celebration. 


Healing from codependency can illuminate the power of your free will and enable you to reclaim your sense of self. Remember, it is not only possible to have tons of fun on your own, but it is also necessary for your personal growth and wellbeing.

By Susan Ball. Rediscover your strength, reclaim your joy, and embrace a future filled with healing and restoration. Join me in Italy, where renewal begins.

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