Photo by AJ
HOW DO I RECOVER?
by Alison Johnson, PsyD
The journey to recovery starts with recognizing the problem (go to “Am I Codependent?”). It starts with the realization that the problem is neither the other person, nor the relationship. It begins when you realize that the problem is actually the relationship you have with yourself.
Codependency is a form of dependency. Dependency manifests itself as a reliance on other substances or processes (eg gambling or sex addiction). But, dependency can also manifest itself as reliance on other people. A person who is dependent on another relies on the other person to meet all their needs for safety, security, happiness self-esteem and approval. Pretty soon, the codependent person’s thoughts, feelings, and actions revolve around that other person. As a consequence, the dependency on the other person leads the codependent to abandon their relationship with themselves. It is like the person who gets up in the morning and asks the person laying next to them how they feel, in order to get a read on how their own day is going to go!
Recovery involves reversing the dependency process.
Instead of being distracted by focusing on another person, the codependent learns to face their own issues and problems straight on.
Instead of blaming another person, the codependent learns to take personal responsibility for making changes in their life.
Instead of the relationship resembling more of a hostage situation, healthy relationships replace dependent ones.
Instead of lying and manipulating in order to try and control another person, the codependent learns how to recognize and ask for their needs.
Instead of relying on one person for all of their needs, the codependent replaces dependency on one person with a system of support and autonomy.
Instead of fearing that a person might leave or stop caring, the codependent feels free to be more authentic and honest instead of people pleasing and manipulative.