First Steps to Understanding & Managing Codependency
CO DEPENDENCE : It is an emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual's ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship with someone or something.
Among the core characteristics of codependency is an excessive reliance on other people for approval and a sense of identity to live life. Also known as addictions. Addictions can range from our phones to social media to work to overachieving to substances and to intimate relationships.
If we all sat back, reflected and explored our behaviors honestly and judgment free, I could say that almost all of us would be able to point out something they are or have been co dependent on. It’s more normal than not because like many things it comes with growing up and experiencing life in different ways, at different times with different people. It’s another skill. So, no worries.
Like everything else, once you are aware of your codependency it makes it easier to learn how to manage it or them. Reminding ourselves of the definition of codependency; it’s about approval and self identity which most of you would agree are also skills that grow stronger as you grow personally. Learning how to not require ones approval or learning how to not fear making a decision that goes against your addiction is also a process. As I always say, a process is full of tasks and if you break down the tasks in small goals, you can work on strengthening those skills in a manageable and effective way.
Ask yourselves the following questions and it’ll give you a good idea if you have a co dependency.
Do you take more care of others than yourself?
Do you have trouble setting boundaries with things or people?
Are you a perfectionist?
Do you engage in any activity (work/play/drink) more than required or at an unsafe point?
Do you crave anything (food, drink, etc) or anyone(attention …) frequently?
Do you have a hard time saying no and feel guilty when you do?
Are family and friends pointing things out that they are concerned about? (Probably most important but hardest to take)
Do you have more yes’ than no’s? If you do, make a list. Decide if your list requires extra help beyond this blog and don’t feel bad about it. More than most need help with strengthening and implementing self discipline.
For the lighter subjects; try setting limits for yourself.
First you have to start with being ready to be completely honest with yourself. For example: If you define your FB use as a problem, set a limit by making FB something you look forward to doing at the end of the night or after you are done with responsibilities. Yes, like a treat. Obviously if we do (it) we get something out of it; even if it is mindless use of your time. Sometimes we need a break, where we use zero capacity of our brain :) So, treat it like a treat. Reminders also work; like setting an alarm when you first get on FB to remind you to get off or using that new feature and setting limits to screen time. Another example; shopping. Give yourself a budget, 2x a month you get to go shopping & always bring cash. Once the cash is gone; you’re finished :)
Self discipline is huge here and like I always say it is always okay to ask for help. There have been times in the past where I’ve given my mom my credit cards to hold on to, so I can limit my access to making impulsive buys.
Now look I know this all sounds silly. But it comes down to how important it is to kick a codependency to you. Your efforts have to match your challenge; otherwise the challenge will always win. Hence, why addictions are hard to manage in general.