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Breaking Free from Co-Dependency

Being alone may scare you. But being in a bad relationship will damage you.”

Check through the list below to see if you have traits of codependency. They include:

1. Feeling responsible for other people’s thoughts, feelings, behaviour or physical, mental and emotional well being.

2. Repeatedly putting the needs, wishes and wellbeing of others before your own needs, wishes, and wellbeing. Caring for them is more important, and takes precedence over, caring for yourself.

3. Feeling compelled to be there for others. Feeling most comfortable when you are putting yourself out for others … or are doing everything you can to support them … or are desperately helping them to find solutions. At the same time, you feel guilty about asking for help from other people.

4. Staying in relationships that have little benefit to you, and may even prove to be harmful or abusive. Excusing and tolerating poor treatment for the sake of maintaining peace and harmony.

5. Repeating the pattern of going from one unhealthy or abusive relationship to another. Having low self worth and low self esteem.

To break the self-destructive patterns above:

1. Recognize that you have a tendency to be drawn into codependent relationships – and make the decision to change this pattern. This will require acknowledging that these types of relationships are actually unhealthy (which may not be obvious to a codependent person).

2. Understand that breaking these ingrained patterns is very difficult to do alone. Consider working with a counsellor to identify the roots of the problems, to separate out what are healthy patterns of relating from what are unhealthy patterns of relating. Learn how to establish healthy appropriate boundaries. Work on saying “no”, and putting yourself first.

3. Step back and allow others to accept full responsibility for their words, responses, reactions and behaviours. Recognise the facts that it’s not your job to be responsible for anyone other than yourself. Don’t assume the blame when other peoples’ lives go wrong.

4. Keep your focus on yourself and your own needs and problems. Remember that you also have your own life to live

5. Understand that the right thing to do is to take care of your own life and needs first – before looking out for the needs of other people. That’s not being selfish: that is being a healthy, responsible adult.

6. Don’t feel guilty about enjoying yourself – even if others are dealing with huge problems. You have a right to be happy, and to make something of life.


Certifying coaches and providing specialized online training in addictions, trauma, crisis intervention, relationships, and grief and loss. Visit us at

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