How To Fix A Codependent Relationship
People in co-dependent relationships were never taught how to regulate their emotions, therefore, they often experience emotional dysregulation. From the beginning, they were not taught to identify their emotions, and how to deal with them. They are always hyper-aware of what’s going on and scanning for threats which becomes exhausting. This causes changes in the brain and they react in such a way that people will see them as unable to regulate emotions.
Co-dependent individuals are always worried, thus, they have no time left over for happiness and contentment. They tend to see things in a negative light and they interpret things in nefarious ways.
People with co-dependency often experience anxiety, depression, anger, and resentment. When the anxiety, anger, and resentment become too much they begin to feel hopeless and depressed.
Co-dependent people will sometimes desire to stop needing to control others and as soon as they stop, they begin to find themselves terribly out of control or believe that they are.
Often people who are co-dependent lack empathy because they were never taught how to be empathic. They didn’t have anyone asking them how they think Johnny felt when XYZ happened. Yes, empathy is a learned skill. We do have a little bit of it, but, in order to become fully empathic, we need to hone that skill, and, practice it.
Because co-dependent people are caught up with the need to be hyper-aware they don’t have the energy to be empathic. They are trying to keep their head above water. It isn’t that they don't care about others or they don’t want to be empathic, they are just too overwhelmed with their own stuff so they simply don’t have it in them. They don’t have a spare moment to focus on it.
People with co-dependency often need to be in control because they weren’t in control when they were younger. They weren’t in control of their parents, and they couldn’t get their parents to respond in nurturing ways. They didn’t learn how to regulate their emotions. So, as adults, they are trying to create a sense of safety, a safe environment.
They may have difficulty admitting mistakes, mistakes mean you’re wrong, and being wrong may lead to rejection and abandonment. That’s scary for anyone let alone somebody with low self-esteem and fears of abandonment.
They might not be able to identify their needs or ask for what they want. They are afraid to set boundaries. It may be difficult for them to make decisions. It is out of fear of making somebody angry by making the wrong decision. They were brought up not having anyone to help them with making decisions.
Can this be fixed? In large part, yes, when the person starts to identify their triggers, regulate their emotions, and start to feel safe the brain will begin to re-tune. Mindfulness is one of the first skills needed to develop in order to fix co-dependency. It is so important to be able to develop a secure attachment with yourself. Be consistent with yourself. Check in with yourself, be mindful of what’s going on and be responsive to your needs. Discover your wants and needs. Validate yourself, and, create safety.
When a person starts being able to do those things for themselves then they stop relying on others to do it for them. They will stop being afraid of being abanded and stop being helpless as they were when they were a little child.
Learning how to communicate wants and needs will help with setting healthy boundaries. When the person starts to develop mindfulness and have a secure connection with themselves, they will have the energy to assert themselves. Practicing decision-making can also be helpful. Determining the motivation behind a decision is important. Are you making it out of fear or is it the right decision for you?