How to stop being codependent (according to experts)


Do you often find yourself in challenging relationships, tirelessly working to make others happy while neglecting your own needs? This might be a sign of codependency. Understanding what it is and recognizing its signs in your life and how to overcome it are the first steps towards building healthier relationships and boosting your self-confidence.

What is Codependency?

Codependency is a mental and emotional condition where a person neglects their own needs to satisfy the desires of others. This often stems from a deep-seated need for approval and an intense fear of rejection. In relationships, codependency can become particularly clear, but it can exist in all types of relationships. Here is a guide to help you start making changes.

Steps to Overcome Codependency

  1. Set Your Personal Limits

Setting personal limits is about recognizing what you can handle emotionally and physically. Think about what makes you feel stressed or upset, and communicate these limits to others. Remember, everyone has their right to personal space and peace, and it is healthy to remind others and yourself of that regularly. This way, you can maintain relationships that respect your well-being and happiness.

In her book, Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life, Dr. Henry Cloud discusses the importance of setting personal boundaries. She explains that knowing your limits and expressing them to others is key to maintaining your emotional and physical health. 

  1. Make Time for Yourself

Taking time for yourself helps recharge your batteries and clears your mind. Whether it is reading a book, going for a walk, or just sitting quietly, these moments are crucial for your mental health. Remember, it is not selfish to prioritize your well-being but it is important. 

In her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown emphasizes the importance of self-care. She points out that taking time for yourself is not selfish but essential for mental clarity and emotional strength. Brown encourages everyone to find activities that relax and rejuvenate them. 

  1. Practice Saying “No”

Learning to say “no” can be tough, but it is a skill that will strengthen your personal boundaries. Start with small refusals and work your way up as you gain confidence. It is all about taking control of your time and choices, ensuring you are not overwhelmed or taken for granted.

In the book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, Greg McKeown discusses the power of saying “no.” He explains that mastering this skill helps you focus on what truly matters, protecting your time and energy from being stretched too thin. McKeown emphasizes that saying “no” is crucial for setting boundaries and not allowing others to take advantage of you.

  1. Feel Good About Yourself

Take time to appreciate the unique qualities that make you special. Keep a list of things you have achieved each week, even if they are as simple as completing a workout or helping a friend. Celebrating these moments boosts your self-esteem and helps you see the positive impact you have on the world around you.

  1. Find Hobbies You Love

Finding hobbies you enjoy can help you meet new friends who like the same things. Try different activities like drawing, walking in nature, or crafting. These hobbies can make your everyday life more fun and give you something exciting to look forward to.

  1. Handle Your Own Money

Start by setting up a budget to keep track of how much money you spend and save. Learning how to manage your money helps you make smarter choices and feel secure about your finances. It is really satisfying to see yourself achieving your financial goals!

  1. Make Your Own Choices

Making your own choices can boost your confidence and help you learn more about what you truly want in life. Start with small decisions, like choosing a movie to watch or what to eat for dinner, and gradually tackle bigger ones. It is all about trusting yourself and taking control of your own journey.

  1. Share Your Thoughts and Feelings

Talking about how you feel helps others understand you better. It also makes your relationships stronger because you are being true to yourself and those around you. It is okay to express what’s on your mind. It is an important part of taking care of your emotional health.

  1. Live in the Moment

Focus on the present instead of worrying about past mistakes or future uncertainties. Mindfulness can greatly reduce feelings of dependency. Enjoy what you are doing right now and let go of any stress about what’s already happened or what’s yet to come. This way, you can truly appreciate the here and now, which can make you feel more relaxed and content.

  1. Enjoy Your Own Company

Learn to appreciate solitude. Enjoying your own company is empowering and liberating, reducing the need for constant companionship. Find fun things to do by yourself or just chill out. Spending time alone lets you get to know yourself better and can make you feel more independent and cheerful.

  1. Write Down Your Feelings

Keep a journal of your emotions and experiences. Writing helps process your feelings and clarifies your thoughts. It is like having a conversation with yourself where you can say anything you want. This can make you feel lighter and more peaceful, as if you are clearing out clutter from your mind.


Overcoming codependency is about finding out who you are and learning to stand on your own two feet. By creating limits, enjoying your own company, and appreciating yourself more, you can build better relationships and feel more confident. Start with small steps and be proud of every bit of progress you make, each one moves you closer to a happier life.

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