LMFT, Clinical Fellow of the AAMFT, PhD candidate
Codependency is characterized by a series of behaviors that are focused in someone else's direction, usually at one’s own expense. It is not merely something you "keep doing," but more so, it is a way of being. For that reason, it may be difficult to just stop "doing" a thing or being so codependent. Often when forming habits, if we dig beneath the surface, we find that we take actions because of a belief (e.g. he needs me, things will fall apart without me, she cannot do it on her own). If we go a little further, we may find deeper questions like: who am I without him, am I important, what do I need? Pondering those thoughts can be painful, so it may be more soothing to look at someone else’s concerns instead of what we truly want. When we are looking in the direction of someone else consistently, it can be hard to go anywhere else. That doesn’t mean you have to leave your relationship to become independent or interdependent. You can allow yourself to change your orientation to your partner. Try looking ahead WITH them at what you both want instead of AT them to fill a need. With consistency and effort, you both can walk forward together... interdependently.