Codependency For Dummies
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If you think you may be codependent, you need help to change your behavior. Here are some sources of help for those suffering from codependency:
  • Read all you can about codependency (but reading alone is insufficient to change).

  • Go to a Twelve Step meeting for codependents, such as Codependents Anonymous, called CoDA, or Al-Anon for family members of alcoholics. There are other Twelve Step groups for relatives of other addicts, such as for relatives of gamblers, narcotic addicts, and sex addicts. You can look on the Internet or in your phone book to find out where there’s a meeting near you.

  • Get counseling from someone familiar with codependency. It’s preferable that they are licensed in your state. They may be marriage and family counselors, social workers, addiction specialists, psychologists, or psychiatrists.

You will probably find it hard to focus on and discipline yourself to make changes without the support of a group or therapist. If you’re practicing an addiction, stopping that should be your first priority before tackling codependency. Here’s a list of things you can do on your own to get started:
  • When you’re tempted to think or worry about someone else, turn your attention back to you.

  • Pay attention to how you talk to and treat yourself. Much of low self-esteem is self-inflicted. Train yourself to speak gently and encouraging rather than telling yourself what you should or shouldn’t be doing or what’s wrong with you.

  • Have some fun and pursue hobbies and interests of your own.

  • Start a spiritual practice where you spend time alone with yourself. Meditation is an ideal way to help you become more calm and self-aware.

  • Start looking for the positive in your life and what you do. Make a grateful list each day and read it to someone.

  • Stand-up for yourself if someone criticizes, undermines, or tries to control you.

  • Don’t worry! That’s not easy, but most worries never come to pass. You lose precious moments in the present. Mediation and talking things out with someone who knows about recovering from codependency can help you.

  • Let go of control and the need to manage other people. Remember the saying, “Live and let live.”

  • Accept yourself, so you don’t have to be perfect.

  • Get in touch with your feelings. Don’t judge them. Feelings just are. They’re not logical or right or wrong.

  • Express yourself honestly with everyone. Say what you think and what you feel. Ask for what you need.

  • Reach out for help when you feel bad. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you’re self-sufficient and can manage alone. That’s a symptom of codependency, too.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Darlene Lancer, JD, LMFT, is a licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in relationships and codependency. Ms. Lancer has counseled individuals and couples for 28 years and coaches internationally. She's a sought-after speaker to professionals at national conferences and in the media.

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