Recovery from Codependency – GoodTherapy


A wife vacuums and carries a toddler while her husband plays on his phone.

Codependency can leave individuals feeling resentful and empty, often leading to toxic relationships. It is a challenging pattern to change alone, as it is learned early on and reinforced over the years. However, resolving codependency can significantly improve relationships, decrease depression and anxiety, and enhance self-esteem. Seeking therapy and learning healthier ways of interaction is crucial for recovery.

Therapy for Codependency

Therapists play a vital role in helping individuals identify codependent tendencies and uncover repressed emotions. Through therapy, one can understand why these patterns developed and how they manifest in other relationships. Building self-compassion is an essential part of recovery, allowing individuals to be kind to themselves and forgive their own mistakes. Over time, the drive to overcompensate may lessen, leading to healthier behaviors.

Therapists also assist in improving relationships by teaching individuals how to support others without enabling negative behaviors. They help individuals practice assertiveness so that they can set boundaries effectively.

Codependent individuals may also benefit from group therapy or support groups, such as Co-Dependents Anonymous (CoDA) and Al-Anon. These groups provide a safe space to break the cycles of dependency and learn from others’ experiences.

Learning to Say No

Saying no is often difficult for codependent individuals who are accustomed to prioritizing others’ needs. However, establishing healthy boundaries can strengthen relationships by reducing misunderstandings and helping individuals prioritize their time and energy. Learning to say no can lead to increased energy and a better mood, ultimately improving the relationship as a whole.

Setting boundaries depends on personal needs and situations. For example, a new couple may establish limits on texting frequency, while those preparing for marriage may have conversations about financial sharing. By communicating these boundaries clearly, trust is built, providing security for both parties.

If saying no to a loved one feels challenging, the following tips might help:

  1. Express your needs and feelings honestly.
  2. Offer alternative solutions or compromises.
  3. Practice active listening and empathize with their perspective.

Supporting vs. Saving

It is essential to differentiate between supporting and saving others. Supporting someone involves encouragement and active listening, while saving someone means fixing their problems without giving them a chance to learn and grow. Allowing individuals to fix their own mistakes fosters personal growth, and these skills can be valuable in future situations. However, certain situations require professional help, such as mental health treatment or rehab for substance abuse.

Self-Care for Codependent People

A senior man takes time to engage in his pottery hobby.

Caretaking can be physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. For codependent individuals who give so much to others, self-care becomes even more critical. Engaging in self-care activities, such as exercise, nutritious meals, spending time with friends, or pursuing hobbies, helps maintain overall well-being.

Neglecting self-care can lead to burnout and compassion fatigue, preventing individuals from properly caring for themselves and the people they love. It is crucial to prioritize self-care without feeling guilty, as it ultimately enables individuals to provide better support to others.

Case Example of Therapy for Codependency

Codependency, therapy, and Al-Anon:
Charlene, a 49-year-old experiencing chronic mild depression, recently noticed an increase in symptoms. She identifies her live-in boyfriend as the source of her emotional downturn, as he is emotionally abusive and drinks excessively. Feeling responsible for their relationship, Charlene seeks therapy. Her therapist recognizes signs of codependency and refers her to Al-Anon, a support group for those dealing with alcoholic partners. In therapy, Charlene learns to express her feelings and needs, challenge distorted beliefs, and understand that her boyfriend is responsible for his own behavior. Over time, she gains insights into her codependent patterns and decides to leave the abusive relationship.


Recovering from codependency is a journey that requires therapy, setting boundaries, and practicing self-care. With the help of therapists, individuals can identify and change codependent patterns, leading to healthier relationships, improved mental well-being, and a stronger sense of self. Remember, caring for yourself is not selfish, but an essential component of caring for others.


  1. Campbell-Avenell, Z. (n.d.). 49 ways to say no to anyone (when you don’t want to be a jerk). Career FAQs. Retrieved from link
  2. Setting Boundaries with Difficult People. (n.d.) Purdue University Fort Wayne. Retrieved from link
  3. Springer, C. A., Britt, T. W., & Schlenker, B. R. (1998). Codependency: Clarifying the construct. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 20(2), 141-158. Retrieved from link
  4. Wells, M., Glickauf-Hughes, C., & Jones, R. (1999). Codependency: A grass roots construct’s relationship to shame-proneness, low self-esteem, and childhood parentification. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 27(1), 63-71. Retrieved from link

Read more about codependency recovery on

Kiến Thức Y Khoa

Xin chào các bạn, tôi là người sở hữu website Kiến Thức Y Khoa. Tôi sử dụng content AI và đã chỉnh sửa đề phù hợp với người đọc nhằm cung cấp thông tin lên website

Related Articles

Back to top button