Toxic Connections: Recognizing and Overcoming Codependent Patterns

Are you hesitant to express your emotions and desires, fearing it might disrupt the delicate balance of your relationship?

Do you find yourself in a relationship where your partner’s needs seem to take precedence over your own, leaving you feeling drained or unappreciated?

If these experiences resonate with you, it’s possible that codependent patterns are affecting your well-being.

Breaking the Pattern of Codependency

Breaking free from codependency requires a significant shift in focus from the other person to yourself. This process begins with acknowledging that your well-being and happiness are your own responsibility. When you’re prepared to make this change, it’s crucial to embrace personal accountability for your mental and emotional health.

Here are some strategies to help start taking meaningful steps:

Prepare yourself for a unique challenge: While all relationships bring some occasional form of distress, codependent dynamics can also serve as a means to evade other types of vulnerability. This could be facing the unknown, experiencing pain, loneliness, or grief. This is why it’s essential to approach this kind of growth process through various avenues of support, including therapy, support groups, education, and spiritual or other community-based resources.

Set boundaries and notice the response: To maintain healthy relationships, you should openly and honestly communicate your needs, desires, and limits. Keep in mind that making a healthy shift in your relationship may be challenging and may even result in major adjustments. However, if your relationship cannot endure change, it is unlikely to improve unless both people put forth significant effort.

Balancing self and relationships: By nurturing your own interests, values, and passions, you can create a more resilient foundation for emotional stability.

In a healthy relationship, both people should be able to maintain their personal identity and well-being while enjoying the benefits of being in a relationship and supporting one another.

Embracing this dual focus empowers you to maintain healthier, more fulfilling connections, while also honoring the importance of your own personhood.

Cultivate self-awareness: Delve deeper into your patterns of behavior, emotions, and thoughts by engaging in introspection and self-reflection.

Recognize recurring themes, triggers, and responses that may contribute to unhealthy relationship dynamics. By pinpointing areas for growth and improvement, you can actively work towards fostering healthier, more satisfying connections with others rather than just putting out fires or avoiding what might be challenging.

Watch out for “yes, but’s”: 

Yes, but she had a tough childhood and that’s why she has trouble controlling their anger.”

“Yes, but their addiction is a disease and it’s not their fault they stole money from me.”

“Yes, but she was betrayed in the past and that’s why she has trouble trusting me.”

“Yes, but he’s dealing with a lot of family drama right now and I don’t want to add to his stress”

“Yes, but they have a mental illness and can’t help how they behave sometimes.”

Making excuses using “yes, but’s” minimizes the negative impact of someone actions. It also serves to absolve them of responsibility for their behavior.

By blaming factors like addiction or trauma, you excuse their actions instead of confronting the reality of the situation. You also likely avoid the difficult feelings like anger or sadness– which is often the underlying reason for adopting this mindset in the first place.

This doesn’t doesn’t mean you let go of all compassion or understanding, but it does mean that you recognize the impact of their behavior and adapt appropriately when needed.

Practice self-compassion: Understand that it takes time and effort to make changes, and it’s normal to experience setbacks. Instead of striving for perfection or the “right” course of action, focus on your commitment to yourself and your life. Feeling discomfort or confusion is often a signal that you’re making progress, but practicing self-compassion can alleviate some of the pain during challenging moments.

By taking these steps, you can begin to break the cycle of codependency and toxic relationships, empowering yourself to cultivate healthier, more fulfilling connections. Remember, the path towards healing and growth is a personal one, and you deserve to feel supported and understood along the way.

Are you in California or Illinois looking for therapy to help you free yourself from codependency?

Embark on a transformative journey with codependency therapy with Miriam.


Hello, I’m Miriam. I’m a psychotherapist with an online practice in California and Illinois.

Learn more about me and how I can help you here.