Do you find you accept responsibility for loved one’s emotions or actions? Are you always trying to please others? Do you neglect your own needs and have difficulty setting realistic personal boundaries? Do you often feel resentful yet have trouble stepping away from a dysfunctional relationship?
These are some of the symptoms of unhealthy dependency. When we find ourselves in this situation, We tend to look for external cues from others to tell them what they should feel, need and act. While most would agree that sensitivity to others is an admirable trait, unhealthy dependency takes it to an extreme because of an inability to create healthy boundaries.
But healthy boundaries are essential. These boundaries draw a line of distinction and responsibility between our thoughts, feelings and behaviours and those thoughts, feelings and actions of others.
While it may take time to break lifelong patterns of unhealthy dependency, there are things you can do to overcome it.
Recognise Any Denial
The first step to recovery is, to be honest with yourself and acknowledge the problem. There is an excellent chance you have rationalised this unhealthy dependency overtime. While it could feel scary to admit to being involved in a dysfunctional relationship, honestly it is the first step towards healing.
Reflect on Your Past
The next step on your path to recovery is to take a look at your family history to uncover experiences that may have contributed to the unhealthy dependency .what is your family history? Were there events that led you disconnecting from your inner emotions? Were you subjected to childhood emotional neglect?
This can be a complicated process, and one that involves reliving childhood emotions. This type of work could be difficult, but it is best done in a safe counselling relationship.
Detached from Unhealthy Involvements
To truly work on ourselves, we have first to need to explore how we are rigidly fixed in our thinking and actions. Personal growth will require giving up the overinvolvement or preoccupation with trying to change, control or please someone else.
This means letting go and acknowledging we cannot fix problems that are not ours to fix.
Giving up your excessive attempts to please others is a good start to healing, but learning self-care is necessary. You must begin to become aware of your thoughts, feelings and needs, and learn how to communicate them in a relationship. This may feel very wrong at first as if you are incredibly selfish. But that’s okay.
To form healthy relationships with others, you must first establish one with yourself.
Get Good at Saying No, Setting Boundaries
One of the best ways you can begin to set healthy boundaries is to learn to say no to situations that are detrimental to your well being. This will feel awkward at first, but the more you do it, the easier it will become.
Seeking the guidance of a therapist will be beneficial as you work your way through these five steps. They will be able to help you safely explore your painful feelings and experiences and learn healthy ways of relating to yourself and others.
If you or your loved one is dealing with unhealthy dependency and it is affecting your relationship, please contact me today, I would be pleased to speak to you about how I may be able to support you. Please don’t hesitate to book in for a free 20-minute introductory telephone call where we can explore this further.