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4 Proven Ways to Heal From Codependency

When we love someone, we want to show that love by giving them everything we can. We choose to make sacrifices in order to serve the other person. After all, Jesus did say, 

“Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

John 15:13

The desire to serve our loved ones is noble, but endless giving and one-sided sacrifice in a relationship can lead to codependency. In a codependent relationship, one person aims to show their love by constantly serving and taking responsibility for their loved one—which in turn can enable irresponsible, careless, and damaging behavior from their partner.  

Codependency isn’t just in romantic relationships—it can occur in a relationship with parents, children, or even a close friend. Living with codependency can lead to low self-esteem, unhealthy boundaries in relationships, and a distorted view of love. 

Codependency can be a huge burden, and though it is not easy to overcome, there are steps you can take to help you move toward healthy relationships. Below are four proven ways to heal from codependency to help you on your journey.

1. Remember Your Self-Worth 

The first and most important strategy is to remind yourself that you are important. You are a child of God, and your needs, desires, and feelings matter just as much as your partner’s

In a healthy relationship, true, sacrificial love will help you grow and become more confident in who you are, but codependency leads only to insecurity and low self-esteem. 

The lie of codependency is that caring for every need and desire of others is of higher value than caring for yourself. Over time, this type of bond forces you to change who you are in order to better serve the other person. Don’t let yourself fall for this lie!

2. Consider Healthy Examples

If you want to find healing in a codependent relationship, it is vital to have a clear goal in mind. What does a healthy relationship truly look like? Think of the relationships that have stood out to you over the years. What can you learn from them? 

Look to the relationships of friends, older couples you admire, or even other people in your family who exemplify healthy relationships. Identify what those relationships have that yours does not, and then prayerfully consider how you can follow that example. 

Another great place to look for relationships to emulate is in the lives of people from the Bible! Consider inspirational Old Testament characters like Ruth or Moses, or look to the holy family, Mary and Joseph. Examining the lives and relationships of other holy Christians can be a huge inspiration in our own relationships. 

3. Establish Boundaries 

Setting and maintaining boundaries is vital to the health of any relationship. Some people are under the impression that establishing a boundary is a punishment of some kind or shows a lack of care, but that is simply not true! Boundaries exist to protect, not to punish. 

When my family moved into our new house, one of the first things my husband did was build a fence around our yard. Building this fence meant my children could play outside freely without the danger of passing cars or animals. 

This fence protects my children and provides them even greater freedom within safe, healthy limits. Boundaries in relationships do the same.

Codependent relationships desperately need boundaries. Don’t let yourself be guilt-tripped out of establishing them. Prayerfully discern what healthy boundaries would look like for you and your partner, and then lovingly but firmly communicate them. 

4. Ask for Help 

Sometimes asking for help is the most difficult step. It can make you feel like a failure to acknowledge that you have problems you can’t handle on your own, but that is simply another lie of codependency. 

Help with codependency can come in many different forms! You can seek counsel from a therapist, close friend, or your pastor. In some cases, joint counseling with your spouse or family member can be a great start to the healing process.

If you were sick, you wouldn’t hesitate to seek help from a nurse or doctor. Codependency is like a sickness within a relationship, and seeking help from someone with an outside perspective can help you better identify and solve the root issues.

God created us to be in relationships that are healthy, happy, and life-giving to everyone involved. Don’t let codependency continue to rob you of that—take steps to heal and restore yourself and your relationships to what they are meant to be.

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