Marriage counseling for overcoming codependency


Codependent individuals rely on external cues from others to determine their feelings, needs, and behavior. While being sensitive to others is generally seen as a positive trait, codependents take it to an extreme due to their struggle with establishing healthy boundaries. Marriage counseling for overcoming codependency helps couples in understanding its underlying causes, develop healthy boundaries, and fostering individual autonomy within the relationship.

Dr. Gottman has highlighted several symptoms of codependency:

  • Taking responsibility for a loved one’s emotions or actions.
  • Constantly seeking to please others.
  • Neglecting personal needs and struggling to set realistic boundaries.
  • Feeling resentful but finding it difficult to disengage from dysfunctional relationships.

Codependency can significantly impact a couple’s relationship, leading to unhealthy dynamics and inhibiting personal growth.

The steps for overcoming codependency are:

  1. Acknowledge Denial: The first step towards recovery is being honest with oneself and admitting the problem. It may be challenging to recognize one’s involvement in a dysfunctional relationship, but honesty is crucial for healing.
  2. Explore Your Past: Examine your family history to uncover experiences that may have contributed to your codependency. Reflect on events that led to a disconnection from your inner emotions. This introspective process can be difficult and may involve revisiting childhood emotions. It is often best done in a safe therapy environment.
  3. Detach from Unhealthy Relationships: To focus on personal growth, it is necessary to detach from excessive involvement or preoccupation with trying to change, control, or please others.
  4. Practice Self-Care: Giving up excessive people-pleasing is a crucial step in healing, but it is equally important to learn self-care. Become aware of your own thoughts, feelings, and needs, and develop the ability to communicate them within a relationship. Initially, this might feel selfish, but it is necessary for your well-being.
  5. Learn to Say “No”: Setting healthy boundaries involves learning to say no to situations that are detrimental to your well-being. While it may feel uncomfortable at first, the more you practice saying no, the easier it will become.

By following these steps, individuals can begin to overcome codependency, establish healthier boundaries, and prioritize their own well-being within relationships.

Marriage counseling for overcoming codependency

Overcoming codependency in a relationship requires commitment, self-reflection, and intentional effort. Couple therapy offers a supportive and constructive space where couples can address codependent patterns and work towards personal growth and healthier dynamics. By recognizing codependency, cultivating self-awareness, establishing healthy boundaries, enhancing communication skills, fostering individual autonomy, practicing self-care, and building support networks, couples can break free from codependent cycles and create a more fulfilling and balanced partnership. Remember, overcoming codependency is a process that takes time and patience, but with the guidance of a skilled therapist, couples can embark on a journey toward greater emotional well-being, personal fulfillment, and healthier relationships.

Source: The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert, Gottman, J. M. (2015).


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