Affirmations for Healing Codependency
In this article we are going to focus on how to heal and overcome codependency in our lives. We will do this by identifying the lies that cause and perpetuate codependency and the truths that will set us free if we allow ourselves to embody them fully. If you haven’t already please read the blog post “Am I Codependent?” There we discuss where codependency comes from and what codependency looks like in your relationships with yourself and others.
I am a good person and I haven’t done anything wrong.
Often, people who are codependent feel they are a bad person and that they’ve done something wrong. This is a deep-seated childhood feeling that started because they were made to feel bad for not being able to consistently please or permanently “fix” a caregiver. They must work on not feeling like a mean, bad or selfish person for setting boundaries with someone and putting their needs and feelings before someone else.
Individuals with these beliefs tend to date or have friends who need to be “fixed” or “helped'' in some way. They may also work in the helping professions. Uprooting this pattern begins with accepting that a failure to stabilize or please a primary caregiver does not make someone inherently bad. It was an impossible task from the get go and our adult selves can choose to set healthy boundaries.
I am not selfish for speaking my truth.
To grow out of codependency we must also acknowledge that it is not selfish to think of ourselves and act on our own behalf. We have a right to know what we think, feel, want and to speak up and ask for it even if it upsets someone else. Even if they leave us! If someone leaves you because you are asking for a need to be met then they are not a healthy person to be in a relationship with.
Codependent people tend to be passive communicators which eventually boils over and explodes and can come out as aggressive or passive-aggressive. It is important to communicate our needs in an assertive manner. Using healthy anger as a sign that you need to speak up and not swallow your feelings is a huge part of recovering from codependency.
I am powerless over others.
We do not have the power over, control of, or responsibility for other people. We must learn that as a child we were taught this was true because how we acted created a certain reaction in our caregiver that made us feel powerful and in control– if only temporarily. A healthy, emotionally mature person does not give the power of their well being away to someone else. We are only responsible for what is inside our personal boundary - nothing outside of that is within our control and we must accept this as truth.
I will not undermine others by taking responsibility for them.
When we make the well being of others our responsibility, we undermine not only the other person, but ourselves as well. Making others our responsibility can look like trying to change the way someone feels or managing their emotions through rescuing behaviors. What we are saying to the person is: we don’t believe you are capable of coping or dealing with this. We must learn how to hold space and listen to other people's pain and not feel a need to stop negative feelings from existing.
This belief may be rooted in a dynamic wherein a codependent parent over-compensates for their child because they don’t want them to feel any pain. This could look like completing a child’s homework, re-doing their chores because they weren’t “perfect,” or fighting their battles for them. Being on the receiving end of a codependent person can teach individuals that they are unable to achieve things on their own and lead to chronic feelings of helplessness.
I will not self-abandon when I most need my own support.
Speaking up for yourself and asking for what you need is crucial. It is important to learn to say no when something is not in alignment with your values. This could look like leaving an uncomfortable situation or not being “easy” for the sake of others. Basically: Boundaries. Boundaries. Boundaries. Listening to your feelings and using them as an internal guidance system will help you navigate what is in and out of alignment with your highest good. This skill is something people will learn to master as they heal from codependency.
I will not wait for others to live my own life.
If you have a goal for yourself, you don’t need other people's permission or approval in order to take steps towards it. Are you sacrificing yourself and your own life because you are waiting for someone to change or gain their approval? For example, if you want to live a healthier lifestyle your partner doesn’t need to also do it with you. Or, if you want to have a healthy family, but your current partner has an untreated substance abuse issue, you may be avoiding taking steps that are in alignment with your true goals. Healing codependency may involve developing a mindset of: Don’t wait. Life is short and you could be waiting the rest of your life.
This is not a crisis!
Learning the difference between a true crisis and distressing emotional states is an invaluable endeavor. A crisis is a life or death situation. Yet, often people with codependency have a body response that sends them into crisis mode when someone is in pain or they are experiencing an interpersonal conflict. Codependency is a habit of behaving in relation to others. We can break that habit by not going into crisis mode and self abandoning by trying to fix, please, or stabilize someone at the expense of ourselves and our needs
I am allowed to feel good about myself!
Often people with codependency patterns make themselves small. They feel badly about sharing their successes or accomplishments. They are blocked by the fear they may come across as narcissistic, selfish or grandiose. However, you are allowed to feel good about yourself and it is healthy to celebrate yourself and receive compliments and praise from others. If people in your life are consistently jealous or uncomfortable with your success, it may be time to evaluate this relationship.
I am going to upset people and that’s okay.
Living authentically is like going swimming and moving freely through the water, splashing and having a great time! Living a life that is not authentic is like going swimming but not allowing yourself to move your body at all because you are afraid the waves you make may hit someone else around you and upset them! In order to lead a life of true happiness we have to be willing to make waves and tolerate other people’s reactions. Often their reaction is not about you, it's about their lack of maturity, understanding, or need to control you.
Be prepared. Breaking the cycle of codependency involves getting push-back from others. A lack of boundaries with others shows them that their feelings and needs are more important than yours. They are used to this type of treatment and/or being enabled by you to make poor choices, not take care of themselves, or blame you.
The end of codependency is not the end of love. It is the beginning.
Only in your body can you truly tell the difference between an act of caring and an act of codependency. Our bodies feel calm, grounded and safe when we are acting out of true love and care. In this state, we don’t carry anger or resentment, and we want to act from this place again and again. When we feel we have to fix, help, please, or stabilize someone, our bodies may go into crisis mode. We may find ourselves saying things like…
“Well, if I don’t help them, they may die!”
“If I don’t do this for them they will fail!”
“If I don’t help them then I’m a bad person.”
“I should do it or they will be upset.”
“I have to do this or they won’t be in relationship with me anymore.”
Pay attention to your body signals, the ones that speak on your behalf which is exactly what we avoid as codependent people.
Reprogramming our patterns takes patience and persistence. It takes many repetitions to change our mind-body patterns. You can start by continuing to revisit this list and discussing it with others who you feel may benefit from learning more about codependency. You may also work with a therapist to identify the ways in which codependent patterns are impacting your ability to engage in healthy, fulfilling relationships with others.
Author: Lindsay Rosser, LMFT #87065 - Lindsay is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and the owner of WellBeings Therapy. She is a Certified EMDR and Integrative Body Psychotherapist who primarily works with adults who experienced complex trauma as child. For more on Lindsay you can read her bio.
Editor: Mckenna Coffey, Pre-Licensed Therapist - Mckenna is a pre-licensed provider who joined WellBeings during her graduate studies at the University of Southern California. She is an integrative therapist with a trauma-focused, identity affirming, and sex positive practice. For more on Mckenna you can read her bio.
Jack Lee Rosenberg, Ph.D., Beverly Kitaen-Morse, Ph.D (1996). The Intimate Couple: Reaching New Levels of Sexual Excitement through Body Awakening and Relationship Renewal.