Friendships, Codependency and How To Break the Toxic Cycle

Lending money to a friend. Saying “yes” to something even though you wanted to say “no.” Putting your partner’s needs above your own.

These may all seem like amazing qualities of someone who is a great and supportive friend. But what if I told you these qualities can signify a codependent relationship?

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to help and be there for a friend or wanting one of your friends to be there for you. Healthy friendships usually consist of a healthy mix of independence and wanting to lean on one another occasionally. Codependent relationships don’t have that healthy mix, so they’re often viewed as negative or even toxic.

Let’s learn how to break the toxic cycle of friendships and codependency. 

Build Self-Esteem

Starting a journal to keep track of thoughts, emotions, and feelings can be a great tool for in the moment and an amazing tool to look back on later. Another way to help build self-confidence is to have positive sayings or mantras on deck whenever you feel down. You could even put encouraging post-its around your house or on your mirror to remind you that you are strong, capable, beautiful, or worthy.

Many people may lean on others because they don’t feel confident in themselves or their abilities. People who are in codependent relationships often struggle with low self-esteem. If someone is struggling with codependency, working on building up their self-esteem is a great place to start.

Set Boundaries and Stick with Them

There’s a common misconception that boundaries are only for unhealthy relationships or relationships that need work. That isn’t true.

Boundaries are good for any, and all, types of relationships. Boundaries are essential to form, build, and strengthen positive and healthy relationships, whether it’s a family, friend, coworker, or romantic partner. They may seem like a hard or harsh ask, especially for someone struggling with codependency. Just because you may struggle with them doesn’t mean it’s not something you can work on, though.

Codependent individuals often dismiss their wants or needs to fulfill their partner’s. This means they often go against their boundaries to ensure their partner is satisfied and happy.

While it might make you happy to see your partner happy, these interactions aren’t sustainable. When you set boundaries for yourself, make sure you’re sticking to them and ensuring that others are respecting them as well. Your overall mental health and wellness will suffer over time if you do not care for your wants and needs.

Practice Self-Care

Self-care isn’t selfish. Let’s read that again. Self-care is not selfish. You can’t expect to fill someone else’s cup if yours is completely empty. You must ensure that you meet your basic human needs before giving yourself to others.

This means ensuring you’re fueling your body properly with healthy and well-balanced meals throughout the day, getting at least eight hours of sleep every night, and finding time to move your body. Self-care can also mean finding time, getting your hair and nails done, curling up on the couch with a book, or binging on a show you enjoy.

Next Steps

Codependency isn’t something that can be changed overnight. Change takes time. That being said, this type of relationship doesn’t have to continue. You can form healthier relationships if you’re willing to put in the time and work.

Working with a therapist can help you make this change. If you’re interested in working with a therapist, contact Integrative Psychotherapy Group today to schedule a relationship counseling consultation.