Many people confuse co-dependency with love, care and healthy help, but in fact this concept has nothing to do with the above qualities. Such relationships are often formed in families where one or more members have a substance addiction or mental illness. How can you stop indulging your loved one’s weaknesses and start living your life?


The patient’s problems become the core of the life activities of those around him or her. That is, all family members depend on the relative’s behaviour, get involved in the process and go through all the cycles together: breakdowns, attempts to recover, breakdowns again. This is a very hard, exhausting running in circles, which most often turns into a serious problem not only for the patient, but also for his or her loved ones: emotional exhaustion, anxiety-depressive disorder, and psychosomatics.

No co-dependent can cure another person of mental illness or addiction, but rather supports destructive behaviours and causes constant relapses. Getting out of co-dependency is about helping not only yourself, but also your loved one.


If you feel that you are in co-dependency, this is not a reason to give up and get upset. On the contrary – start working on yourself to significantly improve the quality of life. What do you need to do to do this?

1. Realise that it is time to urgently save not others, but yourself

You need to recognise that you are not living your life and fulfilling your purpose. In fact, your behaviour is being controlled by your loved one’s illness. It is important to realise that it is useless to control the behaviour of a relative. A person can save himself by turning to a specialist.

2. Find a competent psychologist

It should be a specialist who works with addiction and co-dependence, understands the peculiarities of the mental processes of such clients and can qualitatively help and support. As a rule, such people are very vulnerable and usually afraid to ask for help, so they need a careful attitude, which necessarily includes psychological support. The specialist becomes a support and at the same time works through all vulnerable places.


1. Analyse childhood

First of all, the psychologist will pay attention to the person’s childhood and parental experience, as co-dependency is a consequence of traumatic experiences. Most often it is necessary to go through a separation process with parents in order to form healthy relationships with others.

2. Work with feelings

The main and heaviest emotions felt by the co-dependent are shame and guilt. But in addition to them there is a lot of repressed anger, anger, irritation, resentment. All these feelings need to be worked through together with a psychologist.

3. Build healthy boundaries with other people

A co-dependent person does not feel their boundaries, does not know how to define and constructively defend them. Ideally, they should be semi-permeable. That is, people can share experiences, let others close and at the same time keep a healthy distance. The co-dependent person has difficulty with this.

4. Restore self-value

This requires getting to know oneself from all sides, accepting all weaknesses and shortcomings. It is important to have self-esteem based not on how your partner behaves, but on knowledge about yourself, your experiences and achievements.

5. Take responsibility for your life

Co-dependency is a way of getting away from taking responsibility for one’s life, because most often behind the desire to control and live the life of another is the fear and anxiety of looking inside oneself. The person loses his own life, goals, values. Unless he reconnects with himself, he will always escape into connection with another.

6. Develop and explore spiritual values

The co-dependent must find his own hobbies, hobbies, interests. Usually if he copes with the problem a little and comes to another level of relationship with himself and others, he will realise that there are so many things in life that are interesting and important apart from the illness of his loved one.


There is a part of co-dependence in everyone: the desire to help others, to save, to share is a healthy human need. But it is important to apply this part in socially useful spheres, for example, in charity projects.