Codependency: Signs, Causes, and Help

Mar 8, 2024

In the realm of relationships, the term “codependency” often surfaces, yet its definition may remain unclear to many. So, what is codependency, and how does it manifest in our lives? Let’s delve into the intricacies of this phenomenon, exploring its signs, causes, and avenues for help.

Understanding Codependency

So the question remains, what is codependency? At its core, the codependency definition refers to a dysfunctional pattern of behaviour where individuals prioritise the needs of others over their own, often to the detriment of their well-being. 

In codependent relationships, boundaries become blurred, and a sense of self is eclipsed by the needs and desires of the other person. This codependency definition sheds light on the intricate dynamics at play within such relationships.

Signs of Codependency

Recognizing the signs of codependency is the first step in learning how to stop being codependent. Some common codependency signs include: 

  • Difficulty setting boundaries
  • People-pleasing tendencies
  • Low self-esteem
  • Fear of abandonment
  • Lack of assertiveness
  • Difficulty expressing emotions
  • Dependence on others for validation and approval

Causes of Codependency

The roots of codependency often trace back to early life experiences, such as:

  • Dysfunctional family dynamics
  • Trauma or neglect during childhood
  • Enmeshment in relationships with addicts or individuals with mental health issues
  • Cultural or societal norms that emphasise self-sacrifice and caretaking

How to Stop Being Codependent

Learning how to stop being codependent and breaking free from its chains requires a commitment to self-awareness and personal growth. Here are some steps to consider:

  • Self-Reflection – Take time to examine your patterns of behaviour and identify areas where you may be engaging in codependent tendencies.
  • Set Boundaries – Practise asserting your needs and boundaries in relationships, honouring your own autonomy and well-being.
  • Seek Support – Connect with a trusted friend, therapist, or Toronto psychotherapist specialising in codependency to explore your challenges and develop healthier coping mechanisms.
  • Focus on Self-Care – Codependents should prioritise self-care activities that nurture your physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being, fostering a stronger sense of self.

Codependency Relationship Dynamics

In codependent relationships, individuals may find themselves trapped in a cycle of caretaking and enabling, perpetuating unhealthy patterns of behaviour. Breaking free from these codependency dynamics requires courage and support, and you do not have to do it on your own! 

Introducing Ariella Boehm

As a compassionate and experienced Toronto psychotherapist, Ariella Boehm specialises in helping codependents break free from the chains of codependency. With her empathetic approach and expertise in relational dynamics, Ariella creates a safe space for clients to explore their challenges and cultivate healthier relationship patterns.
If you are ready to embark on a journey of healing and self-discovery, reach out to Ariella Boehm today and see the difference hiring a Toronto psychotherapist can make!

Ariella Boehm

I’ve been helping people lead more intentional lives for over 20 years. I began my career as an early childhood teacher. In 2012, I made the decision to channel the empathic skills that are needed to be a connected teacher, into becoming a compassionate psychotherapist.​