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  • Writer's pictureSuzanne Teare, LCSW

From Codependent to Interdependent

You might be reading this because you feel trapped in unhealthy relationship patterns. You're struggling with people-pleasing tendencies, difficulty asserting yourself, or navigating challenging interpersonal dynamics.

Codependency might be significantly impacting your mental health, leading to feelings of low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression, but you're not sure how to prioritize your needs over others' needs. You want to reclaim your independence and live a life guided by your own values and desires, while continuing to support significant people in your life.

Tangled in codependency

What is codependency?

Codependency is a psychological concept that describes a dysfunctional pattern of behavior in relationships, where one person excessively relies on another for approval, validation, and a sense of identity. This dependency often leads to an imbalance of power and control, with one individual prioritizing the needs of the other over their own well-being.

Codependent individuals may struggle with setting boundaries, often sacrificing their own needs to maintain the relationship or to prevent conflict. This dynamic can be harmful, as it perpetuates a cycle of unhealthy dependence, low self-esteem, and an inability to foster autonomy.


While codependency is often associated with being in a relationship with someone who is sick or struggling with addiction, codependency actually encompasses a much broader pattern of interaction in relationships. Codependency can manifest in various types of relationships, including romantic partnerships, friendships, and familial bonds, and it typically stems from unresolved emotional issues and past traumas.

Codependency often starts in childhood. You may have grown up in a family with issues like addiction, neglect, or enmeshed boundaries. You learned to prioritize others' feelings over your own from an early age, and as you grew up, this habit stuck around, leading to one-sided relationships where you're doing most of the heavy lifting emotionally.

From codependent to interdependent

How do you move from codependency to interdependency?

You don't have to stay stuck in the codependency cycle. Moving from codependency to interdependency involves a journey of self-discovery, personal growth, and establishing healthier relationship dynamics. It begins with self-awareness and acknowledging the patterns of codependent behavior, such as excessive caretaking, people-pleasing, and lack of boundaries.

Developing a strong sense of self-esteem and self-worth is crucial, as it empowers individuals to prioritize their own needs and desires while still being empathetic and supportive of others. Setting clear boundaries and communicating openly and assertively about personal needs and expectations is essential for creating mutually respectful relationships.

Embracing interdependence means recognizing that both parties are autonomous individuals with their own strengths, weaknesses, and perspectives, and that healthy relationships involve mutual support, cooperation, and respect for each other's autonomy.

With a bit of awareness and support, you can break free and build healthier connections where you're valued for who you truly are.


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