When living with addiction, we commonly find ourselves in codependent relationships full of neediness, dependence and attachment. We very often don’t establish or maintain healthy boundaries. We have poor conflict resolution skills, unhealthy communication styles, and a great deal of interpersonal turmoil. We become so dependent upon our partner that we feel as though we can’t live without them. We feel desperate, obsessive and compulsive. The relationship can become all-consuming for us, and we find it hard to function independently. We feel inadequate and incomplete without our partner. We don’t see our own worth or value ourselves as individuals. Our sense of self and our self-worth are completely tied up in the relationship. We can’t envision a future for ourselves without this other person, and we feel as though life is meaningless without them. How do we learn independence after being in such codependent relationships?
Learning independence is all about finding our true selves and creating a new self-image and self-perception based on self-love. When we are codependent, it is often because on some level we suffer from self-rejection and insecurity. We want to shed these very destructive emotional patterns that are rooted in self-hate. We want to amplify our self-acceptance and self-appreciation. One of the best ways we can do this is by dedicating time to being single for awhile, while we learn to love ourselves. It’s virtually impossible to build our self-love when we’re in toxic and abusive relationships. We believe the unkind things our partners tell us. We are more focused on making the relationship work than on taking care of ourselves. We’re so desperate not to be abandoned that we stay in unhealthy, even dangerous situations. We settle for so much less than we deserve. Many of us identify as love and sex addicts, where we have such an unhealthy relationship with love and sex that they have become the object of our addiction. When we are learning how to be independent, it’s a good idea to abstain from dating and relationships for awhile, just as we would abstain from any other drug.
We learn independence like we would any other new habit or behavioral pattern, by practicing it. We can practice making decisions for ourselves, giving ourselves alone time, being celibate for a dedicated amount of time, and committing to our self-care. With time and effort, being independent will come more naturally to us.
Your new life starts today. Let Riverside Recovery be your support system as you do the work to heal. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information on our addiction recovery. treatment programs.