Breaking Codependency and Unhealthy Attachments

Anonymous asked a question:

How do you fix or work against codependency?

Hey dear friend, I wrestle with the very same thing, and I wish I had an easy answer for you. There are so many different reasons for codependency, and extracting ourselves is a messy process that requires a tough self-examination, sometimes daily. One of my reasons is that I constantly need approval to be certain of my self-worth. I’m hugely insecure for long stretches of time, so I tend to surround myself by people who are overly gushy or positive. When I hear criticism, it totally crushes me.

Other reasons might be that we affix value on ourselves by the number of relationships we have, or we need company to avoid facing our own inner-demons, or we need romantic love to fill the gap of love we never got as children.

There’s no easy fix, but here are two things to consider.

The first is that we do need friendships. It’s not wrong to have deep fulfilling company. If we constantly second-guess ourselves about having friends, we’ll end up even more neurotic. So yes, we can enjoy our rooms full of people and laughter and memories, and we can feel the sting of nostalgia and loneliness, because it’s part of being human.

The second thing (which has helped me) is to have a detached self-awareness about my own rhythms. Which means, whenever I feel a “pull” towards another person, I suddenly exit out of my body and recognize what’s happening. Preparation is half the battle. I can tell myself, “I’m on to you, buddy. I know what you’re trying to do.” So I still feel those codependent feelings, but I don’t have to make decisions from them. They don’t control me because they’re not me. I can feel insecure but choose to do the right thing, all at the same time. It’s tough, but each time, it gets easier, and my codependency begins to subside into celebrating others.

Just so you know, God wired us each a specific way. I think God designed you to have a heart for people because you’re more empathetic to their needs; you care about how people are feeling in the room; you want what’s best for everyone. The way to flip your codependency is to turn these feelings into a healthy output, so that you’re now using your old codependency as a weapon to love others and to serve them, not as a symbiotic squeezing, but really truly giving your heart regardless of what you get back — like Jesus did.

The main thing is that we can love others without needing them. We can love people without pulling our identity from them. That means loving them more and needing them less. So it’s okay to feel how you feel. But those feelings are just what happens to you; you don’t have to go along for the ride every time. This won’t go perfectly, but that’s okay too. Praying for you today, dear friend.

— J.S.

10 thoughts on “Breaking Codependency and Unhealthy Attachments

  1. Codependency has different forms – addiction, supporting someone with addiction, covering for someone, being controlling, being a martyr are just some of the ways that codependency shows itself. Often counselling is the best way to get to the root, as it can be learned behaviour.


    1. Counseling and mentoring definitely helps. Sometimes the reasons are a mix of all that you mentioned. Self-awareness is really the first step to healing; a very tough first step.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for the encouragement! I have recently struggled with this issue, of ah I just care too much I need to be like everyone and closed off. Which I know is not the answer, I am just hurt that I care more for someone than the other people are willing to be. I have had to remind myself that caring for people is a quality from God and there is no such thing as carring too much. But still having to come to terms that me being their friend is not the answer, but pointing them to God. Thanks again for perspective that I am not alone


    1. It’s a tough tricky balance. You’re right that we can never care too much. I do think though that “caring” can be toxic if we’re pouring out from a subconscious type of validation. It happens to me all the time, I constantly need to check my motives before walking in that door.


  3. This is great stuff! I am no expert by any means, but I have learned from past codependent relationships. I suffer from a need to be needed, but it has become draining and suffocating. Sometimes I need to just let people go, create bigger boundaries, make the other person aware of the unhealthy attachment and pray the God will give both of us insight, wisdom, discernment and understanding of our need for healing. It’s not a perfect solution and it is definitely messy/awkward/hard/hurtful but it’s what I have learned to do. And yes, I also believe counseling is a necessary step.


    1. I think honest with the other person, as you said, is incredibly difficult but also very necessary. Most of us hate those painful conversations, even when we’re not afflicted with “people-pleasing.” But the initial pain of honesty is always worth the strength that comes later.


  4. It is interesting to know that other people are suffering from this as well, because whenever I feel the unhealthy attachments toward another person I get extremely lonely at times.

    Just to add on to Pastor J.S.’s advices, some tips that I can share that break me out of these attachments are:
    1. realize the love of God for you (even though you may already know He loves you, it may not have come to you yet) and find your identity in Christ (what He thinks of you).
    2. know that the person will never satisfy you. (Never and ever) If you keep on seeking them, they will keep on disappointing you.
    3. lastly, no one can love you more than God. So go to God whenever you are in need, not another person.

    I hope it helps!


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