Dealing with a codependent person can be frustrating and downright exhausting. This person is most likely not able to stay within the proper boundaries of friendship. Invading another's personal emotional space is what a codependent person will do and can cause complete havoc in everyone's life involved. Carefully avoiding problem areas and creating firm boundaries will make any situation better when dealing with a codependent.
Establish boundaries. The person who is codependent will most likely cross them, but this is for your benefit. With a set of stated boundaries, there will be a reference to refer to when the person crosses them. Without stating boundaries, there can be no accountability for actions from the other person. If no boundaries exist in a relationship, then the cycle of codependency will continue and possibly get worse.
Stop enabling the behavior. An enabler is someone who allows this codependent behavior by not stopping it. For instance, if a person who you know is an addict asks for money, and you give this person money, this is enabling this codependent relationship. Since a person who is codependent has trouble seeing clear boundaries, he or she will continue to be inappropriate if there is no intervention.
Identify troublesome behaviors and signs of codependency. Since rarely we can change another behavior, focus on yourself. Recognizing these behaviors will help avoid the cycle of the relationship from becoming destructive. Having an idea of what to expect and how to respond to the person will allow you to deal with a codependent. If possible, make of list of signs to look out for when encountering this person. Prepare yourself beforehand by reviewing the list and you will be better equipped with tools to help.
Educate yourself about codependency and how it can be professionally treated. Utilize online resources, libraries and even professionals in this field. A codependent person will needs treatment to identify their behavior and become healthy. By learning more about the causes and symptoms, you will be able to encourage this person to seek treatment. There is no way to help an unwilling codependent person, but by educating yourself, you can change your possibly harmful actions that you may be unaware of.
- Support this person, but do not suffocate. Codependency thrives on emotional suffocation.
- If you feel a person may hurt themselves or another, call 911.
Christine Wans is a freelance writer living in New Jersey. She has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and women’s studies and enjoys writing about health, beauty, parenting, gardening and entertainment. As a regular contributor to the Pampers Pregnancy community, Wans writes about pregnancy-related topics as well.