How I Overcame My Relationship Struggles: Codependent's Anonymous Really Helped

By Dominica

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Last Updated: June 15, 2022

I understand pain. The kind that digs deep. The kind that makes you feel like you’re inner being is dying an agonizing death. The kind that makes you cry uncontrollably for no apparent reason.

Pain is inevitable, but the pain an insecure, fearful person in a toxic relationship wrestles with may be different than those who do not struggle with such.

For example, a woman in a healthy relationship with herself and her partner will not agonize in pain when her partner has to go away for a few days without her. She also won’t feel incredible alone and empty when she does not have her partner’s full attention. 

 

 

Could It Be Codependency?

Codependency is an unhealthy attachment to another person. You become overly dependent on someone else for your sense of self-worth. This kind of attachment can become an addictive cycle that can cause problems in the relationship. 

That person you’re dependent upon is usually emotionally absent or at the very worst, narcissistic. It could be an intimate partner, parent, friend, or another person you’re close to. It’s like that person becomes your drug of choice. 

You’ll know this by the degree of inner pain that you experience when you break up or at the thought of breaking up.

I’ve been there. I used to be in a toxic relationship and when we’d have some sort of argument, we’d break up. That would send me into panic mode and the fear of abandonment or being alone had me wailing in grief and misery. I felt like I was going through drug withdrawal. 

 

Codependent's Anonymous Helped 

This brings me to the first step of Codependent’s Anonymous, a great place to be if you are in a toxic relationship.

Step 1:

“We admitted we were powerless over others - that our lives had become unmanageable.”

For me, it was admitting that I was powerless over everything and my emotional life had become unmanageable. I was having a lot of trouble emotionally, perhaps because I’d been repressing my emotions for over three decades.

I picked up my codependency traits in childhood, never knowing it until I was well into my adult life.

I had to confess Step 1 every day.

I am powerless over others. I cannot and will not control or manipulate others so I can attempt to ‘FEEL GOOD’.  I do not NEED anyone to feel happy. I am powerless over others! 

My life was out of control, and I was hurting others because I was hurting so much inside.

  • I was unhappy in a toxic relationship and could not bring myself to leave for good.
  • I assure you that made me feel even worse! 
  • I didn’t know how to get through it all. 
  • I would halfheartedly work on codependency recovery and fall right back into the toxic cycle.

 

Promise #1 of Codependent’s Anonymous

I had finally had enough and decided to climb out of the pit of pain. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it, but I trusted that if I committed 100% to recovery, I could really discover Promise #1 of Codependent’s Anonymous:

“I know a new sense of belonging. The feelings of emptiness and loneliness will disappear.”

I had to believe that, or I would have gone insane! I knew that I was not in a healthy relationship and no matter what I faced out there on my own, it had to be better than the inner torture I was experiencing year after year.

I'm a firm believer in getting a sponsor or mentor that will work with you through the 12 steps.

It is important to get planted in some sort of support network or at least find one person who you can be accountable to. I can never thank my sponsor, and friend, Susie, for helping me understand how a toxic relationship was destroying my inner life.

She helped me understand codependency better, and I began a journey to work through a lifetime of emotional issues that I’d avoided. 

 

 

Do the Inner Healing Work

There is freedom from toxic relationships and codependency and that freedom is found on a day-to-day basis. 

Do the necessary inner healing work to get to the core of who you are.

  • If that means heading to the therapist to work on certain issues, do so.
  • If that means reading the helpful codependency books, do it. 
  • You may want to try some guided journaling on the topic as well.

Make the effort to learn about codependency and grow personally and spiritually. 

It might mean finally ending a toxic relationship where the two of you are just not a match. You might have to fess up to the fact that your partner is NOT healthy for you, and you are NOT healthy for your partner.

It’s this human magnet syndrome where two people attract each other based upon character defects and opposite personalities. Trust me when I say that once you’ve gotten out or gotten help, life will begin to make more sense.  

It will take some time. I know I am learning and growing all the time. I still have my off days too! 

Now out of a toxic relationship and having done a tremendous amount of inner healing, I can now breathe freely, smile for no reason, and have a whole lot of fun. 

Did I mention I am free? Ah, it feels so good! But bet and believe there were periods of time I was imprisoned in toxicity and did not think I would ever feel happy and free.

 

 

Discover Who You Are

Climb out of that pit of pain step by step.

Take some time on your own. Discover who you are without anyone else putting expectations on you.

Let’s commit to discovering who we are at our core together. I know underneath all the fear, insecurity, jealousy, anger, resentment, and pain we are beautiful, confident, loving, and giving creations. 

You can:

  • Get better
  • Feel joy
  • Have healthy relationships

There is a way out of codependency and toxic relationships!

I believe in you!

Photo by Kourosh Qaffari

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8 comments on “How I Overcame My Relationship Struggles: Codependent's Anonymous Really Helped”

    1. We love to hear that Nad! We hope that it helps you on your journey. Wishing you well 🙂

  1. Amazing article, so insightful and well put in regards to this topic! Hopefully many others that really need to inform themselves on codependency read this!! 2 thumbs 👍 👍 up!!

    1. Woo! Thanks Yesenia for the kind words. Hopefully it resonates with people who need to hear it. Wishing you well!

    1. Agreed. Dominica is a fantastic writer and not afraid to share her experiences with us!

  2. y our goodbyes, and went back home.I had a total hip replacement on 5/20 and came home after one night in hospital, and he passed away on 5/23/22. My doctor had told me do not put off surgery that I had waited for a year because of covid and his diagnosiis of cancer in December 2021. He needs to know you are ok after surgery, and I was after PT had worked with me, and said I was walking good and strong enough to go home and they sent PT to my home to continue therapy the following day. We had prearrangements made in Alabama so funeral home shipped him back already imbalmed in temporary casket to Currie-Jefferson in Hoover, Alabama.
    So I guess I was codependant on him after 34 years of marriage and he took care of all bills and finances when we both retired 2004 and 2010 and moved to Florida. I am now having to step in and take over everything and make decisions I never made before but I am learning to go on line with help from friends from our church. My daughter is staying with me as long as I need her to recuperate from hip replacement and 6 weeks of continued physical therapy until I am well. I praise sod for her and I am taking "One Day at a Time" trusting God to heal me so I can serve Him again at church and whatever God has planned for my life and to help others in need of help.Praise God for alll his blessings on my life. Nothing is impossible with God!!

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