Recovering from codependency is a process — often a long and challenging one.
You may find yourself wondering if youre making progress. You may feel discouraged at times. And you may even feel like youre sliding back into old patterns. These are all normal thoughts and concerns!
When youve been stuck in codependent thoughts and behaviors for a long time, it can be hard to know what recovery looks like. So, below are 27 signs of recovery from codependency to give you a more tangible picture of what recovery entails.
Even if youve been working at recovery for a long time, its unlikely that youve mastered all 27 items on this list and do them perfectly. Thats probably unrealistic for anyone. Remember, were aiming for progress not perfection with our recovery.
And if youre early in your recovery, you may find this list overwhelming. It covers a lot! Dont try to change everything all at once. That will lead to getting discouraged or not being able to maintain all the changes that youre working on. I recommend, trying to change just one behavior or thought pattern at a time.
- You validate your feelings and say nice things to yourself. You dont rely on other people to make you feel valid and worthy.
- You notice what you do right rather than only the things you do wrong or imperfectly.
- You set realistic expectations for yourself. You dont expect yourself to be perfect.
- You celebrate your progress, even baby steps in the right direction.
- You recognize that mistakes are part of learning and growing; theyre normal and not a sign of inadequacy.
- You take good care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. You prioritize activities that make you feel good, help you heal, and that help you connect with yourself and other healthy individuals.
- You dont take things personally. You know that what others think and say about you are reflections of their reality and who they are they arent always accurate.
- You arent as reactive. You take time to think and calm yourself before responding. And you know that you dont have to respond to everyone or everything.
- You know that you dont owe people (especially difficult or controlling ones) an explanation for your choices. You are allowed to do whats best for you even if others disagree.
- You let go of unhealthy relationships. You end relationships that are hurtful or you choose to spend less time with people who dont share your values or who dont support your health and personal growth.
- You can recognize manipulation, gaslighting, verbal and physical abuse, and no longer minimize or ignore them. You speak up when someone is treating you poorly.
- You allow yourself to rest without feeling guilty.
- You ask for what you need.
- You dont try to prove your worth through achievements.
- You know that you cant please everyone all of the time, so youve let go of that expectation. Youre more selective about whose opinions matter (and know that your own opinion is most important).
- You let yourself have fun, be silly, and relax and know that this isnt a waste of time, but a normal need and positive thing to do for your emotional and physical health.
- You know that you have the right to be respected. You set limits and dont let others take advantage of you.
- You accept that you cant control other people and dont obsess about trying to fix or change others.
- You know that youre not responsible for other peoples feelings and choices.
- You dont enable or try to protect people from the consequences of their own actions.
- You forgive yourself when you make a mistake.
- You have a strong sense of who you are; you know whats important to you, what you like, and what your values and goals are. And you arrange your life to prioritize these things.
- You dont base your worth on your appearance, achievements, wealth, age, relationship status, or other peoples opinions of you.
- You recognize that you didnt cause your codependent thinking and behaviors, but you are responsible for your own healing.
- You take new relationships slowly so you can build trust before getting strongly attached.
- You ask for and accept help.
- You can tolerate unpleasant feelings.
Tip #1: You can write a personalized list of your individual signs of recovery. Feel free to use this list as a starting point and delete items that dont pertain to you and add additional items that are meaningful to your recovery.
Tip #2: You can use these signs of codependency recovery to set recovery goals. For example, you might look at #27 and ask yourself, What goals do I have about being able to tolerate unpleasant feelings? How much or how often do I tolerate unpleasant feelings currently? How will I know if Im tolerating my feelings more? Then you can make a SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely) goal. Heres an example:
When I feel sad or angry or ashamed, I will sit quietly for 5 minutes without distracting myself with my phone. I will do this at least twice per week and keep track of it in my journal.
Again, remember that recovery isnt all-or-nothing. We are aiming to make progress and slowly work towards being able to do more of these recovery tasks consistently over time.
At this point you may be wondering how to recover from codependency. That is a difficult question to answer in a blog post because we can accomplish these recovery tasks in a multitude of ways and some things work well for some people and not for others. There is definitely trial and error involved. With that being said, I encourage you to read the following articles:
- How to Start Healing from Codependency
- 12 Reminders to Help You Change Your Codependent Thinking
- How to Take Care of Yourself when You’re Busy Taking Care of Everyone Else
- How to Change Your All-or-Nothing Thinking
I also have a free resource library full of worksheets, reading lists, journal prompts, and more to help you with your recovery. To access these resources, sign up below for my weekly emails and lots of free tools.