As the new year begins, it’s time to say goodbye to old, unhealthy behaviors, that have kept you stuck in toxic relationships and from living happy, authentic lives. Kicking Codependency is really about changing your relationship with yourself. It’s important that you replace your old ways of thinking and acting and implement more positive and healthy behaviors. Print out the list below and refer to it anytime you feel yourself reverting back to your old coping mechanisms.
- Build your self-esteem – Know that only you decide your worth. You can’t find it in other people, because they don’t have it. You determine your value by the way you treat yourself. Act like a person of value, even if it doesn’t feel authentic. The repeated action will become habitual and others will follow your lead until it does feel real.
- Learn how to communicate effectively – The only healthy way to communicate is by being direct. Get in the practice of saying what you want, stating your opinion and making decisions. Adopt the mindset that your needs and wants not only matter, but they are the most important thing in your universe. If you don’t speak up for you – who will? Don’t back down from conflict. Like all things this takes practice. The more you do it the easier it becomes.
- Stop listening to the Critical Parent Voice – That voice in your head that is always trying to sabotage you – tell it where to go. Interrupt it every time it tries to pull you down that road to pain. Don’t listen to it, don’t follow it’s dictates. The more you stand up to it the quieter it gets and the less frequently it shows up.
- Stop people pleasing – Your life is about you and finding your bliss, it’s not about pleasing other people or trying to get them to like you. When you find yourself trying to over-give stop yourself and ask why you’re doing it? If the honest answer is to get someone to like you – stop right there and reread #1.
- Cut out toxic people from your life – We absorb the energy around us. We become like the 5 people we spend the most time with. If your circle isn’t supportive, loving and kind – you need a new circle.
- Create and enforce your boundaries – This goes hand in hand with building your self-esteem. You can’t act like a person of value while letting people walk all over you at the same time. Persons of value have limits. They know where to draw their lines in the sand, they don’t hold on when they’ve been lied to, betrayed or manipulated – they walk. As a Codependent you’ve been conditioned to adapt to unhealthy atmospheres rather than to take action. Now it’s time to put your adult boots on and let them do what they were made to do.
- Get control of your emotions – Codependents can be very emotionally reactive when faced with conflict. When you find yourself in this situation don’t respond, give yourself 24 hours to settle your emotions, while keeping in mind that just because someone says something it doesn’t make it true, nor do you have to absorb the blame, shame or responsibility. Don’t allow your emotions to guide your behavior. When you’re obsessing reread #3.
- Always look for the humor in everything – The most emotionally healthy people laugh and find room to have fun every day. Stop looking for a reason to be offended. A few months ago, I posted an empowering quote on esteemology’s social media accounts. I got a reply from a reader that she was offended by the quote, that it didn’t land well with her. I replied that I am only responsible for my intention, which was to empower and that I wasn’t responsible for her past experiences and how things “landed” with her. Stop looking for what’s wrong and what might be offensive to you. Let things roll off your back and look for joy not reasons to be upset.
- Practice self-care always – My favorite word of 2017 has been autonomy. Learn how to take care of all of your own needs. Make taking care of you your top priority. Make sure that physically you are taking care of your body, eating properly and getting enough sleep. From a financial perspective learn how to manage the expenses living alone, how to get the education you desire, or apply for that job you want. Make sure that you have learned how to control your emotions so that they do not control you. Stop seeking validation from others and learn how to determine your own worth. From a spiritual perspective, meditate, spend time raising your emotional vibration, live from a place of positivity and gratitude.
- Change your focus and stop being other person focused – It’s time to become the star of your own life and to let go of the past. Start telling a new story, one of triumphs and goals, not one of abuse and victimization. Make this year a new chapter in your life, where it’s going to be all about you, your goals and your future. When you find yourself succumbing to the need to be liked and the need to fix and control the lives of others force yourself to take a step back and allow others to suffer the consequences of their own action. Learn to detach, and give yourself what you need and create the life you were meant to live.
Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
By the grace of God I just found your blog.
I’ve been reading for the past 2 (all the way back to the early blogs) and will catch up quickly.
I feel relieved and hopeful.
I too need to print this out and read it everyday as I try too much to be liked. Growing up in a family that favored boys, I felt I had to accept my role as a supporter along with the shame of being a girl. Self care is definitely key in kicking codependency. Women need to help other women to be strong, educated, and confident. Girls should be educated in quality schools that teach leadership and value.
Quality healthcare for all women should be more accessible- the US ranks 37th in the world for healthcare. Our culture can improve and this movement of women coming forward to tell the truth about sexual harassment shows hope that collectively we can move forward and create a more civilized society.
I’ll print this out somewhere where I can see it everyday. Thank you so much for all your help in 2017 Savannah, I found your website when I was most in need of knowledge, advice and a way out of the fog. It was your website that helped me to see that I was in a ‘relationship’ with a covert narc and now, 5 months after leaving and going no contact I am well on my way to a full recovery. I was so thirsty for knowledge that I read most of your articles within the first 2 weeks of discovering your website, but as you cover so many aspects of narcissistic abuse, I have returned to them as my situation unfolded. It was your articles that ensured I successfully left my ex narc after only the 2nd attempt – I’m so pleased and relieved that I didn’t give it any more time – 18 months was more than enough. I have two daughters (not with my ex narc) and I shudder when I think what the future would have been for them had I stayed. You make a real difference – keep up the good work x
About the people-pleasing behavior. I’m trying very hard to let go of it. For example, my friend comes to me for advice about her relationships with men (who were often narcs) and I realized how badly I wanted to protect her from getting hurt. This is the fixer mentality. However, I managed to change this a bit. She got herself into a new relationship with a guy and my people pleasing mind wanted to tell her to be careful and how she might get hurt. I was close to telling her what to do. But, I did not do it. I just supported her instead and validated her experience. You said we need to let people suffer the consequences of their action. This is so true. By telling my friend what to do, I was keeping her from learning and growing emotionally. I now see how wrong this is.
Happy new Year!
Just wanted to share, too, that this is going to be my first narcissist-free year ever!! I am so excited and looking forward to it, it is so very liberating! I am choosing MY peace, happiness and humor for 2018 because I am worthy and deserving of it! Thanks so much, Savannah, for being such a vital support & resource in my road to this realization.
Thank you for your practical guidance & inspiration, Savannah! Wishing you a very happy & blessed 2018. Here’s to a narcissist-free year, everyone!!!
Savannah, Happy New Year! Thanks for this list and your faithfulness in writing your blog. It has greatly helped.
May you be blessed this year with fulfillment of all of your dreams.
Thank you Savannah! This will become mantra for 2018. Do me and detach from toxic people.
Could you recommend articles or sources for your reference to boundaries please
Sarah I don’t read other people’s blogs, so all I can suggest is you Google it, as well I have written on boundaries many times. You can go to the search field at the top of the site and type in boundaries and my other articles will appear.
As it happens, I’ve just been reading Conquering Shame and Codependency by Darlene Lancer with a whole section on boundaries. I do recall walking down to the narc’s place one evening when he ‘phoned rudely saying I was late for dinner. I said “OK. You eat it and I’ll go home then” and turned round.. Of course he ‘phoned again five minutes later and was all reconciliatory. Now I know I should have kept walking the first time something like that happened..
I think there’s zero chance I will fall into another relationship like that but reconstructing the rest of my life is important and ongoing work.
Thank you for the reminders Savannah and best wishes for a happy new year.
My goal is to remember that it is the narc’s problem not mine, and to not take ( or make) their problem mine. It will save my ulcer from acting up for 2 hours in the early morning of Christmas day again.
Print this out, frame it and hang it up to see and read everyday!
What a wonderful list to carry with us into and through 2018! I intend to make this the year of me, for myself. Codependency ends this year. Putting up with narcissistic people ends this year. I will say my peace every day and let others deal with it however they want to, or don’t want to…it’s not my business!
Happy 2018 all.
#8 is true for the whole country!!!
My wholehearted wishes to a helper who knows what she’s talking about and makes it her job to make ut clear to you.
I’m struggling with all these issues ( emotional needyness \ codependency and try hard ti grasp what i have to do to love myself, to take the next step. Unfirtunatelly i’m like this all my life and it’s not easy to change. I believe i’ll make it now that i’ve found out.
I will keep on reading and trying.
Thank you Savvana, have a healthy happy wonderful and inspiring New Year!!!!
Hi savannah, happy new year to you.
Thanks for the page, good advice all round, really helpful.
Finished a three year “relationship” with a covert cerebral narcissist four months ago, I always knew something was wrong, there were many warning signs but I ignored them until the end of year two.
Anyway the point is I rialise now that I am a codependent people pleaser.
I think it stems from childhood abandonment issues, professional working parents, a very Victorian father who was a little cold and distant, a mother who would withdraw affection as a punishment for displeasing her. Is it any wonder that In relationships I put others needs before my own, avoid confrontation by surrendering my position, crave love and affection. Knowing all of this and doing something about it are two very different things however and your advice today makes total sense to me; I am a good, kind, loyal person and I don’t have to make others see me that way, they will or they won’t see it as they please, and I don’t need their validation to be me.
Happy new year Savannah.
So good….just what I needed on this first day of 2018. Have a Happy New Year!!!
This is absolutely perfect, thank you!