Have You Made Your Home in Codependent Land?!

Updated: November 12, 2012

Codependent Land is when you’ve given up your power and you need to be needed.

Are you trying to fix someone? Are you being supportive even to yours and the other person’s detriment? We don’t want to recognize this in ourselves but it’s important to know when you have landed back in a position of fixer. Can you see that you are enmeshed with someone else? Do you recognize when you are people –pleasing?

When you find yourself there again, does it feel like home? Why are you here, again?

It will help if you use a visual exercise to recognize how entangled you are with the other person and their “success” or recovery. Look for the threads that keep you there. Feeling needed? Feeling loved? Doing something good? Holding someone up?

Are you willing to break those threads and let go of the person? Visually let go of the other person and be who they are. What feelings are attached to that image?

If you know you are motivated by the need to be needed, where else could you fill that need without having an agenda? Be careful not to move right back into Codependent Land. Stay a safe distance from people who like to be rescued.

What if you volunteered at a pet rescue facility and walked dogs or spent time with other animals? You can provide love and comfort without taking any new family members home with you! Other opportunities could be tutoring a child, working with a literacy group or helping with a local charity. You would be supporting the success of someone else without becoming the fixer.

When you look back on past friendships and romantic relationships, have you found yourself in Codependent Land? What helped you to make your way out of that landscape? Do you recognize it much sooner because of your past experiences? Please share your story in the Comments section below.

In service and love,
Colette Baron-Reid


Showing 16 comments
  • Brandie

    What about when someone is being codependent with you?  You know they're trying to fix you…

    • Colette Baron-Reid

      It is rare that only one person is codependent in a relationship. People can get too attached to you, or interact with you without even realizing that they are controlling you, or become too available to you to ” hook” you energetically. What can I say its complicated- codependency is like a big hair ball!

  • Anne

    Oh yes…..painful living in that space! It became apparent that I don't so much fall in love, as  'fall into compassion' with broken people. Not to fix them….they deserve to be loved for who they are, but because there was a core belief that if you love enough, love itself will heal. It took 33 years of heartbreak within marrigae before I was able to see that core belief is crooked. People heal when they reach the insight that they are worthy. It comes from the inside out. It seemed so 'right' to love this way, but reading your blog awakens a deeper understanding of the subtlety of this trap. Thank you for all your work. "the map" was a guide in moving out of the heartbreak. Namasté.

  • Barb

    hahha codependency is like a big hair ball!!  too funny…cuz it's true!  interesting that's what i felt guided to blog about today too!  Thanks Colette…always wise words to live by xo

  • Joanne

    What about complicated relationships…where one is tired of carrying the other one and he leaves to find another romantic partner who will carry him and all his emotions of a recent break-up…personally got tired of the co-dependency in a big way!

    • Colette Baron-Reid

      a great book for you to read is Women Who Love Too Much by Dr Robin Norwood … will help you a lot

  • Cindy

    Thank you Colette for this. If you are a people-pleaser and fixer how would one begin to stop that? When I say no to people, which is rare, I feel like I am almost being selfish and inconsiderate. How do I change that? Thank you!

    • Colette Baron-Reid

      First off you need to accept that you are like this, that your default setting brings you into this dynamic, then read my book The Map and do the exercises. You will learn how to choose another response once you know ” where ” you land when invited into this old behavior. The why is not as important as the how. Learn to work with IN-Vizion(r) introduced in this book. Or you can take my class Heart Dynamix(r) which is all about moving out of codependency http://www.micicoach.com

  • Dave

    Okay, I can see what you are trying to say. I've always been very good with my hands at fixing things, to this day I love tinkering with things and fixing them. I guess I feel "needed" when I get a call from a friend, family member, ex-lover, whatever – asking me to help them fix this or that. Keeping these relatioinships to me fills me up – as a person and citizen of this world. I admit that at times I have not been one hundred percent truthful with some of the people I know in the reason why I am there. Some have been pure physical but at the same time I cherish any time I can be there with them. In truth I have never had ulterior motives as to why I help or have helped anybody. I don't do it for money, I do it because I know how to do it – whatever it is they need. And I have had times in which I am over my head and have to bow out of the situation making me feel even worse.
    Okay, so – when I married my wife, I came into the marriage with a child. I knew her for quite some time and we were good friends. On my own perspective she was way out of my league – and that is how I saw it before I began my path to enlightenment. Anyhow, back to the dependency issue. I knew she was not the best homemaker but figured that with time and practice she would be finally be able to sort of catch up with household duties, you know, the vacuuming, cleaning, and arranging of furniture, bed making, pot scrubbing and the like. Well, two kids later she has not been able to catch up with any cleaning. Even after the kids began schooling full time, no vaccuuming, no cleaning. Laundry is the only half-good job, other than raising the kids, that she has sort-of done. Cooking, well – if it's frozen and can be either baked or microwaved then that's her limits. I on the other hand have had the fortune of learning how to keep a bathroom clean, kitchen clean, how to do laundry correctly, iron clothing, gourmet cooking, fixing and repair anything from cars to electronics. I am also the first aid and nurse of choice at home – anything happens I quickly get a phone call with a screaming spouse telling me what just happened and could I just come home. Although this is not an emergency – I need to handle it over the phone.
    So you see – in a nut shell – my predicament. I've done this for more than ten years and ten years before then. I know I am a fool for expecting anyone to change but is this the type of codependence you are writing about?
    Sincerely – Dave

  • K

    This certainly hit home.  I can relate to this and have worked on recognizing when I'm in this situation (based on how I'm feeling, usually drained) and move away.  I have realized that speaking up and stepping away does create conflict, which is something that I am learning to be comfortable with.  Setting and maintaining boundaries seems to be an ongoing exercise with a need to be constantly reflective and fully present.

  • Lois King

    My husband and I were codependent on each other from the start. No one understood our relationship. I had a rough time growing up and then was raped two different times as a teenager. He had been wounded in the war (Nam) and found out his wife couldn't deal with his loss of a hand and rejected him, then he caught her cheating. We were both the walking wounded emotionally when we met. Years later, I finally understood that we were codependent when I realized we both had the same problems of depression and PTSD. Neither one of could be happy because my husband couldn't be happy in his life, and he couldn't stand it when I would try to change things to bring in something to help lift my depression. After 38 years of marriage, he died in September. I have alot of pressure removed, but I loved him and I miss him and sometimes even the need to be needed. Now I have no idea how to start over. I never got any training for a job cause he was my job. I took care of him emotionally and physically and he took care of me emotionally and financially. Now I'm totally lost.

    • Colette Baron-Reid

      Lois I send you all my love and compassion these are truly difficult times for you and grieving and healing takes time and it’s important for you to get help, perhaps counselling our coaching would be in order. MOst importantly you need support now and its not always easy to allow others in to do that when that was your job. Right now the only thing you need to do is self care. Simple things, staying in the day. It may be also a good idea to get a pet to look after as they take you out of yourself when presented with a companion animal to love and care for. ONe thing for certain- this time will pass and you will not always be in such a difficult landscape. Trust and have faith in a HIgher Power- through Spirit we are never lost. Stay in the day, each day will be a better one 😉

  • mara

    I can relate to Codependency land almost my entire life.For some reason I grew up in a family believing that it was “normal” to “save” others…so I formed relationships based on Codependency.There has always been a mission for me to help others and in return feel gratitude for providing that help!!!However, today 46 years later I honestly believe that I have “lost” myself my true self..I remember accepting a job 12 years ago at a drug rehab government funded program and my high was that again I would be saving lives…12 years later I was so burnt out that I couldn’t wait to finally leave…and free myself from all that sorrow and depression..of working in such an environment.I think back today and fully understand that being codependent has made me miserable with a lot of self pity and I am in process of trying to find a way out from all this.I am also in a marriage where my spouse has needed for me to “save ” him…today I try NOT to be that savior but to SAVE myself slowly and gradually…
    I could be talking about this for days….Trusting my higher power has helped me see things clearly as well as accepting my flaws and seeing that there might be some light at the end of the tunnel…

    Thank you for listening.


    • Colette Baron-Reid

      thanx so much for sharing honey this time of year is tough for all of us who have a tendency to visit codependent land. NO drama and setting healthy boundaries are key. Sounds like you know what all of this means- loving detachment isnt easy but necessary ;)) xoox

  • Travis

    for me I used to be very codependent to a detriment. I tried to take my own life.today is a better day because I know I am not alone in situations the like of. I thought because I was the capable able and gifted loving one THAT I SIMPLY HAPPEN TO BE, I HAD TO, like my grandmother, my favorite exemplar, save and care for everyone, if possible the world over. I discovered, for myself, that I was viewing things altruistically, but not benevolenly. New words lol.
    I’ve discovered that by letting other people take importance over the care of myself, I become and was bitter and angry And frustrated in some way nearly almost all the time. I couldn’t even stand to have my friends around because they upset me because every time I was around them I thought that I had to do for them. then I discovered that was never there idea at all and that the only reason things went that way is because it was my way of thinking. so after watching one more great relationship die because of my cold dependent overly aggressive nature with my significant other, unless I wanted to keep going out I’ve been going to things had to change drastically.

    again taken care of myself as suggested to me for so many years. Once I started doing that things changed and so many glorious way.

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