Overcoming Codependency: A Personal Perspective

July 9, 2024 Karen Mae Vister

Overcoming codependency is a significant milestone in anyone's journey. Growing up, I felt like my emotions were too complex, strong, or nuanced to share. The community I was raised in didn't encourage open emotional expression, so I kept my feelings to myself. This environment is particularly detrimental for someone with borderline personality disorder (BPD), where the ability to express and validate emotions is crucial for mental stability and self-understanding. But I've found I can overcome codependency.

Codependency, for me, is a pattern where I excessively rely on others for emotional support, approval, and identity, often sacrificing my own wellbeing. This creates a cycle where I neglect my own needs to care for others, fostering dependency in my relationships. I notice this, especially in situations involving addiction or mental health issues, leading to unhealthy boundaries, low self-esteem, and difficulty maintaining my sense of self.

Overcoming Codependency: A Catalyst for Personal Growth

Learning about BPD helped me understand why I needed to overcome codependency. Borderline personality disorder, with its intense emotions and fear of abandonment, often drives codependent behaviors. I looked to others for validation, afraid to be left alone if I showed my true self. This lack of emotional openness in my community exacerbated my feelings of isolation and inadequacy. When you can't express what you're feeling, those emotions can fester and grow, leading to increased anxiety and depression. For someone with BPD, this can be particularly harmful, as the disorder already magnifies emotional responses and fears of rejection.

Now, I prefer people who respect my time and comfort. While I enjoy spontaneity occasionally, I appreciate it when people check in on how I feel. The community I have now is very different from the one I grew up in. Making a life for myself in a new city has allowed me to build a chosen family of friends who understand me. They know about my mental struggles and don't dismiss my feelings, regardless of their intensity. This change wasn't just about finding the right people but also about becoming someone safe to be close to. This supportive environment has been essential in my overcoming codependency and managing my BPD symptoms. It was important for me as someone with BPD to have a community that welcomes some self-expression and offers validation, as this fosters a sense of security and belonging that I didn't experience growing up. 

Relationships Can Thrive When You Overcome Codependency

Overcoming codependency isn't easy. I still get offended when people can't read my mind, but now I question that reaction. Maybe the people close to me aren't rejecting me. Maybe they have their own preferences that don't always align with mine, and that's okay. This shift in perspective has allowed me to see that relationships don't have to be perfect to be meaningful and supportive. Understanding that everyone has their own set of needs and boundaries has helped me develop healthier, more balanced connections.

Overcoming codependency has been enlightening in that I feel more complete and free to explore who I am without being heavily influenced by those around me. For anyone dealing with BPD, finding a community that encourages self-expression and emotional validation can make a significant difference in managing the disorder and fostering personal growth. It's not just about finding support but also about creating an environment where you can safely and authentically be yourself. This journey has taught me that while the path to recovery is not always straightforward, it is always worth pursuing. 

Do You Need to Overcome a Codependent Relationship?

Watch my video below, where I discuss how to recognize if a relationship is codependent or healthy by sharing my personal experiences with both the physical and emotional signs.

APA Reference
Mae, K. (2024, July 9). Overcoming Codependency: A Personal Perspective, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Author: Karen Mae Vister

Karen Mae Vister, author of her blog, Over the Borderline, dedicates her work to providing valuable content and support for individuals on the path to recovery from borderline personality disorder. Find Karen Mae on Instagram and her blog.

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