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How to set healthy boundaries in codependent relationships

When it comes to our personal relationships, setting boundaries is like a secret sauce for keeping things in check and making life feel balanced and healthy. Boundaries help us protect our personal time and space, maintain good communication with others, and avoid burnout and stress.

In the intricate dance of relationships, maintaining a healthy sense of self can be challenging, especially in codependent dynamics. However, establishing and enforcing boundaries is crucial for fostering individual well-being and building resilient connections.

Ever found yourself in toxic friendships or drowning in overwhelming love? Maybe you've heard about the idea that loving comes with its fair share of suffering or even encountered terms like Stockholm syndrome, but let's dive a bit deeper: What's the real deal with codependency?

What is codependency anyway?

Codependency is a condition that hampers healthy relationships. It can impact various types, like parent-child, sibling, friend, partner, or coworker relationships. The dependent party usually deals with chronic mental illness or addiction too.

In codependent relationships, it gets messy – they can be abusive, one-sided, or emotionally destructive. Emotional codependency makes a person forget their own needs. The codependent one ends up shouldering all the responsibility, taking care of the other person's needs.

Unlike emotional dependence, where one member excessively depends on the other for fulfillment or happiness, emotional codependency involves one member assuming the caregiver role. This person consistently needs help and is concerned about the well-being of the other.

Types of Healthy Boundaries

  • Set limits on time and personal space: Make sure to set aside time and space for your well-being, including moments for rest, relaxation, and doing things you love. Establishing boundaries protects these personal moments and prevents others from intruding without permission.
  • Respect the limits of others: Respect other people's boundaries, whether it's about personal time, space, or how they want to be treated. This also means respecting your own right to say "no" and set your own boundaries.
  • Say "no" when necessary: If someone asks for something that goes against your boundaries or makes you uncomfortable, it's crucial to assertively say "no" without feeling guilty. This protects your boundaries and fosters healthier, more balanced relationships.


It is important to keep in mind that setting limits does not mean being selfish or uncooperative people. On the contrary, establishing healthy boundaries is a way to respect ourselves and others, and to have healthier and more balanced relationships.

Setting healthy boundaries in codependent relationships is a transformative journey that requires self-awareness, communication, and commitment from both parties. By embracing this process, individuals can reclaim their autonomy, fostering relationships built on mutual respect, understanding, and growth.


  1. The American Psychological Association (APA)
  2. BannerHealth: Banner Health’s website
  3. NIMH: National Institute of Mental Health


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