How to stop being needy and codependent: 16 key tips

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Some people tend to romanticize codependency and think it’s a positive trait. 

Well, let me tell you this: It isn’t. 

In fact, being too dependent on someone can be one of the most damaging things you can ever do to yourself. 

The same goes for being needy. 

You see, when we’re needy and codependent, we make our lives way harder than they need to be.

Neediness and codependency are a big part of the equation that keeps us feeling lonely, frustrated, and desperately unhappy in love. 

The solution? 

Learn how to stop being needy and codependent, and take on a healthier, more independent mindset. 

Here are 16 key tips to help you do just that. 

1) Understand what being needy and codependent really means

Neediness is defined as a feeling of extreme urgency for another person’s approval, attention, or affection – usually a romantic partner.

Codependency is characterized by an unhealthy reliance on someone else to meet your needs and make you feel whole.

Neediness and codependency are often linked to romantic relationships. However, they also occur among friends, work colleagues, and so on.

Although being needy and codependent may seem to overlap, they are distinct personality traits that manifest themselves in different ways. 

So, how do you know if you’re needy or codependent? Here are some common signs to watch out for:

  • You have a hard time making decisions without asking a certain person’s opinion.
  • You’re always trying to win this person’s approval or validation.
  • Your choices are determined by what this person would like you to do. (i.e., you choose to go where he/she wants to go or you do what he/she likes to do.)
  • You can’t help thinking about them or how they feel about you. They are always on your mind.
  • You’re afraid to be alone and/or independent because you believe you’ll never meet someone as great as them ever again.

2) Identify exactly how you behave when you’re needy and codependent

Take out a piece of paper and draw a chart with two separate columns. 

On the left side, write down all the ways you depend on your partner or someone else to feel happy, secure, and confident. 

Now, on the right, write down how you would feel if your partner or this other person disappeared. If the idea of losing this person scares you or makes things seem impossible, then chances are high that you’re too codependent.

When you’re needy, what happens? You’re always looking for one person to provide you with all the solutions, solutions that you could find on your own. 

Am I right? That’s why when we’re overly dependent on others, we tend to view ourselves as powerless, helpless, and hopeless. 

By identifying your codependent behavior, you’ll know what changes need to be made in order for you to become self-sufficient and less dependent on someone else.

3) Try to deal with your fear of being alone

As a result of your needy and codependent behavior, you may have developed an unhealthy fear of being alone. This fear may be preventing you from taking steps towards a meaningful relationship. 

If this is the case, then it’s time for you to deal with it. 

What do I mean by “deal with it”? Move past your fear and take on an independent mindset that allows you to make your own choices. 

Be sure to:

  • Recognize the difference between being alone and being lonely (you can be alone, but still feel a sense of purpose and fulfillment.) 
  • Identify why being alone scares you, and then find ways to deal with it so that your fear is no longer a factor in the picture.
  • Find activities that you enjoy doing by yourself, such as reading a book, watching TV, or going for walks. 

4) Look within and start unleashing your personal power

Codependency often stems from a sense of powerlessness and a nagging feeling that we can’t handle certain situations on our own. 

The truth is, even if we do let someone else take care of us, they usually don’t have the power to make us happy. 

Our happiness actually comes from within. 

If you feel powerless and helpless, then it means you haven’t been empowering yourself by taking charge of your life and owning your reality, instead of letting others dictate what happens in your life. 

So what can you do to stop being needy and codependent?

Begin with yourself. Stop searching for external fixes to sort out your life, deep down, you know this isn’t working. 

And that’s because until you look within and unleash your personal power, you’ll never find the satisfaction and fulfillment you’re searching for. 

I learned this from the shaman Rudá Iandê. His life mission is to help people restore balance to their lives and unlock their creativity and potential. He has an incredible approach that combines ancient shamanic techniques with a modern-day twist. 

In his excellent free video, Rudá explains effective methods to achieve what you want in life, such as becoming more independent and unleashing your personal power.

So if you want to build a better relationship with yourself, unlock your endless potential, and put passion at the heart of everything you do, start now by checking out his genuine advice. 

Here’s a link to the free video again

5) Start looking for your own approval and validation instead of seeking it from others

The best way to stop being needy and codependent is by seeking approval and validation from yourself, not others. 

Until you do this, you’re not going to be able to let go of your neediness and codependency, which in turn will keep you stuck in a painful cycle.  

Here are three steps that will help you get started:

  • Realize your worth (no matter what anyone else has to say). By doing this, you’ll start to feel more confident in yourself and your capabilities. And that will give you the mojo you need to stop seeking approval and validation from others.
  • Remind yourself that you are fabulous and lovable just as you are. You don’t have to seek this from others because it already comes from within you. Take some time to remind yourself that you’re awesome and capable even without someone to rely on in your life.
  • Realize that your needs and feelings don’t necessarily have to be met by others. This is especially true when it comes to matters of the heart. You shouldn’t wait for someone else to make you feel alive, whole, or validated. 

6) Make a list of all the benefits of being independent

What will happen if you’re no longer codependent? 

You’ll be better able to: 

  • Set boundaries and stand up for yourself when someone is trying to manipulate you.
  • Make decisions without asking others what they think you should do. 
  • Identify your values, goals, and priorities in life and make choices that reflect these things. 
  • Take responsibility for yourself and your actions. 
  • Be honest with yourself and others, even if it means that you will be criticized for doing so. 
  • Spend more time doing what you love and what fulfills you. 
  • Spend time on yourself without feeling guilty about it. 

Sounds good, right? List all the benefits of being independent and see how many benefits you can identify.

7) Stop explaining your actions and start taking responsibility for yourself

Here’s a scenario that’s all too common in codependent relationships

You do something, then when you get criticized for it, you explain why it happened and why you chose to do it this way. 

Then, when your explanation is accepted, you feel good because they finally understood where you were coming from. 

But if they still criticize you, then you try to explain it again. The cycle repeats itself until they either accept your reasoning or give up altogether. 

Sounds familiar? If this is how you normally operate, then you’re not taking responsibility for your actions. 

Taking responsibility means having the guts to stand up for yourself and not explaining your actions. 

What happens if you don’t take responsibility for your actions? 

  • You’ll find yourself repeating negative behaviors, even when you know it’s not right to do them. 
  • You’ll stay in an uncomfortable position where you need other people to validate your existence and make you feel good about yourself. 
  • You’ll continue to attract toxic relationships and circumstances into your life because you’re not standing in your power.

8) Take an objective look at this person

Want to stop being needy and codependent? Take an objective look at this person (it may be a friend, family member, or even your partner) and see if you idealize them or not.

Often, we idealize someone and make them more important than they are. 

This is no good because you’re not able to see this person objectively. 

The truth is that they’re just a person like anyone else, with all the flaws and negative qualities we all have. 

The only time they’re not just like everyone else is when we put them on a pedestal and don’t see their humanness. 

They may be really nice or really sweet, but it doesn’t mean that they’re perfect.

Realizing all these things is a step towards liberating yourself from codependency and neediness. 

It’s also a good exercise to see how much you idealize someone.

9) Get back to the core of your being

Another way to overcome being needy and codependent? Get back to the core of who you truly are. 

What do I mean? 

Your core is your essence, at the very heart of your being. It’s the center of your emotions, thoughts, and feelings. 

The truth is, most of us never realize how much power and potential lies within us. 

We become bogged down by continuous conditioning from society, the media, our education system, and more.

The result?

The reality we create becomes detached from the reality that lives within our consciousness. 

I learned this (and much more) from the world-renowned shaman Rudá Iandé. In this excellent free video, Rudá explains how you can lift the mental chains and get back to the core of your being. 

A word of caution – Rudá isn’t your typical shaman. 

He doesn’t paint a pretty picture or sprout toxic positivity like so many other gurus do. 

Instead, he’s going to force you to look inwards and confront the demons within. It’s a powerful approach, but one that works. 

So if you’re ready to take this first step and get back to the core of your being, there’s no better place to start than with Rudá’s unique technique

Here’s a link to the free video again

10) Focus on your own needs and wants

If you’re codependent and needy, it may mean that you don’t know what you need or want for yourself. 

When this happens, you end up being dependent on others to tell you what to do and how to live your life. 

It’s hard to stop being codependent if you don’t even know what your needs are, because this means that the other person ends up making choices for you. 

So, to overcome being codependent, you have to find what works for you and be in charge of yourself. 

How? By learning to take care of your own needs, without depending on others.

People who are codependent and needy don’t know how to put their own needs first because it means that they’d have to stop depending on others for their happiness and fulfillment. 

So, if you want to stop being needy and codependent, learn to ask yourself these questions: 

  • What do I want? 
  • What’s my vision for my life? 
  • What makes me happy? 

11) Let go of negative self-talk and overall pessimism

In case you’re a negative person who thinks in a pessimist manner, I know it’s not easy for you to stop being codependent and needy.

Your way of thinking can make you feel anxious, afraid, insecure, and unloved. 

Furthermore, when you have these kinds of thoughts and feelings, they may lead to particular behaviors that are codependent or needy. 

For example: if you think others are going to betray or abandon you, then it makes sense that you would be overly dependent on them. 

In other words, your thoughts and feelings are leading you to behave in a certain way. 

That’s why you can work on your mindset by asking yourself these questions:

  • Why do I feel this way? 
  • Am I making sense with my thoughts and feelings? 
  • What would happen if I just let go of these thoughts and feelings? 

12) Learn what healthy relationships look like

Have you ever wondered why you ended up being codependent and needy?

If you’re codependent and needy, it may be because you don’t know what a healthy relationship looks like. 

This is why you’re still holding on to unhealthy behaviors and beliefs that don’t allow you to accept validation that comes from within or take responsibility for your actions.

You may not even see it as a problem because it seems normal to you. 

If this is the case, then you should learn what a healthy relationship looks like

For example:

People in healthy relationships talk about what bothers them without being defensive or blaming the other person for upsetting them. 

Or, instead of trying to fix the other person, they ask him/her for their perspective on a problem and try to understand where they are coming from. 

Another example:

If you tell your partner that you don’t want to do a certain thing, they won’t force you to go along with it or make you feel guilty. 

These are the kinds of things that you need to learn if you want to stop being codependent and needy. 

13) Keep yourself busy without worrying about others

You know this rule: If you’re busy doing something, then you won’t have time to think about other things.

So what should you do? Get busy! 

Find activities that can help you move past the point of being codependent and needy.

Do something constructive. Whether it’s cleaning your home, going for a walk, or spending time with yourself, this can help you from falling into the trap of being codependent and needy.

Do something for yourself. This can be an activity that you find enjoyable, like baking or going to the gym.

The idea is to keep yourself busy until you truly enjoy what you’re doing and you’re not thinking about your partners, family members, or friends. 

So what do you think? Do you think we can unlearn to be codependent and needy no matter how old we are? 

14) Accept that you need to help yourself and start doing it

You have the key to your recovery. 

Embrace the process of accepting that you need to help yourself, not expect help from others.

In order for this to happen, you have to be in charge of your life and stop relying on others. 

When you make the decision to not depend on anyone else and start helping yourself, this is when things will start changing. 

You’ll start feeling better about yourself and learn to go after what you want. 

With your newfound energy and motivation, you will be able to start building healthy relationships and being happy without obsessing about other people. 

15) Remember that you don’t need other people to feel complete

When you think that your happiness and security hang on whether or not other people love you, it’s impossible to overcome being codependent and needy.

But when you remember that your happiness and security are inside of you and not inside the other person, then it’s going to be a lot easier for you to want to change the way you behave. 

To be more precise, your sense of self-worth, values, and beliefs are what contribute to your overall happiness. 

These are things that you cannot get from anyone else. 

In other words, no matter how much the other person loves you or is attracted to you, this won’t make you feel complete because it doesn’t have anything to do with these traits. 

And no matter how much the other person tries to help you, they might still not succeed because they’re not the answer.

16) Stop caring so much about what the other person thinks of you

This is a very important point in learning to not be codependent and needy, so pay close attention to this section. 

You know that when you’re codependent and needy, your behavior and thinking are driven by other people’s thoughts and feelings towards you. Therefore, it’s all about how they feel toward you, or how they think or perceive you. 

This means that you’re always trying to please other people and get their approval. 

In case you’re wondering if this is a problem, the answer is yes!

It’s not good to spend so much time trying to please someone else that you forget about yourself. 

The positive aspects of being needy

To your surprise, being needy also has positive aspects.

According to Justin Brown, “being needy is a sign of being authentically human and feeling the full range of human emotions from happiness to sadness, to anger, to envy.”

He also mentions the fact that being needy is a sign that you care, and also a sign of love and affection. Neediness can also show that you’re not interested in someone just for now, but you want them to be part of your future.

Other benefits include truly connecting with someone and showing vulnerability. If you’d like the full list, watch his video here!

The bottom line

You’ve been struggling with codependency and neediness for a long time. So, it’s time to start changing things around! 

You can become free from the bonds of codependency and no longer feel like you need other people to be happy. 

Use the tips and other resources in this guide to help you start leading a better life. 

But just remember – if you want to get over codependency and become an independent person, you must be committed to this goal.

Can a relationship coach help you too?

If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.

I know this from personal experience…

A few months ago, I reached out to Relationship Hero when I was going through a tough patch in my relationship. After being lost in my thoughts for so long, they gave me a unique insight into the dynamics of my relationship and how to get it back on track.

If you haven’t heard of Relationship Hero before, it’s a site where highly trained relationship coaches help people through complicated and difficult love situations.

In just a few minutes you can connect with a certified relationship coach and get tailor-made advice for your situation.

I was blown away by how kind, empathetic, and genuinely helpful my coach was.

Click here to get started.