What Does Codependency Look Like in Your Family?

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This week might test you since we’re now in holiday season. Especially if your relationship with your family walks on, or crosses the line into codependency.

Sometimes this looks like ignoring the comments your mom makes about how you’re raising your kinds or pretending you don’t hear your aunties talk about the weight you’ve gained since the last gathering.

It might also look like falling right back into the same roles you and your siblings played in the family 20 years ago when you were growing up despite the fact that you’re all grown now.

Sometimes being around family is a challenge and there’s no shame in that.

For me, I’m working on standing up for myself when a comment thrown my way makes me uncomfortable. My learned inclination is to keep the peace and swallow my retort even when everything inside me is screaming about how rude or unfair the remarks were.

I’m tired of hearing comments like, “you know how your uncle is.” Or “that’s your dad, he’s not going to change.” While I think these comments are meant to be helpful, they really only serve to gaslight and dismiss the barely bridled emotions swirling within us.

So, what do we do about it?

Dealing with Codependency in Family During the Holidays

The holiday season has arrived, and with it comes the challenge of reuniting with family and loved ones. If your relationship with your family walks a fine line or crosses into codependency, these gatherings can become emotionally challenging.

Identifying Codependency:

Codependency during the holidays in your family dynamics can manifest in various ways. It might appear as ignoring the comments your mom makes about your parenting style or pretending not to hear your aunties discussing your weight gain since the last gathering. It could also involve falling back into the same roles you and your siblings played in the family 20 years ago, despite the fact that you’ve all grown and evolved.

The truth is, sometimes dealing with codependency within family dynamics during the holiday season can be a real challenge, and there’s no shame in acknowledging that. We all have our unique family dynamics, and it’s important to recognize when those dynamics become unhealthy.

Breaking the Silence:

For me personally, I’m actively working on standing up for myself when a comment thrown my way makes me uncomfortable. It’s a learned inclination to keep the peace and swallow my retort, even when every fiber of my being is screaming about how rude or unfair those remarks were.

I’ve often heard comments like, “you know how your uncle is” or “that’s your dad, he’s not going to change.” While these comments might be intended to offer some sense of understanding, they often serve to gaslight our emotions and dismiss the very real and sometimes overwhelming feelings that we’re grappling with.

What Can We Do about Codependency During the Holidays?

So, what can we do about codependency during the holidays within our families?

It starts with self-awareness and self-compassion.

Recognizing that codependency exists and acknowledging how it shows up in our family interactions is a crucial first step. It’s okay to set boundaries and communicate your needs, especially during the holiday season when tensions can run high.

Maybe instead of spending all day with the family on Thanksgiving, you set a 3 hour time limit. You can show up later or leave a little earlier.

Or maybe you try hosting so the family is on your turf and you get to set the rules.

I decided that I would speak my trust, respectfully of course, and that if it means that a member of my family stops speaking to me, I’ll deal with that. I’d rather not be in relationship at all than be in relationship that only allows me to show a quarter of who I am.

That’s a big bold step and it won’t be easy, but at this point in my life, I’ve decided I’m done sacrificing my peace of mind to keep somebody else’s.

Remember, healing from codependency and changing how you show up in family relationships is an ongoing journey, and it’s perfectly fine to seek help along the way.

By addressing these issues with love and understanding, we can make our holiday gatherings less about codependency and more about genuine connection and shared joy.

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