setting intentions

Recover from Codependency by Setting Intentions

Setting an intention to change your codependent thoughts and behaviors can help you recover from codependency.

Can setting intentions help you recover from codependency?

Are you trying to recover from codependency or heal from an unhealthy or toxic relationship? Perhaps you’ve noticed that you have some codependent traits, such as enabling, letting people take advantage of you (lack of boundaries and assertiveness), being too controlling, or people-pleasing – and you’d like to change these behaviors. If so, setting intentions can help you to recover from codependency and make lasting changes.

How intentions help us change

Intentions are different than goals. I like to think of them as stepping stones that will help you reach your goals.

Intentions are a mindfulness practice that can help you achieve your goals by:

  • Bringing awareness to your current behavior and the changes you want to make.
  • Focusing your time and energy on what matters to you.
  • Bringing clarity to the goals you want to set and achieve.
  • Increasing your motivation.

Setting intentions to recover from codependency

This is a set of intentions that I wrote specifically for those feeling stuck in a codependent relationship, repeating a pattern of arguing, enabling, or worrying that you can’t seem to break. You may also relate to them if you’re feeling discouraged, self-critical, or unsure of yourself.

I will…

  • Be patient rather than needing to react to everything, big or small.

  • Be more accepting and less controlling.

  • Let others do things in their own way, in their own time.

  • Be humble rather than always needing to be right.

  • Have the courage to take responsibility for my behavior (and not take responsibility for other people’s behavior).

  • Feel grounded and empowered.

  • Be at peace, not bogged down with regret and worry.

  • Remember that I have choices; I’m not a helpless victim.

  • Feel confident that I can cope.

  • Acknowledge the ways I’ve contributed to problems and to apologize to those I’ve hurt.

  • Listen more instead of jumping to conclusions, giving advice, or forcing my agenda.

  • Let go of my expectations and focus on what I can control.

  • Hold firm to my boundaries with the knowledge that I deserve to be treated with respect.

  • Be more empathetic and less judgmental.

  • Trust myself rather than second-guessing and overthinking.

  • Forgive myself and stop beating myself up for the mistakes I’ve made.

  • Accept myself fully.

  • Take good care of myself and treat myself like a dear friend.

  • Be present with my feelings and not censor them, to let them wash over me like a wave, knowing that feelings come and go; they don’t last forever.

  • Be transformed, little by little, into my best self.

Write your own intentions to recover from codependency

I love that intentions and affirmations are easy to adapt.

I encourage you to use the ones from my list that speak to you and add some of your own. Notice what’s weighing on your heart, where you feel pulled to put your energy, and how you want to change, and then write your own intentions.

Doing this allows you to reflect on what’s not working in your life and to take responsibility for changing yourself. And while this is hard, it’s an essential part of making real changes.

Take action

Intentions create a map of where we want to end up. And, of course, if we’re going to change our unhelpful, distorted thoughts and our codependent behaviors, we have to take action – we have to actually learn new skills and practice new ways of thinking and acting. This is definitely a process and I’ve listed a few articles below to support you in this.

To get started, try writing your intentions and read them a few times every day to keep them a priority. I hope you find doing this is insightful and gives you renewed focus and hope.

Learn more

©2021 Sharon Martin, LCSW. All right reserved. This post was originally published by the author on

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This site is for informational purposes only. It provides general information and is not intended to nor should it be used to diagnose or treat any psychological, relationship, or medical issues or advise you on your particular issues, questions, or decisions. You are solely responsible for how you use the information provided on this website and the consequences of your actions. This page may contain affiliate links which means I receive a small commission on items purchased.

Sharon Martin, DSW, LCSW is a psychotherapist and author specializing in codependency recovery. For the past 25 years, she’s been helping people-pleasers, perfectionists, and adult children overcome self-doubt and shame, embrace their imperfections, and set boundaries. Dr. Martin writes the popular blog Conquering Codependency for Psychology Today and is the author of The CBT Workbook for Perfectionism and The Better Boundaries Workbook.

2 thoughts on “Recover from Codependency by Setting Intentions”

  1. Sharon, I am grateful for your posts and share of how one can be one with God; living with self -integrity.

  2. I read this article this morning ang glad to learn the difference between goals and intentions. I was driving my 13 year old granddaughter this evening and I asked her how school was. I shared about my school experience years ago and how my class choices were limited, much different than opportunities kids have now. She was amazed at the differences at planning your life. Our discussion reflected intentions we make throughout life to achieve a goal I was able to share with her how she can develop her goals and how she can influence how to get there. Due to my childhood dysfunction that was missing for me. But it was a special moment to be able to give insight to my granddaughter. Thanks

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