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The 10 Most Popular Articles about Codependency and Dealing with Difficult People

The 10 Most Popular Articles about Codependency and Dealing with Difficult People

The end of the year is always a natural time of reflection. Part of that process for me is reviewing all of the articles that I wrote and looking for trends and which topics resonated most with my readers. So, today I’m happy to share my ten most popular posts of 2018. Many of them are about the dynamics of codependent relationships, dysfunctional families and how they affect us, ways to cope with difficult people, and how to do what’s right for you (practicing self-care, setting boundaries, being more assertive, and so on) without feeling guilty.

If you missed any of these articles when they were first published, I hope you’ll read them now or bookmark them for later.


#1: 15 Signs You Have Toxic Parents

No one has a perfect relationship with their parents, but many people enjoy spending time with their parents in adulthood and come to love and appreciate their parents in new ways. Unfortunately, for others – those with toxic parents – this isn’t possible. No matter how hard you try, you simply can’t have a mutually satisfying and respectful relationship with people who are emotionally unhealthy.

Read the article

Signs You Have Toxic Parents

#2: Why Do We Repeat the Same Dysfunctional Relationship Patterns Over and Over?

Unfortunately, dysfunctional relationship patterns are learned and passed from one generation to the next. And we will probably repeat them until we heal the underlying trauma and feel lovable and worthy of being treated with respect and kindness. We repeat dysfunctional relationship dynamics because they’re familiar. Even when you know something is “wrong” or unhealthy, it’s hard to change; it’s always easier to keep doing what you’ve always done than to learn and apply new skills. This is especially true in stressful situations. When your nervous system is overwhelmed, your emotions feel out of control, and your body is flooded with adrenaline, it’s extremely challenging to behave in a different way. This is in part due to our neurobiology.

Read the article

Why do we repeat dysfunctional relationship patterns? #abuse #codependency #addiction

#3: Dysfunctional Family Dynamics: Don’t Talk, Don’t Trust, Don’t Feel

If you grew up in a family with a chemically dependent, mentally ill, or abusive parent, you know how hard it is — and you know that everyone in the family is affected. Over time, the family begins to revolve around maintaining the status quo – the dysfunction. Rigid family rules and roles develop in dysfunctional families that help maintain the dysfunctional family system and allow the addict to keep using or the abuser to keep abusing. These unspoken family rules include: don’t talk, don’t trust, and don’t feel.

Read the articleDysfunctional family dynamics

#4: Rescuing, Resenting, and Regretting: A Codependent Pattern

Codependents are often caretakers – which seems like a great quality except we tend to do it at our own expense and often when help isn’t wanted or needed. The result is a codependent pattern of rescuing, resenting, and regretting.

Read the article

Rescuing, Resenting, Regretting: A Codependent Pattern #codependent #rescuing #enabling

#5: Say Goodbye to Perfectionism: 12 Ways to Stop Being So Hard on Yourself

Perfectionists set impossibly high standards for themselves (and others), which leads to frustration, disappointment, and exhaustion. The bottom line is that perfectionism is hugely stressful and makes us feel worse about ourselves. We can strive and achieve and hustle relentlessly, but it will never be enough because we can never meet our unrealistic expectations. The alternative is to embrace our humanness – our imperfections and failings – and choose to be happier, healthier versions of ourselves.

Read the article

Say goodbye to perfectionism #perfectionist

#6: Dealing with Difficult Family Members: Don’t Justify, Argue, Defend, or Explain

If you’re an adult child of an alcoholic (ACA) or grew up in a “dysfunctional” family, you probably witnessed ineffective (or even hurtful) communication patterns as a child that were characterized by arguing, blaming, denying, and dishonesty. Unfortunately, most of us tend to repeat the communication patterns we learned in childhood – the ones we’re familiar with and that we observed. In this article, you’ll learn ways to avoid these dysfunctional communication patterns.

Read the article

Dealing with difficult family members #coping #narcissist #codependent #toxic #family

#7: 10 Tips for Dealing with your Toxic Parents

Left unchecked, toxic parents can take over your life and cause significant psychological damage. It’s not uncommon for adult children of dysfunctional, alcoholic, or toxic parents to feel trapped – unable to stand up for themselves and futilely trying to appease their parents. Use the ten strategies in this article to help you cope more effectively and do what’s right for you.

Read the article

10 Tips for Dealing with Toxic Parents #toxic #parents #narcissist #addict #abusive

#8: Don’t Rely on Others to Validate Your Feelings

It’s important to have a sense of belonging and to be a part of a group — a family or community.  And part of belonging to any group is to be known, understood, and accepted. But while it’s normal to want to be understood, we can’t depend on others to validate who we are, what we believe in, and how we feel. When we do, we compromise pieces of who we are in order to fit in and let others determine our self-worth.

Read the article

Don't rely on others to validate your feelings

#9: 6 Positive Psychology Tips that can Improve Your Everyday Life

Most people would like to be happier, or at least more content and relaxed. Positive psychology strives to help us understand how to be happier, more optimistic, and resilient. So, whether you have clinical depression or you’re down about a recent setback, positive psychology can be applied to your everyday life to improve your mood and wellbeing.

Read the article

6 Positive Psychology Hacks to Improve Your Life

#10: Stop Trying to Change People Who Don’t Want to Change

Not everyone wants to change (or not in the way you think they should) and that’s their prerogative. Despite your desire to help, you can’t make people change and you can’t fix their problems (even when you have great ideas and their best interest at heart!). You simply can’t fix or solve other people’s problems and trying to do so often just makes things worse.

Read the article

Stop Trying to Change People #codependent


As another year comes to a close, I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for reading my blog, leaving comments, and suggesting topics. If you’d like to learn more and access many of the free resources that I’ve created, please sign-up for my weekly newsletter below.


Popular posts from previous years:

Top Articles of 2017

Top Articles of 2016

Top Articles of 2015


©2018 Sharon Martin, LCSW
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The 10 Most Popular Articles about Codependency and Dealing with Difficult People

Sharon Martin, LCSW

Sharon Martin is a licensed psychotherapist and codependency expert practicing in San Jose, CA. She is the author of The CBT Workbook for Perfectionism: Evidence-Based Skills to Help You Let Go of Self-Criticism, Build Self-Esteem, and Find Balance and several ebooks including Navigating the Codependency Maze.  

To learn more, visit Sharon's website. And please sign-up for free access to her resource library HERE (worksheets, tips, meditations, and resources for healing codependency, perfectionism, anxiety and more).

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APA Reference
Martin, S. (2018). The 10 Most Popular Articles about Codependency and Dealing with Difficult People. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 24, 2020, from


Last updated: 27 Dec 2018
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.