Do You Have A Persistent Need To Help Others While Ignoring Yourself?
Did you spend your childhood taking on adult responsibilities to care for a parent with a mental or physical illness? Has the presence of physical, sexual, emotional, or substance abuse in your home stunted your development and hurt your ability to set boundaries? Do you have trouble saying no in relationships?
Maybe you have always felt the need to be in a relationship to feel whole. Perhaps you drop what you’re doing and sacrifice your own needs to help out your boss, friends, or family. Or you may struggle with intimacy in your relationship and carry an ever-present fear of abandonment.
A codependent person will typically ignore their own needs to focus on the needs of others. Codependency can take root in childhood when you grow up in a dysfunctional home through contributing factors such as abuse, drug and alcohol use, or the presence of physical or mental illness.
Codependent behavior can have debilitating effects. Over time, you may develop poor health or low self-esteem. You might lack the confidence to make decisions or the ability to develop into a functional adult because you never had the chance to establish a sense of self as a child. Or you can’t identify your emotions—feelings of anger, doubt, joy, pain, frustration—because you’ve ignored them for so long.
Codependency normalizes dysfunction and prevents you from identifying unhealthy environments and relationships. Because of your distorted perspective, it will take more than your individual efforts to free yourself of codependency—instead, it will take the help of a trained professional.
With the help of codependency counseling, you can develop healthy relationships with others and yourself. And you can learn to live from a more intentional place, breaking generational chains and laying new groundwork for a better future.
Believe It Or Not, Most Of Us Are Codependent
Codependency is common—90 percent of Americans show codependent behavior, according to some estimates.1 Why is this number so high? Codependency stems from dysfunctional families, and many of us may carry dysfunctional elements in our family backgrounds. Many of us also may not acknowledge the ways in which our life experiences impact us, so we risk passing on codependent behaviors we unknowingly picked up to the next generation.
Emotional codependency prevents us from developing mutually beneficial relationships, impacting us in our personal and professional lives. “Addicted” to helping others, we forget to take care of ourselves.
Maybe we have come from homes where we didn’t talk to one another, where we didn’t experience a life-affirming human touch, or where we did not resolve issues through acceptable confrontation. We may have grown up in homes that didn’t allow us to feel, and we learned to distrust. And so, as a child, we learned to edit our existence and let it take shape only when in service to someone else.
Over the years, codependent behavior can be etched into our personalities so that it is unrecognizable. This is why overcoming codependency is so difficult—we can’t see our own behavior clearly enough to change it. Will power alone won’t change things.
The outside perspective and training of a therapist, however, can help you overcome codependent behaviors. Codependency counseling can teach you to love others while honoring yourself, and as a result, build stronger relationships in your personal and professional life.
Codependency Counseling Can Help You To Establish Healthy Boundaries and Regain A Sense Of Self
You might think that recovering from a disorder learned so early in life is next to impossible. The reality is that with a strong support base, you can rewrite the story that’s been given to you from childhood and grow past toxic lessons in your youth. If you learned that relating to others meant alienating yourself, codependency counseling could give you the chance to rewrite the script.
As a therapist specializing in codependency, I recognize the benefits of therapy in helping people to find value in themselves to relate better to others. Therapy offers a supportive and non-judgmental space to identify your codependent behavior, reframe your perspective of yourself, and begin to make changes that stick.
During sessions, we will get to the root of the childhood experiences that have contributed to your codependency symptoms. I will help you to pinpoint how these behaviors impact you and help you to develop a game plan for what you desire from your life. In counseling, you will have a chance to explore emotions you might not be used to acknowledging—shame, fear, lack of control, anger, resentment, and bitterness, to name a few.
Our sessions will also utilize exercises that help you reconnect with yourself and establish healthy boundaries by learning to say “no.” And we will also work together to rebuild a base of friends and family who support your development as an individual rather than enable codependent behavior.
One of the modalities I utilize for your personalized healing plan includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT can provide you with more understanding of your behaviors and constructive ways to change them. The goal will be to use CBT to improve how you relate to yourself and others, and how others relate to you. Meditation, mindfulness and psychotherapeutic yoga can also help you to develop self-love to heal from codependency.
With the help of codependency counseling, you can learn to reframe your perspective of yourself, allowing you to see that your needs are just as valid as anyone else’s. As a result, you will start to honor yourself as you help or love others from a healthier place—a place of empowerment.
You may still have questions about codependency counseling…
Do I have to do couples counseling to overcome codependency?
When you start therapy to develop a stronger relationship, you might think that healing requires couples therapy. But in reality, the relationship starts with you. Codependency counseling can give you an arsenal of tools to rewire your approach to life and refocus on your needs before the needs of others. And once you learn to take care of yourself and establish healthy patterns, overcoming codependency can also help you overcome challenges with your partner.
I am fearful that I’ll lose my identity if I’m no longer “codependent.”
The unknown is frightening because we can’t see if what lies ahead is for better or for worse. And when your normal is based on a faulty foundation, grasping for a sense of “normalcy” to survive—even if it’s unhealthy—is understandable. Until you get help, codependency may seem like this safe space to you. Losing it could feel like you’re losing your identity. The beauty of codependency counseling is that it will catch you as you fall and give you a new foundation to stand on.
Both my time and money are limited for something extra, like therapy.
Yes, life gets busy. We make time for work, our personal lives, maybe children, too. With this being said, an upfront investment of time and money in counseling can pay dividends toward a healthier future. One “payoff” is that codependency treatment can help you to develop an identity that is strong enough to say “no” to things that can drain your time and money. I also offer teletherapy, so you can get help from anywhere—at home, at work, in your car—and would save time and money on travel at the same time.
Are You Ready To Overcome Your Challenges With Codependency?
If you want to work through your childhood experiences to develop a solid sense of self and walk through life with a renewed strength, I invite you to set up a free, 15-minute consultation with me. Let me help you overcome codependency and regain a new and improved normal.