Therapy and Coaching for Codependency in Pittsburgh, PA
Giving and receiving are healthy and normal parts of being a family or being friends. No one is self-sufficient, and needing help is normal. When there is give and take, relationships are usually in balance, but when giving becomes one-sided, the help may actually be causing harm, both in the person offering help and in the person receiving the help. It happens more than people want to admit, and it is called codependency.
Can lending a friend or family member a hand actually hurt? Yes. Consider Heather’s situation.
Heather thinks her best quality is that she cares about people deeply. She often anticipates what her friends need and shows up before they even ask for help. Heather would do anything for her family. And she has. Heather knows that in many ways, she holds the family together. Her husband has a hard time holding a steady job, but he has no problem spending the family’s money. He regularly gambles online. Heather is concerned, but they can make the payments on the debt right now because she picked up extra hours at work. Some days, she feels resentful, but mostly, she is happy to help.
There is no question that Heather loves her husband and wants the best for her family. Her intentions, however, are not translating into tangible benefits. In fact, she may be hurting herself, her husband, and her family, and Heather may be codependent.
When people shelter their loved ones from the natural consequences of their addiction or irresponsible decisions…. when people do for others what they can do for themselves… when people sacrifice their own well-being to help, they may be codependent. While often done with the best of intentions, codependent behavior can cause serious harm.
Thriveworks Pittsburgh has helped many people conquer their codependent behaviors and learn how to help without hurting.
Codependency: How Does It Work?
Codependent people usually value other people’s needs and wants more than their own. In doing so, they often enable irresponsible behavior and put their own emotional, financial, or physical needs at risk. Codependent people rarely fall into these unhealthy relational dynamics by accident. Whether consciously or unconsciously, they often seek out people who struggle with addiction or reckless behavior.
Feelings of acute shame and insecurity often hound codependent people, and fixing their friends and family members becomes a path for them to feel accepted and competent… at least, that is what they think. But compensating for another person is not a path toward healing. Codependency usually leads, instead, toward frustration and resentment.
As codependent people risk their own well-being to help their loved one, they often expect gratitude and love. However, their loved one usually responds by continuing with their irresponsibility.
What Does a Codependent Relationship Look Like?
Codependent people can display unhealthy behaviors in many different kinds of relationships: as spouses, children, parents, co-workers, friends, and more. Distinguishing healthy connection and support from codependent behaviors is difficult but important. Here are a few red flags that a relationship has crossed from supportive into codependent. When one person in the relationship…
- Pays for the natural consequences of the other’s addictive or irresponsible behavior.
- Worries that they will be rejected if they do not shield the other from the consequences of their poor choices.
- Struggling with feelings of anger and resentment for helping the other.
- Has experienced emotional or physical harm but will not end the relationship.
- Has difficulty saying, “no” or setting limits.
- Is defensive about the other’s behavior.
- Values another’s thoughts, needs, and feelings more than their own.
- Minimizes or denies their own or the other’s problems.
- Has difficulty expressing their emotions and needs.
Recovering from Codependency
Acknowledging that you may have a problem with when, where, and how to help is a difficult process, but accepting reality and reaching out for help may be the first steps in personal recovery and toward healthier relationships. The skilled and caring therapists at Thriveworks Pittsburgh have walked with many people, guiding them toward healthy changes for their well-being.
Through therapy, recovering from codependency may mean learning how to…
- Be present for loved ones as you are able (healthy) without fixing or rescuing them (unhealthy).
- Replacing codependent behaviors with healthy forms of connection.
- Set limits and say, “no.”
- Meet your financial, emotional, and physical needs.
- Form relationships confident of your self-worth.
Has helping too often or too much left you resentful and depleted? Are you ready to recover from your codependency? Thriveworks Pittsburgh is here, and we have appointments available for codependency therapy.
It may be helpful to know that our office has evening and weekend sessions available. Many new clients see their therapist within 24 hours of their first call, and we accept many forms of insurance. We do not keep a waitlist because we want our clients to receive the help they need, when they need it.
If it is time for you to make hard but good changes in how you relate to your loved ones, Thriveworks Pittsburgh may offer the guidance and support you need. Call today.