Overcoming Codependency—Therapists in Beverly Hills, MI
Anyone who has flown on an airplane knows that before take-off, the flight attendants go over safety protocols for oxygen masks in case of an emergency. The most important rule: secure your own mask before helping other people secure theirs. These instructions draw on an important principle for life: self-care comes before caring for others. People who cannot breathe should not try to help others breathe. But many people struggle with this concept in everyday life. When people try to help too often or too much, they may actually cause harm. When this becomes a pattern in people’s lives, they may struggle with codependency.
Think about Dennis. He has a 20-something son who is capable but needs a lot of help. Dennis pays for his son’s rent, utilities, and tuition because it’s his duty as the father. Dennis is happy to do it, besides, who else would? Dennis has a plan for his son to finish school and find his own place to live, but his son keeps dropping classes or changing his major. Dennis is disappointed that his son is not taking hold of the opportunities that he never had as a young adult.
Dennis, without a doubt, loves his son deeply, but he may have a serious problem. Dennis’ actions, while intended to help, may actually be harming his son and himself—his actions may be codependent.
Many people find themselves in places where they feel obligated to help or they help in a way that hurts themselves or others. That is why Thriveworks Beverly Hills offers therapy for codependency: our counselors love seeing their clients overcome codependent behaviors and learn how to help from their strengths.
Codependency: What Is It?
People who struggle with codependency may seek out relationships with people they think they can fix—often addicts or people who exhibit careless behavior. Codependent people can form relationships in various contexts—as a spouse, as a parent, as a friend. Within the relationships, codependent people usually set aside their own needs and well-being to meet another person’s needs or to appease them.
Codependent people often appear to be overly nice or unbelievably charitable, but as relationships develop, their own harmful behavior surfaces. Internally, codependent people can be overwhelmed with insecurity, shame, and passivity. Fixing other people becomes a way of proving their competency or gaining love.
Delineating codependent behavior from appropriate help and support is challenging at times. The following are unhealthy characteristics of codependents:
- Minimization: Because codependent people often appear to be helping, it is hard for them to acknowledge the harm they cause and work on their own feelings of inadequacy instead of focusing their attention on others.
- Challenges with setting boundaries: Codependent individuals have a hard time saying, “no.” They may give into unreasonable requests because they are afraid of losing the relationship.
- Caretaking: Codependents may tie their identity to what they do to take care of people. When people decline help, they often take the response personally—that the person is reject them, not just their help.
- Dependency: A famous song lyric describes a codependent attitude well, “I want you to want me. I need you to need me.” Codependent people need other people to fix—the helping attitude often comes from a selfish motive.
- Obsession: Fear and anxiety can drive codependent people to obsess about other people or fixate upon them.
- Low self-esteem: For many codependent individuals, their self-worth is intertwined with how much they can help or do for others, instead of their inherent dignity.
- Tendencies to people-please: Codependents often feel obligated to keep everyone happy. When others are upset, angry, or disappointed, codependents may feel responsible and try to fix the difficult emotions.
- Poor communication skills: Fears of upsetting other people often keep codependent people from expressing their own needs, feelings, and thoughts.
Therapy for Codependency at Thriveworks Beverly Hills, MI
With the help of a skilled therapist, many people have overcome their codependency and learned new, healthier ways to connect. In therapy, codependents often learn how to…
- Focus on and prioritize their own needs.
- Recognize and honor their own needs, thoughts, and feelings.
- Value themselves for their inherent worth.
- Learn and practice new, healthier ways to be in relationship.
Have codependent behaviors become a pattern your life? Do you struggle to prioritize your own self-care before helping others? Learn how to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you help others.
When you are ready to make a change, Thriveworks Beverly Hills is ready to support and guide the way. When you schedule therapy at our office, know that you make an evening or weekend appointment. New clients often see their therapist the day after their call. We also work with many insurance providers. Real people (not a voicemail) answer our phones.
Prioritizing your own well-being may begin with a call to schedule therapy. Are you ready? Let’s go.