Codependency and Dependent Personality Disorder are types of psychological conditions that fall under the umbrella term of Anxious Personality Disorders. In a codependent relationship, the two individuals are overly dependent on each other. Their real identities are askew and their development is suffocated, whether it is in their personal lives, in social networks or in their careers.
In these types of relationships, the individuals are able to prevent facing their fears and self-doubts. The people in these relationships have a great want to be needed to be able to feel good about themselves. When they aren’t being depended on, they have feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, worthlessness, as well as feeling alone. In short, this unhealthy dependency on another person in their life enables the sufferer to feel validated and able to function.
People with Dependent Personality Disorder may find that counseling for Codependency and Dependent Personality Disorder will benefit them. At Thriveworks in Bristol, VA, the counselors and therapists are professionally licensed and credentialed. They work with people who have the disorder by helping them to understand it and identify the causes. In addition, therapists work with individuals in the process of forging healthier relationships.
What is Codependency?
A behavior that is learned, codependency can run from one generation to the next. The behavior is mimicked by watching others in the family who have codependency. It is an emotional and behavioral disorder that keeps people from enjoying healthy and satisfying relationships. Also nicknamed “relationship addiction,” individuals with codependency may have relationships that are one-sided, emotionally devastating and/or abusive.
Codependent people need things or other people to make themselves feel valued. Many times after a person has a devastating relationship with a parent or an abusive past, he learns to react to, depend upon and worry about other people, making himself feel useful. The needs and wants of others are placed above his own.
A person with codependence has a distressing relationship with himself—so much so that he doesn’t trust his own experiences. Shame and blame are commonplace for the codependent, and he may feel abused even by a slight criticism—or suicidal at the end of a relationship.
Codependency was originally the definition for partners in chemical dependency—people who lived with an addicted individual. The word enabler was the original term used that defined the enablers who assisted addicts in their dependency by taking responsibility away from them, making up excuses for them or denying the problems caused by their addiction. The same patterns of behavior have been identified in people in relationships with chronic or mentally ill people. But, the term has expanded and describes codependent people from any dysfunctional family.
Codependency and Dependent Personality Disorder Traits
Perhaps, you will recognize some of the following traits in yourself. You may find that codependency counseling will be beneficial to you.
- Dependence on others for your own emotional well-being.
- Lives to fulfill the needs of others to an unhealthy extent.
- Needs excessive reassurance from another person in order to get through daily life.
- Submissive toward another person to the extent that it may be unnatural.
- Blames the individual they are dependent upon for all of the negative aspects of life.
- Feels responsible for other people’s feelings, emotional well-being and choices.
- In the quest to be needed, the codependent only feels important and of any value when he is helping other people. His low self-esteem leads him to blame himself if something goes wrong.
- If there are difficulties in the relationship, the codependent finds ways to minimize or ignore them. The people in the relationship constantly rationalize their problems and make excuses for them.
- The codependent is fearful of his own and the other person’s anger, because he believes showing it will ruin the relationship.
- He has headaches, high blood pressure and other health problems due to the stress in the relationship.
- In order to deal with the relationship, the codependent has an addiction/s.
- Codependents have weak or blurry boundaries, where they feel responsible for other people’s feelings and difficulties—or they blame their problems on somebody else. Some codependents have very strict boundaries and are withdrawn from others, which makes it difficult for anybody to know them.
- Codependents react to thoughts and feelings—everyone else’s. Codependents feel threatened by disagreements.
- Codependents feel that they need to have control over people who are close to them. They need others to act in a particular way to feel alright. (It is important to note that pleasing and taking care of others is a way to control and manipulate them. Some codependents are domineering.)
- Codependents have a hard time trying to convey their thoughts and feelings. They are fearful of being truthful, not wanting to get another person mad.
- The codependent obsesses about others or their relationships. The obsessions are often about the possibility of having made a mistake.
There is Help for Codependency and Dependent Personality Disorder
People who have conditions, such as Codependency and Dependent Personality Disorder, may not necessarily know there is a problem. They may have been living with it for their entire lives, and the behavior seems completely acceptable and normal to them.
If you feel that you have some of the traits of Codependency and Dependent Personality Disorder and want to take the first step in seeking help, Thriveworks in Bristol, VA therapists and counselors are professionals with experience in dealing with the disorder. The therapists will help you to identify where your codependent behaviors stem from and work with you to replace your dysfunctional beliefs with healthy ones. In addition, therapists will work with you to become aware of your own feelings and beliefs, improve on boundaries to enable you to have your needs met, teach ways to be assertive, learn how to take care of yourself and work toward living a life that is happier, enjoyable and more fulfilling. Call Thriveworks Bristol at (423) 822-5099 to make an appointment today.