The dictionary defines love as “an intense feeling of affection.” But if we asked a hundred different people their personal definition, we would probably get a hundred different responses. Things like, “my child’s laugh,” or “the light in my mother’s face,” or “a teasing joke from my significant other,” would probably come up. Love is an essential part of human existence that can foster individual fulfillment and growth.
But what if that love turned from being nurturing to detrimental? What if relationships became an outlet for the need to be needed?
Codependency is often a confusing and harmful emotional experience. There’s no mistaking the love and care people who struggle with codependency give in their relationships. They’re selfless, nurturing, and kind people. But like everything, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. When selflessness becomes complete denial of personal needs and constant nurturing leaves no room for growth, love can become dangerous.
Staying in a codependent relationship is addictive and comforting. It can be hard to recognize the toxicity in a relationship that you hold dearly and even harder to take the steps to fix it. The counselors at Thriveworks in Buffalo, NY are here for you every step of the way.
What Is Codependency?
Codependency is frequently misunderstood. For one, it does not always involve a romantic relationship. Any relationship can foster codependency. The bond between a parent and child or two friends can develop into codependency just as easily as a romantic bond.
People who struggle with codependency have a need to be needed. They find so much satisfaction and fulfillment from serving others that it becomes an addiction. The problem is it is impossible to pour from an empty cup. That is exactly what codependency drives people to do. Even though they haven’t taken care of themselves, they still give and give and give. This is detrimental to both members. On one side, basic needs aren’t fulfilled and mental or physical health problems are being pushed away. On the other side, the member who is being taken care of doesn’t get the chance to learn how to take care of themselves.
Imagine a codependent mother-son relationship. Maybe the son drops out of college and comes back to live with his mom. She opens up her home, eager to help her son get back on his feet. Only the mom continuously provides for the son and doesn’t push him to build his own life. There is no growth or learning in this situation. Not only is the mom neglecting her own health and wellbeing, she is hindering the son from creating the best life he can. This is only one example of how codependency can turn a very positive and fulfilling relationship into one that destroys. The licensed counselors and therapists at Thriveworks in Buffalo, NY can help loved ones recognize how they can achieve emotional safety and confidence in relationships.
What Are the Signs of Codependency?
Realizing there is a problem is always the first step, and often the hardest. It takes bravery and insight to realize a relationship is damaging. The licensed counselors at Thriveworks in Buffalo, NY understand the work you’ve put in to make it this far, and we want to help you continue to move forward.
If you think you are struggling with codependency, but aren’t sure, look for these telltale signs. A codependent person might:
- Have a continuous fear of being abandoned or alone.
- Have a need for approval and recognition.
- Continuously give in a relationship even at the expense of your personal comfort or health.
- Do anything to hold onto a dying relationship, even things you normally would never do.
- Feel undue responsibility for other’s actions.
- Have difficulty making decisions, identifying feelings, or communicating personal needs.
- Have excessive doubt in your ability to be who you want to be or do what you want to do.
- Feel unfounded anxiety about the health of another person.
- Struggle to say “no” to a request.
If that sounds like you or someone you love, know that you aren’t alone! The counselors at Thriveworks in Buffalo, NY are trained to help you overcome the challenges of codependency.
Get Help with Codependency at Thriveworks in Buffalo, NY
Our highly qualified, fully licensed counselors and therapists have great experience walking people through the necessary healing to break from a codependent relationship. Our care is individualized and flexible, but we have some tried and true techniques. Together, we can learn how to:
- Recognize and accept personal emotions and thoughts for what they are.
- Develop new relationship skills (like how to say no, or how to let someone try and fail on their own).
- Prioritize your own financial, physical, and mental needs.
- Value your true self above what you do for others.
- Communicate your needs better.
Thriveworks providers accept most major forms of health insurance coverage. They can also meet with new clients quickly–usually within 24-48 hours. Full sessions can take place in-person at the modern office in Buffalo, or online.
It is important to find your true self and realize the worth you have without attaching yourself to another person. This is a hard and painful experience, but if you are willing, the mental health providers at Thriveworks in Buffalo, NY are here to walk you through it. Freedom and self-sustainability are possible, and our counselors are excited to help you get there.