Decatur, GA—Counseling for Codependency
How do you define love? Your response is probably different from anyone else we were to ask. Maybe it’s, “My child’s laugh,” “loving banter with my significant other,” or “the light in my mother’s face.” Love can cultivate individual fulfillment and growth; in many ways, it is essential for human existence.
But what happens when healthy love turns destructive? If a relationship becomes an outlet for the need to be needed, is it still love?
Maybe in a distorted way it is. But codependency is always a confusing and harmful emotional experience. Individuals struggling with codependency are truly loving and caring. They selflessly give and nurture their loved ones. But perhaps the old saying is true—too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Love can turn treacherous when selflessness completely bars the fulfillment of personal needs and constant nurturing denies personal growth.
What makes codependent relationships so destructive is their addictive nature. It’s comforting to know there is a relationship where you are needed. This makes it hard to recognize the toxicity, and even harder to take the steps to fix it. But you don’t have to alone. Thriveworks Decatur’s professional counselors are ready to help you with this journey.
What Is Codependency?
Codependency is complex, and oftentimes misunderstood. A relationship does not have to be a romantic one to be codependent. A parent-child relationship, or one between two friends can foster codependency just as easily.
The core of codependency is a need to be needed. There is satisfaction and fulfillment that comes from serving others, and that can quickly become an addiction. But you can only give so much. Eventually, you’ll be pouring from an empty cup. People struggling with codependency will still give and give and give, even at the neglect of themselves.
The consequences affect both members. On one hand, mental or physical health problems are sidelined, and basic needs aren’t met. On the other, there is less opportunity for the individual being taken care of to learn and grow.
Visualize a mother-son relationship plagued with codependency. Perhaps the son has to drop out of college. The mother opens up her house with arms wide, excited for the chance to help her son get back on his feet. (So far, this is healthy! We all stumble sometimes and leaning on others is a vital skill to have.) The problems begin when the mom continuously provides all necessary and unnecessary support for her son. She doesn’t push him to build his own life, and he becomes content to stay where he is.
In this situation, the mom is ignoring her own health and well-being, and the son is hindered from creating the best life he can. It started off as a healthy, loving parent-child relationship. But it quickly became one that destroys.
What Are the Signs of Codependency?
Acknowledging the problem is often the first, and most difficult, step. It takes courage and insight to look at a treasured relationship and see it has detrimental to both parties. Thriveworks Decatur understands how far you’ve come just in reading this article, and we want to help you continue on this path of healing you’ve already started down.
If you’re still doubtful about whether codependency may be a problem in your life, these signs might point you in the right direction:
- Have a fear of being abandoned or alone.
- Constantly craving approval and recognition.
- Continuously give of yourself even at the expense of your health or comfort.
- Doing anything to hold onto a dying relationship, including things you normally would never do.
- Feeling undue responsibility for other’s actions.
- Having difficulty making decisions, identifying feelings, or communicating personal needs.
- Doubting your ability to be independent (with thoughts or actions)
- Feelings of unfounded anxiety about the health of another person.
- Struggling to say ‘no’ to a request.
If you read that and thought, “That’s me…” know that you aren’t alone! The counselors at Thriveworks Decatur are trained to help you overcome the challenges of codependency.
How Can Thriveworks Decatur Help?
Our counselors have many tools that will aid in the process of leaving, and then healing from, a codependent relationship. We center our care around the most important person in a counseling session—you! Your story and personality will be different from any client before, so you deserve an individualized and flexible treatment plan. We do have some tried and true techniques, though. 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.
You have so much self-worth and importance, even without that person you are attaching too. Healing from codependency is an incredibly difficult and painful experience, but if you are ready and willing, Thriveworks Decatur will be here to walk with you through it. Freedom and self-sustainability are possible.