Therapy for Codependent Behavior in Hampton, VA—Counselors
Famous sayings often become adages because they have an element of truth and resonate with people’s experiences. For example, Shakespeare’s famous line, “…too much of a good thing” resounds with many, and hundreds of years after it was penned, people still say it. Too much ice cream will cause a stomach ache. Too much vacation can lead to boredom. But what about offering support or help to loved ones? Is too much help a problem? Yes, and it has a name: codependency.
When people to do for a loved one what that loved one can do for themselves, then the help is not helpful or healthy. When people shield their loved one from the consequences of their addiction or poor choices, then the help is not helpful or healthy. Take Jennifer as an example.
Jennifer’s son is her pride and joy. She is so proud to provider for him as a single mom, and she will never stop being his mom. Jennifer’s son is a 20-something who is capable and bright, but he is having a hard time. He has changed his major multiple times. He has had many job, but quits when he feels stressed or bored. Besides, he does not need the money. Jennifer pays his rent and tuition. She is happy to do it. She has a plan and wants to give him opportunities she never had. Jennifer gets frustrated each time he changes majors or quits a job, but she tells herself, if she did not take care of him, who would?
There is no question: Jennifer feels deep affection for her son, but she may have a serious problem. Jennifer may be harming her son and herself. She may be codependent.
Many people struggle with helping too much or too often. Maybe even you have done that. If so, know that learning different, healthier ways to relate to loved ones is possible. Thriveworks Hampton offers therapy for codependency, and we love helping clients prioritize their own well-being and establish good boundaries.
Patterns of Codependent Behavior
Whether they do so consciously or subconsciously, codependent people often seek out relationships with people who have an addiction, a history of reckless behavior, or high-needs.
Codependent people often feel deep passivity, shame, and inadequacy, and fixing another person becomes a way for them to feel accepted, loved, and competent. However, this never works out. In fact, the opposite usually results: the passivity, shame, and inadequacy are often heightened.
Because healthy relationships involve give-and-take, it is important to distinguish between interdependency and codependency. The following are signs of codependent behavior:
- Dependency: The famous lyrics, “I want you to want me. I need you to need me,” capture the attitude of many codependents. This may be a self-defense as many tell themselves, “if my spouse (co-workers, child, parent) needs what I do for them, then they will not leave me.” Sadly, this attitude often leads to more distance.
- Lack of boundaries: People who struggle with codependency have difficulty saying, “no” or setting limits. They may fear rejection if they do not honor a request or put a limit on their help.
- Obsession: Codependent individuals may funnel their anxiety and fear into a fixation upon one particular person or situation. Often, the obsession is a distraction from their own problems.
- People-pleasing tendencies: Seeing other people mad, frustrated, or upset is disturbing to codependent people. They often take responsibility for other people’s feelings.
- Poor communication skills: Sharing their own feelings, needs, and thoughts is often challenging for codependents, especially if they think these will disappoint or upset their loved one.
- Low self-esteem: Codependent people struggle with their inherent self-worth. Messages of guilt and incompetency often drown out messages of value.
- Caretaking: Caring for others may become a codependent’s identity. When a person declines assistance, codependents may take it as a personal rejection.
- Minimization: Although they often struggle with difficult problems, codependent people often deny or minimize their own struggles.
Therapy for Codependency Recovery
It is possible to replace unhealthy codependency with healthy interdependency. Caring and skilled therapists cannot do the work for you, but they have guided many people toward breaking out of denial, prioritizing their own well-being, and learning when to say, “no,” and when to say, “yes.” Thriveworks Hampton has appointment for codependency recovery, and our therapists are kind and skilled guides.
Acknowledging a problem takes courage. Reaching out for help is hard. We have done what we can to make the process as convenient as possible. We work with most insurance companies. Weekend and evening appointments are available. When you call, you may be able to see your therapist the following day.
Your financial, emotional, and physical well-being matter. It is possible to be in a relationship and take care of your needs. Are you ready to learn how? Call Thriveworks Hampton. We are ready to help.