Codependency therapy works by helping the individual recognize, understand, and accept codependent patterns — including why and how they might've developed. In addition, it focuses on helping the individual to kick these tendencies and build more balanced relationships that allow them to support others without neglecting their own needs.
Maria prides herself on how kind and warm she is. Her family and friends mean the world to her, especially her husband. Mark drinks a lot—too much, really. But Maria holds their family together, and they are making it, she tells herself. Sure, she has called into work to cover for him a few times, but other wives have it worse. Maria tells herself that things will get better because she put a lock on the liquor cabinet. She holds the key. Also, Maria is checking into rehab programs for him. Mark promised he would go, even though he has not made any plans to find a program. Maria is frustrated that she is doing all the work, but she tells herself, this is all worth it to see Mark happy.
Maria, without question, loves her husband, but she may have a problem. Maria may be hurting herself and her husband. She may be co-dependent. Knowing where, when, and how to support a loved one who is struggling is a challenge that many people face, and Thriveworks Johnson City provides counseling for codependency.
Defining Co-dependent Behaviors
A person who is co-dependent centers their lives upon another person with high needs—often an addict or someone with a history of reckless behavior. In order to offset their loved one’s poor choices, co-dependents may put their own well-being at risk. Deep shame, insecurity, and passivity often haunt co-dependent people, and fixing their loved one becomes a way to provide their worth, competence, and belonging. However, this strategy does not work. Instead, the opposite often occurs: co-dependent people become stuck in relationships where more and more is expected of them while their feelings of shame often grow.
What is the difference between being co-dependent and being helpful? It can be hard to distinguish. The following characterize unhealthy, co-dependent behavior:
- Poor communication skills: Letting their loved ones know their real thoughts, needs, and feelings is often a struggle with people with co-dependent behavior patterns. They often fear that their honesty will set them at odds with their loved ones, and fear being rejected.
- People-pleasing tendencies: Taking responsibility for other people’s feelings is a key behavior of co-dependent people. They may feel responsible if their loved ones are upset, anxious, or disappointed. Co-dependents work hard to keep everyone happy.
- Caretaking: Co-dependent people often fuse their identity to caretaking. Who they are and what they do for people are one and the same. When someone declines their help, they often feel personally rejected.
- Difficulty establishing boundaries: In their minds, co-dependents may think, “no,” but they usually say, “yes.” At times, they may even risk their own emotional, financial, or physical well-being to fulfill inappropriate requests.
- Dependency: In many ways, co-dependent people need to be needed. They fear abandonment, and co-dependents may only feel whole when in a relationship with someone who needs them.
- Low self-esteem: Co-dependent people have a difficult time living from their inherent self-worth and internal strength. They struggle with feeling worthy in and of themselves, apart from others and what they do for others.
- Denial: Co-dependent people face their own, serious problems, but they are usually in denial about them. Fixing other people is often a way to minimize and distract themselves from their own issues.
Schedule a Co-dependency Counseling Session Today
Conquering co-dependent behaviors is a challenge, but it is possible. With the help of a skilled and caring counselor, many people have replaced co-dependent and enabling behaviors with healthy ways of relating. Therapy may help people:
- Stop compensating for their loved ones (unhealthy) and start being present with them in hardship (healthy).
- Say, “no” without fear of rejection.
- Acknowledge, accept, and seek help for their own mental or physical health needs.
- Make their well-being a priority, helping from their strength, not their sense of inadequacy.
If these steps sound challenging but right for you, know that Thriveworks Johnson City is ready to guide the way. You are not alone. Therapy appointments for codependency are available. When you call our office, know that weekend and evening sessions are offered, and we work with many insurance companies. New clients often see their counselor within 24 hours of their call.