Coaching for Codependent People in Kalamazoo, MI—Therapists and Counselors
Offering and receiving help is a normal, healthy part of friendships and families. Nobody can make it in life without some assistance from time to time, and loved ones are usually happy to offer support. A healthy interdependency, however, can easily turn into unhealthy codependency. People are giving codependency a lot of attention these days because a lot of people struggle with how, when, and why to help their loved ones.
Is it actually possible to help too much, too often, or in the wrong ways? Yes. Consider Peter’s story.
Peter is the quintessential nice-guy. He is so nice, he can just sense how to help and do what needs to be done. Peter loves his family and would do anything for them. In fact, his wife, Karen, has a little drinking problem. It’s not a big problem because Peter keeps an eye on how much alcohol she consumes each night. Their system does not always work. He has called into her work a few times, but Peter tells himself that it could be worse. He could have to call every week. Peter knows that Karen does not see all that he does for her, but he feels like taking care of her is his job as her husband. He loves seeing her happy.
There is no question that Peter loves Karen very much. But Peter’s actions may in reality be harming himself and Karen. He may be codependent.
Many people shelter their family and friends from the consequences of their reckless choices or addiction. These people may sacrifice their own financial, emotional, or physical health in order to help their loved one. The only problem is that these actions may cause more harm than good and may also be codependent.
The therapists at Thriveworks Kalamazoo have coached many people on how to overcome their codependency and stop helping in ways that harm their loved one or themselves.
Codependent people fixate upon other people needs, thoughts, and actions in adverse ways. Codependency used to be called co-addiction because people who struggle with it often choose relationships with people who have an addiction. However, codependency can happen in many kinds of relationships. Often, codependent people subconsciously choose to form relationships with people who have high needs.
Solving another person’s problems become a proving ground for the codependent’s self-worth. Codependent people often struggle with deep shame, passivity, and insecurity. Instead of working through these feelings, they tell themselves that they can prove they are loved, competent, and active through fixing other people. They may put their own mental, physical, or financial health in peril in order to meet another person’s needs. However, this strategy does not work, and often leads to more feelings of shame, passivity, and insecurity for the codependent.
Many kinds of relationships can become codependent—spouses, friends, parents, children, coworkers, and more. Because people generally associate helping as a positive attribute, it can be hard to know the difference between codependency and normal interdependency. To help, the following are signs that a relationship may be codependent. When one individual…
- Regularly experiences feelings of resentment, anger, or being imposed upon for supporting the other.
- Will not say “no,” set a limit, or establish a boundary.
- Is afraid of experiencing payback if they do not compensate for the other’s poor behavior.
- Shields the other from consequences of their behavior.
- Does not break off the relationship even after experiencing emotional, financial, or physical harm.
- Elevates the other’s emotional, financial, or physical needs above their own.
- Is extremely defensive of the other.
- Is in denial about or minimizes the other’s problems.
- Has difficulty talking about their own needs, thoughts, and emotions, especially if they think these will upset the other.
Healing from Codependent Behaviors
If you can recognize some codependent behaviors in your own life, know that healing and personal growth are possible. Acknowledging your feelings, thoughts, and actions may be the first step toward establish healthier ways of relating. If you have struggled with codependency, doing this may be hard, but therapy may facilitate the process.
Therapists have helped many people learn how to…
- Be present during challenges (healthy) without having to fix the other person (unhealthy).
- Acknowledge and resolve any negative beliefs that cultivated the codependent behavior.
- Work through past traumas and change unhealthy coping mechanisms.
- Say, “no” when they mean, “no.” Say, “yes,” when they mean, “yes.”
- Prioritize their emotional, financial, and physical health.
- Form relationships with mutual respect and as equals.
Are you feeling overwhelmed and resentful? Are you ready to work on your own health and well-being? Thriveworks Kalamazoo is here to help, and our therapists have appointments for codependency available.
If you make an appointment with Thriveworks Kalamazoo, you may see your therapist the following day. We have weekend and evening sessions available, and we work with most major insurance providers. We do not keep a waitlist but work hard to ensure clients see their therapists as soon as possible.
Are you ready for healthier, happier relationships? Call Thriveworks Kalamazoo today. We are ready to help.