Codependency in Pflugerville, TX—Therapy, Coaching, and Counseling
Being willing to lend a hand is a great quality to have as a friend or a family member. Nobody is self-sufficient. At some point, every person will need help along the way—it’s a normal part of life. But what happens when someone helps too much or too often. Is that even possible? It is, and it is call codependency. Mary’s story illustrates how helping can actually harm.
Mary loves helping out. She can anticipate people’s needs and meet them before they even ask. In fact, her husband has had multiple affairs and regularly uses pornography. Mary knows her husband needs help so she has scheduled therapy for him. She tells herself that a lot of husbands cheat and that this is a normal problem in a marriage. Mary is working on her wardrobe too because if only she took care of herself more, her husband would not feel the need to sleep with other women. Besides, Mary is happy to help. Who else would hold their marriage together is Mary didn’t?
Without a doubt, Mary deeply loves her husband, but her response is not helping herself or her husband. In fact, Mary is harming herself and her husband.
Supporting a loved one and enabling them are very different concepts with very different behaviors. Support never involves sacrificing one’s own well-being to meet another’s needs. Support never shields someone from the natural consequences of their poor choices. When people engage in these behaviors, they often bring more harm than good, and they may be codependent.
The counselors at Thriveworks Pflugerville understand that being supportive without enabling is a difficult task, and many people cross the line into unhealthy, codependent behaviors. That is why we offer therapy for codependency: we love seeing people learn how to prioritize their own well-being within their important relationships.
Before an airplane takes to the skies, the flight attendants always give instructions about using the oxygen masks in an emergency: secure your oxygen mask first and then help others. The instructions are based on an important concept: help from a place of strength, not from a place of need. You cannot help other people breathe if you, yourself are blacked for lack of oxygen.
Codependents have a difficult time living by that principle, and they often seek out relationships with people who need them in some way—people who struggle with an addiction or irresponsible behavior. Codependents often drop self-care to make room for compensating for other people. When other’s do not recognize their sacrifice, they may grow resentful.
The cause of a codependent’s behavior is often their own deep but intense feelings of passivity, shame, and insecurity. Codependent people may convince themselves that if they can fix another person, they will finally be loved, accepted, and competent. However, relationships do not work like that. Instead, codependent people may become trapped in a cycle where the addict or irresponsible person relies on their compensation more and more, and therefore, codependent people have more and more demands placed upon them.
Where is the line where offering support crosses over into enabling? The following give characteristics of codependent behavior—actions that may appear helpful but can actually cause relational harm.
- No/weak boundaries: When codependent people receive a request, they often internally answer, “no,” while externally answering, “yes.” They may even risk their own emotional, physical, or financial health to meet inappropriate demands.
- People-pleasing tendencies: People who exhibit codependent behaviors often take responsibility for other people’s emotions and see their job as keeping everyone happy.
- Low self-esteem: Inadequacy often plagues codependent people, and instead of drawing upon their inherent worth, they feel the need to prove themselves to others through what they do.
- Difficulty communicating: Expressing thoughts, needs, and feelings can be a challenge for codependent people—especially if they think that these will offend or displease someone. At times, codependent people may have a hard time acknowledging their true feelings, needs, and thoughts to themselves.
- Dependency: As the famous song lyrics illustrate, codependent people, “want you to want me. I need you to need me.” They often tie their well-being to feeling appreciated and needed.
- Caretaking: Codependent individuals may perceive other people’s needs and meet them before being asked to do so. If someone refuses their help, they often feel rejected.
- Denial: Because help and support are often seen as positive attributes, codependent people often deny or minimize the harm their behavior can cause. Instead of taking responsibility for their own feelings of inadequacy, they often place blame upon the person they want to fix.
Counseling for Codependents
Overcoming these codependent behaviors is a challenge, but people can learn to prioritize their own well-being, say “no,” and stop trying to fix other people.
Did you recognize some of these behaviors in your own life? If you are compensating for another person or if you have put your own health aside to care for someone else, then it may be time for counseling and establishing new, healthier behaviors. The counselors at Thriveworks Pflugerville love seeing their clients learn how to support and help from a place of strength—not to be needed or prove their worth.
If you schedule counseling for codependency at Thriveworks Pflugerville, know that new clients often see their therapist within 24 hours of calling to schedule an appointment. Night and weekend appointments are available. We also accept many forms of insurance. Appointments are available. Call today.