Recovery for Codependency in Sterling, VA—Therapists and Counselors
Healthy friends and families offer each other help. Everyone needs support in life. Giving and receiving is a display of healthy interdependence, but not all help is helpful. When the giving is one-sided or shields people from natural consequences, interdependence may have turned into codependence. Is giving to much or too frequently really a problem?
Yes. Consider Lisa’s situation.
Lisa is the quintessential sweet-heart. Everyone likes Lisa, and understandably. She would do anything for anyone. Lisa especially loves her family, and she sees herself as the family’s rock. Her husband is a great guy, but has some issues. He has had a hard time keeping a steady job, and he blames the downturn in the economy. Lisa’s husband, however, had not slowed his spending. They are thousands of dollars in debt. They can make the payments because Lisa has picked up extra hours at her job. She also cancelled a trip to see her friend to save the money. At times, Lisa feels upset that she has to do this, but then she reminds herself that this is her job. She loves seeing her husband happy. If Lisa didn’t do it, who would?
Lisa, without a question, loves her husband deeply, but her actions may be hurting herself and her husband. Lisa may be codependent. People often shield their loved ones from the consequences of their choices, and in the process, they put their own emotional, financial, or physical health in jeopardy.
Codependency is a serious relational problem, and the therapists at Thriveworks Sterling understand what it takes to recover from it and establish healthy relational boundaries.
People who are codependent may obsessive over other people’s thoughts, needs, and actions. Several decades ago, codependents were call co-addicts because they often choose relationships with addicts and try to fix them. Codependents, however, can form relationships with any person who has high-needs, an addiction, or a history of irresponsible behavior.
Focusing upon other people’s problems becomes a distraction from their own issues. Codependent people often feel deep-seated shame, passivity, and insecurity. Instead of exploring and resolving these emotions, they may believe that if they rescue other people, then they will feel accepted, loved, and competent. However, this approach never works. In fact, it usually exacerbates the difficult feelings.
What Do Codependent Relationships Look Like?
Codependent relationships can take many forms—friends, spouses, parents, coworkers, children, and more. When parents form a codependent relationship with their children, they often train their children to fulfill their need to be needed. Codependent friends may be clingy, jealous, and needy.
However, relationships rarely begin this way. Codependent people often first appear to be overly nice and helpful. Because these are generally positive attributes, distinguishing between codependent and interdependent relationships can be a challenge. The following are signs of an unhealthy, codependent relationship. When one partner…
- Denies or minimizes the other’s problems.
- Has difficulty expressing their needs, thoughts, and feelings.
- Does not set limits, say “no,” or establish boundaries.
- Feels resentful, angry, or imposed upon for helping the other.
- Continues the relationship even though the other has harmed them financially, emotionally, or physically.
- Shelters the other from consequences of irresponsible behavior.
- Fears retribution if they stop shielding the other from consequences of their behavior.
- Prioritizes the other’s emotional, financial, or physical needs more than their own.
- Is overly protective of the other.
Recovering from Codependent Behaviors
Do you recognize any codependent behaviors or characterizations of codependent relationships? If you struggle with codependency, know that recovery is possible. Recognizing your own needs and prioritizing your own wellness may be the first step toward healthier relationships. If you are ready, a skilled therapist can guide the way.
During therapy, many people have learned…
- That their financial, emotional, and physical health matters.
- To be present during problems (healthy) without having to rescue their loved one (unhealthy).
- To acknowledge and resolve their own mental health challenges.
- That saying, “no” to a request does not mean they are saying “no” to the person.
- About any negative beliefs or past traumas that cultivated the codependent behaviors.
- How relationships can be built upon mutual respect as equals.
Have you felt overwhelmed or resentful while helping a loved one? Do you say, “yes,” when you mean, “no”? If you are ready to prioritize your own mental health and well-being, then Thriveworks Sterling may be able to guide the way. Our therapists are professional, caring, and have appointments available for codependency.
If you call our office today, you may be meeting with your therapist tomorrow. Many new clients have their first appointment the day after their call. We also offer weekend and night appointments, and we work with many different insurance companies.
If you are ready for happier, healthier relationships, Thriveworks Sterling may be able to help. Call today.