Counselors and Coaches for Codependency in Westborough, MA
Often the old clichés turn out to be helpful guidance for life. Take, for example, Shakespeare’s question, “can one desire too much of a good thing?” Too much of a good thing often turns a situation bad, even if it is offering relational support and help. People run into trouble when they help other people too often or too much. When this behavior becomes a habit, it can greatly harm the person who helps and the person who receives the help. There is even a term for such behavior: codependency.
Consider Rebecca’s situation. She offers a lot of support to her 20-something, capable daughter. Rebecca pays the rent for her daughter’s apartment and the bill for her tuition. She sees it as her responsibility as mom to provide for her daughter. But her daughter has started and stopped classes several times and has a hard time holding a steady job. Rebecca has a plan, even though her daughter seems uninterested. Rebecca is happy to help, but with each passing semester, she feels like her daughter is using her. Rebecca also feels angry at times that her daughter is not capitalizing on these opportunities for work and education—opportunities Rebecca never had.
Without doubt, Rebecca loves her daughter deeply, but Rebecca also may be contributing to or even causing these problems with her daughter. Rebecca may be engaging in codependent behaviors.
Thriveworks Westborough offers counseling and coaching for codependency because many people have realized that instead of helping, they are hurting themselves and their loved ones.
What Are Codependent Behaviors?
People who struggle with codependent behaviors often choose relationships with people who exhibit irresponsible or addictive behaviors. The codependent person then focuses their thoughts and actions upon other people and often neglects their own needs. Codependent relationships can form between spouses, friends, parents/children, co-workers, and more.
Codependent behaviors may seem kind and selfless, but they are often motivated by people’s deep need to prove themselves. When someone struggles with codependency, they usually also feel intense shame, insecurity, and passivity. Rescuing other people, therefore, becomes a way for codependents to prove their worth. As the famous lyric says, “I need you to need me.”
Codependent behavior can be very hurtful, but it can be hard to delineate between healthy and hurtful ways of helping. If you are wondering if you or someone you love may be codependent but are not sure, the following list gives characteristics of codependency:
- Dependency: Codependents often fear being rejected or abandoned. They may compensate for this fear by forming relationships where people need them, thinking, “if a person needs me, they will not leave me.” This thinking, however, leads to many relational problems.
- No/few boundaries: Codependents have a hard time asking for what they need or denying a request. Internally, they may think, “no,” but externally, they often say, “yes.”
- Low self-esteem: Feelings of shame, guilt, and inadequacy may plague codependent people. Instead of drawing strength from their inherent worth, they measure their value on how much they can do for others.
- People-pleasing tendencies: When other people are upset, angry, or disappointed, codependent people usually feel blame and intense anxiety. They can take responsibility for the feelings of others, trying to ensure people are happy all the time.
- Poor communication skills: Codependent people often struggle to express their own needs, feelings, and thoughts. They may fear upsetting others if they are honest. They may also be unaware of their own desires because they are so focused upon others.
- Caretaking: Codependent people may seek-out ways to help people and offer solutions without even being asked. If people decline the assistance, codependents may grow resentful and angry.
- Minimization: Because their behavior can, at times, benefit others, codependents have a hard time recognizing how harmful their behaviors can be. They may cast blame upon the person they are helping instead of owning their own responsibility in the situation.
Breaking Free from Codependency
Overcoming the minimization and denial about codependency is challenging, but breaking free from codependent habits is worth the effort. Codependent people can learn new, healthy ways of connecting.
Have you struggled to know how, when, and where to help? Do you feel resentful, at times, toward the people you are helping? If you recognized some of the behaviors and attitudes of codependency, you are not alone. Thriveworks Westborough treats codependency, and our therapists love seeing people learn how to be in healthy relationships while prioritizing their own well-being.
If you are ready for something new, know that our office provides convenient weekend and evening appointments. We also accept many types of insurance, and new clients may even see their therapist within 24 hours. You do not have to wait for healthy relationships. Call Thriveworks Westborough today.