Are you struggling with a relationship that feels unsatisfying or overwhelming, or do you feel like your partner’s feelings are more important than your own? Have you ever felt like you’ve lost yourself in your relationship because your partner’s needs are all consuming? Or maybe you worry that if you aren’t around to take care of them, they just won’t be OK without you? Do you seem to keep dating people who are great at the beginning, but need increasingly more from you in order to function in their lives? Have you ever felt unsure of what to do with yourself if someone else doesn’t need you, or do you feel that you only have value when you’re needed by someone else?
If any of this sounds familiar to you, you may be struggling with codependency. Codependency can interfere with your ability to have healthy, satisfying relationships. You may feel overly responsible for other people, or feel uncomfortable being assertive about your own needs. Codependency can make it feel hard to just be yourself. Because of this, some people may even turn to unhealthy behaviors in an attempt to feel more in control of your life.
What is Codependency?
Codependency is a focus on another person, to the detriment of one’s self. People who are codependent are controlled to an unhealthy degree by their relationships.
While an alcoholic might spend excessive time and energy thinking about and consuming alcohol, someone who is codependent may spend a huge portion of their mental energy taking care of another person, or fixing their relationship with that person. This pattern becomes problematic because the codependent person’s thoughts and actions are so focused on their relationship that other aspects of their life such as career, family relationships, personal health, and financial wellness begin to suffer.
Because codependent habits are often ingrained from childhood, codependency can feel totally normal. But its effects on a person’s life can be devastating. Codependency can cause a person to experience low-self-esteem, feel constantly drained or exhausted, and feel perpetually under-appreciated, bitter and resentful in their relationship. Since romantic partners may even seem to be benefiting from your codependent behavior, it can be difficult to figure out why things feel so hard, and even more difficult to find the right solutions. Marital conflict, substance abuse, anxiety, and depression can all stem from codependency. Healthy, satisfying relationships can seem impossible to attain. However, recovery from codependency is possible with the proper support.
Recognizing that something is wrong is your first step toward a better life. With the support of a psychotherapist, you can begin to learn how to put your own needs first, while maintaining healthy connections with other people. You can learn how to say “no”. You can begin to truly care for yourself, and gain confidence in your ability to make choices that positively impact your future.
Treatment for codependency can occur in individual therapy sessions, and may employ techniques from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), a widely regarded treatment option which retrains your thought processes to help you make healthier and more beneficial choices. Codependency may also be effectively addressed as part of marriage counseling, so that both people in the relationship can heal and grow together.
Schedule an Appointment
If you’re ready to create new, healthier ways of relating to people in your life, codependency treatment can help you achieve more satisfying relationships. Still have questions about treatment for codependent relationships? We can discuss your specific situation and determine if therapy might benefit you. Schedule a free 15-minute consultation or book your first appointment through our secure Client Portal or contact us.