Do you feel desperate at all costs to keep your partner?
            Do you ever feel like a 'relationship addict?'
            Do you excuse hurtful, demeaning or abusive behaviors?
            Do you feel empty or worthless if you're not in a relationship?
            Do people end up hurting you or damaging your self esteem?
            Do people take you for granted?
            Do you fear being alone?

You may have thought about yourself being codependent, but never
understood exactly what it is or how it develops. Therapists are certain of
one thing: Codependency can destroy
relationships, rob you of your true
self, and effect the quality of your life.

On This Page . . .










Codependency is a set of characteristics and behaviors a man, woman or
child possess in
relationship to an important person in their life. These are
usually acted out in a primary relationship, but can be present in any
relationship such as boss/employee, teacher/student and friendships.

Codependency is a response to a dysfunctional and abnormal environment.
For example, if a child grows up in a home where chaos, abuse, and
unpredictability are daily experiences, they often create negative ways in
which to cope.
 Post traumatic stress (PTSD) for example, may be present
in a child who grew up in an abusive home.  Although co-dependency is a
term used originally for family members of alcoholic families, we have
learned codependency takes many different forms and different levels.



In dysfunctional home environments, a child is uncertain how to gain love
and acceptance from the parents. Often, children will do anything to
emotionally survive, including learning negative  ways to get their
emotional needs mets. Here are a few common behaviors children learn
and often carry into adult relationships:
  •    Being overly nice                       
  •    Being good
  •    Keeping quiet                                    
  •    Over achieving
  •    Numbing emotions                             
  •    Agreeing with everyone
  •    Never asking for help                        
  •    Never giving an opinion
  •    Not having personal boundaries        
  •    Guessing at what 'normal' is
  •    Taking on parental responsibilities    
  •    Keeping family secrets



When children engage in these behaviors to please their parents, they
often get a positive response for their 'good behavior.'  A child may give
up whatever identity they have formed,  adjusting their personality and
behavior to suit the people around them, thus, gaining the approval and
attention they so crave. Since this is the only kind of 'love' the child
knows, it's easy to transfer this confusion to adult
love relationships.
And the road to codependency is paved.

  • Codependents think about their partner first,  hoping for approval,
    always wondering about the partner's reactions.

  • Codependents identity is based on the relationship. They have a
    shallow sense of who they are separate from others. Their self
    esteem and strengths are buried, and they look to the partner to
    enhance a faulty sense of identity.

  • Codependents attempt to 'fix' everything that goes wrong. Since they
    feel responsible for everything, they carry 'false guilt' around,
    believing they have the power to keep everyone happy.

  • Codependents are out of touch with their emotions. Since their main
    job is making others happy, it is necessary to bury or numb their
    emotions. Anger, sadness, and grief are often internalized, only to
    come out in  negative ways such as depression, eating problems, or
    chemical abuse problems.

  • Codependents won't say "No." Because their approval rating is
    based on other people's acceptance, they avoid saying "no", thus
    having a difficult time with boundaries in relationships.

  • Codependents are 'people pleaser's. The other people in a
    codependents life are seen as a road to their approval. If the other
    person is offended, leaves, or has a disagreement, the road to
    approval is closed.


  • Codependents stay in relationships that are often unhealthy and
    tolerate inappropriate behaviors, even abuse.

  • Codependents confuse the emotion of love. Because they have a
    distorted view of respect, boundaries and love, they often accept the
    unacceptable in relationships, and are often victimized.

  • Codependents feel responsible when their partner is angry. Overly
    sensitive to their partner's mood, they attempt to anticipate what
    their partner will say or do, always trying to maintain the status quo.

  • Codependents often have emotional and physical health issues.
    Unexpressed anger, the burden of false guilt, never having their
    needs met, a partner's mood inconsistencies, all create a stress level
    which can cause health problems. Add in the mix of abuse, and Post
    Traumatic Stress Disorder is most likely present.

  • Codependents are often fearful of being alone. Since their self image,
    identity and self esteem is so strongly connected to another person,
    when alone, they do not feel worthwhile and emotionally stable.
    Codependent people will go to great lengths to keep a relationship
    together, oftentimes, even in the face of serious dysfunction or abuse.

  • Codependents have a great capacity to deny. Most have denied their
    confusions and unacceptable behaviors from others since childhood,
    pretending that everything is alright when it isn't. Denial has been a
    primary survival mechanism.  















Acknowledging you need help is the first step and a brave step. There is
help, and you can change your life for the better. You may contact Dr.
Lynne to schedule a personal
phone counseling session  to discuss ways to
help with your emotions, help clarify your needs, begin to learn  skills for
increasing your self esteem, and help you set positive goals for your
future. If you believe you are in an abusive relationship, professional help
will help you look at your options.

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing), a powerful and
often rapid therapeutic technique can be used by a trained
EMDR
therapist to help you effectively deal with codependency issues which may
be related to past memories. EMDR can help with issues of
anger, guilt,
abuse, trauma, unforgiveness and PTSD.  EMDR is a breakthrough
technique for dealing with many emotional issues. Information can be
found
EMDR page of this website.

Co-dependency is usually rooted in a person’s childhood, and therapy will
often involve looking at early relationship patterns which lead to
codependency. Treatment  will help a codependent person look at their
behaviors and begin to identify the choices they make in
relationships and
the motive behind the choices. Recovery is possible and help is available.  

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          Pittsburgh, Monroeville & Upper St.Clair
         Toll Free: 877-CALL-197
                      
877-225-5197
               
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“For as long as you can remember, you have
been a pleaser, depending on others to give you
an identity. You need not look at that only in a
negative way. You wanted to give your heart to
others, and you did so quickly and easily. But
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