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.
OFFICE Appointments Available in
Pittsburgh, Monroeville & Upper St.Clair
Toll Free: 877-CALL-197
Phone Counseling with Dr. Lynne Logan
Phone Counseling Fees:
Topics on this Website:
on the Wall,
Will Give You
Who You Are,
What You Are
Cling to Hope.
|I'm Going to
Run in the
Sing a Song.
If Not Today,
Codependency . . .
Living in the Shadows
Codependency . . .
Living in the Shadows
Lynne Logan Ph.D., M.F.T.
Phone Counseling Now--Toll Free
“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
now you are being asked to let go of all these
self-made props and trust that God is enough
for you. You must stop being a pleaser and
reclaim your identity as a free self.”
Set Another Goal