Seeking Therapy for Codependency

Seeking Therapy for Codependency

Many men and women are in codependent relationships and my require help with a therapist or counselor

When you live with or have a relationship with an addict, it is very easy to form a codependent relationship. Statistics from the National Institutes of Health show that over 40 million women are codependent, and many men are as well, but it is rarely discussed. But what does that look like? The definition of a codependent relationship is a repeated behavior where you find your own self-worth and identity from the approval of someone else.

Have you ever found yourself making a lot of sacrifices for someone else but not getting much back at all in return? For example, you may find yourself covering for an addict by calling in sick for them or making excuses to friends or other family members. You may lie for them just to try to keep the relationship as positive as possible. You may even do the grocery shopping for them or laundry for them when he or she is fully capable of doing it but instead spends his or her time getting high or drunk. The following are some symptoms of being in a codependent relationship:

  • Your own happiness is dependent on someone else – When your loved one has a bad day or is unhappy, your mood changes very quickly. You take all of the burdens and place them on yourself.
  • Stopping all other events and activities for someone elseThis means completely clearing your schedule for another individual. Even if you had plans, you cancel them last minute. You really have no hobbies, passions or activities that you do for enjoyment. Your focus lies on taking care of and helping someone else.
  • Your life completely revolves around someone elseEven if the other person is abusive in mental or physical ways, you still want to help. You do not stand up for yourself but rather rationalize it with yourself internally. You are unhappy but do not know if there is anything you can really do about it. You deeply care about the other person so much that you worry about how they may respond to any kind of confrontation.
  • You very rarely say “no” – While many of us want to please other people, you rarely if ever say “no” to a request. You want to help others with their problems and even place their problems before your own.

According to Scott Wetzler, PhD, codependent relationships signify a degree of unhealthy clinginess, where one person doesn’t have self-sufficiency or autonomy. One or both parties depend on their loved ones for fulfillment.

Anyone can become codependent. Some research suggests that people who have parents who emotionally abused or neglected them in their teens are more likely to enter codependent relationships.

The first step is to understand the meaning of a codependent relationship and then to decide whether or not your relationship is one. If you realize your relationship is codependent, you need to seek out the help of good therapist or counselor. This may sound a little scary at first, but this single step is very important in allowing you to live a self-sufficient life. Ask friends you trust for recommendations. Go to your doctor. Call the helpline. This one step of reaching out for help will completely change your life. When you go to therapy, you will be able to discover and establish healthy boundaries to apply to your relationship.

An additional outside perspective is invaluable because what you now consider to be normal could be unhealthy and manipulative behavior especially when drugs or alcohol are related. Treatment is not an overnight process but will require some reflection on your part. You will find healing and restoration with time and intentionality. A great option to consider is to attend an Al-Anon meeting, which is a fantastic place to receive support through the other families of alcoholics. There are many other families who have experienced the same behaviors as you have. While you may feel alone, know you are not. You are making the right decision to move forward by having healthy relationships.

Keep in mind that this is not a way of turning your back on your loved one during a time of need; rather, it is you allowing the addict to experience the full consequences of their own actions. You must pursue your own life, not live your life through the addiction of someone else.

Getting support by talking about the issues at hand is often the most common kind of therapy. You can get this support by picking up the phone today and calling our helpline. If you struggle with drug or alcohol abuse, the helpline is there for you as well. You can talk to one of our counselors about any problems you are experiencing right now with our 24-hour helpline. Our counselors will listen to all of your needs and offer practical advice in recovery.