Most of us strive to serve those around us, and be a productive part of the society we live in. The need to feel valued and part of something greater is a motivating feeling and can help us make virtuous decisions. The line between healthy inclusive feelings and codependency can be hard to understand. If you worry you’re losing yourself in the pursuit of another person’s happiness you may suffer from codependency.
What is Codependency?
Codependency is more than wanting to serve the people you love, ask yourself the following questions to help you decipher if you may struggle with codependency:
- Have you ever wondered if you struggle with codependency — or has someone told you that you might?
- Do you feel that someone else’s needs are more important that your own?
- Do you feel like you don’t have much of an opinion or voice?
- If you had the time and money would it make you uncomfortable to go on a vacation by yourself?
- Do you find it difficult to make decisions without thoughts of what someone else wants?
Codependency is feeling responsible for another’s emotions. Although everyone is responsible for their own actions and what they put into a relationship, they are not responsible for how another person chooses to react. Taking ownership of how another person feels, and neglecting your own needs can be signs of codependency. This can cause problems in a relationship, and is commonly seen in couple relationships. It is often rooted in trauma.
Codependency commonly happens when one person, in a couple relationship, is struggling with an addiction (and is focusing on self) and the partner has a helping personality (focusing on trying to make the other happy). Neither set of behaviors is healthy. The problem is that neither individual is being responsible for his/her self. The addict is not focused on healthy living or being responsible for his/her behaviors. The partner of the addict is not focused on healthy living of self, but rather distracted by focusing on his/her spouse. When an individual is responsible for him/herself, he/she can bring their best self to the relationship.
The good news is that codependency is treatable. Codependency can be treated in individual or couples counseling. Still unsure? Let’s talk! If you do struggle with codependency, I can help you feel whole — and find yourself again.
Silently Seduced – Ken Adams
Facing Codependency – Pia Mellody
The Emotional Incest Syndrome – Pat Love
Healing Trauma – Peter Levine
Waking the Tiger – Peter Levine
Lost in the Shuffle – Robert Subby