The word “codependency” gets thrown around these days very liberally. This one simple word can mean a lot of different things to people and even to therapists.
Use the following questions to determine if your relationship involves codependency:
Does your sense of purpose involve making sacrifices to satisfy your partner's needs?
Is it difficult to say no when your partner makes requests of you? Are you able to ask for help from them?
Do you constantly worry about your partner’s happiness, about being abandoned or them cheating?
Do you keep quiet to avoid arguments?
Do you worry about what other people think and/or often take things personally?
Many of us are raised with codependent patterns- but you’re not doomed to continue them forever. Let me help you break that clingy cycle.
HEALTHY DEPENDENCY VS. CODEPENDENT RELATIONSHIPS
Depending on another person can be a positive relationship trait but codependency is usually harmful. It’s important to know the difference. Here are some examples to help illustrate the differences:
One of you feels worthless unless they are needed by — and making drastic sacrifices for — the other.
One of you might get satisfaction from getting their every need met by the other person.
One of you is only happy when making extreme sacrifices for their partner. They feel they must be needed by this other person to have a sense of purpose.
You have no personal identity, interests, or values outside of their codependent relationship.
One person feels that their desires and needs are unimportant and will not express them. They may have difficulty recognizing their own feelings or needs at all.
A codependent person will neglect other important areas of their life to please their partner.
Two people rely on each other for support and love.
Both find value in the relationship but neither of you is defined by the relationship.
You want to be together, you don’t need to be together.
Both parties make their relationship a priority, but can and do find joy in outside interests, other friends, and hobbies.
Both people can express their emotions and needs and find ways to make the relationship beneficial for both of them.
Both people ask for what they need, offer help, and say no with relative ease.
Both partners feel their boundaries are respected.
SYMPTOMS OF CODEPENDENCY
It can be hard to distinguish between a person who is codependent and one who is just clingy or very enamored with another person. But, a person who is codependent will usually:
You can’t find satisfaction or happiness without involving your partner.
You don’t invest in your individual interests or friendships without your partner.
You might stay in the relationship even when you’re aware your partner does hurtful or abusive things.
You might easily take things personally or have high reactivity in conflicts.
You have a really strong fear of abandonment.
You will do anything to please your partner no matter what the expense to yourself.
You’re constantly anxious about your relationship because you’re trying to keep the other person happy.
You use all your energy, time, or money to make others happy- even at the expense of your self care.
You feel guilty about thinking about yourself or expressing your own needs. You avoid asking for help or making requests.
You have difficulty trusting others and/or are deceitful in your relationships.
You might ignore your own morals or conscience to do what your partner wants or avoid conflict.
You have a hard time saying not and maintaining healthy boundaries in relationships.
If these resonate with you don’t worry- there are plenty of ways to change the way you create loving relationships. I can help you shift to healthier patterns of relating. Just call me!
WHAT TO EXPECT WORKING WITH ME ...
WHAT I DON'T DO
Sit and nod - instead, we'll take action. Be forewarned: I've been described as "direct and not-coddling."
Add shame or judgment to your experience (there's already WAY too much of that in the world)
Get stagnant. I will check in to see if this is working- focusing and refocusing on action and change in your life
Collude with your inner critics to let you stay small
Treat you like you're broken (because you're not)
Assume your experience is the same as mine or anyone else's
Pathologize you (I don't treat mental illness, so you won't receive a diagnosis, assessment or treatment for mental health conditions or substance use)
WHAT I DO
Use a strengths-based approach to help you grow
Bring a decade of experience helping hundreds of incredible people deeply connect to themselves and the people they love
Help you listen and communicate effectively, end repetitive argument cycles, and let go of baggage
Use a sex-positive framework and vast sexuality knowledge to fan flames of passion between you
Identify ways to manage intense emotions
Rebuild trust and renew intimacy
Keep momentum and hope alive - even if it's hard for you to feel hopeful
Deeply care about your personal growth and well-being and at the same time hold you accountable to the goals you set for yourself