DO YOU FEAR THAT EVERYTHING WILL FALL APART IF YOU LET GO FOR EVEN A MOMENT?
Do you assume responsibility for and/or feel overly responsible for the feelings and behaviors of others? Are you afraid of being hurt or rejected, often allowing other people’s attitudes, opinions and actions to determine how you respond, react and feel about yourself? Perhaps you constantly put others’ wants and needs before your own and are steadfastly loyal even when loyalty is unwarranted and even harmful. Maybe you’re in a codependent relationship with an alcoholic or addict of some kind, feeling shame and guilt over your inability to control his or her destructive behavior. It might be that you feel less and less connected to your innate value system because of all of the things that you have done to cover up and protect your loved one. Do you wish you could stop living with shame, knowing how to express yourself clearly and confidently and getting your own needs met?
Codependency can be a lonely, shameful, frustrating and seemingly hopeless experience. You might expend countless hours and an enormous amount of mental and emotional energy trying to please others, control your environment and ensure that those around you keep their promises and maintain a certain type of behavior. If you’re in a codependent relationship with an addict, you might constantly feel on edge. It might be that you’re distracted by the choices your loved one will make each day and constantly wonder if and how you’ll pick up the pieces when things inevitably fall apart. Perhaps you feel isolated and alone, denying or minimizing what’s occurring in your home or unable to talk about problems with anyone outside of the family. Maybe you feel buried in resentment, overwhelmed by broken agreements and exhausted by burdens that are becoming to heavy to bear.
CODEPENDENCY IS COMMON ACROSS POPULATIONS, GENDERS AND THE GLOBE
Codependency is a learned behavior that is often passed down from one generation to another. Although often associated addict and alcoholic families, co-dependent behavior can develop in all kinds of relationships.
If you’re struggling with codependency or in in a co-dependent relationship, you are not alone. Often also referred to as relationship addiction, co-dependency affects someone’s ability to form and maintain healthy, mutually satisfying relationships. Codependents tend to put their own wants and even needs aside on a regular basis. While co-dependency affects both genders, it often shows up in women, especially those taught by their mothers that the needs of others take precedence and that meeting personal needs is selfish. Codependency is also prominent in people who grew up in environments in which it was not safe to express emotions and/or were made responsible for the thoughts, feelings and actions of those around them. Codependents often develop controlling behavior in an attempt to mitigate anxiety and protect the people around them. They tend to hyper-focus on others and feel guilt and shame when their attempts to control loved ones or their environment don’t work. The behavior can become increasingly irrational as the codependent slowly becomes less and less in touch with his or herself.
Although you might be feeling overwhelmed, frustrated and unsure about who you are and what your innate needs are, the good news is that codependency counseling can help. An experienced, skilled and understanding counselor can help you connect to your innate values and needs and begin living an empowered life.
CO-DEPENDENCY COUNSELING CAN PROVIDE WITH SUPPORT, SKILLS AND STRATEGIES TO CLAIM YOUR LIFE
If you are in a codependent relationship, a counselor who understands the nuances of codependency and the impacts of addiction can help you begin to heal your wounds, bring your focus onto you and make empowered, thoughtful daily decisions. You can learn how to set and maintain effective boundaries and begin living a life that you feel proud of. In a warm, compassionate, confidential and nonjudgmental space and therapeutic relationship, you will be given support, guidance and a place to heal.
In codependency counseling sessions, your Kagey Family Counseling counselor can help you make sense of your family history and the root of what caused you to begin deriving your self-esteem from others as well as the need to control the situations, environments and people in your life. As we decipher patterns from the past, it may occur to you that you’ve experienced similar feelings and that the role you’re playing in your current relationship is not new. Control and manipulation are often born out of anxiety. Through exploring how you experience anxiety and learning how to set appropriate boundaries, you can begin letting go of the need to control and make decisions that support and honor you and your family.
Codependency behavior is almost always learned in childhood and often—although not always—people who grew up around alcoholics or addicts either develop a substance abuse problem themselves or end up in co-dependent partnerships with addicts. If this is the case for you, you and your counselor can take the time needed to heal the wounded parts of you. You can learn how to stop self-sacrificing, taking on so much and fearing that everything around you will fall apart if you let go for even a moment. In many ways, this kind of healing process is like pulling back an old wound and healing it from the inside-out.
Another important part of codependency recovery is learning and practicing mindfulness-based coping skills. The practice of mindfulness can help you ground into the present moment, know that you’re safe in the present moment and make choices based on what is occurring in the present moment. Essentially, you’ll learn how to keep your mind where your feet are. Your counselor can also help you develop other coping skills and strategies that work specifically for you, such as effective communication tools and strategies to get your personal needs met.
When you’re provided with support, skills and strategies, you can better understand and reframe the codependent behaviors and patterns that are occurring in your relationship(s). As counselors with decades of personal and professional experience with addiction and codependency issues, we know that there is an empowered path to healing. With help, you can create healthy boundaries and find relief even in the midst of chaos. It is possible to engage in effective personal self-care, meet your own needs and be in a position to best care for and support your family.
YOU STILL MAY HAVE QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS ABOUT CODEPENDENCY TREATMENT…
I’m in a codependent relationship with an addict. He/she is the one who really needs the help.
While you’re not the one struggling with addiction, you probably are struggling with a lot of pain. The good news is that with help, there is hope. You can feel better and improve your relationship, but you need to learn how to put on your own oxygen mask and tend to your own needs before you can effectively care for anyone else. In codependency counseling sessions, you can develop insights, tools and strategies that can help you better manage your relationship with the addict so you can begin truly healing yourself.
I think that divorce might be more effective than codependency counseling.
While it might be time and the right choice to end your current relationship, you take yourself wherever you go. If you are a codependent and your codependent behavior is left unaddressed, it’s very likely to show up in your next relationship. Codependency counseling offers you the safe place to focus on yourself and develop the perspective, awareness and tools that can help to improve self-confidence and make effective life decisions.
I tried counseling in the past, but it really didn’t help. How could/would it be different now?
When struggling with codependency, it’s important to work with a counselor who understands addiction, family dynamics and codependent behavior. Our counselors are highly experienced and trained and specialize in substance abuse and addiction counseling, family counseling and codependency recovery. We have the tools, training and personal and professional insight to offer support, informed guidance and equip you with the tools you need to make important changes in your life.
Find Your Freedom
If you and your family are suffering from the impact of addiction, we can help. Addiction is a family disease, and everyone needs support and a safe space to heal. We will guide you by creating an addiction recovery strategy that’s personalized for you and your family. There is freedom from the pain and shame. Take a powerful first step - ask for help - and start your healing journey with us today.
I invite you to call our office at 832-928-0211 for a free 15-minute phone consultation. We’re happy to discuss your specific needs and answer any questions you have. We have offices in Houston, TX, and we provide online therapy and recovery coaching for anyone living outside the Houston area.