What is Codependency?
"Codependence is the pain in adulthood that comes from being wounded in childhood, which leads to a high probability of relationship problems and addictive disorders in later life." —The Bridge to Recovery
Many adults come into my practice confused as to why it is so difficult for them to leave an abusive or otherwise unhealthy relationship. It has become a normal, even familiar way of life; particularly if in childhood they observed destructive interactions between family members through alcoholism or violence.
I have come to believe that the first step to help people suffering from codependency is to understand how it manifested in childhood and continues to carry over into adulthood.
Start by asking yourself: What self-destructive behaviors do I repeatedly engage in?
Five common behaviors that codependents experience are:
- Addictive/compulsive behavior: This includes drinking too much, overeating, excessive dieting, excessive exercising, and overworking.
- Negative social/relational behavior: Controlling, obsessing, people-pleasing and approval seeking.
- Black and white or all/nothing thinking: "It's either this or that" Negotiation becomes difficult and over-reacting is common.
- Personalization: Becoming defensive upon interpreting that something was said or done directly to target them.
- Exaggeration: Believing that things will turn out for the worst; waiting for "the other shoe to drop."
My experience has shown that Codependency can be healed with the help and guidance of a professional.
Established patterns are difficult to let go of. Once you begin peeling the layers of these 5 self-destructive behaviors and gently examine each of them as a part of your journey towards wellness, new possibilities can open up for you in the therapeutic process. Choices you never imagined will become more clear. Journaling, visualization, and cognitive behavioral techniques such as negative thought stopping and positive re-framing are examples of how these discoveries about yourself can be made.
I have over 23 years of counseling experience helping people like yourself find answers to their most common relationship problems. I provide a safe, nurturing environment where we work as a team to navigate your relationship challenges and together, develop an action plan that can make a positive change in your life. I will help you be free of the worry, obsession and confusion that currently rules your life.
My specialty is working with women and men who struggle with relationship problems that feel addictive in nature. Whether you are in a relationship with an Alcoholic/Addict or struggle with setting boundaries with a family member, peer or friend, it is possible to break free from a self destructive cycle of losing your identity at the expense of others. And, if you have found yourself in the same kind of painful relationship again and again, I can help you break the cycle.
The following checklist is a guide to help you identify any tendency towards relationship addiction or unhealthy relationships in general. If you answer 'Yes' to most of the following statements, you probably have a problem with relationship addiction.
Addictive Relationship Checklist
(Copyright Sandra Says column 3-11-14 Safe Relationships Magazine)
- To be happy, you need a relationship. When you are not in a relationship, you feel depressed, and the cure for healing that depression usually involves meeting a new person.
- You often feel magnetically drawn to another person. You act on this feeling even when you suspect the person may not be good for you.
- You often try to change another person to meet your ideal.
- Even when you know a relationship isn't good for you, you find it difficult to break it off.
- When you consider breaking a relationship, you worry about what will happen to the other person without you.
- After a break-up, you immediately start looking for a new relationship in order to avoid being alone.
- You are often involved with someone unavailable who lives far away, is married, is involved with someone else, or is emotionally distant.
- A kind, available person probably seems boring to you, and even if he/she likes you, you will probably reject him/her.
- Even though you may demonstrate independence in other areas, you are fearful of independence within a love relationship.
- You find it hard to say no to the person with whom you are involved.
- You do not really believe you deserve a good relationship.
- Your self-doubt causes you to be jealous and possessive in an effort to maintain control.
- Sexually, you are more concerned with pleasing your partner than pleasing yourself.
- You feel as if you are unable to stop seeing a certain person even though you know that continuing the relationship is destructive to you.
- Memories of a relationship continue to control your thoughts for months or even years after it has ended.
- Even though you know the relationship is bad for you (and perhaps others have told you this), you take no effective steps to end it.
- You give yourself reasons for staying in the relationship that are not really accurate or that are not strong enough to counteract the harmful aspects of the relationship.
- When you think about ending the relationship, you feel terrible anxiety and fear, which make you cling to it even more.
- When you take steps to end the relationship, you suffer painful withdrawal symptoms, including physical discomfort that is only relieved by reestablishing contact.
Isn't it time to discover the greatness within you?
Contact me today to begin this process in a safe, nurturing environment.
A talented and respected therapist
“Lisa is a talented and respected therapist among her colleagues. Her skills and engaging style prepare teens for college with reassuring support, information, and confidence.”
Helen Lemm LCSW | Psychotherapist Private Practice
A strong advocate for her clients
“I enjoy collaborating with Ms. Knudson. She is a strong advocate for her clients, and is talented in working with adolescents and young adults who are navigating transitions."
Nakia Scott, M.D., ABIHM | Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist | Diplomat of the American Board of Integrative and Holistic Medicine
You Deserve to Get Your Life Back.
Contact me today for a free phone consultation. We can discuss any questions you have about counseling and my practice.