Do you get exhausted trying to deal with other people’s issues all the time? Do you feel like you get taken advantage of by certain people in your life or as if you always absorb others’ feelings? You may hit your limit eventually and cut the ties when enough is enough, or just keep trying even if it seems like nothing is ever enough. If you recognize any of these habits you may have an issue with codependency.
Codependency counseling in San Diego can help you learn how to have successful relationships without feeling resentful or overlooked.
Codependency is often described as trying to make sure everyone is happy at the cost of your own personal needs. Your wants, feelings, and desires may be put on the back burner and other people may take advantage of your generosity frequently. It feels as if you can’t be happy unless the people around you are happy. Chances are, if you found your way to this page at least part of you is struggling with codependency. To learn more about codependency, read this article and reflect on how many of these habits apply to you.
You don’t have to completely give up on yourself in order to keep relationships; you can learn to set boundaries.
What is Codependency?
Codependency is when you are dependent on others for your own mental well-being. This goes beyond seeking support. With codependency, the line between where you end and others begin is blurred. Those who are codependent often put their own needs, ideas, and opinions aside to focus on those of others in hopes of strengthening their relationship. In reality, this does more harm than good. While codependent people have good intentions, enmeshing yourself with others actually harms relationships and yourself. With a lack of boundaries and basing your needs and thoughts on those of others, you are left with a lost sense of self and unstable or unfulfilling relationships. Codependent relationships can be with a romantic partner, a friend, a family member, or even a coworker.
What are the Signs of Codependency?
- Reactivity: Codependent people are so used to pushing their own needs and emotions to the side that sometimes, due to this build-up, they will burst to the surface before they even have time to think.
- People pleasing: When people find their worth in the well-being of others, it’s no surprise that they tend to be people pleasers. With their poor boundaries, people who are codependent work to make others happy in order to feel happy themselves.
- Needing to be in Control: Control helps codependent people feel safe and secure. Anxiety goes hand-in-hand with codependency – and being in control eases that anxiety. This could be deciding how you feel instead of turning inward and listening to what you are actually feeling. This could also be trying to control the thoughts, actions, or emotions of others.
- Escape Behaviours: Often when feeling out of control, codependent people turn to escape through alcohol, substances, sex, gambling, compulsive buying, or video games.
- Conflict Avoidance: This is a big one. Codependent people avoid conflict because they are always trying to make sure everyone else is happy. So, they avoid standing up for themselves, speaking out, or disagreeing with others. This reinforces the poor boundaries as well as the lost sense of self, leading to a cycle of codependence.
- Low Self-Esteem: Codependent people are always searching for a sense of self and validation from others, instead of tuning in to themselves. This is often done unconsciously, so it can be hard to pick up on if you aren’t paying attention. But when your sense of self-worth comes from others, you will almost always feel yourself lacking in self-worth and self-esteem. Good self-esteem and high self-worth come from within.
What are some steps for change?
Self-care helps you both take care of yourself and become more in tune with yourself (your needs, your likes/dislikes, your opinions). By honoring your likes, needs, and well-being, you are honoring yourself. This helps you improve your self-esteem, and to start to solidify you apart from others. When you can feel more stable within yourself, it becomes easier to honor yourself and value your importance. Try to focus on activities you can do alone – especially at the start of your codependency recovery journey.
Learning to assert your boundaries is a big step in the codependency recovery process. Boundaries are where you end and someone else begins. With healthy boundaries, we can comfortably say “no” to someone without feeling guilty. With healthy boundaries, we honor and value ourselves. And, with healthy boundaries, we are left feeling replenished and rejuvenated – instead of burnt out from trying to please everyone all the time. Asserting your boundaries also means valuing your own opinions and your own voice – which is so important to gaining a strong sense of self, improving self-esteem, and being dependent.
Changing these deeply ingrained thoughts, behaviors, and feelings is not easy. Therapy is a safe place full of support to aid you on your codependency recovery journey. A therapist will hold you accountable to your goals, provide you tools to aid you in these goals and help you learn skills to use now and in the future. Therapy is also a great way to honor and value yourself. You are worth it!