Are you feeling angry, unappreciated and used? Maybe you feel that most or all of your relationships are one-sided.
Are you tired of working hard to please others and not feeling that effort reciprocated in your relationships?
Do you have trouble saying “no” and setting boundaries?
Do you have trouble making decisions?
Do you long for freedom and autonomy, but feel trapped by feeling responsible for the needs and wants of others?
Do you find that you feel lost in the lives of others and do not know who you are?
Do you find yourself exhausted from trying to gain the approval of others?
Are you overwhelmed by the “shoulds?”
If you found yourself answering "yes" to most of these questions, you may be in a codependent relationship cycle.
Codependency is the need to be needed! Caregiving is a positive trait, right? Of course, but when boundaries are blurred it begins to cross the line into codependency. Codependents often think of themselves as independent and able to take care of most things (and others!) on their own. BUT, the catch is, in order to be needed you must have another person in your life that needs you! Thus, a dependency forms. Codependency not only impacts intimate relationships but it often extends into professional and social relationships as well.
Codependency can negatively impact professional development often leading to burnout, resentment, anger, depression, and job dissatisfaction. These are a few examples of how codependency can manifest itself in the workplace:
* "Workaholism" - working beyond normal business hours, even if unpaid
* Taking on work obligations and responsibilities that belong to others
Learning about your attachment style may be helpful in beginning your journey towards freedom from codependency. Attachment is related to how we bond with our primary caregivers; if that bond is disrupted it can lead to an insecure attachment. If our primary caregivers are not able to meet our needs, an insecure attachment can develop. The Anxious Attachment Style is one type of insecure attachment prone to codependency. The Anxious Attachment Style begins in childhood and begins to develop when a primary caregiver is inconsistently attuned to the needs of their child. The following are traits associated with an Anxious Adult Attachment Style and can contribute to codependency:
* Assume the role of pursuer in relationships - and often pursue partners who are unavailable
* View others as positive and themselves as negative
* Rely on Others to Validate Self-Worth
* Fear Rejection & Abandonment
* Seek Approval & Acceptance
There is help! Therapy can assist in learning to set boundaries and discovering the freedom of autonomy. As you discover more about YOUR needs and wants and become more comfortable with the idea of taking steps to prioritize those needs, you will begin to develop your own independent identity outside the context of a codependent relationship dynamic. Find freedom within and in relationships and begin living the authentic life you deserve!
Recommended Reading: Codependent No More - by Melody Beattie and Attached - by Amir Levine & Rachel Heller
Therapy for Codependency in Beaverton - Inner Insight Counseling, LLC in Beaverton