Codependency is a relationship disease whereby a person puts others wants and needs before their own. They will neglect their health, time, sacrifice financially before meeting these needs for themselves. Codependents do this because their happiness and self esteem are dependent upon others around them being happy and thinking very highly of them. Codependency can be hard to recognize because some individuals are over achievers and excel to get approval from others.

At the heart of codependency is a person’s wounded relationship with the self. Individuals with wounded selves live with a crippling shame based identity. They believe deep down, “I am not good enough, defective, stupid, a failure, broken, damaged goods” and host of other self loathing statements about themselves.

Perfectionism is a common effect of codependency. A person organizes their life and happiness by the belief (fantasy) “If I can do something perfectly or just do it better then I will be calm, my worries, fears, and emotional pain will go away and this will magically change the self loathing statements to “I am good enough”. The codependent will always fail at making others truly happy because no one can make someone else happy. Nor will the codependent’s attempts to control the people and the world around them result in serenity. It is a game they can’t win but the insidious cycle repeats itself over and over again only reinforcing their low self esteem and shame.

This hideous cycle takes a toll on a person’s body in the form of unmanaged stress, neglected exercise, poor sleep, inadequate nutrition, sex life, not seeking routine health care or health care when needed. Some people become addicted to drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex or self harm to manage the unrelenting consuming feelings of hopelessness, depression, panic, overwhelm and powerlessness that come with codependency.

In therapy the roots of codependency are addressed. These roots lie in childhood relational trauma and relational abuse within the family. Relational abuse can be a single abusive event or a series of events where a child experiences emotional, physical, sexual, verbal abuse or neglect. It is in these abusive or neglectful relationships that create a shame based identity. A wounded self is formed and the wounded child learns dysfunctional patterns of how to be relationship with others.

In therapy the foundations for building a healthy relationship with the self and learning how to have healthy relationships with others is laid. In essence you learn you are worth taking care of and your own wants and needs are your first priority.

Please contact me and discover you can be happy and that you are good enough without others approval and without being perfect.