Do You Feel Responsible For How Other People Feel?

Are you constantly worried about disappointing others? Does it seem like you’re always on the verge of losing your relationships? Do you spend so much time focused on other people’s needs that you leave no room for self-care?

Maybe you struggle to establish boundaries in your relationships because you’re afraid of letting your loved ones down. You may feel guilty saying no, asserting yourself, or voicing a conflicting viewpoint. Perhaps you feel an exaggerated sense of responsibility for others—you’re so concerned with their emotions that you neglect your own. As a result, you may have trouble identifying your own feelings, thoughts, and needs.

Codependency Can Make You Hold Onto Toxic Relationships

When you’re struggling with codependency, relationships are like a soothing balm for your inner anxieties. You come to rely on relationships for your happiness. Without them, life begins to feel existentially empty and meaningless. As a result, you may find yourself holding onto relationships at any cost—even if they’re toxic or broken.

On the flip side, codependency makes healthy and balanced relationships seem uncomfortable. If you’re with someone responsible and caring, you may not know how to act. Since you’re so used to serving others 24/7, it’s hard to love someone who doesn’t seem to need “saving.” If you can’t rescue them from their turmoil, how will you prove your value to them?

Naturally, trying to take care of everyone is exhausting and can lead to burnout. In some cases, it can even cause anxiety and depression. Codependency counseling is a chance to escape feelings of burnout and make time for self-care.

People With Emotionally Immature Parents Often Suffer From Codependency

Codependency is common among people who experienced early life trauma, suffer from anxiety, or are in a relationship with someone with a substance abuse disorder. In most cases, though, people who experience codependency had narcissistic or emotionally immature parents growing up.

For instance, suppose a mother tells her child “You don’t want mom to be sad today, so make sure to do well on your test.” If the mother repeatedly gives her child warnings like this, eventually the child learns that the mother’s love is conditional. The child has to work to please the mother and secure her approval.

Because the child has to do all the work and the mother doesn’t have to do anything, a role-reversal takes place. The child becomes “parentified,” taking on the role of the parent. In this way, codependent people learn to always give rather than receive and care for everyone else like a parent would.

Codependency Causes You To Doubt Yourself And Devalue Your Opinions

One of the main symptoms of codependency is a lack of trust in your own judgment. When you try to work through your issues, your inner dialogue doubts you and says “What if you’re wrong?” or “You don’t know enough.” You start to devalue your opinion because you place a higher value on other people’s opinions. Their approval of you and what they think of you becomes more important than what you think of yourself.

Counseling is a chance to step back from this need for external validation and focus on your inner validation. I want you to get to know yourself on a deeper level, identifying the needs and values that codependency may have hidden from view.

Counseling Is A Chance To Unlearn Codependency And Establish Healthy Boundaries

It’s normal to feel guilty when you focus on self-care. After all, if you’ve been taught to sacrifice your own wellbeing to take care of others, focusing on yourself may seem selfish. Codependency treatment is a chance to reverse this narrative. I want to help you detach from your need for external validation and identify the values that are important to you.

The first step is unlearning the behaviors that toxic relationships may have taught you. After all, it’s important to remember that codependency is a learned behavior. So no matter how impossible it seems to break out of your codependent mindset, something that is learned can always be unlearned. By establishing reasonable boundaries and practicing healthier communication, you can train yourself to be more assertive and stop enabling dysfunctional behaviors in loved ones.

What To Expect In Sessions

As we work together, I will help you dig deep and address the reasons behind your codependent traits. Since codependency is usually rooted in early childhood relationships, we’ll explore any emotional neglect you experienced when you were young. If you felt ignored or punished when you expressed your emotions, it’s only natural to suffer from feelings of shame and self-loathing as an adult. If you felt like you were on this earth to serve a demanding parent, you may believe that your own needs are not worth attending to.

This is why a huge focus of my practice is on trauma. I want to help you heal from the emotional wounds of abuse, abandonment, and rejection. In particular, we will focus on the negative beliefs that arose from your relationship trauma, such as “I am not worthy” or “I am unimportant.” By reframing these beliefs and replacing them with beliefs that are positive and empowering, you can gain more self-confidence and feel more at ease in your own shoes.

Tailoring Your Treatment Plan

The skills we work on in sessions will mainly involve communication strategies. I want to help you be courageously direct in the way you communicate with others, leaving as little room for interpretation as possible. Additionally, I want you to learn to stay on your side of the fence—if someone is unwilling to compromise or respect your boundaries, it’s okay to disengage from them or give yourself space.

Most importantly, we will work on nurturing your own unconditional self-love. When you start worrying about what other people think of you, remind yourself that you have no control over others’ minds. As long as you love yourself, you will be able to soften these anxieties and keep them from controlling your life.

With knowledge, dedication, and commitment, you can break free from codependency and tap into your true identity. My hope is that by improving your own life, you will gravitate towards people who give you the love and support that you so freely give to others.

You May Have Some Concerns About Codependency Counseling…

This is my family. I have to put up with them no matter what.

Loyalty is a great thing—I’m certainly not here to tell you to dump your family. However, the fact that they are family doesn’t give them a free pass. They still need to respect you. My goal is to give you the skills to assert yourself so that your family learns to honor your boundaries.

Is it really possible to overcome codependency?

Yes, overcoming codependency is possible. No one is born codependent—it’s something that relationships teach you. That’s why counseling is a process of unlearning, a discarding of the relationship patterns that perpetuate codependent behavior.

What if I do therapy wrong?

There is no right or wrong way to do codependency therapy. You don’t have to worry about pleasing me—I’m not going to hold you to any standard or demand things from you. This is not like an employer-employee relationship where one person tells the other what to do. I am here to guide you and help you figure out your own solutions, but you’re in control of the treatment process.

You Deserve Balanced And Loving Relationships

If you’re tired of feeling responsible for other people’s needs, I encourage you to connect with me. I believe that there is a way forward and I believe that you deserve healthy relationships. To begin the healing process, you can call me at 561-220-4567 for a free 15-minute phone consultation. You can also text me, email me, or use the contact page.