Is Your Relationship Causing You to Feel Emotionally Drained?
- Are you overwhelmed by your partner’s addiction, explosive temper or chronic irresponsibility?
- Do you routinely give more than you receive?
- Have you become so enmeshed in your relationship that you don’t even know who you are anymore?
- Do you suffer from physical, emotional or verbal abuse at the hands of your partner?
- Do you long to have a healthy, rewarding relationship, but feel powerless to create meaningful change?
When you’re stuck in a codependent relationship, you may feel as though you’re devoting all of your time and energy to taking care of your partner’s problems. You might be a highly functional, caring, giving and responsible person, while your partner struggles to simply get through a single day without a major crisis or conflict. He or she might be plagued with a host of personal problems, including drug or alcohol addiction, difficulty finding or keeping work or a combustible temper that makes maintaining friendships and professional relationships a struggle.
Perhaps you’ve gone to great lengths to help your partner. You might pay your partner’s rent, manage finances or solve crises whenever they arise. To make matters worse, your partner may be physically or verbally abusive, causing your self-esteem to plummet. Perhaps you’re desperate to help your partner change, but suspect that he or she will never treat you with love and respect or achieve a healthy level of functionality.
At this point, you may be frustrated with yourself for staying in the relationship for so long and feel that you’ve lost yourself to your partner’s dysfunction. Your sincerest hope may be to break free from your relationship and be yourself again. However, you may fear the unknown and not know if or how you’ll ever be able to pick up the broken pieces of your life without the one you love.
Codependency Often Starts in Childhood
People who suffer from codependency often put the needs of others ahead of their own. They are self-sacrificing individuals who clean up the messes of life whenever things go wrong. While outwardly this may seem like commendable behavior, it becomes unhealthy when taken to the extreme. Codependent people often throw themselves into abusive relationships, devoting all of their emotional energy toward solving their partner’s problems instead of taking care of themselves. What’s worse, the codependent’s giving nature often enables their partner’s substance abuse, internet addiction or explosive personality, further adding fuel to the fire of dysfunction.
If codependency has been a constant presence in your life, your behavior is likely rooted in childhood trauma. One or both of your parents might have struggled with mental illness, an addiction or anger management issues. Perhaps you watched one of your parents manage the household while the other was physically or emotionally incapacitated. As an adult, you might have started to repeat this pattern, neglecting your own needs for the sake of others and looking for love and appreciation as a reward for selfless acts.
Thankfully, codependency counseling can stop the insidious family cycle of codependency. With the help of a supportive, professional and compassionate therapist, you can attract healthier, more responsible people into your life and learn to honor your own needs while also respecting the needs of others.
Codependency Counseling Can Help You Take Care of You
While recovering from codependency may seem like an impossible summit to climb, there is hope and healing. I’ve seen countless clients find relief with the help of therapy and go on to lead healthy and productive lives. In sessions with me, you’ll have the opportunity to learn ways of establishing healthy boundaries so that you don’t get trampled on by partners, friends, family members or coworkers. You can learn ways to maintain personal space and to listen to your body. Specific skills, tools and strategies can help you recognize discomfort and remove yourself from circumstances in which you might be coerced into doing things you don’t want to do.
As your therapist, I’ll encourage you to start taking care of yourself instead of draining your internal resources by taking care of others. I’ll encourage you to improve your self-care and self-appreciation by setting aside time to do the things you enjoy and practice relaxation. I’ll give you tools and techniques you can use at home, including practicing saying “no” on a weekly basis and using journaling as a means to express your frustrations. By practicing self-care and learning to express and take time for yourself, you’ll be able to improve your coping skills, better manage negative emotions and turn away from unhealthy relationship patterns.
As a therapist I offer a safe, supportive environment and will never judge you for the choices you’ve made in your relationships. I have a diverse skillset and will draw from a variety of modalities in order to address your unique situation. I offer tools, skills, strategies and resources that you can use both in and outside of the office. In addition to recommended readings and handouts, I can also refer you to codependency support groups.
Codependency doesn’t have to last a lifetime. With the help of codependency counseling, you can begin to understand that you’re not responsible for the thoughts, feelings and actions of others, and they’re not responsible for yours. You can begin to discover what a healthy relationship looks and feels like. With time, patience and a willingness to work through your issues, it’s possible to have a healthy, balanced life and encounter a different kind of partner – one who is high functioning, responsible and won’t leave you feeling emotionally drained.
You may be ready to try codependency counseling, but still have questions or concerns…
I don’t have time to go to codependency counseling.
In order to heal, you have to be able to invest in yourself. If you can’t set aside a time and space to address your needs, then your situation is only likely to worsen. I’m flexible in my scheduling and am open to bi-weekly appointments or working around your schedule.
My partner is the problem, not me.
Undoubtedly your partner plays a large part in your relationship’s dysfunction. However, you are choosing to be in this relationship and therefore play a role in the turmoil you’re experiencing. That said, after witnessing positive changes in your mental health through the help of therapy, your partner may decide to join in on sessions at a later date. At that point we can examine how both of you are contributing to dysfunction and come up with strategies to improve communication and engender mutual respect and understanding.
I’m worried people will think I’m crazy if they find out I’m going to codependency counseling.
Therapy is not just for people suffering from mental illness. People use therapy for a variety of reasons, whether they’re hoping to get a dysfunctional relationship back on track, or simply because they need help navigating a difficult life transition. My goal is to help you develop healthy relationships in your life, not to diagnose you as crazy.
It’s Possible To Have Healthy Relationships
Making an initial appointment will be the first and most challenging step on your road to recovery. After that, it’s all downhill from there. Please call me at (310) 427-1107 for a free 15-minute phone consultation. I’m happy to answer any questions you have about my practice or codependency counseling.