Relationship Issues often point toward issues with co-dependency, which is defined as a painful set of behaviours, attitudes and beliefs that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. It is also referred to as a relationship addiction, which means that the individual regulates themselves in response to the person they are in relationship with, often this person is unavailable or will commonly be the person in addiction. These styles of relating are learned in families where there is an ongoing stress that prevents caregivers from proving emotional safety and nurturing. Instead, family members are shamed, blamed and feelings are not validated. A common consequence of growing up in an environment such as this is the individual learns to neglect their own needs and feelings and to instead be highly focussed on attending to the needs of others in all future relationships.
If you relate to 3 or more of the following you may have Co-Dependency
- You live the lives of others while neglecting your own
- You seek to please others, saying no causes you anxiety
- You seek approval from others and have fears of being rejected or abandoned
- You rescue others.
- You try to control others in order to feel okay
- Low self esteem, feeling that you are not good enough
- Poor boundaries, you feel responsible for others feelings
- Feeling and behaving reactively to everyone’s thoughts and feelings
- You put other people needs before your own
- Constantly needing to fix others problem
- Inability to communicate thoughts, feelings and needs effectively
- Obsessions about other people and relationships
- You find it hard to spend extended periods alone
- You find it hard to end relationships that are destructive or abusive
- You find it hard to reach out and ask for help for yourself
- You find it hard to have intimate relationships
- Painful and overwhelming emotions or feelings of numbness
Pia Mellody has defined the following five core issues of codependency.
Self-esteem comes from the ability to value the self from the deep knowledge of one’s inherent worth. Struggling with self-esteem results in a relational style of going one-up (better-than) or one-down (less-than) in relationships with others.
Boundaries exist to facilitate intimacy in relationships. Struggling with boundaries can look like being boundary-less (too vulnerable or victimized) or being walled off (invulnerable) or bouncing back and forth between the two extremes.
Children need to have their reality validated. If a child experiences some type of issue or abandonment when expressing their reality, they will learn to detach from their reality over time. As adults they will have a difficult time knowing what their reality is or holding on to their reality in the face of someone else’s reality.
Healthy adults know how to be interdependent with others and to take responsibility for getting their needs and wants met. Struggling with dependency issues results in being too dependent, anti-dependent, or unaware of one’s needs and wants.
Knowing how to live life moderately is a key adult skill. Struggling with moderation can look like being very controlling, super-mature, and over-doing or can look like being out-of-control, super-immature and under-doing.
We understand at Byron Private that only through interaction with others in a safe and supportive environment can the individual identify and work on their co-dependent behaviours. With the support of the Byron Private team, the therapeutic community and your carer you will learn to support yourself emotionally and develop healthy relationships with yourself, family and loved ones.
Byron Private offers an effective pathway to recovery for those struggling with mental health, addictions, PTSD and eating disorders. If you or someone you love is struggling, please reach out to our clinical team for a confidential discussion on 02 6684 4145 or via our online contact form.