Codependency: When Giving Becomes Too Much — The Personal Side
I have always said that if you understand the history, there is no “crazy behavior.” I have been providing mental health treatment as a counselor since 2006 and still hold firmly to this belief. Having said this, I believe there are many good and pure reasons that people get pulled into codependency. Some people are hardwired to be helpers. They come here a little kinder and more willing to help than others. Some witness terrible trauma as children and spend their later years doing whatever it takes to cultivate or keep peace. And others, just want to save the other person…or the relationship…so they choose not to rock the boat.
All of the above motivations are pure, but over time become unhelpful and even hurtful. Nevertheless, those who demonstrate codependent behaviors should not be pathologized or negatively labeled. Human beings are designed to love, nurture and carry others and it can be difficult to know when to draw the line when things go South.
If you find yourself enabling someone or engaging in an unhealthy relationship, the first thing you should do is both embrace and practice self-compassion. Recognize that your motivation to help comes from a pure place. Then create an internal dialogue in which you tell yourself that you deserve a healthy, reciprocal relationship. While it is extremely difficult, often the best thing you can do for the person you are hooked to is take a break, create space and create firm boundaries.
If you are struggling in any of your relationships, we can help. We can support you as you identify what needs to change and take steps to make healthy relationships become a reality. Please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment with one of our skilled mental health therapists.