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Codependency is a term popularized in the 1980’s during the growth of the of self-help and recovery movement. The term “codependent” originally applied to people who were closely involved with an alcoholic or other substance abuser. Just as the substance user becomes addicted to his/her substance, so the “codependent” person develops behaviors in response to the addict’s behaviors. The sum of these dysfunctional behaviors is referred to as codependency.

Since its origin the term has come to be associated with an individual’s maladaptive emotional, spiritual, & behavioral response to unhealthy behavior of any kind. In our day-to-day lives we obviously are influenced by those we interact with frequently. This interaction is a normal part of life and can be a healthy and positive influence. But if you find that your thoughts, feelings or actions are greatly determined by how another person acts you may have slipped into a codependent role in the relationship.

Signs and symptoms:

  • Being consistently unable to express your own opinions for fear of disapproval
  • Been told you are very hard on yourself
  • Feel “burnt out” or like you are the “caretaker” in one or more relationships which should be more mutual
  • Feel responsible for other people’s feelings, thoughts, actions, choices
  • Demand perfection of yourself while allowing others room to be human
  • Find yourself in unhealthy relationships (romantic/or friendships) which you can’t get out of

Our counselors can help you find practical ways to change troublesome behaviors in relationships and also help you with the emotional and internal aspects of this problem. If you would like to talk more, call our client relationship coordinator at 614.888.9200 to identify a counselor who would be best suited for your situation.

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