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Codependency, as defined by Psych Central is “characterized by a person belonging to a dysfunctional, one-sided relationship where one person relies on the other for meeting nearly all of their emotional and self-esteem needs.

It is a behavioral condition in a relationship where one partner has tremendous physical and/ or emotional needs and the other partner spends an abundance of his or her time and emotional energy trying to accommodate those needs. One of the primary characteristics of codependency is one’s compulsive need for seeking the approval of other people and reliance upon how others view them as a defining element to their self-identity. As Sharon Wegscheider-Curse asserts in Understanding Codependency, “signs of codependency include excessive caretaking, controlling, and preoccupation with people and things outside of ourselves.” Additional signs of codependency include any combination of the following examples:

  • Difficulty identifying one’s own feelings
  • Lacking self-trust
  • Low self-esteem
  • Challenges communicating in a relationship
  • Prioritizing the approval of others
  • Unable to easily make decisions in a relationship
  • Fears of abandonment
  • Being unhealthily dependent and reliant upon relationships, even at the cost of oneself
  • An exaggerated sense of responsibility for the actions of others
  • Obsessive need for external approval

It is important to note that the negative patterns established in codependent relationships are extremely challenging to correct. Often, individuals may be unaware that they are even engaged in a codependent relationship, which makes shifting the contributing behaviors incredibly difficult. Codependent behaviors are learned behaviors and can become more severe in time if left untreated. 

Therapy Options

Co-dependent individuals and dyads need a compassionate and skillful therapeutic team to help them; one that is not judgmental, patient, and fully understands the underlying function and meaning of the co-dependency. There are a variety of treatment options available. The most effective treatment for codependency includes a combination of long-term (e.g., 24 months or longer) psychotherapy as well as group support. Common relational therapies used in treatment plans for codependency may include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), psychodynamic psychotherapy, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), expressive arts therapies, and more. These types of relational therapies that are both insight-oriented and supportive are particularly useful and relevant. {Upwell Advisors}, for example, has an array of highly qualified professionals that specialize in working with co-dependency as it requires a depth of understanding, expert, and compassionate therapeutic skill that includes both insight, empathy, and strategic new actions. 

Further Information and Support

Navigating the challenges that arise from living with mental illness, struggling with substance abuse, and/ or addiction can not only be all-consuming but are often impossible to effectively handle without proper support. If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding mental illness, substance abuse, and/ or addiction we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. Bear in mind that you do not have to be on this journey alone. At Upwell Advisors, we offer unique, customized concierge therapeutic services to provide our clients with unparalleled support throughout every step of the recovery process. 

Feel free to reach to contact us anytime via email at sean@upwelladvisors.com. We look forward to supporting you on your journey.

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