The truth is, a lot of people are codependent and don't even know it. In fact, all of us have varying degrees of issues that are not obvious, but statistics say that over 50% of us have codependent traits. It's not worth
feeling bad about, and its not hard to change, but its also not worth leaving to continue because it will make you feel miserable and helpless and the patterns in your life will only get worse and worse.
So what does it mean to be codependent?
The most common feature of codependency is that we center our lives around other people. We are "enablers" and we do this because we have low self-esteem. We may think we're important, and if asked we'll argue with people that we are, but deep down we don't believe it. We also don't trust that we matter to others. We want to feel needed so we help other people, who may not even be the slightest bit invested in helping themselves. We may spend out time trying to help people when they don't want our help we may try to find ways to be useful and valuable to others. Being codependent means that we're afraid that if we're not needed by someone who matters to us they'll eventually leave us so we want to be needed.
Being codependent also means that we don't rank ourselves highly in importance when compared to others. So we don't voice our own feelings, we don't ask for what we need, we never put our foot down, and when we try to its useless because we let other people just walk right over us anyway.
Sound frustrating? It is. That's why for those of us who are codependent we so often focus on trying to be in control because being out of control makes us feel helpless. And despite all our efforts our relationships never end up being fulfilling, no matter how much we try to be helpful or control them.
To make things worse people complain about us, saying we're manipulative and overbearing when all we're trying to do is help. Some of us notice our tendencies to bend too far and want to stop ourselves from doing so. So we become rigid and closed off. We do this in an effort to compensate for being too lenient, but we just end up on the other end of the spectrum which doesn't come across the way we want it to either.
No matter how you slice it, being codependent, or in a relationship with someone who is, is a frustrating and difficult balance, and at GoVa Counseling we know better than anyone. We can help you learn how to set boundaries so that you feel heard and are able to rebalance the relationships in your life so that you feel safe and comfortable and can trust that the people around you are there for you as a much as you are there for them. Give us a call! With a little effort we'll help you feel a lot more solid and confident as well as a respected player in your important relationships. At GoVa Counseling, if you stick with us we'll get you exactly where you want to go!