Christian Counseling for Codependency: How to Regain Your Freedom
Are you wondering if you’re in a codependent relationship? Do you find yourself in a pattern of making sacrifices for another person? Do you feel that you have no identity or worth without this person? Are you dependent on them for approval? These are all indicators that you may be in a codependent relationship.
At Newport Beach Christian Counseling, we offer a safe place for you to work through this issue. A codependent relationship has become entrenched in familiar, destructive patterns, and we are available to help you break out of them.
Codependency is a cycle present in a dysfunctional relationship and characterized by excessive emotional and/or physical reliance. It involves a person who depends on the other for love, value, and approval. In many cases, the dependent person is an addict or consistently engages in other harmful behaviors. The codependent has an unhealthy level of need for the other person.
How do codependent relationships develop? Through some element of toxic mindset and behavior in the living environment. Codependency can also cause new problems, like addictions, eating disorders, relationship problems, or anger. The goal of Christian counseling for codependency is to end this cycle of brokenness.
Symptoms of Codependency
There are two extremes that can be seen in codependent relationships; either extreme clinginess or extreme isolation, meaning there’s either too much independence or too much dependence, and this can even change back and forth over time. This makes it difficult to give a comprehensive list of codependency symptoms.
With that being said, the following are some examples of symptoms that can characterize many codependent relationships:
- Anxiety or depression
- Denial of the problem
- Blame-shifting (onto circumstances or other people)
- Fear of rejection or abandonment
- Poor communication skills
- Strong need to care for,or “fix” other people
- Hypersensitivity to how other people are thinking and feeling
- Fear of saying no
- Low self-esteem
- Being emotionally guarded
- Difficulty ending unhealthy relationships
- Obsessing over relationship issues
- Ongoing attempts to control the behavior of others
- A persistent habit to take things personally
- Poor boundaries
- Consistent desire to please people at any cost
People in codependent relationships often had unmet needs in their childhood that led to difficulties with relationships as an adult, based on a need for love, intimacy, and approval. They may also misuse substances or focus on work performance or other kinds of activities to meet their need for the approval of others.
Codependency is a lot more common than you may expect, and there is hope for recovery from dysfunctional behaviors. Christian counseling for codependency offers treatment options that help break the cycle. The focus is on establishing life-giving habits and relational practices in order to break free of the codependent behaviors.
Treatment for Codependency
One of the most difficult aspects involved with treating codependency is the mutual codependency or emotional instability that often accompanies the relationship.
A codependent lifestyle is exhausting. The codependent caretaker often neglects his or her needs in order to sacrifice for the other person. At the same time, they attempt to exert control over those around them in order to protect themselves from pain. This simply reinforces the dysfunctional cycle.
As you can see, this is a relationship dynamic with layers of complexity, and it manifests itself differently depending on the people and situations. However, the following statements are often true of codependent people, and may be helpful in identifying codependency:
- You have poor boundaries and try to put your partner’s needs above your own.
- Your mood depends on your partner’s mood and behavior.
- You try to hide your emotions for fear of upsetting others.
- You’re a people pleaser.
- Your life revolves around your partner.
- You struggle with anxiety and/or depression.
- You secretly feel unappreciated or disrespected.
- You feel trapped in your relationship, either feeling too guilty or too scared to leave.
- You end up in relationships that are abusive or involve substance abuse.
These circumstances may seem impossible to escape from, but at Newport Beach Christian Counseling, we can walk you through the process of reclaiming your life and finding freedom.
Break Free from Codependency through Christian Counseling
In some cases, one partner in a codependent relationship seeks counseling to get help ending the relationship. In other cases, both partners have realized they have a dysfunctional relationship and want to recover together. A Christian counselor for codependency will work with you to find the solution that’s right for you.
Counseling methods for codependency include:
- Marriage counseling for codependent couples who want to work together to end the toxic patterns in their relationship.
- Family counseling to help everyone learn how to heal and build healthy relationships that aren’t codependent.
- Psychotherapy for uncovering and processing events in your past that led to codependency.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy to help you understand your thoughts, feelings, and behavior so you can gain greater volition and responsibility for your choices and happiness.
When you meet with your counselor, he or she will evaluate your unique situation and personality to determine the best methods for treatment. Here are some of the goals of Christian counseling for codependency:
- Understanding family patterns
- Changing controlling behaviors
- Improving self-care
- Improving self-esteem
- Learning how to help others productively
- Setting healthy boundaries