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
How Can Christian Counseling for Codependency Help Me?
At Newport Beach Christian Counseling, we will seek to reassure you of these life-giving truths:
You are a one-of-a-kind creation of God Himself.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. – Psalm 139:14
Instead of seeking the approval of other people, you can focus on pleasing God alone.
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. – Galatians 1:10
You were created for a purpose.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11
You are loved.
I have loved you with an everlasting love. – Jeremiah 31:3
At Newport Beach Christian Counseling, we want to walk with you on a journey towards a more fulfilling life within the context of a biblical worldview. In Christian counseling for codependency, you’ll learn how to receive God’s love for you and focus on His purpose for your life. This will help you find freedom from seeking approval from people. You’ll learn to understand yourself better and have life-giving relationships with others.
Christian counseling for codependency can help if your family dynamics have been shaped by codependency and other harmful patterns. We want you to see yourself the way God sees you, and to view your relationships, identity, and personal autonomy in a healthy and biblical way.
It takes time to break out of codependent thinking and behavior patterns, but recovery is possible.
FAQ About Christian Counseling for Codependency
Can a person recover from codependency?
The good news is that codependency is both common and treatable, which should give you hope that this is not a life sentence! Many people who receive counseling for codependency are able to develop new cognitive patterns and habits that help them escape dysfunctional relationship dynamics.
How do I find the right Christian counselor?
It’s important that you feel comfortable with your counselor, and that you speak to someone who understands the dynamics of codependency. You can view all of our counselors in our counselor directory to find someone who suits your needs.
Does codependency affect men and women alike?
Although women are more likely to seek help for it, codependency affects both men and women. This way of relating to others stems from childhood issues and does not discriminate by gender. Christian counseling for codependency is available for individuals of all ages, genders, and backgrounds.
Start the journey toward overcoming codependency today.
If you’re tired of unhealthy relationships with yourself and others, Christian counseling for codependency can help. Call us today at (949) 668-0335 or contact us online to schedule your risk-free initial session.