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Codependency refers to enabling and controlling behaviors, poor boundaries, lack of self-care, and focusing on others needs instead of one’s own needs. Most of the time, there’s trauma behind it.

Codependency and Childhood Trauma

Codependency is common in individuals who have attachment wounds from unresolved childhood trauma. These individuals most often have an anxious attachment style. It’s important not to stigmatize codependency. Our brains are wired to keep us safe, to detect danger and send us warning signals. What is often labeled as codependency is actually our brain trying to look for safety and make sense of our reality. If our feelings and instincts were invalidated before, we may have a hard time now trusting our intuition and managing our anxiety. Children experiencing this grow up to become adults who can’t set and hold boundaries, who stay in unhappy relationships for too long, who fall into codependency, who think they have to try hard to have love. Healing is learning to trust yourself again. It’s trusting your inner wisdom to tell you when something is off or when something feels right.


Codependency in Relationships

Not sure if you would fall into the category of codependency? Here are 7 signs of codependency to pay attention to:

  1. Loneliness
  2. Enmeshment
  3. Relational anxiety
  4. Lack of personal life 
  5. Lack of reciprocity in relationships
  6. People pleasing
  7. Uncomfortable being alone

If you find that these signs seem familiar, you may want to consider your relationship as codependent and take steps to address this issue. ​​Here are 3 necessary steps to overcoming codependency:

​1.  BOUNDARIES – In order to regain independence and interdependence, boundaries must be clearly defined in the relationship. Both partner’s needs must matter equally and be treated as such. The codependent partner needs to practice asking for what they need, as well as actually receiving it. This can be hard for a people-pleaser since they are only used to giving. 

​​2. NURTURE OUTSIDE RELATIONSHIPS – Re-connecting with friends and family will be key to building a support system for the codependent partner to lean on. 

​3. GET TO KNOW YOURSELF – It may not come naturally for someone with codependent tendencies or childhood trauma to think of themselves, their needs, and feelings. It is important for the codependent partner to practice exploring their own needs and eventually standing up for themselves.

Codependency Therapists In My Area

Childhood trauma can lead to codependency in adulthood. Changing the methods you use to cope with uncomfortable feelings is difficult, but definitely not impossible. You can learn more about nervous system regulation and what works for you, you do not have to stay in a cycle of being dependent on others for your own wellbeing. Some people may need help with this, and reaching out for help is always a good idea. Search for individual therapists in your area to help address the root of your codependency, as well as Gottman Method couples therapists in your area who can help you set up healthy boundaries in your relationships. Individual healing and couples healing is possible. You deserve to live your healthiest, happiest life.