Posts Tagged ‘codependent’

Real Codependency Stories: Jane

Reblogged from the online therapist

Excellent podcast and skills

Gaslighting observed and codependency explained

Real Codependency Stories: Jane

Welcome to another episode of Dr Jenner Podcast. Today, we look at a real-life codependency case and we meet Jane who is recovering from a …

Real Codependency Stories: Jane

My take: Codependent



The previous codependency post is painful to read, every molecule wants to deny all of it.

Many things about boundaries, love and pain, unworthiness, shame and guilt plus the desire for approval ring so true.

I entered adulthood without a clear autonomy, few boundaries and a ton of anxiety.

This is how childhood trauma impacts our brains, this is the area we need to heal, to integrate and work to change.

Remember, awareness is always first, take stock and identify what codependent traits you own.

I have changed some of these symptoms but stress will bring my old behavior out to play.

My meditation practice, spiritual journey allowed me to step back and observe my behavior without being part of that behavior.

We believe we are what we think or what we do.

That could not be farther from the truth.

Hell,wait til you get my age, who cares what we did at 70.

I guess high accomplishment attracts attention on the senior dating apps, but any connection to happiness is a mirage.

Healing is an inward exploration, then a clearing out of the trash, that trauma has created in our brains and bodies.

Healing is taking care of these small pieces of trauma.

Your next trigger is an opportunity to heal.

Can you take three breaths before you avoid, deny, distract or freeze.

Next time maybe we take five breaths before we scatter.

Healing happens in small increments with daily work, my opinion.

You have to take action to improve.




Another look: 18 Characteristics of Codependents and 9 Truths to Support Recovery By Carmen Sakurai




“What Is Codependency?

Also knows as “relationship addiction,” the codependent is addicted to relationships and the validation they get from them. They will do whatever it takes, including sacrificing their own personal needs and well-being, to keep receiving this validation.

Root Cause of Codependency

Codependency is usually rooted during childhood. The child grows up in a home where their emotions are ignored or punished because the parent (or parents) suffer from mental illness, addiction, or other issues. This emotional neglect results in a child having low self-esteem, lack of self-worth, and shame.

Common Characteristics of Codependents

You are hyper-aware of other people’s needs so you become a caretaker to avoid being blamed for other people’s unhappiness and/or to feed your self-esteem by making them happy.

You believe that love and pain are synonymous. This becomes a familiar feeling so you continue to allow friends, family, and romantic relationships to behave poorly and treat you with disrespect.

Your self-esteem and self-worth are dependent on those you are trying to please. Your self-worth is based on whether or not other people are happy with what you can do for them. You over-schedule yourself with other people’s priorities to prove you are worthy.

You people-please. As a child, having a preference or speaking up resulted in being punished. You quickly learned that letting others have their way spared you from that pain.

You’re afraid to upset or disappoint others, which often leads to over-extending yourself to avoid negative feedback.

You always put others’ needs before your own. You feel guilt if you don’t follow through even if it means sacrificing your well-being. You ignore your own feelings and needs, reasoning that others are more deserving of your time and help.

You lack boundaries. You have trouble speaking up for yourself and saying NO. You allow people to take advantage of your kindness because you don’t want to be responsible for their hurt their feelings.

You feel guilty and ashamed about things you didn’t even do. You were blamed for everything as a child, so you continue to expect everyone to believe this about you now.

You’re always on edge. This is due to growing up in an environment lacking security and stability. While healthy parents protect their children from harm and danger, dysfunctional parents are the source of fear for their children and distorts their self perception.

You feel unworthy and lonely. You were always told you are not good enough and everything is your fault. The dysfunctional parent conditioned you to believe that you are of no value to anyone, leaving you with no one to turn to.

You don’t trust anyone. If you can’t even trust your own parents, who can you trust? Your unhealthy childhood conditioning lead you to believe that you do not deserve honesty or to feel safe.

You won’t let others help you. You’d rather give than receive. You try to avoid having to owe someone for the help they give you, or have the favor used against you. You’d also rather do it yourself because others can’t do it your way.

You are controlling. You were conditioned to believe that you are a “good boy/girl” if those around you are OK. So when life feels overwhelming, you try to find order by controlling others instead of fixing what needs repairs in your own life.

You have unrealistic expectations for yourself as a result of the harsh criticism you constantly received as a child.

You complain about how unhappy your life has become then quickly take it back to protect your ego, trapping you in an unending cycle of complain/deny.

You melt into others. You have difficulty separating yourself from other people’s feelings, needs, and even identities. You define your identity in relation to others, while lacking a solid sense of self.

You are a martyr. You are always giving without receiving, then feel angry, resentful and taken advantage of.

You are passive-aggressive. You feel angry and resentful and complain about “having to do everything” – while you continue doing everything on your own.

You fear criticism, rejection, and failure so you procrastinate on your own dreams and goals. Instead, you manage and control people’s plans and extract fulfillment when they succeed.

These self-destructive thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are based on distorted beliefs that developed as a result of emotional abuse during your childhood. As a helpless child, it was necessary to adapt these behaviors in order to survive.”



Combining Two Effective Therapies To Help Codependents: Published by Dr. Nicholas Jenner


Codependency is a complex issue and many therapists doubt its existence. They might agree somewhat with the classic definition of codependency where an enabling partner helps an addict maintain his addiction but the idea of codependency in relationships, the love addiction, is disputed. However, codependency in relationships is something I see and work with every day in my practice and I am convinced it is a concept that affects many relationships.

Once this is established, the question is, what can be done about it? How do you unravel the roots of codependency and the enmeshment with another person? Where do you start to deal with thoughts and feelings first established in childhood? How do you break the cycle of sacrifice and enabling? There are, of course, many approaches aimed at dealing with codependency and its effects and therapists and organisations have their favourites. I have dealt with codependents for years and I have found that combining two therapies, powerful individually but life-changing when used together, to be truly effective. The two therapies in question are Inner Child and Internal Family Systems therapy. First some definition:

Inner Child Therapy

The inner child is the creative, spontaneous, loving, trusting, confident and spiritual part of us that may have gotten lost or learned to hide earlier in life due to feelings of fear and shame stemming from experiences of trauma and betrayal. This may have been due to abuse, mistreatment or misunderstanding in childhood.

It is a rare child who has adults around him or her all the time who are able to be fully present to his or her aliveness. As adults, we can return to childhood memories and ‘retrieve’ and heal that lost or hidden part of us to bring creativity, spontaneity, love, trust, confidence and deep spirituality fully back into our lives. Inner Child therapy is a deep and profound psycho-therapeutic healing experience. It goes to the source of the problem and cuts through much of the intellectual chatter which prevents us from living our dreams.

Internal Family Systems Therapy

(IFS) therapy talks about thinking parts or a “fragmented self”. It offers a valuable model which identifies three common categories of parts: exiles, managers, and firefighters. Exiles carry the burdens of trauma including the emotions and memories. Managers work to stay in control of vulnerable feelings often by working hard or manifesting as a relentless inner critic. Firefighters “act out” with addictions or self-harming behaviours in order to prevent exiles from emerging. Parts work therapy holds a basic understanding that the members our family of origin are internalised as parts of our sense of self when we are children and remain within us as we grow to become adults.

These therapies are very different in their approach and application under normal circumstances but the definitions above might give a clue to how they can be used together. Below is a brief description of how this works.

My belief is that the “inner child” (named exile in IFS) carries our core wound, the trauma that we brought into adulthood and forms our core beliefs about the world and our place in it. Often statements like “I’m not good enough”, “I’m unlovable” come straight from this. These core beliefs are on a very deep psychological level and are hard to shift.

On a layer above are the “parts” that IFS describes. This is the self-talk that goes on in our head when we are triggered. The managers (inner critic, guilt) berate us with what we should or shouldn’t do, how bad we are and how our life is a mess. The firefighters (escape) give us an easy way out into addiction and avoidance but hand us back to the managers when the instant gratification is over. The role of these “parts” is remind us of our core wound and to stop us moving forward and potentially facing disappointment, rejection or pain. It is the classic self-talk that we all listen to. They are the remnants of the protection measures we adopted as children and often mirror the personalities of our original family.

To be able to heal the core wound, we must negotiate with and counter these parts of us that are protecting it and allow direct access to the “inner child” and the trauma it carries. This is done by developing a rational, practical inner mentor who will help with this process.



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