Are You Often Feeling Lonely In A Crowded Room?
Do you experience isolation despite being surrounded by others? Are you struggling to understand or act on what you want out of your relationships? Is it hard for you to trust those around you despite wanting to feel connected?
Maybe you fluctuate between acute emotional pain and numbness. Or you may experience a high degree of detachment within your familial, platonic, and intimate relationships. Regardless of if you’re single, attached, married, or separated, you may feel as though you can never get what you need from your partnerships.
It could be that feelings of inferiority have infiltrated every aspect of your life. You may struggle with social anxiety. Or perhaps you feel the need to overcompensate with a high level of confidence in an effort to demonstrate to those around you that you’re competent, capable, and independent.
Additionally, codependent behaviors don’t only have emotional and interpersonal consequences—codependency can result in physical symptoms as well. We live our lives so focused on others that we don’t notice the subtle cues that our bodies give us. Over time, these cues manifest due to a lack of self-awareness and cause us to hold on to old wounds for decades. Maybe your life has been disrupted by chronic pain with no obvious explanation. Or perhaps you’ve developed an addictive mindset when it comes to substances, technology, food, or exercise.
It may seem that despite having “close” relationships in your life, you regularly feel unseen or misunderstood. However, recognizing and acknowledging that codependency has driven your behaviors and impacted your relationships can help you begin the process of recovery while re-establishing healthier connections in your life.
Adverse Experiences Can Pave The Way For Codependent Behaviors
Our childhoods create the blueprint for how our lives will be as adults. Many codependent and people-pleasing tendencies are learned behaviors from childhood. Furthermore, if we experienced trauma or a wound in our relationships at a young age, we can spend these impressionable years of life developing patterns or self-soothing techniques that become harmful over time. For those of us who don’t get the proper care or healing that we need, we might spend the rest of our lives chasing after a feeling of wholeness and acceptance.
In addition, as we develop—especially as women—we are conditioned to manage our emotions in unhealthy ways. Instead of expressing our needs, for instance, we may convince ourselves that pleasing others is of the highest priority. We presume that we need to balance the demands of home, work, and, in many cases, parenting, without asking for emotional support.
It’s an unfortunate aspect of our culture that numbing our feelings is more respectable than talking about them. Therefore, we develop codependent habits—with other people, or with alcohol, drugs, shopping, sex, porn, gaming, food, and exercise—that further suppress our emotions at the expense of processing them in a healthy way.
These dependencies are merely a symptom of the real problem, which is that our needs are not being met—wounds from childhood are left there until we intentionally heal them. In therapy, there is an opportunity to safely explore emotions and understand where patterns of codependency originated and how to overcome certain behaviors.
Therapy Can Help You Understand Codependency And Rewrite The Narrative
Rather than continuing to chase after the what that has driven behaviors, therapy will allow you to focus on the how and to feel satisfied by and secure in your relationships and why it’s important to do so. A trauma-informed therapist will focus treatment on excavating and discovering old wounds so that you can re-parent yourself and heal old wounds.
Fort Mill Psychotherapy makes codependency therapy available to both couples and individual clients. Our therapists specializing in codependency create a safe and open experiential therapy space where you’ll be invited and encouraged to rewrite the narrative that has been dominating your life for so long. And as we begin to establish a how, you can begin to reshape neural pathways and create new behavioral patterns.
Prior to your first appointment, you’ll be asked to complete an online questionnaire that details your history. You will then meet with your clinician virtually for 60 to 90 minutes so that clarifications and recommendations can be made. From there, you will be given a sense of what a codependency treatment plan using experiential therapy would look like, which would include psychoeducation around childhood trauma, unmet emotional needs, and learned behaviors.
Because we find that intense experiential models facilitate more effective problem-solving techniques, ongoing codependency therapy sessions are a little longer in duration and always incorporate mindfulness and somatic (body-based) experiencing. During these sessions, you’ll be given the chance to normalize what is happening in your mind and body and identify the core issue that is causing distress. Your therapist will then provide you with body-based techniques as well as expressive activities that support healing, which may include journaling, art, music, and storytelling.
When you are given an opportunity to recreate a long-held narrative, you’ll be more likely to avoid problematic tendencies in the future. You can also better understand how trauma has adversely impacted your life and utilize tools to heal emotional wounds. Most importantly, you’ll be able to identify where and how to shift feelings of helplessness and powerlessness to create a more positive perspective.
The truth is that you need to feel in order to heal, but years of numbness may have caused you to experience life as a stranger to your true feelings. Yet our clients who struggle with codependency have made essential realizations in therapy that have allowed them to be more self-aware and healthier in their relationships. You’re worth what it takes to heal too.
Perhaps you’re interested in seeing a therapist specializing in codependency, but you have some concerns…
I already know that I’m the problem in my relationships—why go to therapy for codependency?
Internalized distress—as a result of trauma, depression, anxiety, or any other mental health struggle—often wires us to find blame as a response to our grievances. And blaming ourselves is usually easier than blaming others. We think that by blaming, we are “doing” something about the problem, when in reality, it just causes us to continue to be stuck.
Therapy can help you to see how this process plays out on both a cognitive (brain-based) and somatic (body-based) level. That way, you can shift the focus to yourself so that you can see how your self-narrative has been written while becoming better at identifying core issues and healing behaviors that are preventing you from moving forward.
I’m concerned about the cost of therapy for codependency.
We encourage you to consider that perhaps a struggle to care for yourself is contributing to the feeling of being stuck. By searching for other outlets to numb your pain—such as shopping or using substances, for example—you’re making investments that yield minimal (if any) return. Investing in codependency treatment, however, is investing in yourself and creating lasting, positive change.
I can’t take time off of work to go to counseling for codependency.
It’s likely that whatever energy you’re investing into your work is not actually targeting the problem but simply an additional measure to numb yourself from the pain. Prioritizing your wants and needs is essential as you learn to stop finding reasons to put other tasks ahead of your own mental health.
If time remains an issue, it may be helpful to know that we only offer online sessions for the time being.
You Can Learn To Reconnect With Others By Reconnecting To Yourself
If you struggle with emotional numbness, detachment, or codependent behaviors in your relationships, the clinicians at The Healing Collective can help. To schedule an appointment with our therapist who specializes in codependency, please visit our contact page (or “The Beginning” page) to learn more about our services. You may also click the “Contact Us” button anywhere on our site to connect with our team and access an intake form.