The word "codependency" gets thrown around a lot: There are codependent couples, codependent companions, and codependent caretakers. But what does codependent actually mean — and is it really all that bad? Codependency is typically discussed in the context of substance use, where one person is abusing the substance, and he or she depends on the other person to supply money, food, and/or shelter. But codependency is much broader than that. Codependency can be defined as any relationship in which two people become so invested in each other that they can’t function independently anymore. Your mood, happiness, and identity are defined by the other person. In a codependent relationship, there is usually one person who is more passive and can’t make decisions for themselves, and a more dominant personality who gets some reward and satisfaction from controlling the other person and making decisions about how they will live.
Enabling is another sign of an unhealthy codependence. Enabling behavior, which is rarely seen in healthy relationships, includes bailing your partner out, repeatedly giving him or her another chance, ignoring the problem, accepting excuses, always being the one trying to fix the problem, or constantly coming to the rescue.
8 Signs You’re in a Codependent Relationship
Cutting Cords of codependency consists of releasing or cutting away energetic cords that connect you with someone else. You are energetically corded to anyone who you have a relationship with including family members, friends, co-workers and acquaintances in some way whether it is harmful or healthy. When you are corded in an unhealthy way to someone, these bonds can negatively impact all aspects of your life. For example, your behavior may be influenced or controlled by the person you are negatively bonded to. You may be easily manipulated, feel stuck, depressed, have low energy levels or simply feel bad in the other person’s presence.
It is important to remove the cords to improve your emotional, spiritual and physical well-being by doing the following:
Below are some amazing resources I have used and strongly recommend for overcoming codependency and relationship woes.
Thanks for reading,
L. Nicole Edwards
As we know mental illness is still a very taboo subject in the black community. Not only are many African Americans not willing to speak on it, but a lot find it to be a personal weakness. “Black people don’t go to therapy we pray about it” or “depression is a weakness, stop complaining about your life” is thrown out there a lot.
A quote I heard the other day as I was driving to work really resignated with me. "When you help yourself, you help your ancestors." I found that to be so true and enlightening. Once you start helping yourself and naming the things in your life that is effecting your daily routine or growth, you are able to identify and share it with others and as a result people in your life will begin to identify what they struggle with. Many issues we face as black men and women as it relates to depression, anxiety, and suicide are sometimes swept under the rug. By seeking therapy/counseling it can help reduce the stigma of mental illness in black families.
To help learn more ways to start the conversation, and to reduce the shaming of other black people who want help for their mental illness. I can be contacted for speaking engagements and/or booked for individual therapy to help you break the stigma and no longer live in silence. If not with me, please feel free to check out my previous post about how to locate the right therapist you.
As always stay and be encouraged,
Looking for a therapist is an exciting and scary thing. It is kind of like dating where you are trying to find “The One.” Your mind is probably racing trying to figure out what steps do you take to locate one, and as with any successful relationship, he/she was worth the wait. Here’s what I’ve learned on my journey.
Treat your first appointment like a date.
No one goes on a first date without checking the other person’s Facebook profile. The same applies to choosing a therapist. Fortunately, there are several online provider directories that make this process smoother than it could be. The two that I pay to be featured on are Psychology Today and Therapy for Black Girls, I am also featured on Open Path, all three give potential clients the opportunity to view photos of prospective therapists, read blurbs about what types (i.e. individual, group, family, couple counseling) of services and modalities (i.e. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Motivational Interviewing, DBT,etc) prospective therapists provide/use. Another fun thing about these site that with a one simple click you can see your prospective therapists’ webpages. If this isn’t enough to completely sell a client to a specific therapist, all three directories give potential clients access to provider phone numbers so they can call or text to better determine if you feel it is the right fit.
So, what exactly does it mean for a therapist to be the “Right Fit” for you?
The Right Fit is almost like trying on the right pair of shoes or dress. It was even more important than whether or not that therapist was a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Licensed Psychologist, or Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). I have learned that the perfect/Right fit is bigger than ethnicity, gender, or educational journey; it is personality, style, ability to instill hope, and above all, ability to provide growth. Your therapist doesn’t need to be your best friend, of course, but you should be comfortable with that person, and with sharing your thoughts and feelings. If you’re not, look for someone else. That’s right; meetings with your therapist should leave you with a deep knowing that you’re in the right place.
Look for affordable options.According to a recent survey by the nonprofit Mental Health America, 56 percent of the 40 million Americans suffering from mental health issues do not seek treatment primarily because of insufficient insurance and high costs. But that doesn’t need to be the case.
First, verify what types of accreditation your insurance accepts, what the diagnoses need to be, what kind of documentation you need, and how many sessions it covers. Also in the article,Ms. Katz suggested asking your therapist for a cash rate, because deductibles and other costs can, surprisingly, make insurance more expensive.
DIscuss a timeline.Seeing a therapist for a while does not necessarily mean it’s a match made in therapeutic heaven. Your relationship or needs may change over time, or the therapist’s career may go in a different direction. Similarly, for some the goal is not to pay for lifelong sessions, but to help you recover from or learn to cope better with the issues that led you to a therapist in the first place.
My biggest piece of advice to potential clients searching for a therapist is to construct a sentence of loose qualities you’re looking for in a therapist and use one of the aforementioned directories to locate someone who fits those criteria. While this sentence can be as specific as “Young black male psychologist with an office in West Philadelphia who has experience treating clients suffering from severe trauma using Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EDMR) ,” it can also be as broad as “Mental health professional in Ft. Worth, TX who treats anxiety and depression.” Because needs and wants change over time, you may find yourself with more or less specific criteria at different moments in your life. The fundamental factors are that you feel safe and comfortable with whoever you are meeting with, that you believe in his or her clinical competence (WARNING: not everyone who practices has had proper training) and that he or she is helping you develop a deeper understanding of how your heart and mind work, particularly in relation to other people’s hearts and minds. Your therapist’s office should not be just another place to vent (you can do that with your friends, for free). Your therapist should not offend you or make you feel judged. And most importantly, your therapist should click with you! Because, well, you deserve to embark upon wholeness with someone who GETS you!
L. Nicole Edwards, LCSW