By Marty Lythgoe, CADC II, NCAC II, ICADC

Codependency is a condition of lost “selfhood”. Originally the term codependency was used to describe the person whose life was affected as a result of being involved with someone who was chemically dependent. It is a normal response to an abnormal situation. It is born out of our natural inclination to help and has its roots in caring and compassion. Codependent behavior is an attempt to bring some control to an out of control situation.

Codependency becomes a problem when we focus so much on the needs or behavior of others that we lose touch with our own needs, beliefs, feelings, choices, thoughts – we actually lose contact with ourselves. At its worst, codependency causes us to even lose touch with our own physical health as we neglect ourselves in our focus on others. It can be a cause of serious stress-related illnesses.

Codependency has many different faces. People suffering from codependency tend to:

• Be “people-pleasers”

• Be unable to have spontaneous fun

• Have difficulty identifying and expressing feelings

• Need to be in control

• Have difficulty making decisions

• Seek perfection, to their own detriment

• Judge themselves harshly

If you recognize any of these tendencies in yourself, you may be suffering from codependency. Help is available. Codependency is treatable. Call for an appointment.