Codependency in Relationships

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Freedom from Co-dependent Issues with Hypnosis

What is Co-Dependency?
Co-dependency is a little-understood trait which is defined as a compulsion to take care of others, wanting to “fix” them, whilst neglecting the self.

Co-dependents tend to live their life through, or for, others. Because of this they can tend to be controlling and will be apt to blame others rather than taking personal responsibility.

It is common in those who come from dysfunctional families and their parents may be addicts of some kind, ie alcohol or drugs.

Depression, anxiety, dysfunctional relationships and a high or low activity level are common in co-dependents. There may also be physical problems associated with the condition such as stomach problems, migraines, general malaise and skin problems.

Common characteristics of co-dependents:

  • Anxiety
  • Taking care of others at the expense of self
  • Unable to trust own feelings
  • An overdeveloped sense of responsibility for others
  • Guilt (a feeling of not doing enough for others)
  • Depression
  • Isolation
  • Workaholic
  • Perfectionism
  • No clear boundaries
  • Low-self esteem
  • Approval seeking
  • Not taking responsibility for own actions
  • Difficulty in maintaining relationships
  • Over-reactiveness
  • Impulsivity
  • Resentment of authority
  • Fear of anger
  • Defensiveness
  • Enjoys drama in their lives
  • Confusion between love and pity
  • Compulsion to ”fix” or “rescue” others
  • Rigidity and the need to control
  • Lies when easy to tell the truth
  • Poor relationship choices
  • Strong sense of injustice for others but a disregard to those done to self
  • Difficulty in receiving
  • A sense of self derived from others
  • Accepting abuse to avoid loneliness
  • Non-assertive with regard to their own needs
  • Avoidance of feelings
  • Good intentions
  • Problems with intimacy
  • Heightened awareness of threat/danger
  • A resistance to having fun

    They will often look for victims to help and will go to great lengths to “protect” them, ie lie for them, give them money, clear up after them or put them to bed even when they have been abused by them. This is colluding with the problem and only serves to exacerbate it.

    Tips for overcoming co-dependency

  • Allow others to take the consequences of their own actions – be supportive of others but not responsible for them
  • Identify your own needs and fulfil them
  • Start to be responsible for your own life and actions
  • Become aware of your own feelings and what they are trying to tell you – ie, if you are angry, ask yourself what isn’t fair? Then take actions to remedy the situation without controlling others
  • Take care of yourself
  • Let go of the need to be involved in “fixing” others’ lives
  • Find things about yourself that you can love
  • Be clear of your boundaries and others’ boundaries
  • Find out what makes you happy
  • Have fun

    It is fairly difficult not to be co-dependent to some degree in our society but the measure is to what degree is it colluding with others’ problems and to what degree is it denying your own needs?

    How Can Hypnotherapy Help?
    Hypnotherapy can help deal with the underlying cause of the co-dependency and help you to understand your own needs and feelings and deal with those in a more constructive way. It can help you to establish healthier ways of interacting with others, yourself and the world, as well as giving you the confidence and assertiveness to build a fulfilling life not dependant on others.

    Suggested reading:
    Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself, M Beattie (San Francisco, Harper)

    Secret Language of Feelings, Cal Banyan. Available from Tricia Woolfrey

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5-Path & 7-Path Hypnotherapist
Harley Street, London & Surrey


Article Posted – 15th May 2007. Copyright Tricia Woolfrey

IMPORTANT No article may be reproduced in any way, shape or form without the express permission of the author.

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