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Welcome to the Open Sky Webinar The webinar starts at 6pm, see you soon!
Codependency Understanding the cycle of compliance and control Micah Hammond, MA Clinical Therapist
What is Codependency? “an emotional, psychological, and behavioral condition that develops as a result of an individual’s prolonged exposure to, and practice of, a set of oppressive rules – rules which prevent the open expression of feelings as well as the direct discussion of personal and interpersonal problems.” -Robert Subby, Lost in the Shuffle: A Codependent Reality Loss of Choice and Power
“It is an emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. “ - National Mental Health Association
...a dysfunctional relationship with the self characterized by living through or for someone else. Codependency is....
How does it get started? Family experiencing emotional pain and stress Difficulty communicating or denial of problem Learned repression of feelings leading to defense mechanisms Focus on “problem” person and sacrificing of own needs
Dysfunction in the Family Fear, anger & shame Addiction Perfectionism or pressure to be perfect Overly controlling or ultra- responsible roles Giving and resenting Indirect communication Difficulty asking for help Abuse
Abuse: not just being hit Abuse is any action that is harmful or controlling and that affects the well-being of another person. Violence and rage Coercion and threats Deliberate use of words or actions to belittle or shame Unreasonable expectations False affection Offering of emotional or material ‘rewards’ Invasion or denial or privacy
How do I recognize codependency? Three different patterns: 1.Low self-esteem 2.Compliance 3.Control
“I had low self-esteem. I made poor choices. I never stood up for myself and put everyone before me. I was so needy for love, attention, affection...I did whatever they wanted to get what I needed.”
Low Self-Esteem Patterns Pervasive sense of guilt Not “good enough” Embarrassed by praise Don’t ask for needs or desires Value other’s approval over own Unlovable Fall in love with anyone who reaches out Self-blame Anxiety around intimacy
Compliance Patterns Compromise own values to avoid rejection or others’ anger Sensitive to how others are feeling and feel the same Afraid to express differing opinion Falling apart so others will help Remain in harmful situations too long Accept sex when really want love “All my life I slacked off and waited for someone else to plot the course. Letting myself become a doormat.”
Control Patterns Attempting to “fix” others Convince others what they “should” think/feel Resentful when help is not welcomed Give gifts with strings attached Victimization or blaming Have to be “needed” “Being a victim and being in control was how I was in power.”
Hidden Consequences Emotional Depression Anxiety Relationship dysfunctions Cycling between hyperactivity / lethargy Physical Gastro-intestinal disturbances or ulcers Migraine headaches Non-specific rashes and skin problems High blood pressure Insomnia or sleep disorders Other stress related physical illnesses
Role of Anxiety Anxiety World is dangerous. If I rely on someone whom I trust, then fewer bad things will happen. I am not able to cope on my own. Overdependence World is dangerous. If I control everything that happens and how others behave, then less can go wrong. Overcontrolling
How does overdependence become codependence? So reliant on others they will always compromise I can get used to getting my way They value and need others They make themselves available when others need company and fit in around them They can make some people feel protective or superior I like being needed and “fixing” your problems I have a constant companion and don’t have to focus on my problems I like having a purpose and saving you Overdependent personOther person thinks...
How does overcontrolling create codependence? Supervising too closelyThe world isn’t safe Intrusive, wanting to know too many personal details Making all the decisions, overriding decisions of others Fixing the others’ problems Overcontrolling personOther person thinks... I have to tell you everything I’m not capable of taking care of myself There is something wrong with me
How can I do things differently? Redefine your relationship with yourself Accept yourself for what and who you are Communicate directly about your emotions Define what a healthy relationship looks like Don’t assume false roles Don’t become the lifeline for a needy partner or friend – assist that person in getting the professional help he or she needs
Self Help v. Professional Help Do Find a support group and/or therapist Educate yourself Talk with family, partner, or friends Realize that codependency is just one aspect of a person Be patient – unlearning a pattern takes time Don’t Try to “fix” everything on your own Rely on books or other people’s stories to guide recovery Add layers of guilt, shame or blame
Resources: Codependent No More by Melody Beattie Codependents’ Guide to the Twelve Steps by Melody Beattie Doormats & Control Freaks by Rebekah Lewis Difficult Personalities by Helen McGrath, PhD Facing Codependence by Pia Mellody
Questions: 1.How did this information change your understanding of codependency? 2.How does your family deal with emotional pain and stress in positive ways? In negative ways? 3.How do you express your anxiety in negative ways? In positive ways? 4.What are the codependent tendencies that show up in your relationships? What are the independent tendencies? 5.What is a pattern that you would like to change between you and your child? What is a strength that you can build on?
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