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This blog answers some of the common questions that are searched online about therapy and how symptoms  show up in everyday life that can be helped using a holistic approach to healing.

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Signs of Codependency

Posted on 10 April, 2020 at 9:45

Building healthy relationships is a cornerstone for our overall mental, social and spiritual wellbeing. Unfortunately, this can be very difficult for people who live with codependency. Codependent behavior can be destructive in a variety of ways, but with the proper guidance and professional care, it can be overcome. If you’re concerned that you or someone you care about is struggling with codependency, consider the following warning signs and contact a mental health care professional for help.

 

Codependency Warning Signs

 

Codependency is a behavioral and emotional condition that can negatively affect a person’s ability to have a healthy, functional relationship. While the following is not a fully comprehensive list of characteristics, most codependent people will exhibit at least a few of these traits.

 

Extreme need for approval or validation

 

It’s normal to enjoy pleasing people we care about. However, this natural desire to strengthen social bonds becomes unhealthy and codependent when an individual places too much importance on receiving approval, whether it is from their parents, spouse, significant other, or peers. Codependent personalities tend to become hurt when they feel like their efforts are not recognized, applauded or rewarded. They may also feel the need to go “above and beyond” in order to win love and/or approval. In essence, codependents gauge their self-worth through the eyes of others.

 

If you feel a strong link between your self-worth and the approval or accolades of others, your feelings may come from codependency.

 

Tendency to confuse love with pity

 

Codependent individuals may feel an obligation to care for a person, not because of true feelings of love, but out of fear that without this care, the other person may suffer. A person who is codependent may unintentionally be drawn to people who have a perceived “weakness” or unhealthy trait, giving the codependent person a feeling of being needed.

 

If you feel the need to maintain a relationship because you’re afraid the other person needs your love to survive, or you feel an intense responsibility for the actions and behavior of others, you may be dealing with codependency.

 

Doing anything to save a relationship

 

People struggling with codependency often feel the need to do whatever it takes to stay connected to another person, even if the relationship is toxic. This often stems from a fear of abandonment, discomfort with being alone or an exaggerated sense of guilt for taking care of their own needs. Codependents often feel lost or lonely when they are not in a relationship, which further drives their need to save whatever relationship they are in currently.

 

If you’re finding yourself constantly thinking that you have to “make it work,” or you’ve realized you’re sacrificing a lot of your own needs and boundaries in order to fix a relationship, you may be dealing with codependency.

 

Inability to trust oneself

 

People with codependency issues often feel as though they can’t trust their own judgement and need frequent input from others to feel safe enough to make a decision. Sometimes codependent people may even feel as though they cannot trust their own emotions, especially if they have been through traumatic relationships in the past.

 

If you constantly need advice from others before making a decision, or are afraid to trust your own instincts, you may be suffering from codependency.

 

Learn More About Codependency

 

Remember, not everyone who experiences these traits is necessarily codependent. And not all codependents will experience every one of these characteristics. If you think you might be suffering from this condition, seek the guidance of a qualified mental health professional.

 

At Counsel for Hope, we specialize in treating a wide range of mental health issues, including codependency. Please reach out to us for more information or to set up an appointment.

 


Biological and Trauma Reasoning

Posted on 20 December, 2019 at 13:25

After doing some research and meeting with several of my clients I have come up with the two main reasons for addiction:

The first is Biological: People obsess and complete the compulsion to try to feel normal because our brain chemistry is out of balance and needs the necessary chemicals to balance out the brain. People will try food, gambling, drugs, shopping, sex, alcohol, or doctor prescribed medications to balance the brain to feel normal.

The second reason why people use is Trauma related: People use to mood alter, to escape, to take oneself out of reality of the past or current traumas or circumstances, so they don't feel the enormous pain of the reality of abandonment and/or abuse.

 

Gaslighting

Posted on 25 January, 2019 at 11:10

Gaslighting is a techique to brainwash victims and it is a strategy that is conducted by highly manipulative or partially sociopathic narcissists who walk among us in society undetected. Like child abusers, people that gaslight can easily itentify their prey, who are vulnerable to believing their lies. Gaslighting happens when the abuser systematically manipulates the environment so the victim experiences cognitive distress over a situation that is a dilemma that either was only mildly problematic or never even was present. The victim feels helpless when an idea is implanted for them to believe this terrible issue is hopeless and they turn to the abuser for protection. Because the victim is brainwashed to think the fabricated problem is real, they start to show symptoms of it, which can include, paranoia, insecurity, and acting as if the gaslighter's projection is true. The results create feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, which isolated the victim from anyone who could unmask the sociopathic gaslighter.

Adults abused as Children

Posted on 27 January, 2018 at 11:50

Abuse of any kind strikes at the heart of one's being and usually leaves a person wounded for many years, exhibiting a lack of trust, avoidance of feelings, low self-esteem, a sense of helplessness, and difficulty in relationships. Abuse can occur as sexual, physical, emotional or psychological including verbal abuse, and also emotional neglect. WIth child abuse, traumatization affects children during the critical years when they are learning about themselves, the world and developing coping skills. Neglect and abuse can lead to attachment difficulties later in life for adults. Since most child abuse happens with relationships, it is not uncommon for abused children to fear, distrust or expereince abbivalence about interpersonal closeness. They may either 1) avoid interpersonal closeness altogether or 2) accept some level of aggression in intimate relationship as the norm. This can lead to codependency. A key point is that therapy is not a cure for a sickness called child abuse it is about better coping mechanisms and better survival tension reducing behaviors.

C-PTSD Treatment Options

Posted on 4 March, 2017 at 15:00

Options a person has that is coping with C-PTSD are:

The removal of the source of the trauma, educate yourself about what has happened, acceptance that the trauma is real, important, and undeserved. A person needs to accept that the trauma came from something that could not be avoided and was stronger that the victim, and that past traumas primed the victim to decisions that brought additional undeserved trauma.  Recovery by the victim requires time and effort, and an understanding of what can be controlled and what cannot be controlled in their environment. It is important that the victim identifies and mourns the losses they have experienced. It is necessary for the victim to have a supportive environment that a allows them to discover that they are not alone. They need validation through their struggles. Therapy requires personal trauma therapy to explore past and recent traumas to free the victim from the emotional burdens and their power, and medication monitoring and management.


C-PTSD

Posted on 27 February, 2017 at 13:25

People that have C-PTSD may feel out of balance and can experience emotional breakdowns or burst into tears instantly. They can feel unloved or no matter what they accomplish is will never be enough for others. C-PTSD makes a person want to get away from others and be by themselves, so that others will not witness what may come next. They avoid forming close friendships to avoid additional losses should another catastrophe hit again. A person struggling with C-PTSD feel the other shoe is about to drop and they will not be able to handle a minor task. Their mind becomes overly taxed on the circumstances, ruminating, that they cannot be successful at home, school, work, or in the community.

Characteristics of C-PTSD include rage that is turned inward: Depression, Addictions, Truancy, Dropping Out, Promiscuity, Co-Dependency, and trying to please anybody to address the attachment wound from their childhood. Rage can then turn outward where a person can steal, destroy property, violence, or wanting to control everything and everyone around them. Some other behaviors include learned hyper vigilance, skewed perceptions about others, seek positions of power or control, focusing on ventures where there are extreme risk, or wanting to become a fixer to make others feel better.

Some of the common behaviors of a person experiencing C-PTSD include: avoidance, blaming, catastrophizing, control me syndrome, denial, dependency, depression, escape to fantasy, fear of abandonment, hyper vigilance, identity disturbance, learn helplessness, low self-esteem, panic attacks, perfectionism, selective memory and selective amnesia, self-loathing, and tunnel vision.


Complex Post Traumatic Stress

Posted on 19 February, 2017 at 14:55

This is a disorder that is caused by prolonged exposure to social or interpersonal trauma, disempowerment, captivity, or entrapment, with lack or loss of a viable escape route for the victim. Examples of situations include domestic emotional, physical or sexual abuse, childhood emotional, physical or sexual abuse, entrapment or kidnapping, slavery or enforced labor, long term imprisonment and torture, repeated violation of personal boundaries, long term objectification, exposure to gaslighting, long term exposure to inconsistent alternating raging, and hovering, long term taking care of mentally ill or chronically ill family members, long term exposure to crisis situations.

When a person experiences a feeling of no control there is a carried emotion after the situation has been removed. This is due to the continual feel of how bad things can possibly get to, it could happen again, and there is a potential it could be worse if it happens again. There is a typical suppression of traumatic events because they feel they can handle the circumstances or they feel there is no way out. This emotional baggage is like a volcano, though, and it just requires being pushed over the edge, or a safer emotional environment emerges and the volcano will erupt. C-PTSD is different from PTSD because C-PTSD does not have to be based a single event or even a recent event. It is based on the stress of having little chance of escaping. For example, a child witnessing a death of a friend could invoke PTSD, but a child that grows up in an abusive home may experience C-PTSD.

 

Mirroring

Posted on 13 February, 2017 at 13:15

Mirroring is a technique used by manipulators to get close quickly. What happens is that the manipulator gathers information about the target either during the discussion, but usually prior to the discussion. Then in their discussion or manipulator's presentation the manipulator mentions familiar information that only the target would know to let the target identify with the manipulator quickly so the target thinks the manipulator gets her/him and they have something in common. Usually after this the target is groomed further through love bombing to further make the target feel like they have met the one person or group that gets him. Then the devaluing and discarding phases happen.

Co-Dependency

Posted on 16 January, 2017 at 20:10

Addiction to another person and the need to control them! When co-dependents take ownership of another person's problem, they get their sense of wellbeing, by directing the behavior of the dependent person, however, they end up being controlled by the person they are trying to help. A person who has a relationship with an addicted / abusive person demonstrated certain characteristics: Increased tolerance of unacceptable behavior; denial of the level of severity of the personal impact and damage; value system that has been compromised to manage pain; reduction in life areas such as spiritual, physical, work, and family; a feeling of being trapped; strategically planning exit; and developing their own addictions.

People in most cases are not aware they are enabling and becoming co-dependent. Loving too much, or trying to do the right thing, however many times they feel guilty because their attempts are not good enough to make the person they love change. It is common for children to become codependent when a parent is either abusive or addicted or an immediate family member is.

It is documented that co-dependents often feel guilty because they believe they did something to cause their loved one to go out of control. They have tried to change the person and think somehow if they try harder, they can control the person with a problem that is controlling their life. The irrational belief is that a person can control another person, which leads to a painful cycle of failure and loss of self-worth.

Co-dependents live in a pain filled world. They live with a constant feeling of shame and fear. The ones they love cannot give them support, so they lose trust, shutting down their feelings. Since they are hiding the problem, they cannot talk to anyone. The emotional stress can create medical problems. To address this pain, co-dependents sometime make poor decisions that lead to personal addictions of their own or other behaviors that are harmful.

Christians are often susceptible to co-dependency and the church by accident can teach co-dependency behaviors. It cases where Christians attempt to love others as Christ tells us to, Christian's slip into actions that lead to co-dependency relationships, where they love too much and enable. We are all codependent on each other, but as Rom. 12:7-16;1, Cor. 12:12-27 we are to be interdependent and avoid polarizing behaviors of independence and co-dependence.

 

Damaging a Victim

Posted on 8 January, 2017 at 19:40

A Toxic person will take down a victim to a point where they are forced to reduce old people-pleasing habits and turns their focus inward and criticize themselves for feeling. When a victim's self-worth becomes so damaged, it requires learning how to love oneself unconditionally. In the past, when victims were young they may have not been allowed to have emotions. However, due abusive behavior of the toxic person this is an opportunity for victims to learn how to self soothe intense negative emotions.


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