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Do you identify your strengths with your ability to recognize or meet the needs of others, while habitually denying your own? Perhaps you feel shame or self critical about expressing your feelings or asking for help. Maybe you worry or feel anxious about how others perceive you. These are some of the adaptive approaches to being in relationships that describe Codependency.

Some common features of codependency

We come into the world reliant on others; specifically our families or early caregivers, to nurture and protect us, set healthy limits, and teach us how to communicate and express our feelings in relationships. But in many families, particularly where substance abuse or addiction of any kind is present, you may have learned to deny your own feelings and boundaries in order to feel safe or avoid conflict. This becomes an unspoken and often unconscious pattern of behavior that can heighten feelings of anxiety and/or depression and often leads to seeking validation from others in order to quell an unfulfilled sense of self

Approaches to Recovery

Learning to identify and communicate your needs effectively is a process of discovery. Cultivating tools like mindful awareness can bring insight into the way thoughts and feelings manifest in the body (somatically) as patterns of reaction, and unconscious behaviors. Developing new resources to safely access and attend to difficult memories and past traumas often brings new clarity to your needs in the present. Learning to identify and support your needs will allow you to make healthy boundaries and increase your capacity for self- trust, which will deepen  your potential for meaningful and supportive relationships.