Codependency is an emotional and behavioral condition that interferes with a person’s ability to develop relationships with others. These relationships display unhealthy attitudes about their friendships or romantic relationships, often displaying signs of anxiety, frustration, and pity in the relationship itself. As a complex and intimate topic, our team can help you navigate through the effects of codependency, learn the differences between codependency and enmeshed relationships, and help give you healthy coping mechanisms that benefit you and your relationships overall.
Codependency often stems from a history of dysfunctional family dynamics or past trauma, often leading individuals to prioritize the needs of others beyond their own. Instead of being filled with mutual respect for others’ agency, these dynamics often feed on each other, perpetuating unhealthy emotions and thought patterns by attaching oneself to their relationship, letting the relationship define them thoroughly.
While codependency and enmeshed relationships sound similar, they have entirely different characteristics. These distinctions include:
- Codependent Relationships: In codependent relationships, people may struggle with low self-esteem and experience difficulties establishing boundaries and asserting their needs. In the relationship, the person becomes reliant on their partner for their well-being and validation, neglecting their own needs and desires, often causing an imbalance of power within the dynamic.
- Enmeshed Relationships: Enmeshed relationships are more integrated than codependent relationships, causing the emotional boundaries between people to become blurred or nonexistent. In these relationships, neither partner can differentiate their thoughts and emotions from one other, lacking individual autonomy and personal boundaries, leading to a sense of emotional suffocation.
Because of how intimate and emotionally charged these relationships can be, our team of therapists can provide ways to help remove codependent patterns of behavior and help improve the relationship as a whole. Some techniques our team works with include:
- Emotional and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Finding the underlying causes of your codependency can help you learn how your past affects your current thoughts and emotions. Cognitive behavioral therapy can establish an awareness of behaviors and underlying beliefs in relationships and help promote better skills when communicating with your partner.
- Self-Awareness and Mindfulness: Taking moments to practice mindfulness can help you become more deeply aware of yourself and how you interact with your current relationship, further tracking down the effects of your thoughts and behaviors.
- Establishing Boundaries and Relational Patterns: Most of all, our team works with you to help cultivate relational patterns that foster interdependence rather than codependency or enmeshment, which include topics such as communication skills, emotional autonomy, and a more balanced give-and-take dynamic within your relationship.
If you are struggling with codependent relationships, Monarchs Therapy supports you in breaking free from unhealthy patterns and finding emotional well-being. Contact us today at (818) 741-1221 to schedule an appointment with Judith Verduzco, LCSW, MPA. Our clinic in La Crescenta, CA, offers a safe and compassionate space where you can embark on a journey of self-discovery, healing, and healthier relationships.