The term co-dependent tends to have a pejorative connotation where the negativity is usually placed on an individual who is said to be ‘co-dependent’. A Gestalt Therapy perspective holds that individuals are not islands unto themselves but are interdependent with those around them and the environment they are part of. For somebody to have ‘co-dependant’ relational characteristic they are part of a field where others support and co-create the circumstances that facilitate ‘co-dependent’ behaviours. This blog will continue to use the term ‘co-dependent’, but only for convenience sake and not as a fixed label that identifies someone as being flawed.
What Does It Look Like!
Co-dependent people can have excellent qualities, such as having the ability to create and maintain relationships, be emotionally astute and cultivate rapport with the most challenging people. Unfortunately, this relational capacity can be done to avoid a sense of loneliness or in order for others to love them in return.
Answering yes to the following questions may indicate a tendency towards co-dependency.
- Do you find it difficult saying no to others?
- Do you feel uncomfortable receiving help and support from others?
- As a child were you the family helper.
- Is there resentment when others don’t show gratitude or appreciation for all the help you give?
- Are you sacrificing you needs for everybody else?
- When helping others do you feel more worthy?
- Conversely, if you stopped helping others do you feel guilty and worthless?
- Are you considered the dependable one?
If this topic resonates with you and you would like some support then please call one of our therapists.
May this day find you well.
Counselling and Psychotherapy Team