What is codependency?
Codependency is an addiction to pleasing others. The codependent believes that the needs of others are more important that their own needs. They justify this belief by telling themselves others can't take care of themselves. However while they feel responsibility for others and have a compulsive need to take care of others, they also believe that others are responsible for them. This unhealthy dependence on others means that they feel controlled by others and they blame others for their unhappiness. They fail to take personal responsibility for meeting their own needs and they attempt to gain a sense of control by rigidly over controlling the lives of others. Codependents believe they need another person to 'complete' themselves, to take care of them.
Deep down codependents feel worthless and empty; they fear independence and they believe that neither they(or others) can take care of themselves. They crave external validation of themselves and are driven by feelings of chronic insecurity.
How can counselling help someone who is codependent?
Counselling can help the codependent own and take responsibility for their own needs and wants. This can be done by confronting the root of what drives the codependent- often this is a need to be loved by the other. However another person can't 'fix' the codependent's lack of self worth. Learning to generate an internal sense of self worth and self validation is part of the therapy work. This will help the codependent's relationships. The counselling sessions will also involve grieving for the loss of part of their childhood. Codependency can occur in an individual when they haven't experienced the healthy and natural stage of symbiosis that occurs between a child and their caretaker.