Are You Struggling to Prioritize Your Own Needs?
- Are you trapped in an unsatisfying, codependent or abusive relationship?
- Do you obsess over how you can please a boss, partner, friend or family member?
- Are you worried about how other people will view you if you take time to look after your own wants and needs?
Exercise: Finding out how I am codependent.
True or False
- Without even realizing that it is happening, I find myself focusing on others needs even at my own expense.
- When it is my turn to receive help from others I usually decline, as I am uneasy when others focus their attention on me.
- I have many times taken pride in the fact that I am a “helper” with others, and I can easily postpone or deny my own needs.
- I feel the best about myself when I am giving advice and/or handling a crisis situation.
- Many times I have waited for others to take care of me in return, only to discover that it is never my turn.
- Sometimes I am so focused on one person that I can only think about that person and how to help them.
- When I am alone I think about other people besides myself.
- Often I do not know my own response or feelings to difficult situations in my life
- I am often considered to be the “responsible person” to handle almost everything.
If you answered true to most of the above questions, you are very likely codependent. To be codependent is to be skilled in the art of taking care of other people rather than yourself.
You may spend so much time and energy taking care of other people that you are too emotionally or physically exhausted to take care of yourself. Maybe you feel like you have to constantly be there for a partner, family member or patient who is dealing with a chronic illness or alcoholic/addictive behavior, feeling it would be selfish to take care of yourself when someone close to you is unhappy or in pain. Do you need help prioritizing your own needs when you feel tired, down or stuck in a personal or professional relationship?
Being codependent, which can often be hard to identify, can be an exhausting, upsetting and confusing experience. You may not think of yourself as codependent, however, and wonder if you really need codependency therapy. It may be that you feel self-conscious, depressed or dissatisfied in your life, career or relationships, but aren’t sure why. Perhaps you have taken on more responsibilities at work or home in an effort to please your boss, coworkers or partner, and now you feel exhausted or resentful. You may be used to sacrificing your own desires, especially if you work in a helping profession or a high-pressure industry and need help setting limits and boundaries. Yet, you don’t want to stop helping others. Do you wish you could foster the time, space and support you need to take care of yourself so you could do a better job of caring for others?
Codependency in Relationships is Common
Many of us have been taught from a young age to take care of other people instead of ourselves. And, while this selflessness can be a guiding principle in our lives, it can also keep us from spending the time and energy we need to maintain our own wellbeing. A growing number of individuals in high-pressure careers and helping professions, such as nurses and physicians, feel like they have to take on more or larger responsibilities to meet expectations. Other people avoid or become nervous in groups, but don’t know if they are dealing with anxiety, social phobia or codependency. You may help others in the workplace, even though it means you have to stay late and sacrifice time with your family. Alternately, you might sacrifice career goals in an effort to support a partner or family member, but a part of you feels resentful. You might be ready to make a change, but worry you will let people down if you aren’t available to help as often or in the same ways you were in the past.
The good news is that there are healthy ways to learn to trust yourself, focus more on your needs and, through this process, create balance in your life. You can have a whole new life of your own creation. Codependency counseling and group therapy at my office in Palo Alto or Mountain View, CA can help you learn how to recognize and support your own needs. And, when you are able to relax and recharge, you can be more available for other people in your life.
Codependency Therapy Can Provide You with Support, Guidance and Relief
I provide a safe space where you can share your challenges, goals, desires and needs without fear of judgment or criticism. I offer gentle, warm and compassionate support to help you explore your personal history and feel empowered to make positive changes in your relationships. Instead of telling you what to do, I can help you develop your own strategies for healing and growth. I have an interactive, engaging approach and can help you learn new skills and build self-esteem. Good psychotherapy isn’t about solving problems for you. Rather, it’s about giving you the tools to find your own path forward.
Understanding your background and why you feel unhappy, anxious or fearful is an important part of overcoming codependency. When you recognize what you need to feel happy and secure, you can learn to share your needs and set boundaries at work and home. I can help you approach your goals and needs with self-compassion and address negative thoughts or behaviors in a healthy way. By taking time to work on your own needs, you can learn how to be assertive in a healthy way. You can build the confidence to speak up when you feel hurt, ignored or slighted. And, you can feel empowered to take more risks, such as using your voice in a meeting or asking for a raise.
In addition to one-on-one therapy for codependency, I offer group therapy sessions as a supplement or alternative path to fostering greater self-awareness and self-care. Working in a group encourages codependent individuals to keep the focus on themselves even when others are present. You can feel understood and encouraged by each member, giving you a group of people who are interested in you, support you, and want to see you pursue your personal goals.
I have been helping individuals, couples, and clients in group therapy understand and address codependency issues throughout my career. I understand how difficult it can be to commit to therapy, especially if your partner or parent doesn’t want you to come to sessions. But, with the right guidance and the support of a nurturing, compassionate therapist, you can foster a more confident, relaxed and happy life.
You may still have questions or concerns about codependency therapy…
I shouldn’t be spending time and money on myself.
You may not feel like you can or should invest in your own wellbeing, especially if you are already overwhelmed keeping up with work and family obligations. But, by taking time to relax and care for yourself, you can find relief from personal and relationship challenges and feel recharged in your efforts to lead a more satisfying life and care for others.
Pleasing other people is important to me. I don’t want to lose that part of who I am.
Our goal won’t be to change who you are or what you value. Rather, our therapy work will be to help you recognize the value of learning to take care of yourself. I bring an empathic approach to individual and group codependency counseling and can help you escape the cycle of worry and self-doubt. And, when you feel good about yourself, you can more effectively help others.
I need to be strong for my work and family. I don’t want to feel vulnerable or like things are out of my control.
While it can be scary admitting when we feel insecure, trapped or helpless, doing so is an important first step toward personal growth and healing. I offer a safe, confidential space where you can explore sources of internal or external conflict, learn to set boundaries and foster healthy, empowering relationships.
Other helpful articles about codependency written by Nancy Wesson, Ph.D.
- Live a fuller life: Breaking out of the codependency lifestyle
- Overcoming Codependency is life changing
- Pleasing others: the path to resolving codependency
- 15 Traits of a Healthy Relationship with a Friend or a Partner
You Can Feel Understood and Cared For
I can help you understand how to free yourself from codependency, feel better, and have healthy relationships. If you are ready to understand and address patterns of codependency that are affecting your life, or if you have additional questions about codependency therapy, I encourage you to call (650) 965-7332 or email Dr.NWesson@sbcglobal.net to schedule an initial session or to discuss working on your codependency issues. Or, you can start by reviewing Frequently Asked Questions.