Codependency, sometimes referred to as “relationship addiction," describes sacrificing one’s personal needs to try to meet the needs of others. Although it is often associated with romantic relationships, codependency can be experienced in all types of close relationships, including with family and friendships.  Someone who is codependent has an extreme focus outside themselves. Their thoughts and actions revolve around other people, such as a spouse or relative or they build their identity on helping or “saving” other people. Codependents typically experience feelings of low self-esteem, anxiety and insecurity in these relationships and may also experience perfectionism and control issues. Codependent symptoms can worsen if left untreated. If you are worried that you might be codependent, reach out to one of TherapyDen’s codependency experts today!

Meet the specialists

Did you know another fancy, psychotherapy word for codependency is "enmeshment?" You're going to kick ass at your next round of Scrabble! If you go to my blog you can read all about it. I am currently not up to paraphrasing. You're probably not reading this anyway. Nice shirt!

— Wendy Curtis, Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, OR

When your relationship with yourself is unconscious or wounded, you lack a stable center. Your boundaries are necessarily distorted when your center is off. I’ve immersed myself in recovery from codependency, and view it on the spectrum of attachment relatef trauma.

— Elizabeth Ostolozaga, Clinical Social Worker in Rapid City, SD

I work with clients to help them see how they contribute to co-dependent relationships, where they learned it, and support them to help break the cycle.

— Stuart Malkin, Counselor in Portland, OR

Do you find yourself falling into one or more of these codependent relationship patterns: people pleasing, defining your self-worth by others, ignoring red flags, have poor boundaries, have a hard time saying no and staying in a relationship with someone who is unavailable or abusive? For many people conflict is comfortable, and healthy feels foreign. I will help you recognize the patterns in your life and provide you with the necessary tools to challenge your beliefs and self defeating thoughts

— Amie Celender, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Scottsdale, AZ

Often times my clients accept responsibility for others' feelings and behaviors, leaving the feeling drained, guilty, and resentful. I help my clients identify areas of overfunctioning in relationships, develop a strong self-concept, implement boundaries, and learn how to nurture & care for themselves. Though they are scared and fearful at first, my clients love learning to empower themselves and how to love others without it being at the expense of themselves.

— Cynthia Goeller, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in ,

lacking self-love and being dependent on others to meet fill those needs/wants.

— Nicole Bailey, Therapist in Avondale Estates, GA

You look like a rock star, always on top of things, responsible, the one that others depend on. But you’re exhausted, resentful, lonely, and furious that no one is taking care of you. Codependency is a strategy we discover to connect to parents who have unmet dependency needs from childhood. We care for them to get a smidge more of the love we need. Now, your mission is to give yourself the care you’ve been giving to others. By meeting your own dependency needs, you can heal your codependency.

— Julie Levin, Marriage & Family Therapist in Pleasant Hill, CA

If your relationship is not the place you want it to be. You would like to have a loving relationship with your partner and for some reason that not happening. I would like to help you figure out why. A codependent relationship in all of its form and simply a relationship is not working because of many different reasons. Sometimes it would help to have another person in the process to figure out why.

— Ronica Clark, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in ,

We live in a culture that overtly and subtly encourages us to fixate on the needs of others, to the detriment of our own wellbeing. Codependency exists pervasively, and on a spectrum, inside all of us. I'm here to help you develop healthy boundaries and empathy for yourself, so that your connections to others can come from an authentic, energizing and expansive-feeling place within yourself, rather than causing strife. Your relationships should ---and can--- energize and inspire you!

— Katy Bullick, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Oakland, CA

I identify as a person in long-term recovery from codependency. I write, study, and lead groups and workshops on codependency recovery. I have worked with clients dealing with codependency for over seven years.

— D.J. Burr, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Seattle, WA

Do you notice a pattern of helping or healing others in your life to prove your own worth?Perfectionism and codependency go hand-in-hand. What will people think? It’s that constant “should-ing” yourself to be like everyone else. It’s the lying or hiding parts of yourself out of the fear of repulsing other people. Let me help you get out of your own head. Reach out today to get started on fearless living.

— Keesha Parker, Licensed Professional Counselor in Fort Smith, AR

Many people only have a vague understanding of Codependency, and yet it is an issue that may be extremely impacting on one's functioning : the ability to set boundaries, to feel self love, identify reality and experiences, and modulate emotional responses. Codependency is often endemic in families impacted by addiction but it is a widespread issue that extends beyond the presence of usual addictions. Clients gain clarity about what this disorder is, what it means for them and how to heal.

— rachel khints, Counselor in New York, NY

I have personal and professional success in dealing with and treating people who have issues with codependency. My approach to counseling folks who have issues with codependency is to combine my personal experiences with "book knowledge" and ongoing educational experiences to help my clients learn how to overcome those issues and form healthier relationships with others.

— Aimee Royer, Counselor in Peoria, IL

This one can be tough to spot, I sure didn't realize I used to be codependent. Signs: People pleasing, putting other's needs before your own, struggles with self-care (feeling guilty if you spent time or money on yourself - ex. getting a massage), having difficulty saying no, having trouble setting or enforcing boundaries, always needing the approval of others, uneasy if someone is upset with you, you would rather be uncomfortable than make someone else feel uncomfortable, difficulty asserting.

— Patti Sabla, Therapist in , FL

We often find it difficult to realize our own co-dependency, whether created during childhood or as adults. Living a Co-dependent life allows a person to give their own power away continuously, never realizing their own potential, gifts, strengths and inherent worth. Self-love and love for others should have a healthy balance, and nothing is more beautiful than to see a person become more self aware to love own self as is.

— Shay Phillips, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Houston, TX

I work with a lot of clients that tend to put others before themselves and participate in relationships with unhealthy boundaries.

— Paige Towers, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Seansea, IL

Do you ensure others are comfortable while you are uncomfortable? Do you put the needs of others above your own? Do you define your worth in how others respond or perceive you? Then, you are probably codependent. Codependency occurs when you are overly dependent on others (their love, approval, and acknowledgement) while neglecting yourself. We will discuss the self-destructive patterns of codependency, discard them, and create new ways to be undependent.

— Marissa Esquibel, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Claremont, CA

Do you find yourself falling into one or more of these codependent relationship patterns: people pleasing, defining your self-worth by others, ignoring red flags, have poor boundaries, have a hard time saying no and staying in a relationship with someone who is unavailable or abusive?

— Amie Celender, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Scottsdale, AZ

Codependency is a self-defeating pattern of behavior - a tendency to act in overly passive, caretaking and controlling ways that can cause resentment, negative impact on your relationships, and diminish your quality of life. It is simply too little focus on your own needs and too much focus on caring for others. The first steps in overcoming codependency are to become more aware of your needs, to learn your true value, and to take responsibility for creating an enriching and satisfying life.

— Angela Hasty, Clinical Psychologist in Berkeley, CA