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

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

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 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

“I am not ok if you are not ok!” This is the codependents mantra. It dictates how you spend your time, resources, emotional energy, even the people you chose as friends. Aren’t you tired of having your emotional states dictated by how others experience you? Freedom from this mantra is possible. You can say no and attend to your own needs. At first this will feel very uncomfortable and scary but you are worth it.

— Aimee Grimm, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Montrose, CA

If you have trouble with needing to externally focus on other and have a hard time focusing on and caring for yourself, I can help. I have worked with many individuals to help them to reconnect with their wants, needs and learn to keep the focus on themselves. Codependenc

— Celine Redfield, Marriage & Family Therapist in Portland, OR

Sometimes we help others because we have made a choice, a decision to do so. Sometimes, though, it can get to a point where we stretch all our resources to the limit, perhaps giving way too much. In the process we can lose ourselves, forgetting that we need care and nurturing in order to be of any real help to others. It is possible to be TOO helpful, to enable a loved one or loved ones to be addicted, or irresponsible or impulsive, because we are constantly coming behind, cleaning up the messes and making all the consequences go away. In the end it does not help our loved one and we wind up paying a huge price in our own poor physical or mental health. I help people feel safe and welcome as we explore this pattern and begin to move toward health and life and feeling better.

— Diana Walla, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in West Lake Hills, TX

Codependency is a condition in which individuals attempt to and believe that if they control people, places, and situations, they can derive a sense of self-worth. It resembles an addiction to taking care of the needs and the problems of another person. In fact, many of the people I’ve worked with who are in these types of codependent relationships find themselves feeling, in many cases, what can be described as classic signs of addiction.

— Ellen Biros, Counselor in SUWANEE, GA

If "they" are happy, you're happy. If "they" are upset, you're a mess and feel like you have to "make it all better". Maybe you just can't tolerate the idea of your child(ten) being unhappy. Sound familiar? If so, you might be struggling with co-dependency. Setting emotionally boundaries can be hard and can feel really scary. There are lots of reasons why codependency has ruled your life but with guidance you can learn to set the boundaries that set you free of pain and guilt.

— Lisa Dyck, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Westlake Village, CA

The unwavering need to please others at your own expense resulting in anger & resentment. The inability to say no & when you try you experience intense guilt & shame. The need to save others from themselves & the responsibility of their actions. This is codependency. A terrible disease that I have battled throughout my life. It wasn’t until I went through my own healing journey that I was able to learn to accept the truth of my story, embrace my imperfections & believe I am good enough.

— Monique LCSW, Clinical Social Worker in Little Rock, AR

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

Are you tired of feeling drained by the people who you love? Self care is so important and usually at the bottom of your to do list. I can help you balance your priorities so they make sense.

— Sandy Demopoulos, Clinical Social Worker in White Plains, NY

Is it challenging for you to say "No" to your partner, parent, boss or co-workers? Do you find yourself wondering if you are helping too much, or giving too much of yourself, your independence or your personal power away? The art of managing your personal boundaries in a way that supports you and your relationships in a healthy and authentic way is part of the ongoing work of growing into a fuller, more realized version of yourself.

— Nathan Michael, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Berkeley, CA

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

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 ,

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 ,

Codependency is a controversial term, but I chose this one in my profile because I believe many people define codependency as engaging in a relationship that is to some degree unhealthy or toxic for them - and I do find that these clients often find me and work well with me. Many of my clients have suffered or are suffering from being in relationship with a highly narcissistic family member or partner. There is a dysfunctional type of arrangement in these relationships, wherein the narcissist exploits the "codependent" other, who willingly (if not always consciously) sacrifices his/her own wellbeing in service of pleasing or taming the narcissist. The codependent person often suffers incredible loss of self-esteem and trust in him- or herself, which tends to perpetuate and deepen the dynamic. This is very painful and complex situation, and therapy is a must. Please do not suffer alone if this description resonates with you!

— Maysie Tift, LMFT, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Rafael, CA

Codependency stems from many factors, and likely can be traced back to experiences in your past. Together we will explore your learned behaviors and thoughts that contribute to your choices that keep you stuck in unhealthy relationships. It all starts with self-love and compassion.

— Kesha Martin, Counselor in San Antonio, TX

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

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