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How to Overcome Being Codependent


Do you care more about how someone else feels versus how you feel? Do you feel that whatever you do in life depends on the approval of the other person? If you said, “yes” then you could be codependent. To help understand the signs of someone who is codependent and what someone can do to overcome being codependent, I have interviewed therapist Kari Marshall MA.

Tell me a little bit about yourself.
“I’m a Licensed Professional Counselor in practice for about 8 years. I enjoy helping individuals, couples and families who are experiencing problems with communication, adjustment or significant trauma in their lives. Some of my clients have had experiences with abuse, alcoholism or other types of crisis in their families of origin, which might effect their current styles of relating, handling crisis, or how they look at life.”

What are some signs that someone is codependent?
“Codependency is about relying on another person for one’s sense of purpose, worth or identity. Some of the signs a person is codependent is that they consistently put others needs before their own in a way that is detrimental to them. They may ignore their own social, emotional or other needs to win another’s approval. Someone who is codependent may hide their feelings to keep from making waves in a relationship or tolerate mistreatment from others to an extreme degree. Codependency can encompass a whole continuum with some persons simply having problems asserting themselves, their needs and feelings to others, all the way to people who learn to tolerate verbal, psychological and physical abuse and/or serious addictions in their relationships in order to stay connected.

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What type of impact does codependency have on a person’s overall life?
The impact of codependent types of dynamics in relationships can lead to trouble with an individual being clear about his or her own identity, low self esteem and problems getting the support they need to meet their own needs and goals in life to feel more satisfied and whole as a person.

What can someone do to overcome being codependent?
“Some things that help people to overcome codependent types of behaviors and dynamics in their relationships are to learn about boundaries-and to be honest with themselves about what they are and are not comfortable with in their relationships. When people learn to become aware of their own needs as individuals and to express these needs in a healthy manner they are more likely to get their needs met and attain the support they need to have healthier, happier lives. When a person learns to take the risk of asserting their true needs, feelings and desires to others they are more likely to encourage and develop more reciprocal connections with others and to feel freer to express themselves.”

What type of professional help is available for someone who is codependent?
Individual and couples’ counseling and family therapy can all be helpful means of people learning to negotiate their needs with others, learn to be more independent in their relationships and build self-esteem that comes from knowing and expressing themselves better. Some people who are involved in abusive relationships or addictions may benefit from support groups where they are can learn to give and receive support and see from an outsiders as well as an insiders perspective on how codependent types of dynamics impact a person. I work with many person’s seeking to change codependent dynamics in my private practice ‘” specializing in individual, couples’, groups and family counseling for persons effected by this.”

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Thank you Kari for doing the interview on how someone can overcome being codependent. For more information on Kari Marshall or her work you can check out her website on www.karimarshall.com.

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