When I was a kid, I read a comic book about a criminal foursome exposed to cosmic rays who ended up with super powers. As you may have guessed, the story was part of the Fantastic Four series. One scene in particular stands out; there was a woman whose ability was to convert herself into any gas she chose. Near the end, as their powers are overwhelming and destroying them, her husband is suffocating because his repulse ability is pushing all the oxygen away from him. In a desperate attempt to save him, she converts herself to oxygen, but his power disperses her on the wind like so much vapor. At its worst, this is what a codependent relationship is like.
What is Codependency?
Clinically, codependency is a relationship dynamic where one person subverts himself or herself in service to another, at the expense of their own well-being. A spouse to a substance user who goes out and buys the substance for him or her is codependent. Spouses who make it their job to keep everyone happy in the marriage (or the family) are codependent. Battered spouses who stay in the relationship are codependent, dispersed on the wind like the woman in the story.
There is such a thing as a harmless, or mostly harmless, codependent relationship, but the impact can be insidious long-term. At t...
Although the idea of codependency is a popular and often derogatory concept used in our self-help and pop culture society, it represents a real conceptualization of struggle and pain for a lot of people, especially those in committed relationships.
Just as in most cases with emotional, psychological, and mental health problems, Christians and people of faith can and often do struggle with the prospect and reality of codependency in their marriages, committed relationships, and often in their relationships with children and parents.
As a Christian counselor, I work with many people who often get stuck in their relationships because of codependent learnings, leanings, and/or characteristics. In the counseling relationship, we will work to understand, develop awareness, and help see a new way or path to relating with others.
What is Codependency?
Codependency refers to pain caused by the sufferings we encountered during our childhood, but becomes expressed in adulthood, leading to a higher chance of compulsive/addictive behavior and relationship problems. Codependency can be attributed to specific feelings and behaviors that result in an aversive relationship that is full of self-loathing and self-sacrificial behaviors.
The condition leaves you at a point where y...
ADHD, or ‘Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder’, is a relatively controversial mental health condition. While it has traditionally been thought of as something that made it difficult for children to sit still or pay attention in school or at home, new research is painting a different picture of what ADHD is. Many people debate about whether ADHD is a diagnosis that’s overused (or even legitimate at all), about what the best way of treating ADHD is, as well as about whether you can have ADHD as an adult. While there is still a lot about ADHD that we don’t understand, it is clear now that ADHD is not just a condition for children.
As a psychiatric nurse practitioner, I’ve had many adults ask me if they suffer from ADHD. They come with complaints of difficulty focusing at work, staying on task with challenging projects, ‘spacing out’ while someone is talking to them, or any number of other problems related to focus, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. While, at times, there is something else going on that better explains these concerns, many adults are surprised to find that, despite being 30, 50, or even 70, they have ADHD!
ADHD is a chronic psychiatric condition which, despite often first being seen in childhood, can manifest at any age. Research now suggests t...
Boundaries define us. They show what is me and what is not me. We are responsible to others, and we are responsible for ourselves. Boundaries are not walls, but are rather like fences with gates that we can open or close. They can help us to keep the good in and the bad out. But some trauma victims are keeping the bad in and good out because the world outside their “fence” seems untrustworthy – and for them, it has been. However, keeping in the secret darkness of grief can often lead to shutting out help.
What are Boundaries?
Here are some examples of boundaries: Skin defines our bodies, words (such as yes and no) create structure, truth sets limits on our behaviors, geography establishes our nationalities, use of time declares our priorities, emotional distance creates needed space, consequences verify the principle of reaping and sowing, values facilitate choices, feelings disclose our hearts, and talents can make room for us.
Four Types of Boundary Problems
In this article, I outline four types of people with boundary problems, namely Compliants, Avoidants, Controllers, and Nonresponsives. I also show how these different types of boundary problems relate to, and feed off, one another.
Compliants Accept the Bad
Compliants say “yes” to ...
Do find yourself making lots of sacrifices for your partner's happiness, but not getting much in return? If this kind of one-sided pattern sounds like yours, you don't have to feel trapped. There are lots of ways to change a codependent relationship and get your life back on an even keel.
What is a Codependent Relationship?
The first step in getting things back on track is to understand what a codependent relationship is. Experts describe it as a pattern of behavior in which you find yourself dependent on approval from someone else for your self-worth and identity.One key sign of a codependent relationship is when your sense of purpose in life wraps around making extreme sacrifices to satisfy your partner's needs."Codependent relationships signify a degree of unhealthy clinginess, where one person doesn't have self-sufficiency or autonomy," says Scott Wetzler, PhD, psychology division chief at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. "One or both parties depend on their loved ones for fulfillment."
Anyone can become codependent. However, some research suggests that people whoseparents emotionally abused or neglected them in their teens are more likely to enter codependent relationships."These kids are often taught to subvert their own needs to please a difficult parent, a...
By Julie Stroemel, PsyD, Mill Creek Counseling Center
Part 4 of a 4-Part Series
This is the fourth article in a series on Adult ADHD. The first article explored symptoms people may have with ADHD. The second article discussed the evaluation process and who should conduct the evaluations. The third article explored the importance of “executive function” and what can be done if it is not working well. In this final article in the series, I look at how ADHD affects adult relationships and at what steps one can take to overcome the problems that it causes.
The Impact of ADHD Across a Lifespan
ADHD is thought of as a developmental condition. At least sixty percent of those affected by ADHD in childhood will continue to have symptoms into adulthood. At the same time, symptoms do not appear later in life if they were not present in childhood. For those who have faced the challenges of ADHD since childhood, they have most likely experienced the frustration of parents and teachers. They have known the embarrassment and shame of being told that they are choosing to not try harder at their work, or are just looking for an excuse for their struggles. It is hardly surprising to lear...
By Patricia Lyon, MA, LMHCA Seattle Christian Counseling
“I hate my mother and just wish she would die. But I shouldn’t feel like this!” said one of my friends.
You’ve watched your mother decline into dementia. She thinks people are stealing from her and trying to kill her. You might even be the one she accuses. Remember, she is so afraid. Instead of reacting with anger or argument, will you create a moment of joy? Perhaps you could pull out a photo album, or give her a foot massage, or tell her a childhood story. Sometimes diversion is a wonderful cure for the raging brain that people can no longer control.
When Your Parent Regresses into Childhood
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are heartbreaking to watch. They can be so frustrating to manage, especially when you are a caregiver to someone you love deeply. As you become familiar with how the disease progresses, your paradigm will keep shifting as they regress into childhood. A beloved dad quit showering and was very belligerent. The family agreed that showering was not optional, but no one could figure out what to do about the problem. Finally, one of his daughters had an idea. She took him into the bathroom, turned on the warm shower, got him undressed – and he showered with her help. He had forgotten what it meant to take a shower, and no longer knew how ...