Counterdependency

How to Find Peace in Life Part 3

How to Find Peace in Life Part 3

This week, we are discussing the ever sought after goal of many of our clients— peace.  Peace of heart, peace of mind, a peaceful home, peaceful relationships, or a peaceful work environment. The issues we see in our office that bring couples, families and individuals to therapy may vary, but underneath the presenting problem is usually the same core struggle: Whatever is going on in their life feels chaotic, unsettling, insecure, or just simply without peace.

Counterdependency Part 3

Counterdependency Part 3

On Tuesday, Tamara gave us great descriptions of 4 of the 7 characteristics of Counterdependency: Grandiose, Not knowing/respecting boundaries of others, Arrogant, and Independent. Thinking of anyone you know yet? Here are the remaining 3.

The Masks We Wear... Counterdependency

This week, as a tribute to the Halloween season, we are talking about masks.  Every day we can unknowingly put on different masks that hide us from various things we need in life:  intimacy, self-worth, love, belonging, identity, and freedom.  So far this week, we have discussed the masks of Shame, Codependency and Addiction.  Today we will talk about the mask of Counterdependency. What is the mask of Counterdependency-- what does it look like?

Counterdependents wear a mask that shows the outside world a "tough outer shell" with various traits that represent strength and success (though as you read through this, picture the parts of this "mask" as hiding or covering up a very insecure, needy and vulnerable person underneath).  Some of the main Counterdependent traits that make up their mask include:

  • grandiose, or overly confident (to the point of being cocky)
  • Presenting to others that they are "always right" ( Their way is the "right" way and they are "always right")
  • Controlling
  • Success driven, to the point of being a workaholic
  • Independent-- Not good at being vulnerable and "needy"
  • Non-emotional or emotionally cut off
  • Abrasive
  • Show anger as a main feeling
  • Very visionary-- Counterdependents have great plans for the future to make them more successful, but little follow through
  • Not in touch with their own limitations (Counterdependents aren't good at recognizing when they feel sick and taking care of themselves when they need to go to the doctor, sleeping when their body tells them they are tired, etc.)

How can this mask  impact a Counterdependent's life?

Being successful can be a wonderful thing, but it can also destroy relationships if someone becomes so focused on success and a workaholic to the point where they aren't able to invest in their relationships.  A Counterdependent's difficulty with being vulnerable, expressing the full range of emotion, and allowing themselves to be in touch with even healthy needs, causes them to have difficulty with intimacy, which causes the partner of a Counterdependent to feel alone-- like they don't really "know" their partner.  It also causes a Counterdependent's children to feel a lack of authentic connection with their parent because the Counterdependent is often not present physically (often due to work), or might not know how to "let go" and have fun through play on their child's level.  Their abrasiveness, use of anger, and having to always be "right" and in control doesn't allow for mutual give and take in a relationship, can intimidate the people around the Counterdependent, keeps people at a distance from the Counterdependent, and doesn't allow relationships to be an intimate, two-way street.  Because of these traits, Counterdependents can often find themselves in the position where they lose many relationships and have relationships that are highly conflictual.  Not recognizing their limitations can cause premature death (not going to the doctor because they can "tough it out", when there is really a life threatening illness that eventually takes their life), burn-out, and a loss of relationships.

What Can Help?

It's important for a Counterdependent to recognize that the behaviors they have adopted to protect them early on in childhood, actually keep them isolated and many times, alone.  Addressing the fear that drives the counterdependent behaviors and learning how to be in touch with the full range of human emotion can improve relationships and help the counterdependent realize that they do, in fact, have needs.  Learning how to recognize their limitations and nurture themselves, as well as having intimacy and nurturing their relationships is imperative in their recovery process.  Also, acknowledging that the "mask" of Counterdependency is only just that-- a "mask", and realizing that they really are trying to protect themselves from feeling the fear, vulnerable, insecure parts of who they really are, is very important to moving past Counterdependent behaviors.  Many times, with Counterdependency, professional counseling with a therapist who has knowledge of Counterdependency is needed for healing and growth to begin.

So, which "masks" did you see in yourself from this week's blog?  We would love to hear from you!

References:

Counterdependency: The Flight From Intimacy by Janae and Barry Weinhold

Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling.  Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.

Dynamics of Shame and Low Self-Esteem 5

Blocks to Healing Shame issues are so liberating to heal, though they can sometimes be very difficult, especially if we encounter roadblocks to the healing process. There are different things that can prevent us from healing shame, including:

Negative attitudes we may have about ourselves. 

If you have always carried negative attitudes about yourself, when you try to heal the shame "tapes" that play in your mind, it can be difficult to change those messages to something more positive because you have truly come to believe that "tape" about yourself.  For example, if you have a tape that says "I am never good enough", to heal the shame surrounding that statement, you have to believe that there is a possibility that isn't true!

Memories of facial expressions or other images we see in other people that made us feel shameful about in the past, that we now see in other people.

For example, if your father used to get a certain "look" that made you feel like a disappointment as a child, when you see that similar look on your husband's face, you might instantly feel like a disappointment to him, too.

Age-regressive behaviors or reactions to another person.

For example, as a child, when your parent did something to you that caused you to feel angry, if you felt as though you weren't allowed to feel angry, you may have tried to cover up your anger by being numb or being quiet and shutting down.  The quietness is because you feel confused and overwhelmed by the feelings you are unable to express.  As an adult, when your spouse says or does something that makes you feel angry, you may have this same reaction of being quiet and shutting down, or becoming overwhelmed by all of the feelings you aren't allowing yourself to express.  This is a shame-based response.

Learning to get past these shame-based blocks to healing, first involves learning to become aware of it.  If not, we will constantly see our spouse and THEIR reaction as the problem, when it truly is our ability to see our own responses to them as the area of healing.

What to do when you encounter these reactions?

Take a deep breath.  Walk around and gather your thoughts.  Ask yourself, "What am I truly reacting to right now?"  Does this remind you of an earlier time in your life?  What limits do you need to set with this other person?  How can you have a voice with them to help you heal the child within you that wasn't allowed to have a voice?  Healing these roadblocks to shame means learning to take action and heal the situation by avoiding the mistreatment we lived through as a child.  Maybe you weren't allowed to have a voice as a child, but as an adult, you have the ability to say what you think, feel and need.

Adapted from "Healing the Child Within" by Charles L. Whitfield.

Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling.  Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.

What Kind of Unglued Are You? The Stuffer Who Collects Retaliation Rocks

The Stuffer Who Collects Retaliation Rocks What do you do with your feelings about small (and not-so-small) situations that happen in your marriage?  Do you share them with your spouse and get clarification with them?  Do you let them see who you really are?  Or do you keep them stuffed away (as Natalie wrote about in yesterday's post)?

When feeling "unglued", sometimes we will collect what is termed "Retaliation Rocks".  These are things we use as a weapon for future disagreements.  For example:  Your spouse doesn't help with housework, but you don't say anything to he/she about how this feels.  You stuff the feelings away in a corner of your heart.  Later on (sometimes years later), your spouse doesn't initiate a date night and "A-HA!"... You just KNEW it!  They don't love you and don't feel you are important (not true), so you explode on them, using one incident (or many) about just how "unimportant" you must really be to them!  The problem with this is.... it's not true!  You never shared with them how you felt in the first place, but instead kept this information and all of these feelings from your spouse's knowledge, only to bombard them with feelings later on in a deadly fashion.

Retaliation rocks are things that we keep tucked away and don't let our spouse see about us and our feelings.  These cause bitterness that we keep inside over time, where we might feel annoyed at our spouse and then later on we allow these small things to erupt each time we feel upset about something completely unrelated.

Don't allow these rocks to sit on your soul.  And don't pull out these "rocks" in moments of retaliation towards your spouse.  They will only feel confused and unsafe with you.

Do you collect "retaliation rocks", only to use them as ammunition towards your spouse later on?

*Source: Unglued: Making Wise Choices  In The Midst Of Raw Emotions by Lysa TerKeurst

Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling.  Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.

Relationship Exits-3

We exit when we feel the ancient feeling of being trapped.  Our fight or flight or freeze responses can be traced back to our ancient human days.  When we were trapped, we could be attacked or eaten by a saber tooth tiger!  Today, however, we are talking about feeling trapped. Some people feel the flight response when their partner gives them ultimatums or like there is no way to please their partner or when they are bound to lose or fail their partner.  The benefit we have over our ancient ancestors is we are not in danger of being trapped and eaten by a saber tooth tiger.   We can think through our exit response when we feel trapped.  When we feel like withdrawing, we can figure out what is making us feel trapped and address it like a modern day man or woman. We exit when we are tempted to be vulnerable and vulnerability can be dangerous!  This one is a big one, especially for anyone with Perfectionism or Shame.  It is not in our nature to want to be vulnerable.  Again, thanks to these tendencies, our ancestors survived as the fittest humans.  But being physically and emotionally vulnerable are two different things.  Partners who like the illusion of control have a difficult time feeling vulnerable.  Vulnerability opens the door to pain, disappointment, judgement, feeling shame and failure and abandonment.  However, without vulnerability, you can have no real connections.  Not with anyone.    You have to risk vulnerability to achieve any connections with a living person.  If you are the type of person who shuts down when someone else "gets too close," you may struggle in this area.  But if you want a human relationship, you will have to come to come to terms with your humanity.

Please come back tomorrow to read more about Exits.  As always, thanks for stopping by!

Written by Alexa Griffith, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, RPT

Alexa Griffith, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, RPT is a licensed therapist and Registered Play Therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Alexa enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Alexa also does play therapyfamily counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield

 

 

Counterdependency

Many people are familiar with co-dependency issues, but do not always understand it’s counterpart: The counterdependent. This week we will help you see the many aspects of counterdependency and the impact is has on relationships.

The following is a story of a counterdependent person:

Sally has been married to Jim for 15 years. They have 2 elementary age boys, and live a fairly good life.  Jim is a high-powered businessman in the nearby big city. He likes that many people know his name. Jim works 75+ hours a week and rarely takes time away from his computer and blackberry at home, and he often plays golf with his friends in his down time. Jim demands respect wherever he goes, including at home. His son’s are always begging for more time to play with him, but he often only connects with them through sports. However, the boys are often embarrassed by their dad’s behavior at their games when he yells at anyone who disagrees with him and often stomps off the field after getting kicked out by the referee.

Sally finds herself struggling to meet Jim’s expectations at home. He is a hard man to please. All she wants is to sit down and connect with him on a deeper emotional level, but that rarely happens. Even when they have special date nights it seems like he controls the conversation talking about all the great things he’s doing, or complaining about people who don’t see things his way.  He always seems guarded, rarely apologizes for his sharp digs and criticism, and has trouble seeing things that he does as a problem in the relationship.

Do you know someone like Jim? Keep reading through the week to learn more about counterdependency!

Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling.  Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.

What Does It Mean to "Let Go"? -5

"Letting Go" is a popular topic in recovery from many things-- childhood issues, addictions, codependency, and unhealthy relationships, just to name a few.  Today we will finish with this week's blog series on what it means to "let go":

  • Sometimes we might feel as though "letting go" means that we don't care.  This couldn't be further from the truth!  Letting go means that we don't do things for someone who needs to be doing things for themselves.  To 'let go' means we don't do it for them.
  • When we "let go", we realize that we can't control other people, their choices or their behaviors.  To "let go" means that we stop trying to control others-- it doesn't mean that we have to cut off from them.
  • To "let go" means that we realize that the people around us need to learn from their mistakes and feel the natural consequences of their actions.  If we are rescuing them from the natural consequences of poor choices, then we are enabling them.

What are some areas of your life in which you might need to "let go"?  Letting go of the things we need to allows us to live fuller and richer lives, filled with more peace and joy-- with less unnecessary stress and chaos!

A great resource for further reading is the book duo "The Language of Letting Go" and "More Languages of Letting Go", by Melody Beattie.  This book is full of daily meditations that discuss various topics on "letting go".  We highly recommend it, no matter what area of life you are working on letting go!

Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling.  Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.

 

Dealing With Difficult People- The Know-it-all

Do you have a difficult person in your life?  Perhaps it's a boss, or a relative-- or maybe a co-worker... or even a spouse!  This week, Imagine Hope is discussing the different types of "difficult people" and some ways to cope more effectively with each type.  Today we will cover the last type of difficult person:  The Know-it-all! The Know-it-all is a strongly opinionated, competitive, imposing, pompous and intimidating person.  They often try to make others feel foolish or dumb.  This type of difficult person might actually say demeaning or shaming things about you in front of others.  Their put-downs might feel not only overwhelming, but make it intimidating to speak up around this person.  No matter what you say to this difficult person, they can "top" you, and you don't ever feel like you can "win" with this person, much less feel heard-- they are always "right" (and you can't seem to do ANYTHING right in their eyes!!).  Dealing with this type of person in a group setting can feel like you are being squished like a bug!

What to do when dealing with a Know-it-all:

Realize that behind the know-it-all mask is someone who is very insecure.  Look at their arrogance as insecurity under the surface.

Know your facts.  Ask them to state their facts behind statements, and restate views if necessary.  Allow them to save face when they are inaccurate.  Deal with this person alone when necessary.

Don't take it personally, and don't take everything they say as factual.

Don't let them get away with things that do not add up based on the facts.  You can call this person out, but it's important to keep your fear on the back burner (don't let them see your intimidation).  Try to quiet your inner voice that makes you feel nervous or ashamed around this person, and keep reminding yourself that they are really insecure under all of that bravado shown on the outside!  Remember:  No one can take your personal power away from you unless you allow them to (under most circumstances).

Agree to disagree, or table the conversation for another time.  Getting into a power struggle will be draining and self-defeating.  Being able to say "I will agree to disagree", helps you keep your appropriate personal power, while still taking care of yourself.

We hope this week's blog has been helpful for you-- especially if you recognize that you regularly interact with a difficult person!  As always, thank you for joining us this week...

Resources:

"People Skills" by Robert Bolton, Ph.D.;   "Dealing With Difficult People" by R. Cava;  "Since Strangling Isn't an Option" by Sandra A. Crowe;  "Secrets of Dealing with Difficult People" by Mark Lauderdale, MD, FRCFC

Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling.  Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.

 

Dealing with Difficult People- Openly Aggressive Person

Difficult people are everywhere in this world! It is inevitable that you will come across someone daily who is hard to deal with. Because of this, Imagine Hope is talking about different types of difficult people and do's and don'ts when interacting with them. We hope you are able to find some good tips that will help you keep your cool when you come across one! The Openly Aggressive Person

This person can be very hard to deal with. They use their aggression to intimidate and get their way. They have a hard time opening up to people to express their real feelings under their rage. They tend to be unpredictable and cause tension.

When dealing with an openly aggressive person make sure you do NOT take their abuse. Refuse to argue and don't react to their rage. Also don't run away either. They feel more powerful when you do.

Try to be direct and assertive in your communication and remain calm. Keep your confidence on the outside (even if you are shaking on the inside!) Make sure you stick to the facts and don't talk about any assumptions. This will give you power when they get off track and overreact.

The biggest power you have is when you keep your emotions in check and don't give your emotional power to them. The moment you loose control is the moment they get control of you.

Check in tomorrow as Tamara helps us deal with "Snipers"! Thanks for reading!

Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.

Do You Have a Healthy Love Relationship?

  Picture two people standing side by side, each reaching for the other's hand:  This is a healthy love relationship.

A healthy love relationship is where two people are whole and complete.  They have internal happiness within themselves.  They live their own lives, with their partner complimenting their wholeness, and they have an abundance of life to share with the other person.

Healthy love relationships aren't tangled up with the other person like the A-frame, Smothering, Pedestal, Master/Slave,  Boarding House, or Martyr relationships we described earlier in this week's blog. They don't try to control the other person because of their own insecurities, and they don't blame the other for their own problems and unhappiness.  These relationships choose to stay with each other because they are free to be two people living their lives and sharing their lives together.

They can come closer together and be like the smothering position, they can walk hand in hand as they might do in parenting their children, they can move apart and have their own careers and their own lives and their own friends.  But they choose to stay together because of their love for each other rather than having or needing to stay together because of some unmet emotional needs

The healthy love relationship is one that gives both people the space to be their own person and to grow as an individual.

Do you have a healthy love relationship? 

Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling.  Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.

Do You Know a Narcissist? 5

Being in a relationship with a narcissist can be frustrating, overwhelming and challenging.  What are some additional signs of destructive narcissism? Hunger for Admiration

  • Becomes overly disappointed when his/her efforts aren't openly recognized or acknowledged
  • Brags or boasts
  • Buys things to get others to notice or pay compliments
  • Seeks awards, plaques, certificates, trophies, etc.
  • Wants others to envy him/her
  • Makes sure that others are aware of his/her accomplishments
  • Inflates his/her accomplishments
  • Engages in self-promotion
  • Can't ever seem to be "filled up" with compliments-- no amount of admiration seems to be "enough" (excessive need for admiration)
  • Overly sensitive to criticism-- as though any hint of criticism is telling them you don't admire them
  • Oblivious to this need for excessive admiration and attention
  • Takes credit for unearned accomplishments
  • Talks about him or herself at every opportunity

Envious

Envy is wanting what someone else has and feeling that they are not deserving of it as you are.  It carries the assumption that the other person is inferior in some what and that, because of your superiority, you should be favored.  Many people will have moments of envy, but people who have a destructive narcissistic pattern are envious most of the time.  These people will also devalue or put others down who receive the things that they consider to be rightfully theirs.  The most common characteristics are:

  • They think they are deserving and superior
  • They consider others as undeserving and inferior and
  • They are consumed with a desire to be envied by others for being more deserving and superior
  • Boasting about possessions
  • Going into debt to get unnecessary things to impress others
  • Takes unearned credit
  • Promoting him/herself at every opportunity
  • Pointing out where others are inferior or undeserving
  • Feels that he/she has to work harder for what he/she gets while others have it given to them
  • Feels that he/she is treated unfairly in comparison to others
  • Expresses that others have it easier than they do

Expects Favors

  • Have an expectation that others will do them favors, but these people should not expect any favors in return
  • The destructive narcissist feels that they are making you a special person by getting you to do them a favor, and this should be reward enough for anyone (there is more than a hint of arrogance in this attitude)
  • Tells a child to get or do something for him/her, so that he/she doesn't have to move or stop what he/she is doing
  • Asks you to pick up something on your way home, when they could just as easily go and get it.
  • Expects that others will do favors for them
  • Feels disappointed or rejected when someone refuses them a favor
  • Expects children to run personal errands for him/her
  • Expects you to use your leisure time to do things for him/her
  • Calls your family or friends for favors
  • Gets others to do things for him/her that he/she could do on their own
  • Becomes upset when someone fails to follow through on a request for a favor
  • Has unrealistic expectations when asking for favors

Do you recognize any signs of narcissism from this blog series?  Remember that these are only guidelines and a general overview of the many behaviors and attitudes of narcissism.  You might find your spouse, partner, family member or friend has some of the troubling behaviors, but not all of them.  Also, these descriptors may serve as a personal review for some of the undeveloped narcissism that you have-- or unconscious behaviors and attitudes you may have, but might not be as intense as those of a true narcissist, even though they might be affecting your own relationships in negative ways. If so, we encourage you to acknowledge these traits and work on them!  For more information on being in a relationship with a narcissist, contact a professional counselor.

Information in this blog is adapted from:  "Loving the Self-Absorbed" by Nina W. Brown

Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling.  Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.

 

 

The Masks We Wear- Counterdependency

This week, as a tribute to the Halloween season, we are talking about masks.  Every day we can unknowingly put on different masks that hide us from various things we need in life:  intimacy, self-worth, love, belonging, identity, and freedom.  So far this week, we have discussed the masks of Shame, Codependency and Addiction.  Today we will talk about the mask of Counterdependency. What is the mask of Counterdependency-- what does it look like?

Counterdependents wear a mask that shows the outside world a "tough outer shell" with various traits that represent strength and success (though as you read through this, picture the parts of this "mask" as hiding or covering up a very insecure, needy and vulnerable person underneath).  Some of the main Counterdependent traits that make up their mask include:

  • grandiose, or overly confident (to the point of being cocky)
  • Presenting to others that they are "always right" ( Their way is the "right" way and they are "always right")
  • Controlling
  • Success driven, to the point of being a workaholic
  • Independent-- Not good at being vulnerable and "needy"
  • Non-emotional or emotionally cut off
  • Abrasive
  • Show anger as a main feeling
  • Very visionary-- Counterdependents have great plans for the future to make them more successful, but little follow through
  • Not in touch with their own limitations (Counterdependents aren't good at recognizing when they feel sick and taking care of themselves when they need to go to the doctor, sleeping when their body tells them they are tired, etc.)

How can this mask  impact a Counterdependent's life?

Being successful can be a wonderful thing, but it can also destroy relationships if someone becomes so focused on success and a workaholic to the point where they aren't able to invest in their relationships.  A Counterdependent's difficulty with being vulnerable, expressing the full range of emotion, and allowing themselves to be in touch with even healthy needs, causes them to have difficulty with intimacy, which causes the partner of a Counterdependent to feel alone-- like they don't really "know" their partner.  It also causes a Counterdependent's children to feel a lack of authentic connection with their parent because the Counterdependent is often not present physically (often due to work), or might not know how to "let go" and have fun through play on their child's level.  Their abrasiveness, use of anger, and having to always be "right" and in control doesn't allow for mutual give and take in a relationship, can intimidate the people around the Counterdependent, keeps people at a distance from the Counterdependent, and doesn't allow relationships to be an intimate, two-way street.  Because of these traits, Counterdependents can often find themselves in the position where they lose many relationships and have relationships that are highly conflictual.  Not recognizing their limitations can cause premature death (not going to the doctor because they can "tough it out", when there is really a life threatening illness that eventually takes their life), burn-out, and a loss of relationships.

What Can Help?

It's important for a Counterdependent to recognize that the behaviors they have adopted to protect them early on in childhood, actually keep them isolated and many times, alone.  Addressing the fear that drives the counterdependent behaviors and learning how to be in touch with the full range of human emotion can improve relationships and help the counterdependent realize that they do, in fact, have needs.  Learning how to recognize their limitations and nurture themselves, as well as having intimacy and nurturing their relationships is imperative in their recovery process.  Also, acknowledging that the "mask" of Counterdependency is only just that-- a "mask", and realizing that they really are trying to protect themselves from feeling the fear, vulnerable, insecure parts of who they really are, is very important to moving past Counterdependent behaviors.  Many times, with Counterdependency, professional counseling with a therapist who has knowledge of Counterdependency is needed for healing and growth to begin.

So, which "masks" did you see in yourself from this week's blog?  We would love to hear from you!

As always, thank you for joining us.  Check back next week when we will be discussing body image and eating disordered behaviors (including food addiction).

References:

Counterdependency: The Flight From Intimacy by Janae and Barry Weinhold

Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling.  Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.

Counterdependency

Many people are familiar with co-dependency issues, but do not always understand it’s counterpart: The counterdependent. This week we will help you see the many aspects of counterdependency and the impact is has on relationships. The following is a story of a counterdependent person:

Sally has been married to Jim for 15 years. They have 2 elementary age boys, and live a fairly good life.  Jim is a high-powered businessman in the nearby big city. He likes that many people know his name. Jim works 75+ hours a week and rarely takes time away from his computer and blackberry at home, and he often plays golf with his friends in his down time. Jim demands respect wherever he goes, including at home. His son’s are always begging for more time to play with him, but he often only connects with them through sports. However, the boys are often embarrassed by their dad’s behavior at their games when he yells at anyone who disagrees with him and often stomps off the field after getting kicked out by the referee.

Sally finds herself struggling to meet Jim’s expectations at home. He is a hard man to please. All she wants is to sit down and connect with him on a deeper emotional level, but that rarely happens. Even when they have special date nights it seems like he controls the conversation talking about all the great things he’s doing, or complaining about people who don’t see things his way.  He always seems guarded, rarely apologizes for his sharp digs and criticism, and has trouble seeing things that he does as a problem in the relationship.

Do you know someone like Jim? Keep reading through the week to learn more!

Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling.  Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.