Do you feel like you often lose yourself when caring for others? Is codependency inherited at birth or taught in childhood? What are some common codependent tendencies?
In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks about codependency and everything to do about it with Mary Joye.
In this Podcast:
- What is codependency?
- Is codependency inherited or taught?
- Raising kind and independent kids
- Common codependent tendencies
- Tips for clinicians
- Mary’s advice to private practitioners
What is codependency?
Society’s view of codependency evolved. At first, it meant you were living with someone dependent on a substance or addiction … but it has now expanded. (Mary Joye)
There are other ways to define codependency as it has expanded throughout society and as relationships have been more widely studied.
A new term that can describe codependency in relationships is pathological altruism.
The definition that I use and I think is most broadly used in our field is a loss of self when caring for others. (Mary Joye)
Codependency is a lot like an addiction because you lose yourself while caring for others. After all, you get a hit of dopamine when you give.
Therefore, what might seem like a selfless and kind gesture is actually narcissism in reverse because while narcissists are hyper-focused on themselves, codependents are hyper-focused on other people.
Is codependency inherited or taught?
It is nature and nurture in tandem.
Some people can be born with a greater ability and skill of empathy and sympathy. So much so, that even as children they can feel guilty for receiving something that someone else wanted and share things that they earned, like a prize.
Sometimes codependency is learned, especially if a parent is unaware of their child’s sensitivities.
There are some nurturing [parent techniques] that teach [that] it’s more blessed to give than to receive, however, you need to receive to be able to give, and that’s the missing link of this. (Mary Joye)
Raising kind and independent kids
Teach your kids about the cycle of giving and receiving. There is a rhythm to being nice to others while still being nice to yourself.
You can teach your children the importance of self-care and not allowing other kids – or adults – to take advantage of their kindness.
Teach them that there is a cycle of giving and receiving and of give and take, and that’s what real friendships are built on, not, “What can that friend do for me?” (Mary Joye)
Common codependent tendencies
You may be codependent or have codependent tendencies if you:
- Find yourself constantly in relationships with narcissists, sociopaths, or people who struggle with addictions where they are always doing the sharing and you are always doing the caring
- Have a lot of one-sided relationships
- Allow people to use you for favors or help
- Constantly try to keep everybody happy and you feel drained or exhausted afterward
I know in our business we’re not supposed to use [words like] “always” and “never”, but I am in this case because it really does feel like that to a codependent. If you are always there for everyone else and you feel like no one is there for you when you need it, that’s what to watch out for. (Mary Joye)
You need good relationships with reciprocity that have a healthy and equal give-and-take dynamic.
Tips for clinicians
Mary’s top tip for practicing clinicians and their clients in therapy: if you are working harder than your client, then you are not doing your job.
You are not here to help people, but you are here to help people help themselves.
Remember that self-care is essential if you want to care for other people because you have to look after yourself if you want to be able to help those around you.
Mary’s advice to private practitioners
How are you doing? How are you doing taking care of other people? Check in with yourself before work and check in with yourself after work, and do not take work home with you.
Watch something at the end of the day that makes you laugh.
Books mentioned in this episode:
Useful Links mentioned in this episode:
- Sign up for Level Up Week
- Use promo code ‘JOE’ to get three free months to try out TherapyNotes, no strings attached.
- Visit Winter Haven Counseling and connect with Mary Joye on Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube.
- Check out Mary Joye’s further resources, courses and links.
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- How to start a private practice and transitioning off insurance with Carrie Bock | POP 753
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Meet Joe Sanok
Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.
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