Codependency is a pattern of behaviour that results from either a primary relationship with a partner addicted to drugs or alcohol, or being raised in a dysfunctional family. Characteristics of a codependent personality are low self-esteem, a compulsion to help people, passivity and denying one's own needs. While some people gain a sense of safety and importance in the role of helper, they are typically anxious and depressed. Numerous types of therapy are available to treat codependency.
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Find a therapist that specialises in the treatment of codependency. Confide in close friends and obtain referrals to therapists in your geographic area. Do not settle for the first therapist you meet. Make a shortlist of therapists, schedule visits and conduct interviews. Check to see if there is a good chemistry between you and the therapist. One characteristic of a codependent personality is to try and please people. If you find yourself trying to accommodate the therapist, stop yourself. You are paying the therapist to help you.
Read books on codependency to get familiar with the behaviour patterns. Learn about the causes of codependency, how it impacts your life and relationships and what actions can be taken to recover from it. Several books on codependency are available to purchase online. For example, Melody Beattie's "Codependent No More" is a compilation of personal reflections on her own experiences, and offers exercises and tests on codependency. Her book, "Beyond Codependency," spells out the behaviour patterns, such as problems with boundaries, intimacy and conflict. Peruse case histories of people who have suffered and recovered from codependency.
Attend support groups of people recovering from codependency. For example, Codependents Anonymous and Alanon meetings provide a forum for people to work through codependent issues. These self-help groups are non-profit and based on the 12 Steps and Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous. Meetings are characterised by a speaker who discusses one of the steps and relates his experiences to that step. The meeting is then turned over to the other members of the group. People are free to share their own feelings and experiences about recovery. You can search for meetings close to home via the Internet.
Sign up for an intensive treatment program for codependency. These types of programs typically require five days of on-site treatment. For example, the Caron Foundation offers the "Breakthrough at Caron" program, which is structured for people affected by relationship or family dysfunction. Their treatment is conducted in groups of 10 to 12 people. They utilise experiential therapeutic techniques, such as role play, psychodrama and family sculpture. Cottonwood provides a similar program called "Beginnings and Beyond."
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