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Codependency | Marylebone | London


Codependency essentially describes unhealthy and dysfunctional relationships. Codependency can have a highly damaging and negative effect on self-esteem and mental health - however help and support is available and people can recover and learn to develop and enjoy healthy relationships.


On some level, those with codependency issues rely on others for their sense of self worth and self-esteem. It is a common type of relationship dynamic in families of alcoholics or addicts or with family members struggling with mental health issues. It can develop as a result of trauma in relationships and is sometimes regarded as a delayed stress reaction. It describes a need to almost compulsively help others, to try and be there for other people, even though the other person may not respond, respect, require or appreciate the input. Codependency also manifests in manipulating and controlling behaviour.


It is human nature and a caring trait to want to be there for others and to provide and care. This is perfectly normal in families and friendships. However, for a codependent, needing to be their for others can become obsessive and is in essence an issue of controlling and manipulating others, and at the same time allowing others to manipulate, undermine or control them - whether consciously or otherwise. Codependency can lead to mental and physical health problems, stress, burn out, anxiety and depression...


Individuals with codependent traits usually have issues with low self-esteem, can be avoidant or controlling in relationships, be very compliant in relationships or tend to deny their feelings, needs or wants. Codependency can be at the root of anxiety, stress, depression, low-self esteem and despair, even alcoholism or addiction - it is important to seek help from an understanding and qualified counsellor or professional who is experienced at recognising these characteristics as for many people this can be missed and the codependent be misdiagnosed (and mistreated). 


People with issues of codependency may recognise some of the following common patterns:

  • Focus considerably on another person or people (eg. partner or family)

  • Lack a sense of individual identity, outside of certain relationships 

  • Put other peoples needs ahead of their own

  • Have difficulty recognising their own emotional needs or feelings

  • Minimise or deny how they feel, perhaps insisting "I'm fine"

  • Do not recognise the unavailability of certain people they may be attracted to

  • Have difficulty making decisions

  • Are unable to hold healthy boundaries and put up with unfair behaviour or abuse from partners or family members

  • Feel as if they are "not good enough" or do not do enough

  • Have difficulty accepting or receiving gifts, praise or compliments

  • Put up with unhealthy, damaging or abusive relationships

  • Compromise their own wellbeing, finances, time, etc by putting the needs of others first

  • Feel a responsibility for other peoples behaviours or actions (thinking for example, "If I was a better partner, maybe my husband wouldn't drink so much").

  • Avoid emotionally intimate relationships


Traits of codependency can appear to run in families, but the patterns can be addressed at any time with support and help. 


Dr. Sarah Davies is an experienced Counselling Psychologist who has worked and trained in general mental health in the UK and has also worked for world-leading specialist treatment centres in Ireland and Switzerland. She has run workshops on codependency recovery and worked with individuals, partners of alcoholics, addicts or narcissists in supporting healing and recovery and in overcoming codependency and supporting healthier, more satisfying relationships and self-esteem. 

To find out more or to arrange an appointment, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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