It’s hard to know the prevalence of co-dependent relationships as it is not exclusively found in romantic relationships or where there is addiction. It can occur wherever there is a relational dynamic, i.e., at work, in friendships, romantic relationships, and family relationships.
Co-dependency is a dysfunctional relationship dynamic where one person assumes the role of “the giver,” sacrificing their own needs and wants for the sake of the other, “the taker". I often explain it to clients as the experience of “I’m ok if you’re ok”. This explanation is often easier for clients to hear as the idea that they could be co-dependent is often a shocking prospect because that isn't how they've interpreted it.
Often co-dependency gets mistakenly labeled as kindness however if the intention is for harmony and keeping the peace, it’s more about co-dependence.
In my practice I often see clients who are struggling along the interdependent - independent continuum. Often, they’re over-collaborative with little independence (co-dependent) or they’re perceived as insensitive by exercising too much independence (fierce independence). It’s a continual struggle for them to find the right mix of asserting their needs and being mindful of the needs of others (interdependence). Both approaches of co-dependence and fierce independence have drawbacks.
Not asserting your needs or dismissing them in favour of what someone else wants only leads to resentment and regrets later down the track; and asserting your needs at the expense of others can leave you feeling exhausted, lonely, and distrustful of others. Neither strategy produces fulfilling personal or professional relationships.
Take Julia* who is a professional woman in her 30s. She has a lot to be proud of. She’s smart, got a job, has supportive...
It’s no secret that people who speak up at work are viewed as more likeable by their peers, enjoy higher status and are perceived to be better performers by those more senior than them (Burris, 2012; Weiss & Morrison, 2019).
Often staying quiet and ignoring your feelings is an adaptive response to blending in and not wanting to draw attention to yourself. This strategy is only helpful if you do not have an opinion or the required knowledge to participate in the conversation. Otherwise it is working against you.
Often, you are invited to meetings because the organiser believes you have something to contribute. So, if that is unclear to you then it’s important for you to understand what they believe it might be. This could be particularly helpful in preparing for a meeting and understanding when you are expected to contribute to the discussion, if...
How many times have you got cranky with yourself for not speaking up? Or perhaps, you chose not to say something in an effort to avoid a difficult conversation. In my experience working with smart, well-mannered people, this is a common problem.
Jenny loved her job. She thought her manager was a wonderful person and she’d learnt so much working with her over the years. Her ability to know exactly what the clients wanted and how to provide it to them with it was real art in action. She made it look so easy. She always knew the latest trends and how to squeeze an extra dollar from assignments, even though clients initially said they had limited budget.
There was just one problem with her manager. She was opinionated about everything and she always told Jenny exactly what she should do in each situation, even when she hadn’t sought advice.
Jenny thought part of being a good employee meant putting up with her manager’s constant and...
It’s often easier said than done. Setting and maintaining boundaries can be hard when others are accustomed to you not having any. Whether we like to admit it or not, people take advantage of other people.
In my practice I have seen an increase in professionals seeking assistance for languishing and falling out of love with their work because they feel they have nothing left to give. Getting through the day without added tasks is a challenge for some. For others, it has already impacted significant relationships.
In project management terms it’s called ‘scope creep’ and it plays right into our need to belong and be of service. Depending on your experience it could also be playing into your need for financial security.
When others take advantage of our kindness, it leads to resentment...