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Codependent Personality Disorder - CBT Kenya
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  • Posted by: cbtkeadmin

Codependent Personality Disorder – CBT Kenya

Codependency is a circular relationship in which one person needs the other person, who in turn, needs to be needed. There is much more to this term than everyday clinginess. Codependent relationships are far more extreme than this. A person who is codependent will plan their entire life around pleasing the other person, or the enabler.

The codependent person, known as ‘the giver,’ feels worthless unless they are needed by the enabler, otherwise known as ‘the taker.’ It can come in all shapes and sizes and varying levels of severity. “Foundationally, it is due to poor concept of self and poor boundaries, including an inability to have an opinion or say no. Codependency can develop in all sorts of relationships, such as parent-child, partner-partner, spouse-spouse, and even coworker-boss.

Signs of Codependency

While everyone has loved ones and feels responsible for those loved ones, it can be unhealthy when someone’s identity is contingent upon someone else. Codependency does not refer to all caring behavior or feelings — but only those that are excessive to an unhealthy degree. Responsibility for relationships with others needs to coexist with responsibility to self.

  • Feeling the need to check in with the other person and/or ask permission to do daily tasks.
  • Regularly trying to change or rescue troubled, addicted, or under-functioning people whose problems go beyond one person’s ability to fix them.
  • Doing anything for the other person, even if it makes you feel uncomfortable.
  • Struggling to find any time for yourself, especially if your free time consistently goes to the other person.
  • Often being the one who apologizes even if you have done nothing wrong. And feeling sorry for the other person even when they hurt you.
  • One person feels that their desires and needs are unimportant and will not express them. They may have difficulty recognizing their own feelings or needs at all.

What causes codependency?

  • Codependency may also result from caring for a person who is chronically ill. Being in the role of caregiver, especially at a young age, may result in the young person neglecting their own needs and developing a habit of only helping others.
  • Physical, emotional, and sexual abuse can cause psychological problems that last years or even an entire lifetime. One of the many issues that can arise from past abuse is codependency.
  • People who are codependent as adults often had problems with their parental relationship as a child or teenager. They may have been taught that their own needs were less important than their parents’ needs, or not important at all.
  • Needy parents may teach their children that children are selfish or greedy if they want anything for themselves. As a result, the child learns to ignore their own needs and thinks only of what they can do for others at all times.

How to reduce Codependent tendencies

  • Become president of your own fan club. “Learn to speak lovingly and positively to yourself, and resist the impulse to self-criticize.
  • When tempted to think or worry about someone else, actively turn your attention inward. This takes practice, so be kind to yourself along the way.
  • Stand up for yourself if someone criticizes, undermines, or tries to control you. By working on building your own sense of self-esteem, you’ll find more strength in yourself.
  • Take small steps towards some separation in the relationship. Seek activities outside of the relationship and invest in new friendships. Focus on figuring out the things that make you who you are, and then expand upon them.
  • Don’t be afraid to say “no” to someone when you don’t really want to do something.


Treatment for codependency often involves exploration of early childhood issues and their connection to current dysfunctional behavior patterns. Getting in touch with deep-rooted feelings of hurt, loss, and anger will allow you to reconstruct appropriate relationship dynamics. Psychotherapy is highly recommended as these personality characteristics are ingrained and difficult to change on your own. Choosing the right therapist can make all the difference in your recovery.

You’ll know you’re on track when the following traits become part of your personality;

  • You nurture your own wants and desires and develop a connection to your inner world. You see yourself as self-reliant, smart, and capable.
  • You say goodbye to abusive behavior. Awareness, change, and growth are necessary for you and for your partner to overcome unhealthy relationship habits. Caretaking and enabling behavior is acknowledged and stopped.
  • You tolerate other people’s opinions and do not become defensive when you disagree. You recognize that your reaction is your responsibility.
  • You adopt a healthy skepticism regarding what others say about you (good or bad) and your self-esteem doesn’t rise and fall as a result. You say no, and you accept hearing no.

Take away

Codependency is highly recoverable, but requires effort, courage, and the right treatment. A therapist should be knowledgeable in treating codependency, shame, and self-esteem, as well as be able to teach healthier behavioral and communication skills. Cognitive-behavior therapy is effective in raising self-esteem and changing codependent thinking, feelings, and behavior.

CBT-Kenya (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-Kenya) counseling center offers counseling and therapy sessions for persons from all walks of life. We focus on helping clients gain insight into themselves by going through a healing process. Our purpose is to help you to achieve your therapeutic and life goals, to improve the quality of your life and to help you to build strong relationships in your life. Get in touch or book an appointment on +254 739 935 333, +254 756 454 585 or info@cbtkenya.org.

Author: cbtkeadmin
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