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Codependency refers to a mental, emotional, physical, and/or spiritual reliance on a partner, friend, or family member. This behavior includes aspects of attachment that typically was developed in early childhood. A lot of people, including myself, exhibit traits of codependency. If it's hard for you to say no to people without feeling guilty, that is a sign of being codependent. Codependent people lack self awareness. They feel personally responsible for everything and everyone and will often neglect their own wants and needs. They are always seen as dependable and responsible and rarely tell people "no" because of the guilt they will feel by saying so. They will often allow people to mistreat or take advantage of their kindness because they don’t want to hurt their feelings, let them down, or create a conflict. Listed below are some of the most common codependency traits:

- Hyper-aware of other people’s problems and needs in the form of care-taking, controlling, advice giving, and over-worrying about others.

- Your high expectations make it hard for you to ask for or accept help from others. So you normally do everything yourself. - You feel responsible for everything and everyone, even other people’s happiness, but deny your own happiness and needs. - You’re afraid to upset or disappoint others, which often leads you to over-extending yourself to the point of exhaustion. - You Ignore your own feelings and needs, often suppressing them, denying them, avoiding them, or numbing them. - Your happiness is dependent upon what other people are feeling or doing. For example, if your partner is in a good mood, you can relax a little bit. However, if your partner is angry, you likely feel anxious. - You have a martyr/ saint or savior behavior aka you are constantly taking care of everyone else. You often give without receiving, and then feeling angry, resentful and taken advantage of when the same kind of energy is not given back to you in return. - Sometimes you feel good (needed and worthwhile) and other times, you feel angry and resentful. You find yourself complaining about “having to do everything”, yet still continue the same pattern of “people pleasing”. - Your anger and resentment build up over time causing you to seemingly explode over small matters. This explosion often results in you feeling shameful or guilty thus making you overcompensate. - Intimacy, open communication, and trust are difficult because you didn’t have role models for healthy relationships in childhood & in adulthood you’ve probably been betrayed in your relationships, but stayed anyways. - You probably feel on edge, and/or have episodes of anxiety and/or depression. If you can relate to more than a few of the traits listed above, you might be codependent. I found myself being codependent in my relationships, workplace and friendships. I failed to realize how problematic my codependent ways were, until it cost me, LITERALLY. I had to lose over $30k and one of my cars to wake up & realize that I was constantly overextending myself for friends who rarely gave back in return. I loved always being the "dependable one". With codependency, it's not uncommon that "the giver" likes the feeling of being needed. Their constant need for my help and approval, validated me and became addictive. Knowing I was the go to person, made me feel POWERFUL. I was unaware then, that THEIR need for me shaped MY self esteem. The more needed I felt, the better I felt about myself but when they didn’t need me, I felt unwanted and discarded. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with helping others; BUT when you validate yourself off the needs of others, is when it becomes an issue. Your mental health is just as important as the person, who is in need. You can not keep constantly pouring into others from an empty cup just because you want to feel appreciated, loved or needed. Codependent people will often burn themselves out mentally, emotionally or financially for the sake of others. If you feel like this is you, don't fret, I was and still struggle from time to time with codependent behavior. But by becoming aware of the problem, while reprograming your mind, you can learn how to balance still being able to help others while establishing and prioritizing your own needs. If you need a little help or a plan of action on where to start with learning how to put yourself first and setting boundaries, book a session with me and we can develop a codependency correction plan together. Your mental health is your greatest investment. So what better time than to start investing in yourself & your health than now. sending love & light ❤️ - Maya Benberry

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