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Let’s Talk About Codependency

With the various kinds of relationships and relationship issues that exist in the world nowadays, it is important to talk about codependent relationships.

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A codependent relationship can be considered as a dysfunctional relationship in which one person acts as a caretaker and the other person reaps all the advantages of the relationship. In short, it can be considered as one sided as well as emotionally destructive or even potentially abusive relationship. It affects a person's ability to have a healthy and mutually satisfying relationship with another. Is also known as relationship addiction.

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Codependency was first coined in the 1950s in context of Alcoholics Anonymous for supporting partners of individuals who abused substances and were in a more or less toxic relationship with the person they cared for. Codependency in itself is not a clinical diagnosis or characterized as a personality disorder.

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Codependency can be thought of as an attachment style. In general, attachment styles developed in early childhood as a result of the experiences the person has had during the childhood. It can be passed down from generation to generation by watching their parents being in a dysfunctional relationship.

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Codependent relationships can come in various types. It depends on the two people in the relationship how the codependency plays out. However, generally it is due to poor self concept as well as an overall lack of boundaries. It can also stem from or lead to an inability to refuse and say no or have an opinion. Codependency can occur in various kinds of relationships. It is not restricted to a spouse or romantic relationship. It can be between parents and children, siblings, and even coworkers or bosses. In a parents child relationship, it can be by exerting extreme control on the child's life due to an unhealthy attachment to the child. The person may also feel nervous about being separated from the child (or the parent, in case of the child being the codependent one). In friendships, it can be that one friend is always on the receiving end of the relationship and often uses the other person for emotional support. It can also be that the two friends are overly reliant on the other to satisfy their needs. In a romantic relationship, it could be that one person is focused on pleasing the other, the enabler and themselves need to be needed.

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Research has found 4 main themes attached with codependency.

Self sacrifice, a tendency to focus on others, a need to control, which may potentially fuel conflict, and a difficulty in understanding, recognizing and expressing emotion. Individuals who are in codependent relationships often have low self esteem and look outside of themselves to feel better. They also find it hard to be themselves. Though the intention that the person has in a codependent relationship is good. Caretaking becomes compulsive and defeating. The problem with this constant caretaking is the repeated rescue attempts by the person to provide excuses for their partner is that it enables the other person to continue their destructive course and increase their dependency on the partner who takes the caretaker role. The co-dependents in the relationship frequently take on the role of victims. These people tend to confuse love and pity, and take on rescue projects. They do more than their share most of the time. They may get hurt when individuals do not realize the effort they put in. Codependents will do anything to avoid a sense of abandonment, and may have an extreme need for approval and recognition. They avoid argument and have problems with boundaries, along with poor communication skills and a general difficulty in making decisions. They may also feel guilty when trying to assert themselves. They may even make excuses for the other person, and protect them from the consequences of their actions.

Codependent relationships are constructed around unequal distribution of power, which benefits the taker. It may include a sense of “walking on eggshells”, the need to ask for permission from the other person, one person constantly apologizing, and doing anything for the other person in spite of any discomfort it causes for themselves. It can also involve an inability to find time for yourself and a feeling that you have lost yourself in the relationship, possibly leading to a disconnection from your own needs and desires. This in turn affects the overall health and well being. If you or anyone you know are in codependent relationships and want to form healthy relationship patterns, Kaizen has a team of therapists and psychologists here in Dubai and India to help you form functional and adaptive relationships through online therapy in Dubai.

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If left unaddressed, codependency can cause feelings of anxiety and depression. It can lead to a sense of emptiness and powerlessness or helplessness. It can reduce the self-esteem and self-worth of a person, ultimately leading to burnout and a general reduction in well-being.

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If you feel like you are in a codependent relationship, it would be beneficial to consider going for therapy in Dubai, online therapy in Dubai or consulting a psychologist in Dubai. They may be able to recognize the signs of codependency, and help in overcoming the tendencies, while addressing the mental health concerns and aiding you in reconnecting with your sense of self and equip you with the necessary skills to be assertive and set boundaries.


Kaizen Wellbeing is an online therapy platform in Dubai, UAE that caters to South Asian community. There is a dearth of good therapy establishments that accommodate the mental health needs of the brown community. We aim to bridge that gap by providing you quality and affordable care by qualified and warm therapists. Reach out at hello@kaizenwb.com or +971 50 961 8796 and book your first session towards understanding yourself and other’s better.


If you have any queries please put them down in the comments section and we will try our best to answer them and help you out.

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