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    8 Important Facts About Always Giving Too Much Of Yourself In Relationships

    You down with OPP? (Other people's problems.)

    You know that feeling where you give so much of yourself — your time, support, energy, and maybe even your money — and the other person just takes and takes... and then needs more?

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    Like they never learn from their mistakes? Like you suspect they maybe can't even handle day-to-day things without you around? Like no matter how much time and effort you put into helping them get their shit together they still need more help?

    Yeah, you know that feeling. So let's talk about it: Where it comes from, why it happens, and how to stop giving so much of yourself to someone else that there's not much left for you. Because it's not in your head, but that doesn't mean it's inevitable.

    For this story, BuzzFeed Life talked to Shawn Meghan Burn, Ph.D., professor of psychology at California Polytechnic State University and author of the forthcoming book Unhealthy Helping: A Psychological Guide for Overcoming Codependence, Enabling, and Other Dysfunctional Giving.

    Here's what you should know.

    1. Helping and caretaking are important parts of any relationship. But some kinds of helping are less healthy than others.

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    There are times when we really need a hand to get through something tough so we turn to someone close to us for assistance — maybe a shoulder to cry on, a loan so we can make rent, a car we can borrow, or some other favor. In a relationship where both people give and take equally there's a mutual and healthy interdependence.

    But some relationships are built on unhealthy helping, with one person doing all the giving and other other person doing all the taking, Burn says. This unhealthy helping dynamic is a classic symptom of codependent relationships.

    2. Unhealthy helping in relationships typically involves two roles:

    A helper who goes above and beyond (like, all the time)...

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    And a person who needs to rescued (like, all the time).

    3. Any type of relationship can potentially be codependent — romantic partnerships, family relationships, and friendships.

    4. There are lots of signs that you might be the helper in one of these unhealthy helping relationships. For instance:

    5. And being the caregiver in a codependent relationship can make you feel pretty bad about yourself, tbh.

    6. And even though it makes you feel garbage-y, you might find yourself in relationships like this more often than not.

    Are you nodding your head so hard right now? If so, don't panic.

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    7. You can unlearn unhealthy helping, and you can also learn to set healthy limits in your relationships. The key is a combo of understanding why helping makes you feel so damn good in the first place, and then adjusting your outlook.

    8. Burn emailed BuzzFeed Life with a bunch of different ways unhealthy helpers can start to learn about and break their codependent habits. Here's what she suggested:

    • Join a support group

    "Some people benefit from codependence support groups and if their codependence is specific to enabling an addict/alcoholic, they may benefit from Al-Anon support groups (like AA but for people in relationships with addicts/alcoholics," Burn says.

    • Seek counseling

    Therapy can help you figure out and even resolve any underlying issues that might be contributing to your codependence, Burn says. It can teach you to find other ways to satisfy your need to feel validated or needed, and it can also help you figure out how to get out of unhealthy one-sided relationships, if that's what it takes. Also this: "[You] may need to explore whether [your] behavior is part of an unhealthy family pattern and how [you] can stop it," Burn says.

    • Try cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)

    CBT "helps address the maladaptive thinking that leads to unhealthy helping and giving," Burn says. It's about recognizing thought and behavior patterns, and figuring out how change your behaviors in specific ways, so that you end up getting different outcomes and can break the cycle one step at a time.

    • Educate yourself about self-help

    Burn recommends two books: Your Perfect Right, which can help with assertiveness and boudary setting, and Ten Days to Self-Esteem, which is a self-help book that can help you learn tricks to improve your self-confidence.

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