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?
1. Helping and caretaking are important parts of any relationship. But some kinds of helping are less healthy than others.
2. Unhealthy helping in relationships typically involves two roles:
A helper who goes above and beyond (like, all the time)...
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.
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.