All posts in Health & Fitness::Counseling

Health & Fitness::Counseling

Codependent Relationships: Takers and Caretakers

Takers and caretakers – they often seem to find each other! As a counselor who has worked with relationships for 37 years, I can tell you that this is the most frequent relationship dynamic that I encounter.

Takers are people who tend to be narcissistic – that is, they are self-centered with an excessive need for attention and admiration. The taker attempts to control getting love, attention, approval or sex from others with anger, blame, violence, criticism, irritation, righteousness, neediness, invasive touch, invasive energy, incessant talking and/or emotional drama. The taker uses many forms of both overt and covert control to get the attention he or she wants.

Takers not only want a lot of control, but are often afraid of being controlled and become overtly or covertly resistant to doing what someone else wants them to do. The taker might resist with denial, defending, procrastination, rebellion, irresponsibility, indifference, withdrawal, deadness, numbness, rigidity, and/or incompetence.

In a relationship, takers operate from the belief that «You are responsible for my feelings of pain and joy. It is your job to make sure that I am okay.»

Caretakers, on the other hand, operate from the belief that «I am responsible for your feelings. When I do it right, you will be happy and then I will receive the approval I need.» Caretakers sacrifice their own needs and wants to take care of the needs and wants of others, even when others are capable of doing it themselves. Caretakers give to others from fear rather than love – they give to get.

Neither takers nor caretakers take responsibility for their own feelings and wellbeing. Takers generally attempt to have control over others’ giving them the attention and admiration they want in overt ways, while caretakers attempt to have control over getting approval in more covert ways, such as compliance, doing to much for others, and/or withholding their wants and opinions.

Because neither takers nor caretakers are taking care of themselves, they will each end up feeling angry, resentful, trapped, unappreciated, unseen, unloved, misunderstood, and/or unacknowledged.

I tell my clients that whenever they feel this way in a relationship, it is because they are expecting the other person to give them what they are not giving to themselves. When we are not seeing, valuing, acknowledging, or understanding ourselves, and when we are not attending to our own wants and needs, we will always feel upset when others treat us just like we are treating ourselves.

Codependent relationships – Codependency relationships of two takers, two caretakers, or a taker and a caretaker – will always run into problems. Many people leave these relationships, only to discover the same problems in their next relationships. Takers and caretakers can switch places in different relationships and over different issues, but the problems remain the same – anger, resentment, distance, lack of sexuality, boredom, feeling unloved and unloving.

There really is a way to heal this.

Relationships heal when individuals heal. When each partner does their inner work – for example practicing the Inner Bonding process that we teach (see for a free course) – their relationship system heals. When each person learns to take full personal responsibility for his or her own feelings of pain and joy, they stop pulling on each other and blaming each other. When each person learns to fill themselves with love and share that love with each other, instead of always trying to get love, the relationship heals.

Learning how to take100% responsibility for your own feelings is one of the essential ingredients in creating a healthy relationship. This means learning to be conscious of what you are feeling and being open to learning about what you are doing to create your own feelings, instead of being a victim and believing that others are causing your feelings. Your feelings come from how you treat yourself and others, from what you tell yourself and what you believe about yourself and others, rather than from others behavior. Blaming others for your feelings will always lead to major relationship problems.

Why not start today by taking your eyes off your partner and putting them squarely on yourself? In reality, you are the only one you actually have control over. You are the only one you can change.

Online Counseling – a Timely Happenstance

Online counseling may be the latest and greatest improvement in therapy. It seems to be perfect for this fast-paced world with many workers who sit by their computer screens all day long. Yet, it is not limited to today’s information technology workers or those whose work requires being online frequently.

Giving Space to your spouse A Key to happy marriageImagine how convenient it will be to read a quick email from your therapist that can give you just the insight you were looking for to move beyond your failed relationship or that obsession with chocolate that was left in the wake of a bad break-up. This could be the very addiction that is causing you to buy larger sized clothes all of the sudden.

Think about the worried mother who doesn’t quite know what to do about her child’s out-of-character or unusual behavior. Or even worse, the distraught parent trying to cope with his teenager’s drug or alcohol addiction. And of course there are other intense problems, such as teen pregnancy, death of a loved one or terminal illness in the family.

These can be tough problems to tackle in an already stressed environment that is the world we live in. But when do you find the time to go to your therapy session? This is especially the case when your therapist is not available during the day, over weekends or at some other time when it is convenient to you?

Think about the time it takes to travel back and forth for a therapy session even when you do manage to schedule one. There is the ever increasing cost of gasoline to contend with too, adding to the stress that might lead you to seek counseling in the first place!

Then there are some problems that you might not want to talk to someone face-to-face with, especially someone who lives in your home town. Wouldn’t it be much easier to sign up for email counselling sessions with someone in a far away city? You could even open an anonymous email account with yahoo or some other email provider that doesn’t necessarily need your real name, and use that to offer near total anonymity.

This seems like a good idea, it can provide you the kind of nurturing environment needed to really pour your heart out to the therapist and get a professional response via email. The therapist doesn’t have to know anything about your identity and can still treat you professionally. And this could mean no embarrassing record that could be subpoenaed in a court of law.

A good online counseling plan might include unlimited emails for a certain amount of time. Giving you the kind of access to a therapist that you might not get in a once-a-week appointment. Not without paying extra, that is.

Yes, there are a number of benefits to seeking Online Couples Counseling therapy. Anonymity, access, time and money savings. No one needs to know you are in therapy and they won’t ever see you «go» to an appointment. Yet, while you are sitting at your computer, an email may pop up with just the timely advice or encouragement you were looking for, the kind of support that can be hard to come by in today’s crazy, mixed up world.