Seeking codependence

Hi Dr Catalyst

Is it possible for a CPTSD sufferer to seek codependent relationship whilst processing their trauma?
Hello @ColinKevin. Thank you for reaching out. It's not uncommon for individuals with Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD) to seek codependent relationships while they are in the process of processing their trauma. This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as a need to feel safe, a desire for validation, or a pattern of seeking relationships that mirror past abusive dynamics.

Codependent relationships can provide a temporary sense of comfort and security, as they often involve one person being overly reliant on the other for emotional support or validation. However, in the long run, codependent relationships can be detrimental to healing from trauma. They tend to perpetuate unhealthy coping mechanisms and patterns that undermine personal growth and recovery.

In order to fully heal from trauma and develop healthy, fulfilling relationships, it's important to address the underlying issues that contribute to codependent patterns. This may involve seeking therapy or counseling to explore and process the trauma, as well as learn healthier ways of relating to others.

If you're comfortable sharing, can you tell me a bit more about your experiences with CPTSD and codependency?
 
It's not me, I am a supporter. One that is about to step out of that role as I am not codependent, and never have been. Unfortunately, this seems to be what my survivor is hell bent on being around, people who have the same experience.
 
It's not me, I am a supporter. One that is about to step out of that role as I am not codependent, and never have been. Unfortunately, this seems to be what my survivor is hell bent on being around, people who have the same experience.
I apologize for the assumption. Thank you for clarifying. It can be challenging as a supporter to witness and navigate your loved one's choices, especially when they involve seeking out codependent relationships. It's understandable that you may have concerns about their choices and the impact it may have on their healing journey.

While it's important to respect their autonomy and choices, it may still be helpful to have an open and honest conversation with them about your concerns. Express your worries in a compassionate and non-judgmental way, emphasizing that you only want what's best for them and their healing process.

It's important to remember that healing from trauma is a personal journey, and everyone progresses at their own pace. Encourage your loved one to consider therapy or counseling, as it can provide a safe and supportive environment to work through their trauma and explore healthier relationship dynamics.

Additionally, encourage them to seek out a support network or community that includes individuals who have experienced trauma but are also working towards healing and growth. Connecting with others who share similar experiences can provide a sense of belonging and understanding, while also promoting healthier relationships and coping strategies.

Remember to take care of yourself as well and set boundaries to ensure your own well-being. It can be challenging to support someone who is actively engaging in potentially destructive relationships, so make sure you have support for yourself too.

If you feel comfortable sharing more about your situation, I'm here to listen and offer further guidance.
 
They've had huge amounts of therapy. But they are driven by fear and shame, and make little progress due to the impact of both at such a young age. It's so hard to remain supportive when your unconditional love is tested so much. I have sought support for myself and it is helping.
 
They've had huge amounts of therapy. But they are driven by fear and shame, and make little progress due to the impact of both at such a young age. It's so hard to remain supportive when your unconditional love is tested so much. I have sought support for myself and it is helping.
I can understand how challenging it can be to witness your loved one's struggles despite their efforts in therapy. It sounds like fear and shame are still prominent barriers for them. It's important to acknowledge that healing from trauma is a complex and non-linear process, and progress can take time, especially when trauma occurred at a young age.

Continuing to provide unconditional love and support, while at the same time setting boundaries for your own well-being, is crucial. It's positive to hear that you have sought support for yourself, as taking care of your own needs is essential in maintaining your ability to be there for your loved one.

In addition to therapy, there are some strategies that may assist your loved one in working through fear and shame. Mindfulness and grounding techniques can help them become more aware of their present experiences and create a sense of safety in the moment. Encourage them to explore self-compassion practices, as cultivating self-compassion can be an antidote to shame.

It's important to remember that everyone's healing journey is unique, and progress can fluctuate. Celebrate even small steps forward and encourage your loved one to keep going, reminding them that healing is possible. Encourage them to explore different therapeutic approaches or modalities that may resonate with them, such as trauma-focused therapies like EMDR or Sensorimotor therapy.

Ultimately, though, it's important to respect their choices and their own timing in their healing process. As much as we may want to help someone we care about, it's essential to let them take ownership of their mental health and make decisions that feel right for them (even if that means being in codependent relationships). Keep offering your support, and remind them that you're there to listen and help in any way you can.

If there's anything else you'd like to discuss, please feel free to share.
 
Hmmmmm...very hard to when they are making poor decisions that are so self interested.
I understand that it can be challenging and frustrating to witness someone making decisions that seem self-interested or potentially harmful. However, it's important to remember that trauma can deeply impact a person's ability to make healthy choices and navigate relationships. The patterns they are engaging in may be tied to their past experiences and coping mechanisms.

While it may be difficult, it's important to approach the situation with empathy and understanding. Judgment and criticism can often reinforce feelings of shame and lead to further disconnection. Continue to provide love and support while also setting boundaries to protect yourself.

At the same time, it's important to recognize the limits of your influence. You cannot force someone to change or make different choices. Ultimately, the decision to pursue healing and change rests with them. Encouraging therapy or counseling as a safe space to explore and process their experiences may be beneficial, but it's important to respect their autonomy and readiness to engage in that process.

It might also be helpful to seek guidance from a therapist or counselor yourself, who can provide you with specific strategies and support tailored to your situation. They may be able to offer insights and recommendations on how to navigate this challenging dynamic.

Remember that taking care of yourself is crucial during this time. Prioritize your own well-being and seek support from professionals or support groups who can provide guidance and understanding.
 
I am taking care of myself. And some of that means stepping out for a while as tolerance has worn thin. I've no doubt trauma is at the heart of their knee jerk responses. They keep referring to potential damage to their orbitofrontal cortex. Linked to some research by LeDoux
 
I am taking care of myself. And some of that means stepping out for a while as tolerance has worn thin. I've no doubt trauma is at the heart of their knee jerk responses. They keep referring to potential damage to their orbitofrontal cortex. Linked to some research by LeDoux
It's good to hear that you are taking care of yourself and recognizing when you need to take a step back to protect your own well-being. Setting boundaries and taking breaks can be healthy choices when dealing with the challenges that come with supporting someone who has experienced trauma.

It's not uncommon for trauma survivors to experience difficulties with emotional regulation and impulse control, which could be linked to the impact of trauma on the brain. The orbitofrontal cortex is involved in emotional processing and executive functioning, and trauma can disrupt its functioning.

Joseph LeDoux is a prominent neuroscientist who has contributed significant research on the neuroscience of emotion and trauma. While it's important to consider the impact of trauma on brain functioning, it's also crucial to remember that our brains have a remarkable capacity for neuroplasticity, meaning they can change and adapt over time.

Encouraging your loved one to seek therapy or counseling that addresses both the psychological and biological aspects of trauma may be beneficial. Trauma-focused therapies, such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) or Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), can help individuals process their traumatic experiences and develop healthy coping strategies.

It's important to maintain open lines of communication with your loved one and let them know that you are there for them when they are ready to seek further help or support. Taking care of yourself and setting boundaries is essential, so continue prioritizing your own well-being as you navigate this situation.

If there's anything else I can assist you with, please don't hesitate to let me know.
 
They have had lots of EMDR, and that always worsens the symptoms, mpulsivity and increase dissociation whilst they are processing. In terms of neuroplasticity, this seems to have increased their self interest and decreased their empathy
 
They have had lots of EMDR, and that always worsens the symptoms, mpulsivity and increase dissociation whilst they are processing. In terms of neuroplasticity, this seems to have increased their self interest and decreased their empathy
I'm sorry to hear that EMDR has been worsening your loved one's symptoms. It's important to recognize that everyone's response to trauma therapy can vary, and what works for one person may not work for another. While EMDR is an evidence-based therapy for trauma, it may not be the most effective approach for everyone.

If EMDR is not yielding positive results or is exacerbating symptoms, it may be worth exploring alternative trauma-focused therapies or modalities. Some individuals find success with therapies like Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), or somatic experiencing approaches, which focus on engaging the body in the healing process.

Regarding the impact of trauma on empathy and self-interest, it's important to keep in mind that trauma can profoundly affect one's cognitive and emotional functioning. It can lead to hyperarousal or dissociation, which can impact empathy and interpersonal connections.

While it's disheartening to see a decrease in empathy, it's essential to approach this with compassion and understanding. Trauma can alter brain chemistry and neural connections, leading to changes in behavior and perspective. However, with appropriate therapeutic interventions, such as trauma-informed therapy and supportive environments, individuals can regain or develop empathy over time.

Encouraging your loved one to seek out therapeutic interventions that address not only the trauma but also interpersonal relationships and empathy may be beneficial. It can also be helpful for you to continue seeking support for yourself as you navigate these challenges.

Remember to prioritize your own well-being and set boundaries when necessary. You have taken positive steps by seeking support for yourself, and it's crucial to continue doing so to maintain your own mental health.

If there's anything else you would like to discuss or any specific concerns you have, please feel free to share.
 
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