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This is Why You're Not Codependent
This is Why You’re Not Codependent

Emotional & Psychological abuse victims "mimic" codependent traits: this is why you're not codependent. Read on to learn more.

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This is Why You're Not Codependent

Have therapists, clergy, 12-step sponsors – even family and friends – told you that you’re codependent?

Read on to learn why you’re probably not.

Victims of Emotional Abuse Are Not “Codependent”: They Are Seeking Safety

Often, Betrayal Trauma victims have little to no control over their own bodies, privacy, finances, and other aspects of their lives. This loss of control leads many women to engage in safety-seeking behaviors. These may include:

  • Checking a partner’s computer for pornography usage or other signs of infidelity
  • Checking bank accounts to ensure financial security
  • Using GPS tracking, private investigators, or other means to find out what their partner is doing

Many folks (including “professionals”) observe these behaviors and classify victims as “codependent” rather than as victims, doing whatever they need to in order to feel safe.

When a victim knows what her abuser is doing, or is going to do, she is able to make choices: to stay or leave, to put money aside so that she and her children can buy groceries in the event that he drains the banks accounts, etc. When an abuser continually lies, lives in secrecy, and betrays the family, without support and the safety of boundaries, she often has no other choice but to enlist these “safety-seeking behaviors” (which are NOT signs of codependency).

Labeling Victims of Emotional Abuse as “Codependent” is Harmful

Telling a victim that she’s codependent would be akin to telling a victim of a gunshot wound that she is codependent for searching the pockets of the man who shot her for his weapon. She is simply trying to protect herself.

Folks wrongly counsel victims to work on themselves – “What have YOU done to contribute to the problem?”

This enables the abuser to keep on abusing and encourages the victim stay in an abusive relationship without effective boundaries.

But What If I Am Actually Codependent?

It takes mental, emotional, and physical energy to get to safety. Don’t waste your precious energy on trying to “fix” yourself… yet.

After you’ve established safety boundaries to separate yourself as much as possible from the harm, you may find that you are still concerned about possibly being codependent.

It’s wise to make sure that your emotional safety, security, and sense of self are at healthy levels before you consider this step. When you’re ready, a trauma-sensitive, abuse-informed professional can help you unpack any personal issues you wish to work through.

However, most women find that when they’ve established a good deal of emotional & psychological safety from abuse, many perceived “character flaws” don’t actually exist and were merely a consequence of living with abuse.

BTR.ORG Supports Betrayal Trauma Victims

At BTR, we understand how difficult it is to live with and heal from betrayal trauma.

We provide many resources for emotional & psychological abuse victims. The BTR.ORG Podcast is a powerful tool. Tune in to hear stories from other women who understand what you’re going through.

Our BTR.ORG Group Sessions are a safe place to find community, validation, and support. Attend a session today.

And remember, you are not alone.

recovering from betrayal trauma
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