Gregory Drambour, Founder of Sedona Retreats, Explores the Pivotal Question So Many Are Asking: “Am I Codependent?”

Cassiobury Project

Codependency has many different faces, which can make healing highly challenging for people affected with it. The term codependency has been around for over thirty years and was once used to describe those who enabled loved ones to drink or use drugs abusively. However, the more prevalent use of the word is centered around a “chronic neglect of self” that individuals often confuse with “being helpful” in an effort to aid others. However, this looming pressure to “help” or “fix” a situation is both physically and mentally draining and is often characteristic of a codependent individual.


What is Codependency?

“Codependency takes root when people feel an overwhelming sense of responsibility about the feelings, thoughts, and actions of loved ones, such as a spouse, child, parent, or anyone with whom they have a close emotional connection with,” commented Gregory Drambour, the Founder of Sedona Sacred Journeys, a Sedona Retreat organization which offers individuals, couples, families, spiritual retreats to accelerate inner healing and clearing.

“Unfortunately, people who struggle with codependency get trapped in a vicious cycle that can have negative consequences. Because they feel obsessively compelled to take care of others in a variety of ways, they typically neglect their own basic needs. Eventually, they deplete their physical, emotional, and psychological health, and at that point cannot take appropriate care of others or themselves.

To make matters even worse, in many cases the individual on the receiving end of this hyper-inflated sense of care will come to express resentment rather than gratitude. This can be devastating and trigger a very dangerous and painful downward spiral.”

Codependency is not currently recognized as a formal psychological disorder in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). However, many believe that codependency can potentially overlap with severe and established psychological disorders such as borderline personality disorder (BPD) and dependent personality disorder (DPD).

A dependent personality disorder is a serious mental illness that is characterized by an extreme aversion to being alone. Individuals who suffer from a dependent personality disorder can feel overwhelming and paralyzing anxiety if they’re not in close proximity to others who can provide them with a sufficient degree of comfort, advice, and reassurance.


Signs of Codependency 

There are many potential signs and symptoms of codependency, such as low self-esteem and a constant desire to obtain the approval of others. Individuals who are codependent continuously anticipate the needs of those around them and often feel compelled to provide unwanted advice. Additionally, they often find it easier to express anger of injustices done to others, than injustices done to themselves.

“Many people who suffer from codependency and have been victims of this painful psychological construct for years and possibly even decades, can get into resistance to change because they’re in denial about their situation, attitudes, and behaviors,” commented Gregory Drambour. From the outside, the existence of a codependent relationship — or multiple codependent relationships — may be obvious. However, from the inside, the perspective is completely different. People afflicted with codependency tend to build strong psychological defense mechanisms. They also tend to project their fears and anxieties onto others and see codependency in others where it doesn’t exist.

In fact, some people who are codependent truly believe that the target of their obsession is actually the one who has the disorder. This adds a great deal of complexity to the situation and reminds us that we must always approach individuals who suffer from codependency with empathy, compassion, patience, and love. They suffer continuously, even if they misinterpret the sources and causes of their pain.


Healing Options

Despite the fact that codependency is serious and can have severe consequences, the good news for both sufferers and those who care about them is that healing is available. As someone who specializes in helping individuals who are codependent, Gregory Drambour provides an online coaching program, Freedom From Codependency, and multi-day retreats in Sedona, Arizona for those looking to break free from their behaviors. With a deep guidance video series, Drambour claims that there is “tremendous power in being accountable” and has developed a multi-step program to help individuals transform their everyday lives.

“Perhaps the most important thing for people suffering from codependency to know is that regardless of what their life’s journey has been like so far, they have an innate wisdom and mental health within – at their core they are absolutely okay. They are just taking those codependent thoughts seriously. It feels like pressure to them and then they try to “fix” someone to relieve the pressure,” commented Gregory Drambour. “I focus on this a great deal in my teaching and writing because it’s something that so many of us forget; especially when we are suffering or feel desperate and hopeless. People need to remember that codependency is a learned behavior, more than like innocently handed down from a parent. You can stop taking that codependent thinking seriously. If you do, healthy thinking will flow up because now you have given it space too.”

Continued Gregory Drambour: “Healing codependency at its core is about first getting aware of when you’re in it. I recommend to clients to use their feelings as a resource or a warning light on the dashboard to tell them when they’re in codependent thinking – if they feel pressure or the need to fix or fear of guilt that’s the warning light. Step back for a moment, don’t do anything. Allow your wisdom to flow up – it will! Suddenly, you will have clearer healthy thinking. Be patient, don’t give into the pressure; new thinking will come which brings new behavior. With the right support, guidance, and tools — such as those that we provide to the hundreds of people each year who do a Sedona Retreat with us — the benefits and rewards start flowing, and the velocity of change is nothing short of remarkable. People can reinvent their lives and their futures and wake up to a reality that deeply loves and constantly fulfills them.”

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