5 Signs of a Codependent Relationship

Tracy has felt like just an extension of another human being, at a loss of her own personal identity, and a doormat to her husband Bill of 23 years.  She describes her marriage as “all giving and not much getting”. She is frustrated, drained, alone, and so aware of his constant wants that she no longer knows what she wants out of life.  She admits to feeling sorry for herself often and has sought help but has never really followed through with anything. She admits that her fear of his anger or rejection dictates much of her decisions and accepts the relationship for what it is because she is “already too invested”.  The real investment here is her codependency with her husband.

Have you found yourself in a similar situation as Tracey? Do you find yourself constantly giving and giving, trying to please your partner, and/or trying to resolve your partner’s problems? Although it is normal for there to be moments in the partnership where you don’t feel a reciprocal amount of effort, it begins to get unhealthy when it is more the norm than not. It gets harmful and destructive when you find yourself in the codependency dance in your relationship.

Codependency is often associated with that of partners of alcoholics.  However, today we can see this same dysfunctional dynamic in any type of relationship.  Codependents get their label by finding their self-worth and value in their ability to give to others.  We see this in the alcoholic and codependent relationship because while the codependent is giving, pleasing, and fixing the alcoholic is taking, draining, breaking, and taking some more.


Here Are 5 Signs You […]

Are You A “Nomophobic”

I’m nomophobic…and chances are, you are too.

Nomophobia is a new disorder that is defined as “the fear of being without your smartphone.” This phobia actually affects 40% of the population. Studies show that “aside from sleep and sex, the urge to log into social networking sites is stronger than any other, including drugs and alcohol.”

How many times have you caught yourself saying, “What did I do before I had a smartphone?” or scrambling to plug your smartphone in because you cannot think of anything worse than it dying, thus not having access to “the world.” When we think about it logically, it is silly how much we depend on this technology, but when push comes to shove, leaving the phone at home, just because, is almost unheard of!

young-fashionable-woman-reading-sms-10086812Many people claim that the last thing they touch at night and the first thing they touch in the morning is their cell phone. As a married woman, this makes me sad, mostly because I am often guilty of it, but also because when I was a teen, I used to dream about how wonderful it would be to wake up next to the one you love and get a good morning and goodnight kiss every day. Now, we are more concerned about the latest posts on Instagram and Facebook, or what our calendars look like, rather than living and being in the present.

Personally, it drives my husband crazy how often I am on my phone (especially when he is driving), and vice versa when we are watching TV, but we are both trying harder to “be present” and enjoy life through our own eyes rather than through […]

Five Tips To Improve Your Self-Esteem

Five Tips To Improve Your Self-Esteem

Do you sit in the mirror with jaded lens and pin point all of your flaws? Do you find yourself daydreaming of how much happier you would if you could just change a certain part of your body? Do you hide behind layers of clothing? You are not alone and many are in the same struggle towards self acceptance.

I was that young teen afraid of the mirror. The mirror showed me a side of myself that I despised and wished I could magically change. I had wonderful friends that loved and accepted me but that just wasn’t enough for me to love myself. This self-hatred poured into my adult years but I learned to mask it a little better. I wore a girdle on a daily basis, spent hours on my hair and make-up, and hid behind jokes, kindness, and being a pretty awesome human being BUT even with the approval of others I could not stand to look at myself in the mirror.

Orlando Self Esteem CounselingI know I am not alone and that many have experienced or are experiencing this very same thing. What I can say is that this self-inflicted emotional abuse does not need to consume your life and does have an end. It is not an easy journey but I can honestly say that it is possible to love yourself wholly and accept yourself for who you are and where you are.

Stop the negative self-talk.

Have you ever taken a day to just listen to your self-talk? Your self-talk are the comments you say to yourself about yourself. For example, if you drop your lunch […]

EMDR | Orlando Trauma Therapy

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a treatment used to “desensitize and reprocess” memories that have been stored in your brain as a result of traumatic experiences (this can be a small trauma to a larger trauma).  EMDR is  considered to be an effective therapy because of the quick and lasting relief clients feel from their emotional distress.  EMDR therapy repeatedly activates opposite sides of the brain, which releases emotional experiences that have become trapped in the nervous system and can be completed by the eye movement, audio to tactile methods.

EMDR is shown and used at Life Counseling Solutions to have effectiveness in treating the following conditions:

  • Anxiety 
  • Depression
  • Low Self-Esteem
  • Overwhelming Fears
  • Relationship Problems
  • Loss of a Loved One
  • Performance Enhancement
  • Post Traumatic Stress (Rape, Robbery, Natural Disaster, Car Accident, Fire, Earth Quakes)
  • Sexual, Physical, or Emotional Abuse

Orlando Trauma TherapyHow Does EMDR Work?

The EMDR therapist works with a client in revisiting the traumatic experience, the feelings about the experience, and any negative thoughts or feelings.  The therapist then uses bi-lateral stimulation (either eye-movement, tactile, or audio methods) to activate both sides of the brain to bring quick and vibrant images that are then processed by the stimulation bringing about relief and resolved feelings.  

Performance Based Self-Identity

Self-identity is the recognition of someone’s potential and qualities as an individual. When we have a balanced view of our self-identity, we can find the worth and value in the many facets that make us human. For example, a person can say I am smart, I am kind to others, I am attractive, I have a great sense of humor, I have a good work ethic, etc. However, many people find their self-identity, and their self-worth, not in who they are, but what they do.

This is called Performance Based Self-Identity.

Performance Based Self-Identity creates two types of people: perfectionists and avoiders. Both of these types of people have the same mantra of “I must meet certain standards to feel good about myself” (taken from “The Search for Significance by Robert S. McGee- highly recommended!)

self-identity, performance, failing, workaholicBeing a perfectionist is often viewed as a good trait because perfectionists work hard, get things done, and are reliable; however, being a perfectionist means that impossible standards are set and never obtained. No one is perfect; therefore, setting out to be is impossible and frustrating when not achieved. The perfectionist’s thinking of him or herself looks like, “Today, I got a 100% on my AP test; I got the highest promotion at work; I am a mom who has it all together…therefore, I am good/valuable/worthy/etc.” While these are all wonderful achievements, situations and circumstances change on a daily basis, so if a perfectionist feels valuable because he got the highest promotion, what will happen to his self-worth if he gets fired or laid off? This is when the perfectionist spirals into a state of devastation […]

4 Healthy Boundaries in Social Media | Orlando Counseling Services

Strength Behind the Screen

In a world of selfies, hashtags, and tweets, social media and the pressures it brings have bombarded our lives. It is well understood by now that social media can be used to bring harm, heartache, and even “acceptance” to its users, but it is surprising how often we gain “strength” behind the screen to promote, defend and process.


The most common types of statuses and comments that we come across (or have posted ourselves) are ones like the following:

The passive aggressive, not so passive status: “I usually do not post statuses like this, but I just have to vent with how frustrated I am with…”

The vague, not so vague, post about someone, who knows that they’re the someone that the post is about: “I want to unfollow you because I see you with her, but I can’t because it’s my only connection to you.”

The posts that are fishing for compliments: “Feeling frustrated because I can’t seem to shake these last few pounds” which are usually followed by “What are you talking about?! You look amazing!”

The outright fights that people have via comments, which doesn’t need an example. We’ve all seen it!

While social media can be fun and even beneficial at times, it is important to understand when to limit yourself and your thoughts to the entire world. Here are some helpful tips to keep healthy boundaries online and to take that strength that you have behind the computer or phone screen into the real world.

  1. Do not pick fights over the Internet – When you are upset with someone social media is not the place to hash things out, even if they start the […]

Dangers of Teen Codependent Relationships| Orlando Teen Codependency Counseling

Dangers of Teen Codependent Relationships| Orlando Teen Codependency Counseling

Codependency is a term that can be defined as “excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, typically a partner who requires support due to an illness or addiction.” Unfortunately, codependence can affect anyone and it is an issue that is even affecting teenagers. Codependent relationships in teens can be extremely dangerous, as we have learned by recent events in Windermere, Florida.

Florida Teen Double Suicide Screen shot 2014-03-26 at 10.20.13 PM

On Saturday, March 22nd, two teens shot and killed an officer and then themselves. Suicide notes were found by parents along with notes to each other and plans of the future. The plans included that the couple desired to get married (Brandon Goode being 18 years old and his girlfriend Alex Hollinghurst only 17 years old), steal a boat and sail to Panama. Brandon painted Alex a “romantic” idea of a future by saying, “We could live on a beach, just you and me, forever;” however, this isolation and dependency is exactly what fed into the couple’s toxic relationship. Another letter was found where Brandon was apologizing for creating so many problems for Alex and breaking up with her. According to letters, and the events that ensued on Saturday, obviously the break up did not last.

Often times, teenagers get a tumultuous relationship confused for a passionate one. They think the codependency is romantic rather than unhealthy. And the on again/off again relationship as destiny to be together, rather than being unable to set and maintain healthy boundaries. This kind of behavior is definitely dangerous to one’s mental health, but as Windermere and the families of […]

5 Ways To Grieve The Loss of A Loved One | Orlando Grief Counseling

It seems that every time we turn on the TV that we are bombarded with tragic loss.  This can be especially hard if we are dealing with loss in our personal lives.  It is also difficult when the loss does not make sense and/or is unexpected.  We have the entire town of Windermere grieving the loss and honoring the life of their beloved officer and friend, Robert German, who was tragically killed in cold blood in a senseless murder at gunpoint.  We also have the family and friends grieving the loss of his killers, Brandon Goode (18) and Alexandria Hollinghurst (17), who took their own lives that same morning after taking the life of Officer German.  Neither occurrence makes sense to their loved ones.  Neither death can fully be explained in a way that would relieve the pain they are facing at this moment in their lives.


 There is nothing anyone can say or do to make the pain of losing a loved one go away but there is help in the process.  If you or someone you know is dealing with a loss from a death or suicide here are some helpful tips to assist in healing along the way:

1)   Share your feelings with others.  This is not a time to be alone or to isolate yourself.  There will be moments that you may need to be alone to process the events, to grieve out loud and listen to your own thoughts and feelings, but isolation does not assist in the long run.   Avoiding the company of others or not sharing your feelings keep you stuck and can cause you to fall into […]

How To Cope This Holiday Season: Loved One’s Eating Disorder

As wonderful as the Holidays can be for many of us, this is often a time of stress, anxiety, and despair for many suffering from an eating disorder. The Holiday Season is not only focused around gifts, and time with loved ones, but FOOD. Food is an obsession that those with an eating disorder struggle with every day, and the holidays just intensify this obsession.

OrlandoEatingDisorderCounselingHolidaysThe following tips will help you cope with your loved one’s eating disorder and make the holidays merry and bright.

o Do not put a huge emphasis on what your loved one is eating.
o Check in with your loved one privately and see how he or she is doing emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally.
o Be genuine with your loved one. Remind him or her that they are loved and valued no matter what.
o Make the focus of the holidays about family and quality time together, not food or eating habits.
o Do not draw attention to the eating disorder.
o Do not talk about weight loss or weight gain, even if referring to yourself or others.
o Be patient. This is an especially difficult time for your loved one.
o Have your loved one seek counseling.

Although there are some specific guidelines to help your loved one this holiday season, do not feel that you have to “walk on eggshells” and be unnatural. The more natural environment that you create, the easier it will be for your loved one to cope and not feel the pressure of his or her eating disorder.

If you or a loved one is suffering from an eating disorder, then call Eating Disorder Counseling Orlando with  Life Counseling Solutions today for a COMPLIMENTARY […]

What You Need To Know: YouTube & Self-Harming | Orlando Teen Counseling

This week, I was brainstorming on what to write for the Orlando Teen Counseling| Life Counseling Solutions blog. I decided I wanted to find an inspirational video on YouTube about cutting and expand on that. Unfortunately, instead, I came across some disturbing videos about teens and self-harming.

Because I have worked with many teens that self-harm, I have heard stories about them finding people they can relate to on YouTube, being inspired through YouTube videos and even posting their own videos. My desire is to inform parents of what is out there and what is easily accessible to their children.

Popular YouTube Self-Harm Videos Include:

  • 36 Self Harm Scar Excuses
  • What to do if you cut too deep
  • How to cut deep (for bigger scars)
  • Real cutters vs. Fake Cutters
  • How to hide self-harm scars with makeup
  • Cut the pain away
  • How to self-harm
  • Covering self-harm without long sleeves
  • Self-Harm (Warning graphic content may be triggering)

The scariest part about these videos is that they have anywhere from 300,000 to 1,000,000 views. This is the newest outlet for teens to express their hurt and pain. Many of them share their story to get “comments” from other teens encouraging them, or just to get their feelings out in the open.

5 Things You Can Do

  • As a parent, be very aware of what your child is posting and watching on YouTube.
  • Check their Internet history.
  • Have open communication with them about their feelings, emotions and behaviors.
  • Find out what type of music, shows and movies they are into at the moment.
  • Be involved in your teen’s life (and social media) as much as possible so that he or she is not seeking out guidance, help, or direction from YouTube or other unhealthy sources.

If you think or know that your […]