The Chains that Bind: Codependency


Are you familiar with the term codependency?  Most people are not familiar with the term, but once they learn more about it, they find how familiar it actually is.

Codependency is synonymous with the concept “relationship addiction.”  Reflect on some of the following:

  • Do you find yourself in the role of caregiver to those who need something from you?
  • Do you do whatever it takes to fix, rescue, control or protect some one else? Even if that is through manipulative or enabling behaviors? For example, save a loved one from a drinking problem or other destructive habit?
  • Are you drawn to people who come form chaotic or emotionally painful situations?
  • Do you feel controlled by some one else’s circumstances?
  • Have you lost your sense of self because you are so consumed by others?
  • Do you have a high need to please other people?

Answering yes to the above questions may indicate a struggle with codependency.  Most often codependency affects a spouse, sibling or friend of a person with a drug or alcohol dependence.  However, the term can also be generalized beyond substances to dysfunctional family systems or relationships.

If you are struggling with codependency there is a chance you may also be experiencing:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Looking for sources outside of your self to make you feel better
  • Self-medicating behaviors
  • Compulsive behaviors
  • Fatigue, anxiety or fear
  • Poor boundaries
  • Fear of abandonment

What are some steps to overcoming codependency:

  • Codependency is often rooted in childhood; education and therapy will help you gain insights about yourself and over come your struggles
  • The first step to changing a problem is to understand it, so education is essential
  • Support groups, surround yourself with others experiencing a similar struggle
  • Overcoming codependency is possible, take the first step today!

Evening with an Expert!

Fox Valley Institute Presents…
An Evening with an Expert:

“Savor the Holidays, One Bite at a Time”
By: Dr. Erin O’Donohue, Psy.D.


Do you get sick of all the articles about weight loss around the Holidays and the plans you make to begin a diet in the New Year? Why not take a different approach this Holiday season and make peace with food? Mindful eating provides a way of eating that is not going to deprive you of your regular Holiday foods, and is healthy for your mind and body. It provides you with awareness of your appetite in the moment, without judgment. Intuitively eating and trusting your body can stop emotional eating and food obsession.
  • Explore mindfulness and the impact it has on eating.
  • Identify steps to develop a more balanced relationship with food.
  • Learn ways to honor hunger and become aware of fullness.
  • Learn tips and strategies to eat mindfully this Holiday season.


Dr. Erin O’Donohue, Psy.D., is a graduate of the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She has a particular interest in helping clients who struggle with eating disorders, perfectionism, identity development, substance abuse, loss/grief, trauma and career struggles. Dr. Erin may be reached at
Fox Valley Institute 640 N. River Road, Suite #108 Naperville, IL 60563
When Thursday, November 14, 2013 Check-in begins at 6:30pm. The presentation is from 7:00-8:00pm.
Cost $25.00 donation per person 100% of the proceeds will be going to Arabella House in Naperville, Illinois.To Enroll Please email or call 630.718.0717 ext. 201 to enroll.

Take Some Time to Smell the Roses



Holiday season is quickly approaching once again.  As you move into this wonderful time of year, it is an opportunity to reflect upon your blessings in life.  My question to you is, how often do you take some time to smell the roses? It is one thing to be able to reflect on what you are grateful for; your home, job, children, financial stability but how often do you take the time to sit back and really appreciate those things.

This idea of being in the moment is difficult to capture.  We live in a society that fosters, ‘getting ahead’ and drives us towards the next best thing.  But what about those good things that are already in place.  Sure, you may want to get a promotion one day but until you are in that position, appreciate the one you have.  You will be a better employee for it.  You may be excited to see your children grow up and reach new milestones but for now enjoy that time with them on the couch while you watch your favorite television show, because you will not get that moment again.  Sure you may be driven to increase your earning potential but appreciate what is currently in your bank account instead of dreaming about what could be.  When we spend too much time fantasizing about what the future could be, life passes us by.  You end up missing out on some really great things that are happening this very moment.

So I encourage you this year, as you are reflecting on your blessings take some time to think about if you are living in there here now with these blessings.  If not, take advantage of my encouragement, you will feel different! Take some time to smell the roses!