Are you CODEPENDENT?????

  1. I originally pasted this as a reply, but I think it needs its own thread.

    A therapist once told me that nurses have a real problem with codependency. The definition of codependence is: Always putting ones needs above your own needs. Feeling/thinking that someones elses needs are more important than your own. She said nurses have a bad habit of accepting assignments/workloads even when though they can't handle or don't want the workload. Their reasoning is "my manager wouldn't have asked me to do it unless it was really important", or "if I quit the agency because they treat me bad, it will be the patients that suffer". I'm sure you have all heard the rationalizations before. For our sanity, nurses need to learn to set boundaries. For example, with a new agency that I started at, I pleasantly made it clear that if I work the weekend, I need 2 days off during the week and only on very rare occasions will I work more than 8 hours per day.

    Are you codependent or are you able to set boundaries?
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    About paradiseboundRN

    Joined: Mar '09; Posts: 355; Likes: 321
    Home Health Nurse; from US
    Specialty: 11 year(s) of experience in Home Health, MS, Oncology, Case Manageme

    13 Comments

  3. by   GooeyRN
    I have no problem setting limits with employers when it comes to how much/when I will work. But as per being overworked, yeah, I need to grow a backbone.

    As per my family, I am guilty as charged for putting others needs/wants before my own. That is something I need to work on.
  4. by   ArwenEvenstar
    Quote from paradiseboundRN
    I originally pasted this as a reply, but I think it needs its own thread.

    A therapist once told me that nurses have a real problem with codependency. The definition of codependence is: Always putting ones needs above your own needs. Feeling/thinking that someones elses needs are more important than your own. She said nurses have a bad habit of accepting assignments/workloads even when though they can't handle or don't want the workload. Their reasoning is "my manager wouldn't have asked me to do it unless it was really important", or "if I quit the agency because they treat me bad, it will be the patients that suffer". I'm sure you have all heard the rationalizations before. For our sanity, nurses need to learn to set boundaries. For example, with a new agency that I started at, I pleasantly made it clear that if I work the weekend, I need 2 days off during the week and only on very rare occasions will I work more than 8 hours per day.

    Are you codependent or are you able to set boundaries?
    Hi! Thanks for sharing about co-dependence and boundaries. I agree with your thoughts! A quote I love by Florence Nightingale is "The martyr sacrifices themselves entirely in vain. Or rather not in vain; for they make the selfish more selfish, the lazy more lazy, the narrow narrower."

    I do shift work home health (private duty), and a major problem I have encountered is nurses who completely and totally lack a boundary. The families of these patients can (understandably) be needy and demanding. If you give an inch, they take a mile. It is critical for the nurses to have a firm boundary. Without a proper boundary it is very easy for a nurse to get pulled into the dysfunctional dynamic (without even realizing it) and start making risky, subjective nursing decisions. Things can very quickly spiral out of control with these cases. And the nurse must also have a boundary with the agency, who can often PLEAD and BEG for hours.

    Too many nurses I have encountered just don't "get" this. When spoken to about boundaries, the responses I have heard from these nurses are very co-dependent sounding! They feel they "must" do anything and everything for the families. The rationalizations I have heard are unbelievable! Back to Florence: "The martyr sacrifices themselves entirely in vain. Or rather not in vain; for they make the selfish more selfish, the lazy more lazy, the narrow narrower." Florence was a wonderful nurse, the lady of the lamp, who served others, but she understood some "differences". There is a difference between being dependable and being a doormat. There is a difference between being responsible and being a martyr. As women and nurses, I think we naturally want to care for others and be there for them. So we are ripe to be taken advantage of by demanding agency staff and demanding families. But you do not help anyone in the long run when you don't have boundaries.... Yes, "For our sanity, nurses need to learn to set boundaries"! Thanks for your post!!
  5. by   paradiseboundRN
    Thanks for responding. I love the Nightingale quote. I am surprised that I didn't get more responses. Is no response, a response in itself? Unfortunately, those of us nurses who do have boundaries are sometimes accused of being uncaring because we won't be that doormat. Has that happen to you?
  6. by   Jami RN
    I'll say yes. :icon_roll

    I'll go further and speculate that most who are drawn to nursing, by the nature of the job, tend to be co-dependent. I think it is very difficult for those who are NOT codependent to remain in this profession and that is why so many people who enter nursing for the money, the flexibility, travel opportunities, etc. don't stay in it very long.

    Let the flames begin. :angryfire
  7. by   ArwenEvenstar
    Quote from paradiseboundRN
    Thanks for responding. I love the Nightingale quote. I am surprised that I didn't get more responses. Is no response, a response in itself? Unfortunately, those of us nurses who do have boundaries are sometimes accused of being uncaring because we won't be that doormat. Has that happen to you?
    Yes, that has happened to me! A nurse on a private duty case accused me of being cold hearted and cruel because of the firm professional boundary that I maintained. The situation was so out of hand. This nurse had essentially socially integrated into the family, had crossed every conceivable boundary, and had lost any and all objectivity. She was increasingly making risky and subjective nursing care decisions. Yet she did not see it that way at all, and was tangled up in the dysfunctional family dynamic without even realizing it. Long story short....this nurse was eventually fired due to unsafe nursing care. Yet she still did not get it! She was the "only one who really cared about the family" and the rest of us were so cold-hearted!

    I could give other examples but don't want to start ranting and raving! haha!:icon_roll Some of the other examples would involve nurses who NEVER take a day off because "what would the family do without them?" Well, if no backup staff could be found the family would actually have to care for their own child for a shift! Imagine that! What a novel idea! Nurses who work non-stop, never take a day off, and "do everything" create a totally unrealistic expectation for the family. The family comes to expect nurses ALL the time and does not want to take any responsibility for their child. I've seen this happen. It is actually quite sad and disheartening to see a family completely remove themselves from the sphere of their child. The parents should be involved in their child's care, and the care should be a team effort between the family and nurses.

    See...I am ranting and raving. My personal experiences after 4 plus years of doing private duty, is that way to many private duty nurses are severely co-dependent. They seem to think that they are helping these families. But instead they are making already dysfunctional situations even worse in so many ways....
  8. by   caliotter3
    I once worked with a nurse who was a member of Codependents Anonymous . We discussed whether they should extend invitations to all the nurses at the disaster facility we were at. I have found that when discussing codependent behavior and boundaries with nurses who are tangled up with families in home care, I often find an attitude that the guilty nurse does not care one hoot about boundaries or professionalism. This is because of the benefits they receive from this behavior. Supervisors will recognize these situations and will do nothing to change the status quo.
  9. by   nhensleyLPN
    Yes, absolutely I am codependent! Trying to control other people's behavior towards me by doing what I think THEY want, worrying CONSTANTLY whether I am doing a good job or not, waiting for the other shoe to drop, etc. I am a GOOD nurse, its just that I accept the blame for things that are NOBODY's fault, much less mine!! My latest problem has to do with CNA insobordination. They go running to my DON saying "N. yells at me..." and I get chewed out by my supervisor!!?? So, tell me, how am I supposed to feel??
  10. by   paddler
    I have never seen myself as codependent, but after reading this... maybe I am. I find it hard to decline extra work simply because I fear for holding onto my job and/or getting a good review from current employer when moving on to the next one. Or worse, getting bumped to the bottom of the list for cases and hours. I get paid per visit and have always heard that people who decline too often get called the least.

    I rarely get too involved in patient's/families lives as I generally have little interest in the drama and time associated with it. So maybe rather than being codependent with the people to whom I provide care, I am codependent with my employer?
  11. by   nhensleyLPN
    If we do or say anything to try to influence what other's do or say to us, (or about us) we are most likely co-dependent! (I know, by that definition we ALL are then, right? ) Its ok to be INTER-dependent WITH your employers. They need us too, whether they want to admit it or not! (It takes time and money to hire another employee, and meanwhile the extra burden placed on remaining employees is staggering!) The sad truth is that whats considered good nursing, team player, etc. is actually co-dependence!! :smackingf
  12. by   KateRN1
    This is very timely. Thanks so much for reviving this thread. I recognize a coworker in this thread and would like to intervene to help her stop the madness of codependence. (Does that make me codependent? Hmmmm . . . .)
  13. by   nhensleyLPN
    Quote from KateRN1
    (Does that make me codependent? Hmmmm . . . .)
    LMAO!! Only if you get so wrapped up in her problem that it affects your personal life and you can't sleep at night!!???
  14. by   Isabelle49
    I am absolutely not codependent!

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