The Celebrity Therapist

happyOften, people have noticed a pattern in their life, where relationships that seem ideal quickly become toxic and partners that seemed like Mr. Right soon become Mr. Impossible.
The reality for many people is that codependency is often difficult to identify.
Many codependents are professionals and very good at what they do, as long as they are able to avoid considering what is going on in their relationships.
In my book The Marriage and Relationship Junkie,  I talk about my experiences with multiple failed, and toxic relationships and the sudden awakening I had to see that codependency was driving these unhealthy choices.
It is hard to suddenly see the truth, particularly when you are in a relationship that you are desperate to make work.
For many people, the justification for being overly involved in trying to seek approval from others is couched in terms of simply being too kind or caring. However, it can be narrowed down to codependency.

Issues that are typical negative experiences in codependency:

  1. Feeling isolated and alone in a relationship as the other partner seems oblivious or unwilling to meet your needs.
  2. Feeling an obligation to do whatever the partner wants, even if what is wanted is not something you feel or desire.
  3. Putting the needs of the partner above your needs in all or most situations.
  4. Inability to set boundaries or to say no, even if those things are against what you believe and see as right or fair.
  5. Feeling that saying no to the partner may end the relationship.
  6. Seeing yourself only as a part of a relationship and not as a unique individual.
  7. Pouring all of your physical, emotional and mental energy into a relationship and getting nothing in return.
Recognizing the issue is the first step, and then working with counselors and therapists to make changes is the next step on the road to recovery.

Turning the tide

Turning the tide
There are several options or strategies that codependents can use to start to make positive changes in life. Getting out of the destructive relationship and learning how to think about ourselves and those around us is an important internal change.
Changing how we think impacts how we act, and this all starts with making the choice to bring positive energy into our lives.

1. Positive self-talk

Everyone carries on their own internal monologue.
For those with healthy self-esteem, this monologue provides encouragement, praise, and support. For those with poor self-esteem, it translates into self-nagging and self-doubts. Turning this internal talk around begins with recognizing a negative thought about self and turning it into a positive.
For example, you didn’t make a mistake, you were brave and took a chance on something new, learning new information you can use going forward.

2. Become mindful

Mindfulness is a big buzzword today, and it doesn’t mean meditating with incense or spending hours thinking in a quiet room.
Mindfulness is becoming aware of what is going on around you and in your head and noting the thought while allowing it to pass without judgment.
It is a clearing of the mind that can be done anywhere and at any time. It is learning to be non-reactive but rather to understand how we want to respond in a positive way.

3. Be who you want to be

By acting in ways that are true to who you want to be, you become that person.
By choosing actions that build self-esteem and make us feel good about ourselves, we become more comfortable in seeing ourselves as just this person.
Expressing gratitude to others, doing specific and focused kind things to help people around us, learning to say no and set boundaries and stating our own wants and needs are all a part of becoming a person with a healthy sense of self-esteem.
There are positive changes you can start to make in your life today. Mental changes are difficult, but by putting them into action,you can make an amazing difference in your life.
Sherry Gaba, LCSW is a Certified Transformation and Recovery Coach and the leading Psychotherapist on VH1’s Celebrity Rehab and Sex Addiction.
She helps singles navigate the dating process to find the love of their lives. Take her quiz to find out if you’re a love addict, sign up for a 30-minute strategy session, or learn more about how to get over a break up. Sherry maintains a private practice in Westlake Village, and is a sought after online dating and relationship coach. For more information visit of sign up today for Sherry’s online group coaching program for $19/month

unnamed (5)If you don’t know what a codependent relationship is, it’s when two people in a relationship surrender their independence and develop an unhealthy dependence on each other. In this dynamic one partner is so obsessed with the needs of the other, that they ignore their own needs. In turn, the other partner controls the relationship in a selfish and often abusive way.
This is a dangerous dynamic, but it’s not as easy to identify as you may think. Abuse often doesn’t look the way people expect it to, and many people are unaware of the different forms it can take.
While codependent relationships may have physical abuse, all have emotional and mental abuse. This type of abuse is often extremely difficult to identify. It slowly creeps into the relationship and becomes a pattern of behavior that the codependent cannot change.
In a report published by the Office on Women’s Health, the origins of emotional abuse in a relationship can start suddenly, or they can gradually build. Often what’s seen by the codependent partner as a loving, caring and attentive partner is actually a controller, a stalker, and a person who is isolating and feeding off the needs of the codependent. Once the relationship is established, the attempts to appear caring and concerned vanish, while the negativity, hostility, and demands increase.
The Effects and Impact of Emotional, Mental, and Verbal Abuse
Emotional, mental, and verbal abuse not only creates feelings of guilt, shame, and blame for the victim, but they also impact how they see themselves.
Because codependents fear being alone and get so much of their identify from their relationship with their partner, they have problems saying no or standing up for themselves when they begin to experience abuse. Saying no often results in more verbal abuse, isolation, and threats to leave—all issues that are exactly what the codependent is trying to avoid.
This creates a behavior cycle where the codependent accommodates for the narcissistic partner, who in turn becomes more abusive and more demanding about getting their needs met with no concern for the other.
It’s important to realize that, just like physical abuse, the emotional, mental, and verbal abuse is intentional behavior by the abuser. It’s not a harsh word or a comment made that is apologized for with genuine remorse. Instead, the narcissist uses this behavior to get what they want, intentionally tearing down the other person’s self-esteem, self-worth, and ability to stand up for themself.
Recognizing Gaslighting 
Another common form of emotional and verbal abuse is gaslighting. This is not a new behavior, but it’s recently been identified and labeled as a behavior used by those who engage in emotional abuse.
Gaslighting is, in some ways, more difficult to detect and more damaging than some other types of emotional abuse. In this type of abuse, the abuser controls the codependent by providing false information or false recollections that cause the codependent to begin to question their sanity and their ability to recall and remember things correctly.
In some cases, gaslighting is the use of denials that things occurred. This is not simply differences in recollection. It is malicious, intentional, and designed to create guilt, uncertainty, and doubt in your mind.
There are some common signs that gaslighting is going on the relationship. To help identify this behavior, look for the following:
Covering up behavior: If a partner is caught in a lie, often they will use lies to attempt to explain away the issue. However, the lies are repeated over and over again, and may be obviously inaccurate accounts of what has occurred. At the same time, the codependent is unlikely to challenge the lie, and it keeps getting repeated until it’s hard for the codependent to recall the specifics of the situation.
Giving false information: To reinforce a lie, an abuser using this technique may talk about other people as also seeing their version of the truth. For example, a man may tell a woman she was flirting with someone at a party, and everyone noticed and was talking about it. He may make statements about what others said and how they saw the behavior.
As gaslighting can be difficult to detect, talking to a therapist and building a strong support network will be critical to avoid further damage to your self-esteem.
Sherry Gaba, LCSW is a Certified Transformation and Recovery Coach and the leading Psychotherapist on VH1’s Celebrity Rehab and Sex Addiction. Her book, “The Marriage and Relationship Junkie: Kicking your Obsession” is on sale for 50% off  from now until February 18, 2019.
She helps singles navigate the dating process to find the love of their lives. Take her quiz to find out if you’re a love addict, sign up for a 30-minute strategy session, or learn more about how to get over a break up. Sherry maintains a private practice in Westlake Village, and is a sought after online dating and relationship coach. For more information visit of sign up today for Sherry’s online group coaching program for $19/month

recovery woman-74596_960_720
One of the common thoughts people have about the Law of Attraction in recovery is that it is a passive type of process. They would like to believe that it will involve just reading a few books or blogs and thinking good thoughts to get their life back on track and to avoid addictive behaviors in the future.
As I have outlined and stressed in my book, “The Law of Sobriety,” this couldn’t be further from the truth. It takes emotional energy, deep and honest examination of our values as well as the self-determination to make the best decisions for yourself that are needed moving forward. I dedicate a whole chapter in the book to “Living a Life of Right Action” which brings the focus and the responsibility of our sobriety right back to ourselves.
Think as You Want It to Be
One thing that has to occur in taking responsibility for recovery is to get out of the past and get over self-blame for the addiction. There is not positive energy in heaping blame and self-loathing on our mental picture of ourselves and our futures. Instead, we have to accept the mistakes of the past and set a new course that looks towards the future.
Thinking about life as you want it to be rather than as you don’t want it to be is vital. There is a very big difference between saying “I will live a life of sobriety” as opposed to saying “I don’t want to be an alcoholic again.”By focusing on sobriety (the positive) we send out that positive message to the universe, which it returns with options and opportunities to make positive choices.
When we focus on the don’ts,we create negative thoughts and energy which block our ability to move forward and limit our possibilities for growth and opportunities.
Take Action to Achieve Those Results
The next step is to take the necessary actions to maximize the ability to act on the opportunities presented. After all, you cannot sit around and visualize yourself in a new job and expect to be working in your dream career if you never submit an application or take the required training for the position.
By sending out positive affirmations to the world, you will find positive opportunities are available. Seeing those opportunities and having the courage to take the steps needed to shows a lack of personal responsibility in your growth and development.
There are different ways to start setting goals, and from goals, you can choose action steps and take personal responsibility for achieving those goals.
· Think big — the Law of Attraction is a universal goal. It doesn’t require you to start small and work up to big goals, in fact, it works better if you consider the level of passion and commitment you have to the goal, rather than the size of the goal. Often our big goals are those we are most passionate about, making them a great place to start.
· Focus on sobriety goals — always check to make sure the goals you are pursuing are in harmony with your goals for sobriety. Some goals that are purely materialistic are not rewarding and are often energy draining because they are not tied to our values and goals for our ongoing life of sobriety.
· Get support — choose trusted friends and family to help you to consider your goals and to set action steps and goal planning. Books, blogs, and seminars can be great opportunities as well, allowing you to explore goal setting with structure and direction.
Taking personal responsibility for sobriety starts with setting goals and being open to growth and opportunities. Your therapists, recovery coach or counselor can be a terrific resource in your goal planning and personal accountability
Sherry Gaba, LCSW is the author of “The Law of Sobriety: Attracting Positive Energy for a Powerful Recovery” on Amazon. Join Sherry’s group coaching tribe for only $19/month where she combines the law of attraction with addiction recovery and codependency.


handsCan you think back to a time when you were involved in some type of activity, perhaps at work or school, where you were trying to achieve a goal, but the goal was of little personal importance? Perhaps you were doing something a partner was passionate about or maybe it was something your boss required you to do.

If you are like most people, if something is not personally important it is hard to be motivated to stay the course of seeing it done. This is certainly true in recovery, where the person starting the journey of sobriety has to be intensely and deeply desiring sobriety as an outcome.

The Laws of the Universe

In “The Law of Sobriety,”I talk about the commitment that a person has to have to be able to overcome the challenges, barriers, and obstacles that moving from addiction to sobriety can entail. Often when addicts in recovery relapse, it is due to a lack of actual commitment to sobriety in the first place.

This is often the case when someone is entering into recovery treatment to make someone else happy. It may be a parent, a partner or a friend, but it is an outside force and not an internal drive that is motivating the individual to enter into the recovery treatment.

The Law of Caring is one of the Laws of the Universe. It states that in order to achieve something that is difficult, we must personally care about the outcome. The more we care, the more energy and effort we are willing to put into achieving the desired outcome when challenges occur.

Harnessing the Law of Caring

There are many reasons a person with any type of addiction may want to achieve a life of sobriety. It may be for health reasons, to mend relationships, to return to the family or the partner or to build or rebuild a life.

There are some steps that anyone can use at any time in the journey of recovery to tap into the Law of Caring. Consider the following strategies to create a powerful internal motivator for sobriety:

  • Create a vision board – vision boards can be actual boards or they can be scrapbooks, online collections of images, or other types of visual presentations. Use this space to create a representation of what is important to you in achieving sobriety. These are things you care about and that are positive, motivating factors in your life.


  • Set mini-goals – based on what you want to achieve and what you care about on a deep, personal level, create a goal and then break that big goal down into sequential mini or micro-goals.


  • Create a timeline – with the micro or mini-goals in place, create a timeline in achieving those small steps. This allows you to see yourself working to achieve those goals, building up motivation and passion for achieving your goal.


  • Explore challenges – sometimes, during the process, you will notice you aren’t as passionate about a goal as you initially thought. This is normal, as goals change over time.

Don’t see changing goals or passions as a loss, but rather evaluate your achievements and your future steps, making modifications to ensure what you are working towards is what you truly desire and care about in life.

Sherry Gaba, LCSW is the author of “The Law of Sobriety: Attracting Positive Energy for a Powerful Recovery” on Amazon.  Join Sherry’s group coaching  tribe for only $19/month where she combines the law of attraction with addiction recovery and codependency.