Karen's Blogs

Blogs are brief, to-the-point, conversational, and packed with information, strategies, and tips to turn troubled eaters into “normal” eaters and to help you enjoy a happier, healthier life. Sign up by clicking "Subscribe" below and they’ll arrive in your inbox. 

[No unsolicited guest blogs accepted, thank you]

You’re Only as Healthy as the Company You Keep


I’m often amazed to hear about clients’ unhealthy friends—substance abusers, unstable people with mental or physical health problems who refuse treatment, dangerous risk-takers, perpetual victims in abusive relationships who won’t acknowledge problems or leave, and narcissists who take advantage of clients financially or emotionally or both. 

Clients tell me story after story about these “friends” and come up with all kinds of reasons they keep them in their lives: feeling sorry for them, having been friends for years or since childhood, their possessing many redeeming qualities, or friends having no one to care for them. Clients accuse me of being coldhearted when I suggest that these so-called friends don’t add much to their lives and take away a lot. 

I explain why it’s hard to detach from friends or at least reduce contact or closeness with them. Sometimes clients have too much compassion for them. Or they overidentify with them. Or they don’t want to hurt their feelings. While I applaud their compassion and caring, I remind them that their primary job is to take care of themselves which can’t happen with friends who aren’t relatively healthy and encouraging them to do so.

Here are some examples of behaviors of people which don’t bode well for having a healthy friendship. One client had friends, a couple, who would frequently ask her to babysit for their children, then they’d borrow back the money they paid her for sitting and spend it on marijuana. Sure, they often invited her over for dinner, especially at holidays, but these invitations only blinded my client to seeing how she was being used.

A single client had a friend from childhood who was a sexual addict. When the two women went out to bars, my client’s friend would almost always leave her there and go off with some guy. Not only did this woman have unprotected sex in the age of HIV and STDs, she denied she had a problem and accused my client of being a stick in the mud.

A married client had a group of high school friends who got together and always groused about how badly their husbands treated them. My client worked hard in sessions to improve her marriage, but her friends said they’d never go to therapy—so nothing changed. My client would complain to me about how tired she was of these women, but feared she’d be judging them if she stopped attending get togethers.   

Many people hang with unhealthy friends because it makes them feel healthy in comparison and because healthier people make them feel less than and insecure. However, if you want to be emotionally healthy you’ve got to choose healthy friends. 







How Co-dependence Wrecks Your Life
The Dilemma of Parent Care

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to https://www.karenrkoenig.com/

This website is owned and operated by Karen R. Koenig, M.Ed., LCSW. It contains material intended for informational and educational purposes only, and reasonable effort is made to keep its contents updated. Any material contained herein is not to be construed as the practice of clinical social work or of psychotherapy, although adherence to applicable Florida States, Rules, and Code of Ethics is observed. Material on this website is not intended as a substitute for medical or psychological advice, diagnosis, or treatment for mental health issues or eating disorder problems, which should be done only through individualized therapeutic consultation. Karen R. Koenig, LCSW disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the use of any information contained on this website. This website contains links to other sites. The inclusion of such links does not necessarily constitute endorsement by Karen R. Koenig, LCSW who disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the use of any information contained in this website. Further, Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, does not and cannot guarantee the accuracy or current usefulness of the material contained in the linked sites. Users of any website must be aware of the limitation to confidentiality and privacy, and website usage does not carry any guarantee or privacy of any information contained therein.