- What Does Codependency Look ?
- What Causes Codependency?
- Addiction and Codependency
- Abuse and Codependency
- Parenting and Codependency
- Caregiving and Codependency
- Co-Occurring Mental Health Conditions
- What Is Codependent Personality Disorder?
- Is Codependency a Mental Illness?
- What Are The Differences Between Dependent Personality Disorder and Codependency?
- The Symptoms of Codependency
- The Codependent Versus the Dependent
- Family Dynamics
- Living with a Physically or Mentally Ill Family Member
- The Link between Codependency and Addiction
- Treatment for Codependence
- What Is Codependency?
- Codependent Personality Disorder: What Is It?
- The primary consequence of codependency is that codependents are often so busy taking care of others that they forget to take care of themselves. This results in a stunted development of identity
- Signs Of Codependency
- Who Does Codependency Affect?
- Why Do Codependent Relationships Form?
- A study in the Journal of Substance Abuse shows that both men and women tend to remain loyal to their partners in codependent relationships in spite of the incessant stress
- How Do Codependent People Behave?
- How To Identify Signs Of Codependency
- If so, and if you’re dissatisfied with your relationship or yourself, reach out for professional help. A physician or psychologist can give you a diagnostic evaluation to establish whether you’re codependent
- Treating Codependency
- The overarching goal of treatment is to help you to experience and embrace your full range of emotions
Codependency involves sacrificing one’s personal needs to try to meet the needs of others. Someone who is codependent has an extreme focus outside themselves. Their thoughts and actions revolve around other people, such as spouses or relatives.
Codependency often appears in relationships which are unbalanced and unhealthy. A person with codependency often tries to save others from themselves. They may get hurt trying to “cure” a partner’s addictions or abusive behaviors.
Codependency does not qualify as a mental health diagnosis, mostly because the symptoms are so widely applicable. Yet it can still cause severe distress. Codependency may lead a person to develop other mental health concerns such as anxiety. A therapist can help a person reduce codependent behaviors and develop healthier relationships.
What Does Codependency Look ?
In psychology, codependency describes one person’s behaviors and attitudes rather than the relationship as a whole. Someone who is codependent often builds their identity around helping others. They may “depend” on others to validate their self-worth. A codependent person may deny their own desires or emotions to get this approval.
Common symptoms of codependency include:
- Low Self-Esteem: Codependency may cause feelings of shame and worthlessness. A person may believe they do not deserve happiness. If a person does not value themselves, they may try to get others to value them. The sense of “being needed” can prompt internal gratification, even if the recipient of care does not show gratitude.
- Poor Boundaries: Codependent people often feel responsible for others’ happiness. They can have a hard time saying “no” or putting their own needs first. They may hide their true thoughts and feelings to avoid upsetting others.
- A Need to “Save” Others:Codependent people may feel it is their duty to protect their loved ones from all harm. If a loved one does something wrong, they will ly try to fix the situation on loved one’s behalf. Such behavior can prevent others from becoming independent or learning from their mistakes. It may also enable abuse or addiction to persist unchallenged.
- Self-Denial:A codependent person often prioritizes others’ well-being over their own. They may deny their own needs for rest, emotional support, and self-care. They may feel guilt or anxiety when asserting their own desires. Codependent people can feel uneasy when others offer support.
- Perfectionism: Codependent people often project an image of self-reliance and competence. It is common for people to take on more responsibilities than they can handle. When they make an error or receive criticism, they may grow insecure.
- Control Issues: A codependent person may link their own self-worth to others’ well-being. If a loved one fails, a codependent person may feel as if they failed themselves. Their attempts to make others’ lives better may shift into controlling or possessive behavior.
Not every codependent person will show all these symptoms. But if a person shows many of these traits, they may be codependent.
What Causes Codependency?
Codependency is usually rooted in childhood. Often, a child grows up in a home where their emotions are ignored or punished. This emotional neglect can give the child low self-esteem and shame. They may believe their needs are not worth attending to.
Typically, one or more parents are not filling their role as guardians. Their dysfunction could be due to addiction, mental health diagnoses, or other concerns. The child may need to perform tasks that exceed their developmental ability. For example, if a parent is regularly too drunk to fix dinner, a young child may learn to cook so the family doesn’t go hungry.
Often the line between child and adult becomes blurred. If a parent isn’t filling their role, a child may become a pseudo-parent for their siblings. They might change a brother’s diapers or help a sister finish her homework.
Sometimes the child is expected to care for their own parent. A parent experiencing domestic violence may turn to the child as a confidante. A parent with narcissism may demand the child provide them praise and comfort. These interactions are often called enmeshment.
Since children are not fully grown, filling the role of “adult” can take all their effort. A child may be so focused on keeping the household running that they ignore their own needs. They may associate the caregiving role with feelings of stability and control.
As a child, codependent behaviors can be necessary for survival. In adulthood, the behaviors are not as adaptive. In fact, codependency can prevent a person from developing truly stable relationships.
Addiction and Codependency
Codependency may arise when someone is in a relationship with a person who has an addiction. The partner may abuse substances, or they may have an addiction to gambling or shopping.
The person with codependency may take on a “caretaker” role for their partner. The partner may rely on the caretaker to handle finances or household chores.
If the addiction causes issues outside the relationship, the caretaker may cover for their partner. For example, someone who abuses alcohol may skip work.
A codependent person may call the partner’s boss on their behalf and claim their partner is ill.
The caretaker often cares for their partner a sincere desire to help. Yet their behavior often enables their partner to continue the addiction. When the caretaker “saves” the partner from consequences, the partner often loses motivation to change. They may not seek the professional rehab they need. Without help, the addiction may get worse.
That said, the caretaker is not to blame for the other person’s addiction. While codependency can contribute to someone refusing treatment, it is not the only cause. Barring a safety crisis, someone cannot force others into rehabilitation.
This relationship can also harm the caretaker. The codependent person often throws their own needs to the side to care for the partner. Their codependent habits can worsen with time. They are unly to seek treatment for their own mental health concerns.
Abuse and Codependency
Codependency can also develop from living in an abusive household or relationship. Emotional abuse can make people feel small or unimportant. Codependent behaviors can develop as a way to counteract those feelings.
For example, someone may act as caretaker for a person with addiction in order to feel needed. Another individual may try to earn gratitude by catering to others’ needs at a cost to themselves. “Saving” others can make people feel empowered and important.
A person with codependency may feel responsible for the abusive individual. If an abuser has an untreated mental health concern, the person may try to “heal” them with care. Yet love alone is not enough to treat a mental health condition. The abusive person will need professional care to begin recovery.
Some people in codependent households may feel they are protecting their family by keeping their problems private. But enabling one party’s abuse often causes harm to the other family members. Failing to report child abuse can make a person an “accessory after the fact,” and bring about legal consequences.
Parenting and Codependency
Parents with codependency may try to live vicariously through their children. Some parents may try to protect a child from all hardship in life. Others may try to control a child so they grow up to meet the parent’s definition of success.
This behavior can increase the risk of codependency in children. When children are allowed to explore the world and make their own plans, they develop a sense of independence. When parents make all the decisions, children may learn to ignore their own desires. They can also learn to place others’ approval above their own needs.
These effects can last for years. A codependent child may lack confidence and struggle to make decisions as an adult. They may seek out relationships in which someone else has all the power. Without help, the cycle of codependency may continue for another generation.
Caregiving and Codependency
Caregivers spend their days caring for a loved one who has a chronic illness or disability. They may provide transportation, help the person bathe, or offer other day-to-day assistance. Caregiving is often difficult in and of itself. Yet codependency can further complicate the dynamic.
If you are a caregiver, you may wonder about your own behavior. Where do you draw the line between typical caregiving and codependency? Every situation is different, but if you display the following signs, there may be cause for concern:
- Insisting a loved one do everything your way. When there is an issue of safety or health, you may need to put your foot down. But it is not necessary to make every decision for the person. If your loved one wishes to wear a certain shirt, you do not need to steer them toward a more fashionable wardrobe.
- Revolving your entire life around the loved one. Caregiving can take up a lot of time and energy. Yet it is important to rest on occasion and to have a social life outside of your loved one. Otherwise you may grow resentful and burnt out.
- Encouraging your loved one to rely on you alone. Many people to feel needed. Yet if you see other caregivers as “rivals” or discourage your loved one from being self-sufficient, there may be an issue.
Codependency can cause a lot of strain between you and your loved one. Addressing codependent behaviors may improve your relationship. Setting boundaries and practicing communication can make a stressful situation a little healthier.
Co-Occurring Mental Health Conditions
Although codependency is not a diagnosis, it can interfere with a person’s well-being. People with codependency are more ly to have low self-esteem and strong feelings of shame. Research has found relationships between codependency and the following conditions:
Codependency is also a risk factor for substance addiction. Addiction can develop as a way to avoid difficult emotions. Some people may abuse substances to bond with a partner who is also addicted. A partner may also pressure the person with codependency into using drugs or alcohol.
If you think you may be codependent, you might wish to find a therapist. A mental health professional can determine if your behaviors resemble codependency. They can also treat any co-occurring mental health issues. In therapy, you can explore the roots of your behavior and learn to balance your needs with those of others.
- Co-Dependency. (n.d.) Mental Health America. Retrieved from http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/co-dependency
- Codependency and addiction: Symptoms and treatment. (2014, November 6). The Cabin. Retrieved from https://www.thecabinchiangmai.com/codependency-and-addiction-symptoms-and-treatment
- The common threat between food addiction and codependency. (2016, March 2). Alta Mira Recovery Programs. Retrieved from https://www.altamirarecovery.com/blog/common-thread-food-addiction-codependency
- Crawford, D. W., & Fischer, J. L. (1992, July 1). Codependency and Parenting Styles. Journal of Adolescent Research, 7(3), 352-363. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1177/074355489273005
- Denholm, D. (2012, February 29). 4 Signs a Caregiver Is Suffering from the Big C: Codependence. The Boomer Brief. Retrieved from http://www.boomerbrief.com/2012/02/4-signs-a-caregiver-is-suffering-from-the-big-c-codependence.html
- Emotional Abuse and Addiction/Codependency. (2016, September 6). Amethyst Recovery Center. Retrieved from https://www.amethystrecovery.org/emotional-abuse-addictioncodependency
- Knapek, E., Balazs, K., & Szabo, I. K. (2017). The substance abuser’s partner: Do codependent individuals have borderline and dependent personality disorder? Heroin Addiction and Related Clinical Problems, 19(5), 55-62. Retrieved from http://www.epaam.org/files/b/a/3/b/6/volumes-harcp-2017-v19-n5.pdf#page=57
- Springer, C. A., Britt, T. W., & Schlenker, B. R. (1998). Codependency: Clarifying the construct. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 20(2), 141-158. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/198715631?accountid=1229
- Wells, M., Glickauf-Hughes, C., & Jones, R. (1999). Codependency: A grass roots construct's relationship to shame-proneness, low self-esteem, and childhood parentification. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 27(1), 63-71. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/230100367?accountid=1229
What Is Codependent Personality Disorder?
Personality disorders are a specific type of behavioral health disorder that affect an individual’s ability to function and maintain a high quality of life.
People who struggle with a personality disorder may have difficulty maintaining healthy relationships and often have a skewed perception of themselves and others.
Codependent personality disorder can affect a person’s quality of life and relationships, and it may occur with other mental health disorders.
“Codependency” initially referred to someone in a relationship with a person struggling with a substance use disorder. However, modern definitions of the term encompass a wide range of dependent behaviors – emotional, social, or physical.
The concept of codependency still applies to families with substance dependencies, but it also refers to other situations where drug or alcohol use is not present. Codependency has many signs and symptoms, but a common consequence is that persons affected neglect to care for themselves, to the point where the codependency can disturb perception, self-identity, and even self-worth.
Codependent individuals are more than just dependent on others – their happiness is determined by meeting others’ needs and wants, even if those are unreasonable.
Is Codependency a Mental Illness?
Is Codependency a mental illness? The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5), provides a comprehensive framework for symptoms and classification of behavioral health conditions.
As early as 1986, mental health experts argued that codependency should be an officially recognized mental health condition with qualifying diagnostic criteria borrowed from other disorders, including dependent personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, efforts to make codependency a recognized disorder have been unsuccessful. The latest iteration of diagnostic criteria, the DSM-5, only includes dependent personality disorder as an official diagnosis, not codependency.
The argument against having a distinct diagnosis for codependency stems from the idea that the condition shares too much overlap with other mental health conditions to merit its own diagnosis.
For example, codependency symptoms overlap significantly with dependent personality disorder (DPD), as well as borderline personality disorder (BPD).
However, more recent research shows that while people with codependent personalities can exhibit traits from both DPD and BPD, there are also those with codependency who do not have symptoms from either, suggesting that codependency is a unique mental health condition.
What Are The Differences Between Dependent Personality Disorder and Codependency?
Dependent Personality Disorder (DPD) shares the most overlap with codependency. The primary distinction between DPD and codependent people is the nature of the relationship.
Codependent individuals tend to display dependent traits focused on a specific person, while dependent personality disorder refers to dependent traits toward others in general.
Similarly, a person with borderline personality disorder struggles with stability in interpersonal relationships, while codependency involves a specific dependence on an individual.
At the most basic level, codependency is a psychological condition in which persons feel an extreme dependence for certain loved ones in their lives. This dependence often progresses to the point where affected individuals feel responsible for the dependents’ actions and feelings. As the condition progresses, it may affect self-perception and esteem.
Codependency is neither an officially recognized personality disorder nor an official mental illness. Rather, it is a unique psychological construct that shares significant overlap with other personality disorders.
The Symptoms of Codependency
Being familiar with the signs of the condition is the first step in understanding codependency as an issue. A person who struggles with codependency may show signs of:
- Low self esteem
- Dysfunctional family dynamics
- Inability or difficulty expressing emotions
- Having a hard time saying no or setting boundaries
- Reacting with strong emotions, even to small incidents
In addition, a codependent often feels compelled to take care of others and feels a need to be d by everyone. Intimacy issues, fear of abandonment, and confusing love with pity are common traits.
As a whole, these symptoms pertain to a single person or family as opposed to dependent personality disorder where the symptoms apply to people within the social network as a whole.
Taking a codependency quiz can help to better understand the symptoms and traits inherent in people who struggle with the condition.
The Codependent Versus the Dependent
When examining the symptoms of codependency, it’s important to understand that a codependent relationship generally involves two parties: the codependent and the enabler.
This differs significantly from a relationship in which a person is dependent on another.
In the latter, the feelings of dependence may or may not have reciprocation; in a codependent relationship, the enabler is more than happy to accept the codependent’s behavior and sacrifice.
Whereas dependent relationships can be healthy, codependent relationships are not. Oftentimes, a codependent has no interests or feelings of worth outside the relationship.
Extreme dedication to the enabler may cause the codependent to neglect other responsibilities, relationships, and even career. While most relationships involve some sort of dependency on another person, the codependent constructs an identity and life around that person.
The enabler’s willingness to accept the behavior creates a cycle of codependence that can be difficult to alter without appropriate intervention.
Dysfunctional family roles often tie into codependence. For example, adults with codependency may have been told as children that they were not important, and their feelings lacked validation from important adults. Codependent adults may have heard they were greedy or selfish if they tried to put their own needs first.
Living with a Physically or Mentally Ill Family Member
Playing the role of caregiver from a young age can lead to codependent behavior as an adult. Caring for a loved one with a drug dependence, for example, can lead to a cycle of codependence as an adult. In fact, research shows that children who grow up with parental substance use have difficulty maintaining meaningful, healthy attachments later in life.
The Link between Codependency and Addiction
Codependency and addiction often occur simultaneously in a relationship.
When a person struggles with a dependence on drugs or alcohol, loved ones can play a vital role in assisting that individual to seek out help and find the motivation to go through the recovery process.
However, codependent relationships can have the opposite effect. A person with a substance use disorder in a relationship with a codependent can make overcoming the dependence on alcohol or drugs even more challenging.
Similarly, a codependent may have difficulty making it through the codependent recovery process because of a need to help and enable the person with the dependence on drugs or alcohol. Relationships between a person with an addiction and the codependent are often self-destructive and will continue to be so without appropriate intervention.
Treatment for Codependence
Treatment for codependence may require evidence-based interventions such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing, and one-on-one and group therapy sessions.
A holistic view of the individual and the family unit, including co-occurring issues such as addiction and mental illness, can help guide the treatment plan.
Tips for dealing with codependency during drug addiction can vary, so talk with a professional to determine the best course of action.
Codependency may not be an official diagnosis, but it is a unique psychological construct that has a marked effect on the individual and the family dynamic. It is essential to recognize the signs and symptoms of the condition, as well as the role it plays in fueling substance use disorders and dysfunctional family roles.
A codependent can help facilitate drug dependence in a partner or friend, and a person with a substance use disorder may serve as an enabler to a codependent. This cycle of codependency can be very difficult to stop without appropriate intervention and treatment.
The codependency recovery process requires a specific approach relationship dynamics.
Family First offers comprehensive evidence-based interventions for drug and alcohol dependence as well as behavioral health conditions. Our family case management services help individuals and their families understand the importance of the family system in the recovery process. Contact us to learn more about our services and family-focused care.
What Is Codependency?
Codependency is a psychological concept and a learned behavior. Codependency is often passed from generation to generation.
This condition is both behavioral and emotional. Codependency impacts your ability to form healthy and mutually satisfying relationships.
Codependency is sometimes referred to as relationship addiction because of the typically one-sided and often abusive relationships maintained by those with this condition.
First identified in the 2000s, codependency came to light following years of research into the interpersonal relationships in the families of alcoholics. As codependence is mimicked by other family members, this is especially disturbing.
So, before we explore this thorny issue in more depth, a bit more background on the condition.
Codependent Personality Disorder: What Is It?
The term codependent was first used to describe someone living with an addicted person.
The modern understanding of codependency now refers to a relationship addiction that’s characterized by extreme dependence on and preoccupation with another person. This can be social, emotional, and sometimes even physical dependence.
Although the concept of codependency still applies to families plagued with substance abuse issues, it’s also used in a much broader sense.
The primary consequence of codependency is that codependents are often so busy taking care of others that they forget to take care of themselves. This results in a stunted development of identity
In 1986, Cermak proposed that codependency should be defined in the following edition of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), suggesting that diagnostic criteria should be borrowed from alcohol dependence, BPD (borderline personality disorder), DPD (dependent personality disorder), histrionic personality disorder, and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).
Cermak’s argument was unsuccessful and the revised DSM-III still didn’t reference codependency as a personality disorder. Even in the latest edition of this manual, DSM-5, DPD is mentioned, but not codependency.
Some research has dismissed the idea of codependency as a standalone personality disorder. This is due at least partly to the substantial overlap between codependency and the symptoms of both BPD and DPD. That said, some people exhibit codependency without manifesting other symptoms of BPD or DPD.
There is a distinction between codependency and DPD. While people with DPD depend on people in general, codependents are dependent on specific people.
When comparing codependency and BPD, there is also a key difference evident. BPD sufferers typically experience instability in their interpersonal relationships, but they are not dependent on others.
So, while codependency is still not recognized as a distinctive personality disorder and there is some considerable overlap with other types of personality disorder, there’s also some research to show that codependency is a distinct psychological construct.
How, then, can you tell if you or a loved one might be suffering from codependency?
Signs Of Codependency
Here are some factors that have been shown to correlate with codependency:
- Always need to be in a relationship
- Compulsion to care for others
- Confusion between love and pity
- Denying your own needs
- Difficulty saying no
- Emotionally reactive
- Familial dysfunction
- Fear of abandonment
- Low self-esteem
- Fixating on mistakes
- Intimacy issues
- Low emotional expressivity
- Need to be d by others
- Low levels of narcissism
- Need to control others
- Poor boundaries
- Problems with honest communication
You should also keep an eye out for some common characteristics shared by codependent people, including:
- Tendency to love people that can be pitied and rescued
- Exaggerated sense of responsibility for how others act
- Often do more than their fair share
- Feeling hurt when their efforts are not recognized
- Lack of trust, both is self and others
- Extreme need for approval
- Need to control others
- Unhealthy dependence on relationships
- Fear of abandonment
- Guilt when trying to assert themselves
- Difficulty adapting to change
- Chronic anger
- Difficulty isolating and expressing feelings
- Problems with decision making
While none of these signs on their own should be considered red flags, if your loved one exhibits several of these signs, there’s every chance they could be codependent.
We’ll look next briefly at who is typically impacted by codependency.
Who Does Codependency Affect?
Codependency often affects the partner, friend, parents, or co-worker of someone with alcohol use disorder or drug dependence.
While originally used to describe the partners of those with chemical dependency, the current definition is broader. Codependency now refers to anyone in a relationship with an addict.
The term as we use it today, then, describes any codependent person from any type of dysfunctional family.
How do these relationships start in the first place, though?
Why Do Codependent Relationships Form?
The research available on codependency suggests that neglect and emotional abuse increase the risk of codependence. If, for example, you learned to put your own needs second to those of a difficult parent, you are ly to follow this pattern throughout other similar relationships in your life.
There is also a school of thought suggesting that codependency stems from trauma theory, implying an underlying traumatic event during formative years.
If you have certain personality traits or beliefs, this can make it easier for you to fall into the trap of a codependent relationship.
Codependent givers are still able to satisfy some basic needs such as mattering to another person, feeling competent, and feeling close to another person. Codependent takers can be manipulative and selfish, but they are often clouded by addiction, troubled in general, and lacking in crucial life skills.
A study in the Journal of Substance Abuse shows that both men and women tend to remain loyal to their partners in codependent relationships in spite of the incessant stress
The difference comes in male and female codependents.
Codependent women exhibit 5 characteristics expected of codependency (control, change orientation, rescue orientation, worth dependency, and exaggerated responsibility), while codependent men show only 2 characteristics (exaggerated responsibility and control). For male codependents, then, their sense of self-worth is not as strongly linked to their partners as female codependents’ sense of self-worth.
Whether you are the giver or the taker, a codependent relationship is unhealthy. It will not only affect you and your partner, but also the health of your family. To compound the issue, you’ll be teaching your children to emulate this kind of behavior in their own relationships.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you have a caretaking relationship with someone who is using you to evade responsibilities or personal change?
- Is your relationship imbalanced by supportive behaviors enabling your partner, accepting low-quality excuses, and overlooking breached agreements?
- Have your attempts to help an addict resulted in them becoming dependent on you rather than on progressing in life?
- If you’re a taker of codependent behavior, do you engage in these behaviors to avoid your responsibilities?
In order to treat codependency, it’s first necessary to identify the behaviors you want to change, and to understand the cost of codependency for you, your partner, and your families.
How Do Codependent People Behave?
What can you expect from a codependent person in terms of behavior, then?
Often, codependents have low self-esteem. They frequently look outside themselves to feel better about themselves. Common outlets include alcohol, drugs, and nicotine. Others common behaviors include gambling, sex, and workaholism.
Codependents usually have the very best intentions. They attempt to care for someone who’s undergoing difficulties, but that caretaking role soon becomes not only compulsive, but also self-defeating.
In many cases, codependents assume the role of a martyr. This could be a wife covering for an alcoholic husband, or a father using his influence to spare his child from the consequences of unruly behavior.
Unfortunately, these rescue attempts simply enable the destructive behavior to continue unchecked. As the reliance continues increasing, so the codependent draws a sense of satisfaction and reward from being needed.
While the codependent might feel helpless and without choices in the relationship, they are usually unable to break away from the vicious cycle of behavior fueling this codependence.
While initially believed to be a condition affecting the partners and children of substance abusers or alcoholics, many types of family problems can lead to codependency developing.
Having a codependent parent increases the risk of a child becoming codependent since it’s a learned behavior. Parentification refers to the reversal of parent/child roles with the child taking on more of a caretaking role. This typically occurs because the parent did not have their own developmental needs met as a child.
Unfortunately, the cycle of codependence can then easily continue down the generations.
How To Identify Signs Of Codependency
Rather than codependency occurring as an all-or-nothing phenomenon, instead symptoms manifest on a sliding scale of intensity and severity.
You’ll need to seek out a qualified healthcare professional to diagnose codependency.
Here is a simple questionnaire to give you an indication of whether you might need to explore potential codependency in your relationship further:
- Do you often stay silent to avoid arguments?
- Have you felt inadequate?
- Do you concern yourself with what others think of you?
- Are other people’s opinions more important to you than your own?
- Do you find it difficult asking for help?
- Have you previously lived with someone with a drug or alcohol problem?
- Do you feel you’re a bad person if you make a mistake?
- Can you comfortably express your feelings to others?
- Have you previously lived with someone who used physical violence or belittled you in any way?
- Do you question your ability to be the person you want to be?
- Are you confused about who you are and the direction you’re taking in life?
- Do you find adjusting to change difficult?
- Is it hard for you to accept gifts or compliments?
- Do you struggle talking to people in positions of authority?
- If your child makes a mistake, do you find this humiliating?
- Do you find yourself with so many things happening that you can’t devote proper attention to any of them?
- When your partner spends time with friends, does this make you feel rejected?
- Do you often wish someone could help you get things done?
- Do you imagine your loved ones would go steeply downhill without your continuous efforts to help them?
- If asked for help, do you find it hard to say no?
Do you identify with several of these above symptoms?
If so, and if you’re dissatisfied with your relationship or yourself, reach out for professional help. A physician or psychologist can give you a diagnostic evaluation to establish whether you’re codependent
What comes next if you discover that you are codependent, then?
Given that codependency is typically rooted in childhood experiences, treatment usually involves exploring these childhood problems and the way they relate to the destructive patterns of behavior you’re seeking treatment for.
Educating yourself about codependency is a part of any successful treatment program. When trying to change any unhealthy behavior, you should always learn as much as possible about the issue.
From libraries and bookstores to researching online or visiting drug and alcohol treatment centers for resources, there are plenty of ways to increase your knowledge of codependency to better fight back against it.
Experiential groups as well as group and individual therapy can also be effective for identifying patterns of self-defeating behavior.
During treatment, you can expect to identify and get in touch with feelings you may have buried during childhood. You’ll also learn how to effectively recalibrate the dynamics of your family so it’s functional and healthy.
The overarching goal of treatment is to help you to experience and embrace your full range of emotions
In order to successfully move away from codependency, you and your family need to be prepared for a great deal of change and growth. Given that a fear of change is one of the signs of codependency, this can be especially challenging.
It’s vital that all family members learn to recognize and stop any behaviors that allow or enable codependency to continue. At the same time, the codependent needs to start fully embracing their own feelings and their own needs. This could include saying no to requests for help or learning to become much more self-reliant.
If you have a codependent relationship with someone addicted to drink or drugs, it’s key that they seek the appropriate treatment for that issue. Failing to address the root cause of codependency means any treatment for codependency is essentially pointless.
Instead, you should urge your loved one to get in touch with a treatment center so they can start a meaningful recovery and set a solid foundation for you to tackle the issue of codependency in your relationship. Call our friendly team here at Renaissance Recovery today at 866.330.
9449 and we can help you on the first tentative steps to a lifelong recovery.866.330.9449