Codependency is an excessive physical, psychological, or emotional reliance on a relationship that isn’t healthy. Codependent behaviors can destroy a person’s other relationships while jeopardizing that person’s health, career, and happiness. At The Treatment Center, we’ve helped many people with addiction, but we consider their loved ones in the equation as well. If there are issues of codependency, there are ways to combat it and lead to healthy relationships – even in the aftermath of someone’s addiction.
Researchers have found that codependency is generational – in other words, you may be more likely to become codependent if your family was in a codependent relationship. All codependent behaviors involve a refusal to see problematic behavior in your partner and a belief that one’s needs should be sacrificed for others, regardless of negative consequences.
Signs Of Codependency In Addiction
We often see codependent relationships in substance abuse – one person may provide the food, shelter, and money for drugs or alcohol, while the other uses. This is a common codependent behavior called enabling. In codependent relationships, there is usually a dominant party and a submissive party, but not always. The truth is that codependency is a broad spectrum that looks different in every relationship. Here are some of the commonly accepted warning signs that you might be codependent:
You Feel Responsible For The Feelings Of Others
A codependent person feels as if they need to solve someone else’s problems. They may believe the person they perceive to need help cannot manage the problem or make the right decisions on their own. In other words, a codependent person believes that if he or she doesn’t step in, disaster will result. This also means a codependent person jumps at the opportunity to provide advice, whether warranted or not.
At the heart of this codependent behavior is a lack of healthy boundaries. Codependent people can lose themselves in other people, saying yes to situations they don’t want to be involved in and gaining false confidence from “fixing” other people. Unfortunately, these actions leave the codependent vulnerable to abuse, whether it’s physical, emotional, or psychological.
You Have A Fear of Abandonment
A codependent person will often cling to a relationship, even an unhealthy one, because he or she fears abandonment or has an unquenchable need for acceptance. This need often translates to people pleasing behavior. People with codependency issues may go to extremes to please people so they will receive love, praise, or approval. If they don’t, they may feel victimized.
Codependency issues often stem from early childhood experiences. Neglect or abandonment during childhood may make a person more likely to develop this fear of abandonment and go to great lengths to keep people nearby.
You’re An Enabler Or A Rescuer
Codependent people have a need to be the knight in shining armor, sometimes to keep the relationship alive. This leads to enabling behavior, such as constantly making excuses for a partner’s behavior. When someone is in trouble, an enabler may “fix” the situation by enabling it more. In a relationship where there is substance abuse, this may come in the form of bailing a user out of jail or giving him or her shelter or money when there is nowhere else to go.
You Often Feel Like A Victim
Codependent people often feel everything that happens to them and their loved ones is a reflection of their own characters. This makes them feel victimized when their efforts aren’t reciprocated. In some cases, codependents struggle with feelings of powerlessness and don’t understand their role in creating their own outcomes. In other words, it is hard for a codependent to establish a sense of self, independent from another person.
You Often Feel The Need For Control
Someone with codependency issues will often take responsibility for others, as this makes them feel they’re in control or can control the situation by tending to others’ needs. They may use manipulation, guilt, or shame to control others’ behavior, though these tactics aren’t always malicious in nature. In fact, they may be unconscious.
Find Help For Codependency Issues At The Treatment Center
If these issues sound familiar, you may have codependence issues. At The Treatment Center, we’ve seen how codependency issues are products of addiction. That’s why we work to treat the whole person – not just the addiction. Sometimes, that includes relationships their family members and friends. Professional intervention can help uncover the root cause of this behavior and develop healthier coping mechanisms that help you lead a well-adjusted life. Our counselors and addiction specialists understand codependency, and we can help you and your loved ones.
In Order to Prevent Codependency, One Must Avoid Enabling Behaviors