This blog has explored the concept of dealing with a loved one’s addiction and the toll it takes on the family and relationships and it has also examined the idea of codependency which is surrounded by controversy. Just the word codependency comes with its own baggage, ill feelings and general misunderstanding.
One of the biggest arguments I hear from individuals when it comes to the term codependency is that they feel it is an attack on their basic human instinct to assist those around them when they are in need. A stinging slap in the face for doing what society expects of you and, probably what your grandmother told how to treat others.
It is because addiction plays by its own set of rules. It does not care about your good intentions, amount of love you can provide the addict, the amount of money you can provide the addict, the amount of energy you can give the addict.
Addiction will take all of that and ask for more after it is used up. This often leaves the family member dealing with a child or spouse in the grips of the illness empty and bitter.
What does this have to do with codependency? By its definition codependency is seen as an excessive emotional or psychological reliance on an individual, typically where the relationship furthers the addiction along by providing what it needs most: food, shelter, money and understanding.
Some signs of codependent behavior are:
· Support of partner of family member that compromises your personal health (physical, mental & emotional)
· Ignoring harmful or dangerous behaviors in the individual
· Inability to be happy or fulfilled in other areas of your life without consideration of other person
· Feedback from friends or family concerned about unnatural dependency
· Anxiety within relationship
· Attempts to change individual to meet your preference and desires.
One of the signs of codependency is a lack of self-care. Some codependents may even feel guilty when they take care of themselves or take measures to promote their own well-being. In a sense, codependency is not unlike addiction, except rather than a dangerous drug or other substance; the individual is addicted to the presence, involvement, and approval of a specific person. Some people may be more likely to develop codependent relationships.
Some negative behaviors in codependency:
· Lack of ability to set boundaries
· Lack of Self-worth
· Tendency to be a people pleaser
· Poor communication skills
· Fear of being alone
· Focus on what people think
· Denial of codependent relationship
· Denial of personal feelings and needs
Some positive ways you can begin the recovery process from Codependency:
· Read about codependency
· Talk with a professional
· Learn how to relax and reduce stress
· Begin doing your own personal interests-things that you enjoy
· Accept yourself, good and bad
· Learn how to acknowledge feelings and personal needs.
Although addiction is an isolating condition, it does not have to be dealt with alone. For either the person with addiction or the family.
January 17th, 2018