Codependency refers to an imbalanced relationship where one person assumes responsibility for meeting the other person’s needs. This is a common problem in families with addiction, as one person will work hard to care for the addict’s needs. On the outside, they appear loving and helpful. But in reality, these behaviors cover up the problem and prevent the addict from seeking help.
It’s important to recognize the role that codependency plays in addiction, as it erases consequences for the addict and allows the disease to continue. In order for the addict and their family to heal, codependent behaviors must be stopped.
What are the Signs of a Codependent Relationship?
Most people who are involved in codependent relationships don’t realize it. Instead, this type of behavior is often rooted in childhood as a result of emotional neglect. As adults, these individuals can develop low self-esteem, shame and people-pleasing tendencies. They can become so dependent on a relationship, they don’t know how to function independently.
Here are some signs that you may involved in a codependent relationship:
- Lack of boundaries
- Fear of abandonment
- People pleasing or difficulty saying no
- Struggling with feelings of control
- Low self-esteem and self-worth
- Assuming responsibility for the other person
- Making excuses for the other person’s behavior
- Extreme jealousy or anger
Tips for Overcoming Codependency
If you are involved in a codependent relationship with an addict, family therapy will be an important part of your healing journey. Your therapist will help you recognize your codependent behaviors and how they are preventing your loved one from healing. The key is to replace unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones so that you can build mutually rewarding relationships.
Some tips that will help you overcome codependency are:
Be aware of your behaviors
Acknowledge that codependency is a problem for you and your loved one. You can’t change your behaviors if you’re not aware of them.
Treat the addiction
Addictions do not get better on their own. Your loved one must seek treatment. While they are receiving therapy for their addiction, you can work on your codependent tendencies.
Learn to process past trauma
Oftentimes, codependency is the result of childhood trauma. You may have developed an extreme fear of abandonment when your parents divorced, for example. Processing this can help you become stronger and more secure.
Communicate your feelings
Work on opening up with your therapist. The more honest you are about your feelings, the better you can address them and make positive changes.
When you take care of yourself, it’s easier to be resilient. Aside from eating well, sleeping consistently and exercising, also take a class or practice a hobby to build self-esteem and independence.
Learn to enjoy me-time
Take time to get to know yourself and the things you like. Start by doing small tasks on your own, such as taking a walk or going to the movies. Also, learn to share some tasks with others. Your spouse can drive your teen to AA, for example. It’s not all on you.
Accept the possibility of upsetting others
Be okay with the fact that you might disappoint others. Not all decisions are popular ones. You are an adult and capable of making your own decisions without guilt and shame.
Seek Therapy for Codependent Patterns of Behavior
Awakenings Treatment Center is familiar with codependency, as we see this in many of our clients’ relationships. As part of our program, we offer family therapy sessions that allow clients to work together with their families to stop negative patterns of behavior. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment services and how they can help you build a stronger family unit.