Relationships are complicated. It can be messy. It can be full of uncertainty. Add addiction to the mix and things can be on whole another level of tumultuous. Being in a codependent relationship with an addict can really test you and many would say that you wouldn’t understand it if you haven’t gone through it.
For those who are in a codependent relationship with an addict, it would seem that the addiction has put another layer of complication to an already complex relationship. The dynamics are just different, often even utterly dysfunctional.
Being in a codependent relationship will keep the codep always uncertain. They will always be on the edge. The relationship can be a roller coaster ride. Both parties seem to be in misery, while the codependent struggles to put two and two together.
What is a Codependent Relationship?
A codependent relationship is when a person is dependent on their partner for self-worth and identity. Here, the codependent’s sense of purpose in the relationship, and in their life, is wrapped around one thing. This is in making sacrifices to keep the balance in a rather dysfunctional relationship, and satisfy the other’s needs.
Often, a codependent relationship develops when someone has a relationship with a person who is addicted to drugs or alcohol. Codependency becomes a learned response. The codependent is often unaware of behaviors that are controlling and self-focused, even if it appears selfless and devoted.
This is because a codependent relationship is unhealthy to the extend that you would want to control your partner so that your self-worth is validated. You may find a need to protect them. However, when addiction is involved, this just because enabling behavior.
For a codependent, the enabling behavior happens when you allow them to continue to use instead of stopping them. You also save them from the consequences of their actions instead of letting them deal with it. It becomes a vicious cycle of you being filled with worry, doubt, and insecurities. And, in your fear of losing them, you support their addiction even when you really intend to do the opposite.
Signs of Codependency
- You want to solve their problems. Your partner is the one with a problem, you think. So it’s up to you to come up with the solutions. You find yourself covering up for their addictions and saving them from trouble.
- You feel unappreciated and unloved because of their addiction. You try to make your partner see their addiction, but they end up being angry and defensive. You take this as a form of rejection and you feel lie you’re not enough, so you end up trying to always compensate.
- You don’t hold your partner accountable. Your partner may be manipulative, scheming, abusive, and dishonest. However , you end up cleaning up after their mess. Moreover, you just let the same thing happen, even at your expense.
- You constantly try to please your partner. You’re constantly seeking for their approval an affirmation. The result is a relationship where you may not be honest with your partner or yourself, or even ignore your own feelings, in order to keep the peace or keep your partner happy.
- You see yourself as a victim. You feel powerless and vulnerable. You may be overwhelmed by fear. Perhaps, you may feel cheated or betrayed. You look at your future and you seem uncertain about your relationship and your life.
A codependent relationship can be very complicated when substance abuse is involved. The relationship becomes a downward spiral unless there’s intervention. Therapy may also be needed. Professional help for the addict and counseling for the codependent.
Ultimately, to break this destructive cycle, both must face the music head on.
Bridges of Hope offers comprehensive, personalized treatment for those struggling with different kinds of substance use disorder and other behavioral addictions. Contact us to learn more and how we can help you or your loved one start your journey towards life-long recovery.