There are difficulty relationships, and there are toxic codependent relationships. It’s important to recognize codependence and address it.
If you find yourself the only one who is always making way or giving in the relationship, that’s one sign of codependence. It’s important to note, however, that codependence is more than just that. Many people who suffer from substance abuse or come from a family with a history of addiction cam develop codependency.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what codependence is and how you can avoid it.
So What is Codependence?
The American Psychological Association defines codependence as a dysfunctional relationship pattern in which an individual is psychologically dependent on (or controlled by) a person who has a pathological addiction.”
This is characterized by unhealthy behavior and relationship dynamics such as:
- minimizing or denying feelings
- seeking approval from the partner or person they are codependent to
- inability to make decisions without the other person’s input
- putting the other’s needs before their own
Let’s be clear that codependent relationships doesn’t just occur between couples, or in what we can consider as romantic relationships. Codependence can also occur between family members, parents and adult children, siblings, and even among friends.
This kind of relationship dynamics is often present when one person in the relationship has some form of addiction. The other person would often think that they alone can help the person with the addiction, to protect or even save them from succumbing to destruction due to the disease.
This said, the codependent would often provide help and support, even at the expense of their own well-being, mental health, and boundaries. While the intentions are best, what can happen is that this relationship can be harmful for both parties in the long run.
Codependence and violence and abuse
Codependence is prevalent between spouses and families and may result to domestic violence. Some of the behaviors associated with codependence are exhibited not only by the codependent, but also by the one with the addiction. These are:
- Using blame and shame to control the partner
- Staying with the person even with dangerous consequences
- Feeling a sense of loyalty towards the person and therefore overlooking the abuses and negative consequences
- Believing that they are better than other people
- Expressing pain as anger or aggression
- Demanding on the other that they meet their emotional needs
How do you overcome codependency?
At Bridges of Hope, we have had individuals and families approach us about a loved one with addiction. While the resident is getting treated, we also work closely with family members to help them understand the role of codependency in their lives.
Treating codependency means learning new ways of expressing love, concern, and care. It also means unlearning behavioral and relationship patterns that have been developed over a very long time.
It can be scary to seek treatment for codependence and addiction. However, it’s going to be worth it. You will learn how to set healthy boundaries, care for yourself, and discover coping mechanisms so that you will have a more fulfilling relationship with the people you love.
Talk to us today to learn more.