Are you aware of the signs of codependency?
Drug addiction, enabling, and codependency often go together hand-in-hand.
A codependent person has many characteristics and personality traits which will often-times enable the addict. This enabling can be either intentional or inadvertent, direct or indirect.
Codependency is often defined as caring for another person, cleaning up their messes, in a way that is destructive to either the person they’re taking care of or the codependent themselves.
The codependent is usually caring for the person in such a way that they consider themselves to be inferior or submissive to the person. They are overly involved and submersed in the person’s life.
hat leaves them unaccountable and able to perpetuate their addiction. Fixing your partner’s mistakes is a key sign that you’re enabling them.
- They are overly involved and submersed in the person’s life.
- They feel guilty when not complying with the other person.
- The codependent even submits themselves to abusive, controlling, and dominating behavior.
All this, in turn, leads them to acts that “enable” the addict to maintain or fuel his current addiction.
Codependent Behavior + Enabling Behavior = Free Ride For Addict
Enabling is simply acts or behaviors by those (eg. Codependents) surrounding the substance abuser which contribute towards the maintenance of their addiction and negative behaviors. Typically – this may be through:
- providing money
- covering up for them
- bailing him out of jail
- drinking/drugging with them to bond or deepen the relationship
- helping them to procure the substance
Any of the above actions can help them to avoid the negative consequences of their behavior – this may be either at work, school, or through the court system .additionally, a codependent may not be additionally addressing or acknowledging his loved ones actions. They may be looking the other way or, trying to sweep it under the rug. a codependent may go so far as to try to help the addict to believe that their addiction is normal or okay. This can include:
- remaining silent in the face of his addiction
- avoiding it completely even as its problems increase
- accepting it as a normal part of the day to day life
These factors are often intertwined and contribute greatly towards the self-destructive habits of addiction. Both an addicted substance abuser and a person enabling his addiction are self-destructive. They each harbor a significant amount of denial about how the addiction and self-destructive behavior are affecting them.
They may overlook their health. A codependent person often has a greater incidence of stress-related illnesses which typically accompany the codependent personality traits. These may include:
- heart disease
- high blood pressure
Due to the extreme emotional swings a relationship involving codependence and addiction, there are a huge spikes allanxiety, depression, tension, and other destructive habits. The codependentperson may be addicted to non-chemical substances such as food, cigarettes, etc.), family, financial, and work situations.
These habits of the codependent person will generally help both the codependent person and the addict to continue to self-destruct.
Signs Of Codependency
Addressing and acknowledging the fact that one is a codependent person is the first step in beginning to treat oneself and overcoming these habits; the following questions can help you to determine whether or not you engage in this type of behavior, and are followed by a number of sites which you may reference for additional treatment options, how/where to seek treatment, and further recommended resources.
- An inability to know what normal is/have trouble defining own sense of reality.
- A need to define yourself solely through the relationship of the another person.
- A tendency to put everyone else’s needs above your own – little or no regard or priority for one‘s own needs, emotions, etc. (in relationships you are happy only in the role of a caretaker).
- An avoidance of acknowledging or discussing one’s own feelings.
- Problems with intimacy – this may include trouble developing or sustaining meaningful relationships.
- A need to constantly seek approval and affirmation, yet having compromised sense of self.
- A need for perfectionism, applied to both self and others – this may include judging self, others without mercy.
- Difficulty in relaxing or having fun.
- A need to control.
- Physical illness related to stress (this may include ulcers, heart diseaase, high blood pressure, hypertension, or insomnia).
- A general distrust of others.
- Difficulty in accepting compliments .
- Difficulty in concentrating for long periods of time or focusing on projects or topics not related to the other person.
- An inability or difficulty in making your own decisions.
- A fear or dislike of change.
- A fear of abandonment.
- A tendency to seek relationships with those that are “victims“ yet also abusive, controlling, and possessive.
You Minimize The Situation - But It IS A Big Deal
In many cases, enablers try to minimize the situation and make it seem less significant. This makes it easier for them to not take action. If it’s not a big deal, why put yourself out? Well, it IS a big deal.
- Do you play down what is really happening with your partner? Has your sense of perspective and proportion been twisted? Get some feedback from someone outside the situation who can see things objectively.
- Are you getting sneaky? Do you hide what is happening from your family and friends? Are you engaging in a cover up by telling everyone everything is ‘just fine’?.
What Are The Origins Of Your Codependency? Your Family Of Origin And Environment May Hold The Answer.
Codependency is a learned behavior. It can be viewed as a maladaptive defense mechanism. It is a faulty way for a person to get their needs met. These usually grows out of an unstable or dysfunctional childhood upbringing or environment.
See if any of these sound familiar:
- The expression of emotions of any sort was frowned upon and discouraged .
- You may have been encouraged to keep feelings inside and “be strong”.
- There was a high standard of perfection within the family.
- There was a general intolerance of making a mistake
- The atmosphere was always tense or rigid.
- Encouraged to be seen and not heard.
- Encouraged to “get along” or not make waves.do not cause disruption or rock the boat.
Emotional Backlash Of Codependency? Dis-regulated Emotions: They Are All Over The Place
A necessary skill for those both in addiction and codependency recovery is to manage uncomfortable emotions.
It is necessary to regulate emotions. Notice that we do not make this is a suggestion but almost as a mandate.,
One of the biggest defense mechanisms in both codependency, enabling, and addiction is to “normalize” emotions that are really way out of normal bounds. Both codependency and addiction are disease of isolation. That means there are fewer and fewer people to balance what is going on offer.
One of the most common concepts of codependency is that a codependent does not know what normal is.
Read the following and see if you can identify with these statements:
- My feelings do not really count that much.
- My feelings are not as important, deep, or as exciting as someone else’s.
- My problems do not matter in light of someone else’s.
- I am not allowed to have fun.
- I am not lovable.
- I’m just not good enough.
- Another persons’ feelings and actions are mostly my responsibility .
- I am lost without another person to give attention to.
If you have any of the above symptoms you may benefit from any treatment which directly addresses these issues.
Treatment For Codependency
It is definitely possible to treat codependency.
Treatment is available and often successful in helping the person to break free from codependent personality traits. They can learn to help the substance user in a productive way. or if needed, to break free from an addict who does not wish to help himself. it is also possible for a codependent to learn how to establish relationships with non-abusive persons.
Learning to use one’s energy and emotional resources in a more healthy and productive manner will result in greater well-being. This will produce less stress and stress-related symptoms, and more positive and uplifting relationships. Oftentimes a codependent person is as powerless over their codependent habits, and as destructive, as an addicted person himself. Seeking treatment for codependency and to free oneself of these problems (i.e., the never-ending stress, misery, and self-destruction which inevitably come along with these habits) can be one of the most significant steps that one can take.
What is Co-Dependency | Mental Health with Kati Morton
Please recognize that you are not actually helping either the other person or yourself with this manner of “caregiving”, nor is your life progressing in a direction that is beneficial or positive. Actual caretaking should not be constantly depressing, stressful, or hopeless; continuing in this type of relationship is basically a continuance of covering up one’s inner feelings of denial, anger, shame, un-worthiness, etc., and an overall stagnating of one’s life. Please seek help today if you would like to begin to overcome these issues.
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Some Really Good Resources
- Impact of Substance Abuse on Families (NCBI) – When a family member abuses substances, the effect on the family may differ according to family structure.
- Addiction Is A Family Disease (NCADD) Addiction is a family disease that stresses the family to the breaking point. Living with addiction can put family members under unusual stress.
- Drugs, Brains and Behavior: The Science of Addiction (Drugabuse.gov) – In my opinion this is the best short read on addiction. I have used the content for many therapy groups and lectures…check it out.