Addiction is a life and death situation, and you cannot let anything come between you and your goal to survive and thrive. A codependent partner, in some ways, is part of the addiction. The codependence can be treated with your addiction if both partners are willing to work together. Without a cooperative effort to overcome both the addiction and the codependence, your relationship will likely never be a healthy one. When you love someone, it can be hard to separate your desire to help and take care of him with his own responsibility to care for himself.
Your partner does not have to be an addict for you to be suffering with codependency. You may have brought these traits into the relationship from an earlier life experience, or there could be some codependent or addictive traits in your partner that have not been identified yet. The presence of a diagnosed addiction in the relationship is not the only sign of codependence.
Here are some others:. You tend to his needs before he realizes he has needs, and you make everything okay in his life. He gets all of your energy, love and wisdom. You expect him to be what you need him to be. You love him and feel loved by him only when he acts a certain way. You hate to be separated from him for a whole day or overnight. You never go too long without calling or texting. Codependence may be triggered by a close association with people suffering from addiction. If you were raised by alcoholic parents, for example, you may have developed traits that could lead to codependent relationships later in life.
The personality of your mate might determine whether those traits manifest in your relationship or whether they remain dormant. A crisis in the relationship, severe injury, addiction or infidelity could trigger your codependence. Often, codependence becomes a pattern in relationships. It may have started with the example your parents set for you and could continue through all of your adult relationships. Certain life experiences might exacerbate your condition. It might develop into depression or an anxiety disorder, or it could co-exist with another mental illness.
Codependence not only makes it very difficult to maintain healthy relationships, but it can also be a serious condition that requires treatment. As codependence worsens, all of those self-shaming thoughts can lead to a serious depression. People suffering from codependency have a tendency to take their pain out on themselves, and can become self-destructive.
Codependency and Codependent Relationships
Codependents are also at risk of developing addictions. The same low self-esteem, shame and guilt that exist in codependence are common in addiction. This desire to help your loved one suffering from addiction can easily result in enabling behaviors. Often, family members do things out of love that actually perpetuate the addiction rather than move it toward resolution:.
You save him from the embarrassment of waking up the next morning on the kitchen floor. All of these enabling behaviors might seem like kind gestures you would extend to a loved one, but all they really do is enable them to continue their addiction. Without facing consequences, it can be very difficult to change bad behavior. It is possible, however, to help an addicted loved one and not become codependent in the process. Before you can safely help your loved one fight his addiction, you have to accept some facts of life:.
You cannot take anything he does or says too personally. Addiction happens for a number of reasons, most of them related to brain chemistry and behavior. Addiction requires professional treatment. Your love and support can be a helpful part of the recovery process, but you have to bring in the experts.
The addiction is not your secret to keep.
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In fact, talking about it with the right people can facilitate a quicker and longer-lasting resolution. As those boundaries start to blur, and you become too involved in the problem and the potential solutions, codependence can creep in.
There are, of course, some things you can do to help your partner fight his addiction. He will need your unconditional love and support to get through the rehab process and into recovery. Think of maintaining your objective separation from the problem as one of the ways you can help. Contact a support group for people who are suffering from addiction, and find out when and where they meet. These meetings will help you learn more about addiction and put you in contact with others who are going through the same things.
From there, you can find support groups dedicated to helping you avoid falling into codependent behaviors in the presence of addiction.
Do not harbor a loved one who is actively abusing drugs. If his behaviors result in arrest or homelessness, do not rescue him. As long as he refuses to get into a recovery program, you will not be available to bail him out of any bad situation. The first step they need to take is to get into detox to clean the drugs out of his system and begin the recovery process. Instead of giving your loved one money, provide him instead with the information he needs — or even a ride — to get into detox and begin this journey.
For more information and help with these two conditions, contact Tranquil Shores in Tampa, Florida.
Codependency and Codependent Relationships | Borderline Personality Disorder
Through an evidence-based integrated recovery model of treatment, we can help guide you or your loved one through a pain-free detox — the first step of recovery — and all that comes next. Let us answer your questions about codependent relationships and substance abuse and guide you through your journey towards reclaiming your life. The mantra of a typical enabler is, "I do everything for her in the relationship.
It's not because of me that we have problems. These imbalanced relationships can go on for some time, however, they are ultimately unsustainable due to their consumption of the enabler's emotional, financial or physical resources, and because they lead to resentment and relationship strain for both participants. Daniel Harkness, Ph. According to Bowen's Family Theory, families and other social groups tremendously affect how people think, feel, and act, and individuals vary in their susceptibility to, and dependence on how others think.
These differences are based on the differences in people's levels of " differentiation of self ".
The less developed a person's " self ," the more impact others have on his functioning and the more he tries to control, actively or passively, the functioning of others. Every human society has its well-differentiated people, poorly-differentiated people, and people at many gradations between these extremes.
The basic building blocks of a " self " are inborn, but an individual's family relationships during childhood and adolescence primarily determine how much " self " he develops. Once established, the level of " self " rarely changes unless a person makes a structured and long-term effort to change it. A person with a well-differentiated " self " recognizes his realistic dependence on others, but he can stay calm and clear-headed enough in the face of conflict, criticism, and rejection to distinguish thinking rooted in a careful assessment of the facts from thinking clouded by emotionality.
Thoughtfully acquired principles help guide decision-making about important family and social issues, making him less at the mercy of the feelings of the moment. What he decides and what he says matches what he does. He can act selflessly, but his acting in the best interests of the group is a thoughtful choice, not a response to relationship pressures. Confident in his thinking, he can either support another's view without being a disciple or reject another view without polarizing the differences. He defines himself without being pushy and deals with pressure to yield without being wishy-washy.
People with a poorly-differentiated " self " depend so heavily on the acceptance and approval of others that they quickly adjust what they think, say, and do to please others. This is generally where codependents get into trouble. They have blurry boundaries.
While portrayed as the ideal, this is actually a model of a very unhealthy relationship. The precise definition of codependency varies based on the source but can be generally characterized as a subclinical and situational or episodic behavior similar to that of dependent personality disorder. The behavior of codependent enablers can be described as focused on others, excessively compliant, self-sacrificing, overly reactive, and having problems with openness and intimacy.
Codependent enablers often become controlling and manipulative over time. According to Darlene Lancer, JD, MFT, the behavior of c says that enablers often struggle with obsessing and often experience painful emotions or feelings of low self esteem. Here is a codependency enabler checklist developed by Robert H. Albers, Ph. How many of these statements describe you or your partner?
In codependent relationships, the balance of 'give and take' is off kilter
The greatest problem people face in getting help for codependency is a lack of self-awareness; simply not seeing their role in the relationship dysfunction. Codependents instinctually know that the relationship is unhealthy but they are convinced that the problem lies with the other person or that the problem is situational. They keep complaining about and trying to fix the other person. The concept of codependency provides a useful framework for examining how healthy our interactions are in relationships with others.
Becoming aware of your codependent traits is the first, and most important step in dealing with them. With awareness comes the opportunity for change. The fact is that codependency is learned - and as such, it can be unlearned. Codependence may, however, arise from some deeper issues or personality traits.
Timmen Cermak, M.