Codependency is a term that is used widely in the addiction field. Codependents are people who are controlled and manipulated by others due to low self-esteem, but their behavior patterns are learned from being raised in an alcoholic home. Codependent children learn to ignore their feelings and needs so they can act as a caretaker for other family members. Codependent adults often don't know they have codependency because denial has caused them to believe that what they experienced growing up was normal.
Codependency affects people of all ages, but it is especially prevalent in people who have a family history of alcoholism or addiction. Codependent conditions continue unless they are identified and treated. This article explains how to recognize codependent behavior patterns in yourself and what you can do about them.
Codependency is when someone has an emotional or physical reliance on another person for survival. Codependent people may often neglect their own needs in order to take care of the needs of others. Codependency can be found in many relationships, including family, friends, and even love relationships. Codependent people may feel they have no control over their life because they're so focused on taking care of other people. It's important to remember that codependency is not a good thing! Codependency can run in families and is often inherited, just like alcoholism or other substance abuse disorders. Codependency may occur over time when someone in a relationship has an unhealthy emotional bond with another person. Codependent people are usually very sensitive to the emotions of others and want to do anything they can to help their loved ones feel better. Codependent people are "people-pleasers" – it's important for them to be liked by everyone around them. It's also important for codependent people that the people around them never feel unhappy or upset because this causes the codependent person great distress.
When a codependent person becomes involved with an individual who has addiction problems, it only makes their codependence worse! Codependent people generally struggle with self-esteem issues and have an insatiable need to be loved. Codependent people are often attracted to partners who have addiction problems because these characteristics provide codependents with the opportunity to feel needed and secure. Codependence is not just a relationship problem! Codependency can also happen in friendships – someone may grow dependent on a friend for emotional support, approval, or even companionship. Codependent people often neglect their own families or responsibilities while trying to help or rescue other family members or friends in crisis situations. If you're dealing with codependency, know that you're not alone!
Codependency can be characterized by a long-term dependency on an addict, which is initially seen as a way to provide support. Codependent personalities often have low self-esteem, feel they are not worthy so they depend on others for validation, and neglect their needs in order to fulfill the needs of another person. Codependent behaviors can span from enabling the addiction to having multiple partners or staying in an abusive relationship. These behaviors are used to mask underlying feelings of inadequacy or low self-worth. Codependency is typically rooted in childhood trauma, guilt, shame, and emotional abandonment. Codependents also usually feel inadequate without help from others.
First, take a look at your relationships. Codependents sometimes form relationships with needy people who need to be taken care of or people who have lots of problems. Codependents sometimes have trouble saying "no" or setting boundaries for themselves and other people in their life. Codependents also tend to avoid conflict and get nervous when plans are canceled or changed. Codependents are also often overly responsible for others, putting other people's needs before their own, and controlling the behavior of others. Codependents often do care for others, but they may feel resentful and angry when the other person doesn't meet their expectations. Codependents also tend to have low self-esteem which manifests itself in a variety of ways such as being apathetic or feeling insecure. Codependent behavior can be unintentional - Codependents aren't going out on purpose to hurt themselves - but, nevertheless, codependent actions result in pain. Codependence is based upon the fear that something bad will happen without support or help from another person. Codependency creates unhealthy relationships because it's based on addiction and obsession instead of love and commitment. Codependent relationships don't work well because both people are seeking validation rather than getting mutual respect and support for each other.
One way to overcome Codependency is to rely on one's own support system-family and friends to meet your needs for love, attention, and support. Codependent people tend to be drawn to codependent partners who also are Codependent or have been Codependent in the past. Codependents can't usually see their own Codependency because it's a defense mechanism that keeps each Codependent party in the relationship from seeing what is really going on: they help each other deny and avoid what would otherwise be painful Codependency issues. The more time you spend with friends recovering from Codependency, the less time you will spend with Codependent people or Codependently behaving people. And if your friendships with non-Codependent people grow stronger as a result of spending more time together, you may find that your codependent relationships become less intense as well.
Addressing Codependency is a lifelong commitment. Codependent people will always be Codependent in some areas of their lives, even if they learn to control and cope with Codependency in other areas of their life. For example, you might be able to get past Codependency issues at work, but still, experience Codependency behavior when it comes to your home life or romantic relationships. It's important for Codependent people not to give up on themselves-there are many steps that can reduce the symptoms of Codependency and help Codependent people become more self-sufficient.
Another way to deal with codependency is to recognize what type of codependence you're experiencing: emotional, behavioral, or physical. Codependency can manifest itself in many ways, and just because you think you're Codependent doesn't necessarily mean that you are Codependent. This is an important step in overcoming Codependency: understanding what constitutes Codependency as opposed to a way of being that isn't Codependent. The more different kinds of Codependency trigger situations that you can recognize and deal with appropriately, the less Codependent your behavior will be in general.
There are mental, physical, and emotional signs of codependency that can affect both parties in a relationship. Codependency can also cause conflict within relationships because it is an insatiable need for approval from the other person. Codependent relationships often lead to an unhealthy dependence that is difficult to break. Codependency can exist in friendships, romantic relationships, and familial relationships.
Codependent signs of a relationship: