What is Codependency?
What is codependent behavior? Codependent behavior is common in addiction cases. This type of behavior is characterized by an unbalanced relationship. Typically, it involves the addicted party relying too heavily on the other individual.
In turn, the other individual concentrates too much on the addict’s needs and neglects their own. Therapists, medical professionals, and researchers have been studying these patterns for decades. And we understand codependency better now than we ever have before.
How to Deal with Codependency
Dealing with codependency isn’t always easy. We want to trust and support those we love and care about. But when they cross lines, it rarely helps to dismiss their behaviors. Experts call this enabling. We enable an addict when we do or say things that excuse or condone their habits.
Rather than enabling, the best way to deal with codependency is to seek treatment for it. But before we get into the best treatment approaches for codependency, let’s talk about some of the problems that may arise from codependent behaviors.
Being codependent or having a codependent personality can be damaging for both parties involved. On the addict’s side, they may feel like they don’t need help because the person or people closest to them regularly dismiss their unhealthy habits.
They feel as if living with drug or alcohol addiction is sustainable because they are maintaining their relationships. And on the enabler’s side, they are putting someone else’s needs so far ahead of their own that they inevitably stop taking care of themselves.
Enabling is one of the most common codependent behavior examples. Other potential codependency issues and behaviors include:
- An exaggerated sense of responsibility for the actions of the addicted party
- Constantly taking on more than is fair to lessen the load for the addicted party
- An overwhelming sense of guilt and need for approval
- Confusion and a lack of boundaries
- Low self-esteem
- Emotional abuse
- Lack of emotional intimacy
- Poor communication skills
- Controlling or manipulating behaviors
- Irreparable damage to the relationship due to distrust
If you’re looking for signs of codependent behavior, ask yourself if someone in your life makes you feel this way. This type of relationship can range from mild to extreme codependency. You may think that you are helping.
You may feel obligated to continue making excuses, altering plans or catering to their needs, absorbing additional responsibilities, or lying to protect them. But ultimately, this is not what they need. And it is not a sustainable relationship model.
Codependency and Addictive Disorders
Social support is crucial for those in recovery. But codependency is not what they need. When an individual with a substance abuse disorder isn’t given the opportunity to accept and correct their mistakes, it becomes very difficult for them to ever truly recover.
A major component of addiction recovery involves understanding and addressing the root of the problem. This may be an undiagnosed mental health disorder, a high-stress job or relationship, or another addiction trigger.
But we cannot understand or address the root of the problem if we are always making excuses for it. A codependent addict will likely never feel compelled to make a change. And the enabling party will likely never be focused enough to help them make that change.
Codependency Treatment Awareness
Getting codependency help starts with gaining understanding. Codependent relationships are not healthy. They operate on a different framework and define normal behaviors differently. For example, someone in a codependent relationship might think that it is normal to accept their loved one’s drug or alcohol-seeking behaviors as a daily part of life.
They might think that it is normal to control an addict because they love them and think they are protecting them. Both parties may border on or cross into emotionally abusive behaviors. It comes as no surprise that enablers are often involved in abusive relationships.
Under the guise of care and protection, you are excusing harmful and unhealthy behaviors. Breaking this pattern is crucial to building a healthy relationship and getting your loved one the care they need, and the care you need, too.
Codependency Treatment Therapy
If you’re wondering how to treat codependency, there are a few different methods to consider. Of all the codependency treatment resources available today, therapy is one of the most effective. Generally, this is true of any type of mental health treatment. Though we don’t always realize it, addiction is often as much mental as it is physical.
Codependency therapy can help both parties understand how their actions impact the other. It can help you change the dynamic of your relationship. For the enabler, it can help you understand why an addict must take responsibility for their actions and their consequences.
It can also help you develop healthy boundaries in your relationship. These boundaries help both parties. For the addicted individual, therapy will help them gain a deeper understanding of how their behaviors affect those around them.
It will help them better understand and address the underlying causes of their addiction, choose healthier habits and coping mechanisms, and break unhealthy cycles. These are crucial goals in long-term addiction recovery.
Codependency Treatment Plan
Codependent relationships can cause serious and long-lasting psychological damage. It can make it difficult to build lasting, healthy relationships. Codependent habits affect both parties in the relationship, as well as others who care about them.
Additionally, addiction can lead to a wide variety of mental and physical health impairments. By enabling an addict to continue on the way that they are going, you are also enabling them to damage their health.
If you or someone you love is dealing with the challenges of a codependent relationship, help is available. And it starts here at Circle of Hope. Behavioral or family therapy sessions are ideal for those in codependent relationships.
Most people don’t know that family stress has been connected to a higher likelihood of codependency. Family therapy can help both the addict and the enabler understand and repair their relationship. This is a crucial component of any codependency treatment plan.
But, of course, it does not end there. A successful recovery also involves treating the addiction itself. Thankfully, we have a variety of tried-and-true methods for that, too.
Circle of Hope Addiction Treatment Options
At Circle of Hope, we understand that every individual we meet and every addiction they battle is unique. No two will ever be the same. We don’t believe in one-size-fits-all solutions. We take the time to understand your needs so that we can personalize your plan to meet them.
Addiction treatments can take place in several different settings. Most of our clients begin with an alcohol or drug detox program before continuing to our residential addiction program. We also offer partial hospitalization treatments, intensive outpatient rehab, and dual diagnosis care.
But as we mentioned before, no two individuals in recovery will walk exactly the same path. We will help you determine which path will best suit your needs. We will meet you where you are in your recovery journey and help you get where you need to be.
Call us today at 818-391-5259 to learn more about your options and next steps. We are on call to answer your questions and guide you through what happens next. A new life is waiting for you at Circle of Hope.