What is Codependency and Am I Impacted By It?

What Is Codependency and Am I Impacted by It?

Codependency refers to being reliant on someone else for your own happiness and sense of well-being. In a codependent relationship, one individual requires the support of the codependent person. Over time, both individuals will normalize their lack of independence and rely on one another in unhealthy ways. You can see how this could create some conflict. It can even destroy the relationship by leading to resentment or unhealthy boundaries.

In terms of addiction, codependency usually refers to a loved one becoming consumingly concerned with supporting and caring for another. For the person struggling with an addiction to substances such as benzos, opioids, or alcohol, this can encourage substance use. This can lead to enabling and create more of a problem for both people.

In a codependent relationship, there is an imbalance. One person is putting in a lot of effort while the other is not. Often, this level of giving and not receiving leads to neglect of the codependent person's personal needs. This can result in poor mental health, financial struggles, and resentment toward the other person.

Signs of Codependency

There are some telltale signs of codependency that could indicate a problem. Sometimes, it can be hard to detect codependency in the thick of things. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, you may not discover it until treatment is underway and you both begin to recover. Getting help can help restore balance to the relationship and allow time and space for healing.

It is important to know that codependent relationships stretch far beyond solely romantic relationships or partnerships. Still, it is important to be aware of the common signs that could indicate that your relationship with a loved one may be codependent.

Weak Boundaries

One of the signs of codependency is weak boundaries. Setting boundaries in relationships is essential. When it comes to addiction, boundaries are often crossed or disregarded. For the codependent person, boundaries are not important. They are so concerned with caring for the other person that they lose sight of what is important to them.

Unhealthy Caretaking

Often, a codependent person takes on the role of taking care of the other. This may eventually cause them to neglect their own needs. Rather than prioritizing their own health and well-being, a codependent person may prioritize the health and well-being of their partner who is struggling with an addiction. This might involve paying their partner's bills or loaning them money. It could also include offering a place to live or providing transportation.

Many consider themselves caretakers by nature. Having a gift or passion for caring for others is very different than codependency. Caring for others while also caring for yourself can be healthy and rewarding. However, taking on the caretaker role while ignoring your own self-care and mental health is harmful.

Low Self-Esteem or Self-Worth

In a codependent relationship, the person struggling with codependency often experiences low self-esteem or self-worth. This is because they gauge their worth by the success, happiness, and well-being, of the other person. Taking on this responsibility can be a huge burden and is often a losing battle.

If your loved one is struggling with addiction, chances are they will not be successful or well until they seek treatment and begin their recovery journey. Working to control the situation and worrying about their well-being amidst their addiction can be exhausting and defeating.

This leads to low self-esteem and discouragement that carries over into all areas of life for the codependent. They may see their performance at work start to falter. Other relationships may begin to fail or become tense and uncomfortable. Their ability to communicate and make decisions can also be affected.

Identifying and Healing From Codependency

Enlightened Solutions helps clients and their families heal after addiction and learn to grow together in recovery. Parents, spouses, or other loved ones often become so concerned with controlling and managing the situation that they become codependent without realizing it.

Our family programs help loved ones identify codependency and work to become stronger in order to improve wellness and serve as a healthy support system. We understand the impact addiction can have on the family and recognize the need family members have for healing as well.

Codependency affects many people who are impacted by addiction. It not only brings the person experiencing codependency down but also enables the destructive behavior fueling the addiction. This prolongs the problem and leads to more potential for problems such as increased use, overdose, and more.

Identifying codependency is critical. If you discover that you have any of the signs noted above, it may be time to seek help. Our staff at Enlightened Solutions can help you and your family determine the best course of action to ensure success and healing.

Don't let codependency keep your loved one from getting the help they need. Enabling their addiction is causing more harm and is not addressing the real problem. Encourage treatment instead.

No one wants to admit that codependency is affecting their relationships and life. It can be embarrassing or shameful for some. The truth is that it can be pretty common in the realm of addiction. Loved ones can become so consumed with caring for and worrying about their spouse or family member that they develop codependency without realizing it. It is important to recognize that codependent actions often lead to enabling the behavior of a person struggling with addiction. This only prolongs their substance use and keeps them from seeking treatment. At Enlightened Solutions, we offer a variety of groups through our family program that can help identify and address codependency. This will allow for healing and growth and can instill strategies for setting healthy boundaries and mending broken relationships. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, we would love to help. Call Enlightened Solutions today at (833) 801-LIVE.


Do You Know The Truth About Codependency?

Codependency is defined in many different ways. One of the leading definitions was coined by Melody Beattie who is a leader in codependency work. She defines codependency as letting someone else’s behavior impact you in an extreme way. Codependency takes on many different forms from care taking to manipulating to neediness to destructive behaviors. People criticize and characterize codependency in negative ways to try to make sense out of it. When codependency arises in someone, it is hard to understand. For example, when an alcoholic husband finally goes to treatment and gets sober, his angry wife seems to worsen in her moods, attitudes, and behaviors. The husband heals yet the wife remains something resembling mental illness. Doctors tried to understand the phenomena of codependency for years until they figured out something basic. A person who becomes codependent essentially loses themselves and their life to someone with a problem.

Codependency Takes People-Pleasing To The Extreme

Caretaking, people-pleasing, and serving others isn’t just a behavior of codependents but a compulsive behavior. Similar to the way an alcoholic reaches for a drink or a drug addict reaches for a drug, codependents reach for other people- to take care of them, control them, please them, and serve them, to the point of losing themselves. It isn’t about being overly nice and extra helpful, but feeling a deep and insatiable need to give to other people in order to feel wanted, appreciated, and not abandoned.

Codependency Has Many Gray Areas

Being codependent is not a matter of being codependent. The behaviors which accompany codependency can range from clinginess to avoidance. Everyone has some kind of boundary lacking which causes them to act codependent in some kind of way. The length to which someone get lost in their codependent behavior is what differs.

Codependency Is A Sign Of Weakness

Low self-esteem? Yes. Low self-worth? Yes. Needing to feel wanted, needed, useful, in order to feel validated? Yes. All of these things are part of codependency. However, they are not a sign of weakness. Instead, they are sign that someone has had to work extra hard in their lives to feel wanted. Often, people who develop codependency have carried a tremendous emotional burden on their backs for many years.

Codependency is not a shortcoming, a character defect, or a weakness. It is a coping mechanism and a means for survival. Many addicts and alcoholics develop codependency as the result of growing up in a dysfunctional home. We know the pain of codependency and addiction is real. If you are ready to heal and transform your life, call Enlightened Solutions today for information on our treatment programs. 833-801-5483.


High Functioning Depression Is More Than Meets The Eye

Everything May Look Great, But…

Just like high functioning addiction or alcoholism, high functioning depression looks one way but feels completely different to the person suffering. Depression, though it can be managed and coped with, has persistent symptoms that can be unruly. Showing up to a job, to a marriage, to a family and to a life is possible with depression. Facing the challenges of having depression while doing so is incredibly challenging. Depression, along with many other mental illnesses, is quickly dismissed when everything on the outside appears to be fine. Outside the sun may be shining. Inside is a dark storm, forever brewing.

Sometimes, showing up and doing well is part of the way one copes with depression. It might be surprising to learn someone has depression when they do their job so well or function so seemingly normally in life. Just because you can’t see the way someone’s depression affects them doesn’t mean it isn’t real. Telling an alcoholic you don’t think they’re an alcoholic because you don’t see them as one is making a statement according to social guidelines. Projecting social expectations onto someone suffering from mental illness only heightens their sense that they are different. More troublingly, it tells them that their authentic and individual experience in life is unimportant.

Supporting a loved one with high functioning depression should include many activities or gestures to help them remember just how important they are. Their life and place in this world has a great impact on everyone involved. Losing them would be a significant loss to the world around them. Remove the stigma and blanket generalizations of depression by creating an individualized world for your loved one. What activities do they enjoy the most? What small actions can you commit to each day to help remind them that they are loved? Of course, none of this is meant out of codependency, but instead compassion.

Compassion is the ability to recognize someone’s suffering. Sometimes, suffering is hard to notice when it is so adequately masked by high functioning behavior. As the family and friends of a loved one suffering from mental health disorders we learn to question what we see. A spiritual practice to engage in this contemplation can include a conversation with yourself, with friends, etc, to ask, “At what cost does this person’s life come?”. What we see on the outside is only sometimes an indication of what’s inside. We can never know what someone is going through until we stop to ask.

Enlightened Solutions wants to know if you are suffering from mental health issues like anxiety. A certified and licensed dual diagnosis center, Enlightened offers the best in integrative treatment. For more information call 833-801-5483


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Losing Yourself in Someone Else: Codependency

Codependency can be a development that takes place through hidden increments. At the foundation of codependent tendencies is a set of basic human fears:

I am not worthy

I am not whole

I am not loveable

Should our significant other discover these unconscionable truths, they may leave us. Forgetful that these fears are the fallacy of the human conditions, we adopt them as personalized convictions. Our relationships transform from mutual to one-sided, shifting from healthy to unbalanced.

Codependency is Losing Yourself in Someone Else

Healthy relationships have an open communication channel for limiting what each individual is capable and not capable of doing. Saying “no” is setting a loving boundary with just two letters. Relationships are unbalanced when saying “no” becomes a point of anxiety because saying “yes” has become obligation for one or both partners. Love and service are beautiful parts of any partnership. They are not the same as indentured enslavement. Codependency is when we lose our ability to say “no” out of fear. We might notice that when our partner needs help, we run to their aid. When we are unable to attend to them, we suffer from guilt and anxiety. Unless we are validated by our partner’s need for us in their lives, we feel lost. Our sense of being is defined by how we are needed.

Detached from our inherent strength to set boundaries is the beginning of a decline in our authentic voice. Codependency in a relationship creates fear that our opinions, thoughts, and feelings might scare the other person away. As a result, we cease expressing ourselves as we are. Instead, we speak as we think our partner would prefer us to be heard. We might mimic them entirely. We feel that our being is not as good as theirs, that we are less than them. Ultimately, we are in fear of abandonment and rejection. Allowing fear to dictate how we act as a whole being extinguishes our ability to come from love.

We not only lose sight of our personal power and our voice, we disconnect from our needs entirely. Prioritizing the identity and responsibility of our partner, we forget to focus on our own needs. Friends, family, 12-Step meetings, hobbies, and interests fall to the wayside as our world closes in around our partner.

Enlightened Solutions humbly offers a holistic design for the recovery process to heal the spirit, mind, and body. Our program is rooted in twelve step philosophy as a solution to the problem of drug and alcohol addiction. Call us today for more information on our programs of treatment for men and women seeking recovery 833-801-5483.