Are You Codependent?
Codependency is a term that derived several decades ago from the term co-alcoholism. It was coined to describe the role of the spouse of an alcoholic. Today that term has evolved to head a number of symptoms of dysfunctional relationships, both those with an addict and without. A codependent relationship can exist without any type of addiction. But, if you are the partner or spouse of an addict your odds of being codependent are greater. What does this mean? And how do you know if you are codependent?
Having An Addicted Partner And Codependency
If you do have a partner addicted to drugs or alcohol, or even with a behavioral addiction, you should learn more about codependency and what it means. Your partner definitely needs treatment for addiction, but you may benefit from therapy as well. Being the partner of an addict takes its toll. A simple definition would state that being codependent means drawing your self-esteem and self-worth from your partner.
This type of dynamic often exists between an addict and their partner because of the balance they strike together. Addicts need someone to enable their habit, make excuses for them and care for them. Codependents need someone to care for and someone to need them. Together the two fit perfectly, if not healthfully.
Signs You Might Be Codependent
Are you codependent? Here are some signs that might indicate you are:
- You Have Low Self-Esteem – Codependents often have a poor sense of self-worth. They feel unworthy of love. They compare themselves to others and come up feeling inadequate. You may be good at hiding this, even from yourself, so dig deep and think about how you really feel.
- You Love To Please Others – If you are codependent, you take much of your self-worth from caring for someone else. As a result, you may be afraid to upset anyone. You can’t say no and you go out of your way to make sure others are happy, often at the expense of your own needs.
- You Ignore Warnings Signs – Problems that your partner has, like his addiction, are crystal clear to others, but you ignore them. You make excuses for his drug or alcohol use and his inappropriate behaviors. You stay in the relationship despite the fact that he is not meeting your needs.
- You Have Poor Boundaries – Codependents have a hard time setting or staying within relationship boundaries. You may have either weak or rigid boundaries. Maybe you share too much personal information or give too much of yourself. On the other hand, you may be withdrawn and unwilling to let anyone see what you’re feeling.
- You Need Control – You like to be in control because it makes you feel safe. This comes out in the form of controlling your partner, or trying to. Controlling can look like caring. Your need to please others or to care for your partner can be a form of control.
- You’re Afraid Of Being Alone – You see the issues in your relationship, but you ignore or deny them because you fear ending it. Being alone scares you because you take your sense of self-worth from your partner. You may be miserable, but you’re going to stay.
Treatment For Codependency
Codependency is not uncommon. If you see these signs in yourself and your relationship, you are far from alone. Still, this type of relationship is unhealthy, especially when one partner is an addict. Treatment can reverse codependency and help you learn to love yourself without needing someone else. Treatment can also help your partner overcome addiction. The important first step is to recognize the problem. Then you can both get help.
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