Rest assured, codependent habits do not improve the addict’s situation. Ultimately, it’s the addict’s decision to enter treatment — but there are actions you can take that increase the chances of that happening:
- Do not provide addicts the money or a place to live.
- When the addict asks for help, insist he or she enters into a drug rehab program.
- Practice and maintain tough love. Addicts who “hit bottom” often decide they want to get clean because they can’t stand to watch their life disintegrate further.
- Work on yourself. You can achieve a happier life through self-examination and behavior changes. Codependency behaviors can be conquered through one-on-one counseling or support groups such as Codependents Anonymous.
If you feel you or your loved one must be placed in a rehabilitation treatment center for codependency, please call 1-877-929-6887 or fill out a patient placement form and The Way Out Recovery will aid in placement.
Codependent Behavior Overview
As the addict struggles with drugs or alcohol, family members can easily fall into a codependent pattern of behavior, and in the process cause pain to themselves as well as the substance abuser. Enabling the addict, denying the existence of a problem and/or suppressing emotions are not solutions to addition.
Codependency has become a buzzword, and people often use the term without fully understanding its meaning. In general, codependents have a tendency to be overly passive or excessively care-taking, to the point they replace their needs and wants with the needs of others. Codependents have a paralyzing fear of being abandoned in romantic relationships, and as a result they may tolerate unacceptable or abusive behavior from their spouse or significant other.
Characteristics of Codependency:
- Low self-esteem: They may feel they’re worth something only in relation to someone else, which is why codependents often find security in unhealthy relationships. Low self-esteem is often a sign of depression, and many of those who suffer from depression are also codependent; a 1998 Kent State University study found depression and codependency to be “strongly related,” with 36% of depressed women also diagnosed as moderately to severely codependent.
- Lack of boundaries: Codependents are frequently more concerned with what other people think of them than with what they think about themselves. They’re so “externally oriented” that, without fully realizing it, they can take on other people’s emotions as their own. Codependents don’t know where they end and others begin.
- Mistrust of perceptions: Even if the codependent has very clear perceptions and ideas, another person’s perception is trusted instead of their own — this is why an addict’s parent or spouse will often accept and believe the addict’s declarations that addiction isn’t occurring. Deep down, the codependent knows something is wrong, but has grown accustomed to ignoring his or her own feelings.
- Care-taking: Codependents often become caretakers of addicts and neglect themselves in the process, and the person being cared for is not allowed to address their own needs. This dysfunctional pattern damages both people. Protecting and covering up for an addict is known as “enabling.” It’s incredibly important that the addict see what is really happening. By witnessing the cold hard truth, addicts can then hit rock bottom, which paves the way for entering substance abuse treatment.
The Way Out provides free, knowledgeable assistance for families looking for rehab facilities in their area. We work with all forms of health insurance, and convenient self-pay options are also available. Call us today at 1-877-929-6887.
Why do I have codependent behaviors?
People often develop codependent behaviors while growing up in a dysfunctional household. It could be a household affected by addiction, or one where physical or sexual abuse is taking place. In other instances, there might be neither addiction nor abuse, but the overall atmosphere in the household is deeply unhealthy.
Codependents can be addicts, too
Codependents tend to suppress negative feelings, such as anger, that can fester and grow like infected sores. Instead of confronting these emotions, the codependent may turn to drugs or alcohol as a way of fixing the problem. Sometimes, other addictive behaviors are used as coping mechanism, like compulsive eating or a workaholism.
A person can be an addict and codependent, simultaneously, when two addicts are romantically involved. One can enable the other; codependent behavior can be a serious hinderance in the treatment they both desperately need.