Codependency defines a relationship in which one partner has extreme physical or emotional needs, and the other partner spends most of their time responding to those needs, often to the detriment of the codependent partner’s life, activities, and other relationships. The problem is that these repeated rescue attempts allow the needy individual to continue on a destructive course and to become even more dependent on the unhealthy caretaking of the “benefactor.” Codependency can result in a difficult spiral in which the codependent partner cares for and enables the loved one’s challenges, making it easier for the loved one to maintain the challenging or destructive behaviors. The things that the codependent person does are sometimes done for the loved one, but at other times, they are done to alleviate one’s own fears and worries. The codependent may feel the need to be there for the substance abuser and if not for their support, the person may get worse. With effective education and counseling, the codependent person may realize the substance abuser needs the codependent person more than the codependent person needs to enable their addiction and behaviors.
Signs that you may be codependent.
You feel personally responsible for others.
You believe if not for your support they would be worse off than they are (you’re helping them).
You think and feel responsible for other people.
You feel anxiety, pity, and guilt when other people have a problem.
You feel compelled to help the person solve the problem.
You feel frustrated when your help isn’t effective.
You often anticipate other people’s needs.
One of the most important elements of treating codependency is learning how to set boundaries. For both the person struggling with substance abuse and the codependent partner, setting boundaries can help to restore a healthier relationship and, in turn, make it more likely that both partners can recover from the challenges of a codependent relationship. By learning to establish boundaries, both individuals can learn how to create a healthier relationship, making it more likely that treatment will have a positive outcome.
Could this be you?
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