Codependent people are so absorbed in someone else’s life that sometimes they do not realize how, in fact, they simply take responsibility for his life from another. Moreover, these people impose their help even when this help is absolutely useless. Such people waste a huge amount of energy in vain. Human dependence is not only his problem. This also applies to the people who live next to it. Spouse or spouse, parents, children. In most cases, family members who experience their relative’s addiction develop a disorder called codependency.
It would be good for any of us to understand that no one is obliged to change their behavior in order for us to feel good and calm.
Codependency is a type of addiction. Codependency is a disease that develops in family members of an addicted person. Codependency is an impulsive state – the desire to manage, influence and control another person’s behavior.
In psychology, the concepts of addiction and codependency are identified as a disease. It is defined as a pathological addiction to the object of desire.
A dependent person develops a special attachment to alcohol or gambling, and in the case of codependency in a person, the object of his obsessive state is the addict. Having someone or something in the life of a dependent and codependent person that they find attractive makes them feel better. However, this is not at all so great, since this situation leads to a huge expenditure of spiritual and physical energy. These two diseases are very similar to each other and go hand in hand through life.
A number of symptoms unite them:
denial of the existing problem: as an alcoholic does not admit his dependence on alcohol, so a codependent person denies that he has a problem: “I don’t drink alcohol,” he says;
an increase in tolerance – an example is an increase in the tolerance of a dose of alcohol or narcotic substances in a dependent person, and an increase in endurance to mental pain in a codependent person;
loss of control – an addict loses control over the amount of drink, and a codependent cannot control his feelings and loses control over his life as a whole.
As a rule, these are people with a desire to deeply delve into and immerse themselves in the problems of another person, are completely absorbed in this process – they are considered dependent people.
A codependent person has overdeveloped control due to fear. Such a person tries to control everything around, but not himself, which hurts him, because such control is not possible. In turn, the desire to control worsens the situation, forcing the addict to “close”, and deprives the codependent of freedom of choice and peace. The desire to control uncontrollable events often leads people to depression and mutual destruction. Addiction is a disease of consciousness, therefore, there are relationship problems. Often the person himself does not recognize his dependence on another, but at the same time he is not autonomous and independent. However, for most people, the term “codependency” is something unfamiliar and not always clear.
Codependency is caused by a feeling of fear, and this same feeling is the basis of any addiction, and fear and control are two sides of the same coin. Fear of loneliness, fear of reality, fear of loss, fear of life, often accompanied by anxiety, guilt and shame, self-pity, anger, resentment, and so on.
Codependent people are dissatisfied and strive to satisfy their desires, using their other half as an auxiliary tool. But, for certain reasons, in such a position, satisfaction is out of the question.
In each individual case, one can see the interaction of two sick people: one person is not functional enough (drug addict, alcoholic, gambling addict, etc.), and the second is a kind of addition in terms of providing the disease – addiction with fertile soil. One gets the impression that such people cannot exist separately.
The first step to recovery is to surrender, admit defeat, admit your own addiction, stop blaming your other half, and stop seeing outside the cause of all your problems. You need to see, realize and try to change the habit of your codependent behavior.
When a person complains about the other half, suffers in a relationship, looks for the meaning of life in the other, dreams that his own life will improve after the other half changes, then of course, we are talking about codependency.
Causes of codependency
Factors in the development of codependent behavior are of a socio-psychological nature. The main condition for its formation is the presence of a close relative, friend, lover with pathological addiction – drug addiction, alcoholism, gambling addiction, workaholism, hypochondria, sex or food addiction. Increased risk factors are:
Close relationship with an addict. The disorder develops in wives and mothers. Fathers, sisters, brothers, lovers, children are less susceptible to codependency.
Addiction experience. The disorder develops in individuals who have had a history of chemical addiction. Also at risk are those who are in a borderline state between the norm and pathological dependence.
Negative educational conditions. Codependency often occurs in people raised in emotionally repressive families. Their parents and close relatives were exposed to fear, anger, addiction, mental disorder, demonstrated violence or used it as an educational measure in relation to the child.
Signs of codependency
Whatever the dependence in a codependent relationship, they all have a common basis: the codependent participant is endowed with low self-esteem, and the addict behaves like a capricious child, is infantile.
What else is typical for a codependent person:
the desire to earn love for a set of care and custody of the addict;
anger and aggression (often suppressed);
dependence on the opinions of others;
inability to accept compliments;
the need to be needed, significant, in demand;
lack of opinion;
complete suppression of oneself as a person (all forces are spent on living a life for an addict).
Both participants in a codependent relationship have depressive tendencies; in families with codependency, sexual life comes to naught. Both participants are hidden, stingy with emotions, do not know how to calmly talk to each other.
It is not customary to talk about codependency, although even more often it is not noticed by the participants themselves. The same cannot be said about addiction. It is difficult not to notice it, but again it is not customary to “wash dirty linen in public”. And in especially advanced cases, patients deny the presence of a problem.
The state of codependency is characterized by:
1. Delusion, denial, self-deception. A person’s world shrinks and he focuses on something else.
2. Compulsive actions, low self-esteem. Constant desire to control the other half.
3. Health disorders associated with stress. Not accepting your addiction as the cause of problems.
An addicted person can always be helped when he himself asks for help. The desire to ask for help comes when there is a need to change something in oneself, and not in another. The main question is – what does a person want for himself?
Consequences of codependency
It’s important to remember a simple truth: codependency with alcoholism will not diminish the craving for the bottle. It only contributes to the progression of the disease. A drinking family member who sees this behavior of loved ones only further decreases self-esteem. The inability to make decisions on one’s own due to the overcontrol of the codependent person will only lead to more drinking. It’s more convenient to live this way!
Important! If you do not fight codependency, then such a family will sooner or later cease to exist.
The state of codependency not only aggravates the problem with drunkenness, but also brings the codependent one to a nervous exhaustion. He is in nervous tension all the time. Constant screams, quarrels, scandals lead to exhaustion!
Self-esteem drops rapidly. Disappointment sets in. After all, progress does not come. Codependent women experience bad wife syndrome, worthless mothers.
Long-term stressful condition leads to the development of psychosomatic diseases:
muscle and vascular spasms;
dysfunction of internal organs;
problems with the cardiovascular system.
Getting rid of codependency is necessary for the successful treatment of the addiction of a loved one, because who, no matter how relatives, should take the first steps to save a person’s life?
You can break out of the vicious circle only by seriously revising your behavior and views on the problem. What needs to be changed?
Start loving yourself and try to build self-esteem. Put yourself first, devote time to mental and physical health, find a hobby, get creative, etc.
Get out of the box and see the real situation: your loved one is ruining his life, your life and the life of your children for a long time. In order to change the state of affairs, you need to change the strategy of behavior.
Stop controlling everything. You need to understand that if you take care of yourself and YOUR desires, the world will not collapse, but the addict will feel discomfort – they no longer give him money, do not wash clothes, do not pay attention to a hangover, do not prepare food to order, etc. It is easier to persuade a person who finds himself in constrained circumstances for treatment.
It is necessary to clearly understand that the only benefit for the addict is treatment and it is necessary to push him towards him without emotions and shackles. Stop making compromises and trusting promises – make it clear that you are serious and the addict has no choice.
There is no need to feel sorry for a person, because he can take care of himself, why solve the difficulties that he has created for himself? Take the position of an observer, talk only about constructive things.
It takes a lot of strength and patience to turn the tide of events developing in a family for years, but if you really want the best for your loved ones, you must do it. In order to know where to start, how to build a strategy of behavior with an addict, you can seek help from a psychologist or psychiatrist-narcologist. Self-treatment of codependency at home is not an easy task for an already exhausted person.
Codependency is a disease of the whole family, in fact, every alcoholic or drug addict has “his own” codependent or several, therefore drug treatment clinics are well aware of its characteristics and coping practices.