Codependency Help & Treatment
Codependency takes place when someone in a relationship becomes an enabler for bad behaviour while being simultaneously reliant their partner to an unhealthy degree. The degree that they place on the happiness of the other person becomes tied to self-worth and their own physical and mental health.
Their entire focus becomes that other person. They will do anything within their power to ‘help’ the person they are dependent on. Even if that help takes the form of enabling substance abuse or other dangerous behaviours.
The need for validation at any cost is the number one factor for codependency and recognizing it in yourself or someone else. The other major red flags you or someone you know is a codependent person includes constantly feeling responsible for other people.
Enablers are drawn into the needs of others without ensuring your own are met successfully. They sacrifice what is beyond normal for their partner so they will not have to feel any negative emotions.
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What Is a Codependent Person/Enabler?
A codependent person is essentially addicted to helping people in a way that drastically exceeds the normal care someone would exhibit towards another person.
Codependency sufferers need to be needed and often exhibit such strong behaviours that they cause the person they want to help to become less self-sufficient. This is called enabling. An enabler often allows the codependent person to continue in their harmful behaviour by making excuses for them or just overlooking negative actions.
Codependents can often become dangerous even to the people they claim to be helping, creating artificial situations and problems to ensure that they remain needed by that person in order to feed their own addiction.
The two most common forms of codependent relationships are those involving substance addiction and ones with some kind of physical or emotional abuse. These relationships can be between friends, family members, or couples.
Codependency and Addiction
Codependency describes people who put the needs of someone else above their own, often by enabling them in their unhealthy lifestyle. As a consequence of dedicating their lives to making sure that the other person does not experience any negative repercussions for their addiction, they are often removing any motivation for them to get sober.
This includes personally ensuring an addicted person’s responsibilities are fulfilled or lying to excuse them. Also, giving up personal or mental health for the sake of the addicted person.
Is Codependency an Addiction?
It is often referred to as a ‘love addiction,’ and codependency can be just as compulsive as any other form of addiction. In addition, it is not uncommon for two addicts in a relationship to also share a dependency that feeds off the substance abuse.
This makes it much harder to stay sober unless they get codependency treatment in addition to rehabilitation for their addictions.
Causes of Codependency
Emotional neglect, while a person is young, tends to convince them that their own worth, emotions, and needs are not valid. This often takes place in environments where the child is forced to deal with situations like domestic violence, substance abuse in the home, or mental illness that makes one or both parents unable to fulfil their roles.
These push the child to take over adult duties in the home like cooking, cleaning, and taking care of siblings or parents. Early on, they learn to put aside their own needs for the sake of those around them as a way to survive.
Symptoms of Codependency
Do you know someone who is worrying you by exhibiting possible codependent behaviour? Try asking yourself the following questions:
- Have they said that they feel demeaned, upset, or offended if someone refuses or claims not to need their help?
- Have you found yourself getting into arguments just to try to get them to stop interfering or “helping” you?
- Is their self-worth and self-esteem measured by how much they are needed by other people?
- Do they like to remind you how much you need them and ask what you would do without them around?
Do you know someone who is suffering from codependency? Call us now for free help and advice on how simple and easy it can be to get free of codependence and life a happier, healthier life.
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Below is a list of other codependent or enabling behaviours that are important to look out for:
- A constant need for approval
- Taking responsibility for the actions of that other person
- A fixation on their fears and emotions
- Severe guilt whenever excluding their partner
- Lacking the ability to say ‘no’ to requests
- No personal interests outside those shared with their partner
- Enabling unhealthy behaviours
- Low self-esteem tied directly to the ability to please their partner
Am I Codependent/an Enabler?
If you are worried that you might be part of a codependent relationship, you can take stock by comparing what you experience with these common signs. Even having just one or two of them is enough to signal you may be in a codependent partnership.
The signs include:
- Taking on your partner’s problems and emotions
- Worried about bringing up any concerns you might have about them
- No social interactions or hobbies outside those enjoyed by your partner
- Are uncertain if your partner can take care of themselves when you are not around
- Your worth is tied to how well you take care of your partner
What to Do If I’m in a Codependent Relationship
Communicate with the other person while taking steps like attending therapy and, if necessary, a rehabilitation clinic. You may find that the relationship outside of the codependency is either too toxic or not what you actually want for yourself.
Re-evaluating your relationship in an honest way is important to moving forward. You can also seek professional help in the form of therapy and counselling.
Stages of Codependency
Codependent tendencies worsen during a relationship. Three main stages have been identified in the gradual development of a codependent partnership. These stages are:
First a gradual obsession with the needs and wants of the other person beyond the bounds of normal relationships.
Taking on the negative emotions and blaming oneself for any bad situation encountered by the other person.
Mental and physical health suffer under the stress of the need to make sure the other person is safe, happy, and healthy. This can take the form of body pains, mental illness, or issues with self-worth
Codependency and Family
Fear of rejection is the single biggest motivator for someone who is codependent. Within families where someone is a substance abuser, it is not uncommon for someone to be codependent with them as a way to keep them close and ‘safe’ within the family structure.
Instead, it ends up fracturing relationships and creating a toxic environment for everyone. For more information on overcoming toxic relationships within your family, visit our family therapy page.
Consequences of Codependency
Because it is progressive, the amount of codependency will change throughout the growth of a relationship, and by the time it is firmly entrenched, and they are in stage three of codependency, the following consequences can come into play. Self-harm, suicidal ideation, self-destructive tendencies, isolation, mental illnesses like depression, and anxiety are also common.
The inability to get or stay sober without codependency treatment is a huge consequence for anyone with an addiction issue. They do not need to seek help or desire to abstain because their codependent partner takes care of them.
Potentially this can lead to increased substance abuse, irreparable health damage due to taking the substance, mental disability, and potentially even overdose or death from other related health causes.
Treatment for Codependency and Addiction
Once a person realizes they are in a codependent relationship, feelings of shame can keep them from seeking help. However, overcoming shame and reaching out to organisations specifically designed to assist and getting the help you or your loved one deserves can free yourself from toxic dependency.
Codependency treatment with a therapist or trained counsellor is vital to breaking the cycle. The following are a few of the commonly recommended treatments once you have decided to get help with addiction rehabilitation:
- Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT)
- Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
- Medically-assisted detox
- Aftercare Support
How Can We Help Your Codependent Relationship?
Finding the right treatment service that can help you live free of codependence on another person is often a complicated and time-consuming process. If you need urgent help, we’re here to help.
Our codependency treatment assistance gives you:
- A free help and evaluation service to help you choose
- Guidance on the best treatment options for your circumstances
- Assistance in picking out the most cost-effective options
- Information on quality of care, best clinical practice and more
- Complete clarity so you can make the right choice of treatment
Looking to make a change?
Call today in complete confidence on 0800 088 66 86 for advice & guidance on all things addiction, codependency, and relationship breakdowns due to substance abuse.