Sometimes the roots of addiction are subtle and deeply personal. Of all the obstacles one can encounter in struggling with substance abuse, codependency can be the most difficult to overcome. Codependency is the excessive reliance on a partner who requires support due to addiction or another illness. While codependent people may have good intentions, their assistance in trying to help an addicted loved one causes further psychological damage.
If you are a loved one who is dealing with addiction in your family, you must be careful to monitor your actions. Are your actions helping or hurting the addict? Codependency not only makes a loved one’s addiction worse, it also can tear the family apart. The following article outlines six signs of codependency. If your family needs help overcoming codependency, reach out to one of our recovery counselors.
The Six Danger Signs of Codependency
The Responsibility for Others’ Feelings
One telltale sign of codependency is the need to solve the addict’s problems. The codependent person may feel that if they don’t intervene, disaster will follow. Those who are codependent lack healthy boundaries and often overstep those bounds. By trying to fix others’ problems and having an unnatural focus on others, codependent people open the door for emotional and psychological abuse.
Engaging in “Hero Behavior”
Another one of the major signs of codependency is the overwhelming engagement in a rescuer or enabler role. These behaviors may include paying the addict’s rent, groceries and the need to cover for their irresponsible behavior to others. As already alluded to, trying to be the hero and “fix everything” will not help the addict and removes consequences. As a result, the addict’s behavior continues to grow worse.
The Fear of Abandonment
Those who are codependent have a paralyzing fear those they love will leave them behind. Codependent people in relationships feel the love to be loved, even though a relationship can be toxic and hurtful. A major sign of abandonment behavior in codependency is the abundance of people pleasing behaviors—even if they know it is damaging to themselves and others.
The Need for Control
Codependent people feel the need to control and take responsibility for others. When a codependent person assumes control, they will use underhanded tactics such as manipulation, guilt or shame. These behaviors may not have intentional or malicious roots; instead, these behaviors happen unconsciously and are natural to the codependent person.
Codependents Play the Role of the Victim
One of the most obvious signs of codependency is that the codependent person assumes the victim role if things don’t go according to plan. If a favor or “good behavior” isn’t reciprocated, the codependent person will lash out and feel cheated. Oftentimes, this is rooted in their lack of sense of self and independence.
Lack of Trust in Self
Because the codependent person focuses exclusively on the needs of others, they neglect their own feelings and needs. In this regard, it feels like the person doesn’t know who they really are and feel lost. As a result, the codependent person doesn’t trust what they feel. Additionally, they turn to others to establish that trust—and often they end up betrayed or hurt which continues the vicious cycle of self-loathing and abuse.
Defeat Codependency with the Help of Comprehensive Wellness Centers
While codependency in addiction is serious, it can be treated with professional help. Comprehensive Wellness Centers features quality family programs that uncover and address the roots of codependent behaviors. Once addressed, experienced staff can help put healthy communication and coping skills in place that foster an environment of healing and growth. If you and your family need help breaking the cycle of addiction for good, call Comprehensive Wellness Centers today.