Codependency Treatment and Help For Co-Dependency
Being Codependent and What it Means
Co-dependency and Co-Dependents - I had no idea what those words meant a few years ago. I knew I had problems within my family but did not understand how my behavior contributed to the family problems...or even made them worse. After almost 3 years of treatment and seeking help for my co-dependency issues, I understand something about myself that had been unknown up until then - that I was an active co-dependent and that I was actively engaging in behaviors that were not only harmful to myself but harmful to others. A rude and painful awakening but a necessary one. I believe that sometimes our lives have to take us to very painful places before we actively start to search within ourselves for answers as to "why are things the way they are" and look for help - searching ourselves to learn about "why those things are the way they are". Taking accountability for our actions and behaviors, and fearlessly searching for not only help but treatment. Answering questions about ourselves as to why we sometimes unknowingly hurt ourselves and those around us.
Before I continue on with my story about my own co-dependent issues, let's look at the definition of co-dependency and what it really means.
Wiki's Definition of Codependency and Codependence
Codependency (or codependence, co-narcissism or inverted narcissism) is a tendency to behave in overly passive or excessively caretaking ways that negatively impact one's relationships and quality of life. It also often involves putting one's needs at a lower priority than others while being excessively preoccupied with the needs of others. Codependency can occur in any type of relationship, including in families, at work, in friendships, and also in romantic, peer or community relationships.Codependency may also be characterized by denial, low self-esteem, excessive compliance, and/or control patterns. Narcissists are considered to be natural magnets for the codependent.
Being a "Nice" Person is NOT Always the "Nice" Thing To Do!
Without going into details that could possibly harm people I love and people in my family, I can only describe certain things that I have learned about MYSELF in my own personal journey of healing from co-dependent tendencies. I cannot say exact events because of privacy issues but there is enough here that you may be able to fill in the dots and see familiar patterns within your own family or relationships. This story is about my own issues, and how my behaviors have contributed to problems within my own family.
First of all, I have always considered myself a pretty nice person. Pretty easy going with what I thought was a pretty tolerant and "kick-back" attitude. This personality type has always seemed to attract people to me but not always the RIGHT people. I have found in my journey that there are certain type of people that are attracted to co-dependents, and now I understand why certain "types" of people were attracted to me. Being a "motherly" and "nurturing" type has been both a blessing and my undoing at times. I am still learning how to be a good mother but with HEALTHY BOUNDARIES (notice the emphasis on healthy boundaries there - this is a very important part of learning how NOT to be a co-dependent) Co-dependents typically have problems setting boundaries and for me that has definitely been a big issue. Trying to be the "nice guy" is not always the healthy thing to do.
Setting Healthy Boundaries in Codependency
So how did I finally figure out that I had co-dependency issues? Well for me it's been years in the making - I knew that boundaries were a big problem many years ago for me - but did not realize how damaging my behavior was or that I was an "active co-dependent". I only discovered the term and the full meaning of it in a group called Celebrate Recovery which I attend at our home church. OK ...before any of you throw in the towel here and say OK another one of those self-help church groups, please hear me out on this. This is not just a group, this is a step program, for people recovering from many different things - alcohol, drugs, relationship problems, eating disorders, abuse, and co-dependency (which by the way often walks hand in hand with the addictions listed above) Within the safety of my group I discovered that it wasn't just my family that had issues but that I had issues. Wow lo and behold, how could someone nice like me be doing something deliberately bad? (sarcasm there folks)
I came to realize that many of my family problems stemmed from my inability to not only set healthy boundaries but that I was also enabling certain negative behaviors with people I love. How so you say? Well for one example lets talk about the raising of kids. My husband and I used to constantly have arguments about the raising of our children, and it led to me to be a defensive and a sometimes smothering mother (food for thought here - add "s" to the front of mother and what do you get?)
So yes I look back now and realize that in many ways I "smothered" my family and made too many decisions for them, rescuing them from the consequences of their own mistakes. This in itself can be very damaging because not only do children learn that they can "get away with things" but they learn that there is someone there to rescue them when maybe they shouldn't be rescued. Don't get me wrong, there are times that our children truly need help, but especially as they get older we need to examine the ways we are "helping" them and is this helping them be healthy or more dependent on us and irresponsible in the long run?
The Symptoms of a Co-Dependent
Codependence is about unhealthy relationships and personal boundaries. It is about control and personal empowerment. If you are a codependent, it is about trying to be a whole person through someone else. In this case two halves do not make a whole, they make a hole.
You are a codependent if...
- If you are married to or in a relationship with an alcoholic or addicted person
- If you feel like you are not "complete" without another person
- If you are continually rescuing your teen, child, spouse, etc.
- If you feel responsible for their behaviors, actions, or feelings
- If you are always taking care of others to the sacrifice of yourself
Poll on Codependency
Do you have issues with Co-Dependency?See results without voting
Things I am Doing to Help Myself
So that is just one example of how being codependent has affected our family in a negative way. I am now in the very difficult process of "amputating" someone I love from my life because this is the only way that we can begin to heal our damaged relationship. It's going to be very hard for me- and very painful. I have a long road ahead of me but have lots of support of people around me to talk too and bounce ideas off of. They will help me stay "accountable" and on track with what I need to do to become "healthier" and have better relationships with the people I love. This one person is not the only person that I have had co-dependent issues with but like they say Rome wasn't built in a day. Many years go into the forming of certain behaviors and I understand that it may be a long season of learning for me, but at least I am on the path to healthier relationships, and understanding myself better so I don't make past mistakes a way of the future.
For more on co-dependency I have selected some books from Amazon here that are helpful for people struggling with co-dependency - for people needing help and treatment for co-dependence. There is also a link with the website for Celebrate Recovery (they have these groups all over and you don't have to attend a church to go to a meeting) If a church group is not something you are interested in for dealing with co-dependency there are also online support groups available for codependents and issues surrounding codependency. Counselors can also be helpful ( I have one that I see once every couple months to review my progress in my relationships) For further reading reading related to co-dependency issues you can check out my hub on "tough love", which is directly related to this hub and has more information on "being cruel to be kind" ( I still kind of hate that phrase but it has a ring of truth to it)
Thanks for stopping by, reading and feel free to leave comments. If there is something I can answer/help with or direct you to feel free to email me. God Bless and hope this has helped you in some way.
(Dorsi Diaz is a freelance writer and publisher on the Internet. She is the mother of 3 and grandmother of 3 - married for 21 years. She writes on variety of topics- kids, health,. controversial issues and topics of the day)
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