Codependency in relationships can be extremely toxic, especially to the individual who is struggling with the codependent issues. Individuals who are codependent tend to make their relationships more important than anything else—including their own well-being. Those whom he or she are codependent on often give very little of themselves, continuing the cycle of codependent behavior. This type of codependency can be extremely harmful to both parties, often more dangerous for the individual struggling with the codependency issues.
Symptoms of Codependency
There are a few key signs of codependency in a relationship, that can become negative for a codependent individual:
Fear of true expression – A codependent individual is less likely to voice his or her true feelings for fear that he or she might upset and/or scare away their significant other. This can cause them to bottle up their emotions to point where they develop serious health problems such as anxiety, depression, or more.
Neglecting personal needs – One of the most common traits of codependency is caring for others but neglecting personal needs. This can include going to extremes to ensure that a significant other is happy, oftentimes at the expense of the codependent individual’s own well-being.
Inability to be alone – Being codependent in a relationship causes an individual to be unable to be by themselves, as they have a consistent underlying need to care for another being, as well as obtaining their self-esteem through others. This can lead him or her to develop negative relationships with all the wrong people, causing him or her to suffer from further emotional distress or harm.
Refusing help from others – It is typical for a codependent individual to become excessively uncomfortable when others attempt to do things for him or her. Because they associate themselves with being the caregiver or helper, they find discomfort in others trying to help them, especially for fear that others will grow resentful for being put out to do so.
Being codependent and suffering from codependent relationship symptoms can cause an individual to experience numerous troubles in any (if not all) of their relationships. For example, if a codependent individual gives so much to another person and that person does not return the same sentiment, it can cause the codependent individual to grow extremely upset to the point where he or she becomes seriously depressed. This type of behavior can also cause an individual to enter into a relationship with someone who is likely to hurt them, as well as cause him or her to lose track of his or her own basic needs. The best way to prevent codependent behavior is to get the proper treatment to develop coping skills strong enough to negate codependency tendencies, all while promoting positive, healthy behaviors that encourage successful relationships.
The Solution for Codependency In Relationships
There are additional symptoms of codependency that fall outside these four patterns. Many of us may even find that we have a few codependent behaviors. Because codependency is usually rooted in a person from an early age, treatment often involves exploration into early childhood issues and the correlation to current destructive behavior patterns. Treatment involves education, experiential groups, and individual and group therapy where codependents rediscover themselves and identify self-defeating behavior patterns. Codependency is so damaging because it doesn’t allow healthy relationships to flourish. In order for people to truly give of themselves, their needs must be met as well, which means breaking codependent behaviors.
The following steps can help eliminate a codependency:
Sobriety –Abstinence or sobriety is necessary to recover from codependency. The objective is to take your needs and wants back to yourself – to have an interior as opposed to outside “locus of control.” This simply means that your actions are motivated by your values, needs and feelings, not someone else’s.
Awareness – Codependents tend to deny their own addiction – they deny their feelings and needs, and are not aware of why is codependency bad. This ends up leading to low self-esteem. To reverse this destructive habit, one must first become aware of them.
Acceptance – Self-acceptance is an important factor in healing. Before you can change, you have to become aware of and accept the situation. In recovery, you uncover more about yourself, which requires acknowledgment. Life itself presents confinements and misfortunes to acknowledge: this is development. Welcoming reality opens the doors to possibilities, and at this point, change begins to occur.
Northbound Treatment Services incorporates a family program at its state-of-the-art drug and alcohol treatment center to help families learn how to break codependent behaviors. To read more about the program and all of our treatment options, visit our treatment programs page.