Codependency and Addiction: How They Go Hand in Hand

By The Fix staff 05/06/19

Codependency is an unhealthy or excessively emotional reliance or psychological dependency on another person. In some cases, being in this type of relationship can seem very one-sided.

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Upset woman with hand of codependent boyfriend on shoulder, worried about addiction

While being in a loving relationship is a goal for most people, sometimes what seems like “love” can take a dark turn into codependency. But how do you know if your relationship is codependent? And what can you do to heal from it?

What Does It Mean to Be Codependent?

Codependency is an unhealthy or excessively emotional reliance or psychological dependency on another person. In some cases, being in this type of relationship can seem very one-sided.

In relationships that are codependent, often partners feel that their entire self esteem is reliant on how the other person feels about them. This can lead to feelings of worthlessness and making unhealthy choices in order to prove their worth.

Codependency can manifest in a variety of ways. And while the term “codependent” was originally coined to describe the partner of an alcoholic, this does not just apply to people dealing with the issues that stem from addiction. In fact, there are studies that show if someone who grew up in a household where codependency was present, chances are, unless these behaviors are identified and dealt with, they too can find themselves in a similar situation with a partner.

How Can You Tell If You Are Codependent?

Some signs of codependency can include not having the ability to set healthy boundaries with others, feeling the need to be a “people pleaser,” regardless of whether it ultimately challenges their personal beliefs, or being obsessed with how the other person views and feels about them.

Partners of addicts who are codependent often find themselves feeling completely responsible for their partner. They want to ensure that they are safe and always happy. In these cases it gives them a sense of purpose. Since they feel needed, they fear that if they don’t take care of the other person, then not only will they let them down, but that they no longer have a purpose in life.

Psychology Today posted an article on what codependent relationships can look like. A section asks a series of questions to help someone who may be codependent diagnose the signs. They include taking measures to cover up or take care of issues that the addict may have brought on themselves. This can mean even doing things that are illegal or immoral just to keep the addicted person happy and indebted to them.

While those who are in a codependent relationship truly believe that everything they are doing is out of love, they are actually putting themselves and their partner in more danger.

What Is So Bad About Codependency?

By constantly cleaning up the mess of an addicted partner or loved one, the codependent is, in fact, actively denying that there is a problem. Thus the addict is never forced to accept the reality of their problem, and never deal with any real consequences of their situation. Both parties are relying on one another to maintain and live in denial, which eventually, if not addressed, can lead to depression, illness or in extreme cases, death.

Being in a codependent relationship with an addict is not limited to dating or being married. Codependency is also a factory in family relationships. Parents of addicts often find themselves dealing with codependency. Regardless of the relationship, the behaviors are basically the same. They love the addict and don’t want to lose them.

Breaking The Cycle

Being in this kind of relationship, whether it is romantic or familial, can be draining and feel hopeless at times. The good news is, there is hope. Recovery from codependency is possible, and with the right treatment and guidance, the cycle of a codependent relationship can be broken.

Oceanside Malibu has a great deal of experience when it comes to working with addicts and codependency. They are able to help each individual identify the destructive patterns in their lives, and get to the root of the issue. Their caring staff of therapists work with both the addict and their loved ones to redirect their focus and find acceptance in their own lives. The goal is to help their clients and families learn new and healthy coping mechanisms so that these behaviors do not continue.

The program at Oceanside Malibu is collaborative and, if the client requests it, invites the family members and loved ones to participate in the program either in person, or over the phone or on Skype. And while their clients are receiving holistic and evidence based treatments within a peaceful and supportive, beachfront environment, they are also taking the time to address underlying issues that may not have been recognized up until this point.

Codependency can take a lot out of anyone. Knowing where to turn for comprehensive help can turn things around for the better. Oceanside Malibu arms their clients with the proper tools to help mend relationships and live a healthy life in recovery.

Learn more about Oceanside Malibu at www.oceansidemalibu.com. Reach them by phone at (866) 738-6550. Find Oceanside Malibu on Facebook.

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