What is Codependency?

» Posted by on Jan 11, 2017 in Alpha Blog | 0 comments

What is Codependency?

You may have heard the term codependency used fairly often, but you may not fully understand what it is. Codependency is typically defined as a relationship pattern where you focus on others at your own expense. This can happen through various channels, but typically codependency is characterized by a person belonging to a dysfunctional, one-sided relationship where one person needs validation or confirmation from the other for all of their emotional and self-esteem needs. It can also describes a relationship that enables another person to maintain their poor behavior, abusiveness, or addiction.

While anyone can fall into the trap of a codependent relationship, it often occurs when one or both sides have addiction or mental health issues. This is often due to one side not being able to cope with or take accountability for their own decisions and the other side being vulnerable and seeking acceptance or love. Codependency is especially prevelant in relationships where one or both sides have depression, mental illness, trauma or substance abuse issues due to the dynamics that can occur when a vulnerable side meets up with another who is struggling for stability.

The individuals who most often become the “giver” in this type of relationship have some typical behavior patterns. Generally they will be described as a “push-over”, or always putting others needs before their own. They tend to ignore their own physical, mental, or emotional well-being in favor of praise or validation from others.

Due to their vulnerable nature they tend to attract people who bring a lot of baggage or drama. They don’t see these are red flags like most others, they see this as an opportunity to save someone. They also  generally have a hard time saying “no” and often lack any healthy boundaries with the people around them. Although the act of giving or sacrificing their own happiness seems to make them happy, they actually often resent the other person in time and complain of feeling used and taken advantage of. Even though they feel this way, they continue the behavior because of the approval that they so badly want.

This type of relationship is dysfunctional for obvious reasons, and will ultimately never end well for anyone. Especially in a situation where there are substance abuse problems, a codependent relationship can truly be a perfect storm. The addict will not recognize or may not care that they are taking advantage of the other side, and the giver will continue to give the addict whatever they request, ultimately only fueling their poor behavior and addiction.

If you feel that you may be part of a dysfunctional or codependent relationship reach out to us today for help!


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