Yes, love is unconditional, it is embedded in the very fiber of our being and when we love someone, we want to put their needs and happiness before ours. In most cases, we would give up certain things that made up the wholeness of who we are, or we might make sacrifices just to prove our unfeigned love.
This kind of love isn’t just romance-based, the love between friends, sibling, parent and kids, and other variants are equally just as strong and can cause one person to greatly influence the other in so many ways. It is perfectly normal that when a person develops a drug addiction, the support, love, and care of family and friends are vital to their healing, but what happens when this care develops into codependency?
Many individuals are codependent to their friends, and loved ones who are addicted to drugs without even knowing it. Codependency takes root without you knowing it, and continued interaction with the drug addict deepens the stage of codependency until the relationship becomes complex and unhealthy.
The most prevalent kind of codependency is the one between two individuals in a romantic relationship or even married. According to findings, codependency is highest among women whose husbands are addicted to drugs. When a person is battling with the effects of drug addiction, a loved one who develops codependency to the addict may have a deteriorating effect on recovery; the codependent person will make it difficult for the addict to heal.
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What is Codependency and What are its effects?
A codependent relationship can be defined as that which a person who is physically and emotionally incapacitated through a condition such as drug addiction, depends completely on a second party who spends a significant amount of time catering to the needs of the individual in question, even to the detriment of their happiness, freedom, and so on. Usually the second party, because of their dedication to the drug addict, finds themselves enabling the drug addict. Instead of a recovery, the addiction may begin to deteriorate.
The effects of codependency can be quite unpleasant. For the codependent partner (second party), there is an increased risk of developing the same addiction as the addict. The codependent partner may lose touch with other relationships and responsibilities outside taking care of the addict.
Are there any negative effects of the codependency for the addict? Yes, there is, the codependency would make the addict complacent and this would extend recovery time or even trigger a relapse which is dangerous to the health of the addict.
Families and friends are encouraged to show support, love, and care in every way possible to an addict. So, how can one tell if they are codependent or taking the wrong steps that may lead to codependency?
How Can One Tell If they are Codependent?
The inherently dysfunctional relationship of codependence has proven to be harmful and the situation often begins with drug addiction and then a need to take care of the person suffering from addiction. There are many signs that show that a person may be codependent, these are:
1. If you find yourself with the “hero syndrome” which means, trying to come up with solutions to your Partner’s addiction, or you feel that you are in any way responsible for the condition that they are in presently, then you are codependent. The problem with this is that you might make all the efforts in the world to expedite their recovery but it will be hindered by their developing nonchalance.
2. If your partner makes you feel unappreciated even when you make so many sacrifices in trying to ensure their comfort; you receive harsh words and negligence instead of an appreciation.
3. Becoming absorbed in your partner’s needs, with the fear that they might leave is another sign of codependence.
4. One of the most obvious signs is when you derive pleasure from your addicted partner’s approval or you require some form of validation from them to feel valued.
5. Individuals who are battling substance addiction have a tendency to be aggressive, and dishonest. Some may shy away from responsibilities. If your addicted partner is allowed to get away with everything he or she does then you are enabling their addiction. You have got to hold them responsible for their behavior or they may be headed for a relapse.
6. If you feel that you are the victim in the relationship, and you need your partner to work with you in order to change your fate together then you are certainly codependent
7. If you find yourself covering up for your partner’s flaws with the fact that they have a substance abuse problem, or you lie for them and makeup excuses for their inability to seek help then you are enabling their addiction. The consequence is that none of you will end up seeking help and the results would be devastating.
8. Have you had relationships in the past with people who were also struggling with substance abuse? If yes, then this may be an indicator of codependence. You find yourself gravitating towards people of similar characteristics who need help in order to fulfill a desire to be needed. They are less likely to reject or turn their back on you due to their inability to properly function and this may, subconsciously, be attractive for you.
How to Stop Being Codependent
Since codependency is borne of unhealthy interaction between a person and an addict, then it is necessary to understand the dynamics of the relationship in order to track lapses that may be leading towards codependence. There are a few simple steps to stopping codependency:
1. Learn About Codependency
Study about codependency, its effects, examples, and the issues that may occur as a result of these behaviors. It is important to recognize what codependency looks like or feels like, in order to be able to extract yourself from such conditions.
2. Take some time to Analyze
Take inventory of your relationship with your partner. Weigh your experience so far, in comparison with everything you know about codependency, and decide what line of action should be taken.
3. Take a Break from that Lifestyle
Being cooped up with a drug addict can present with a lot of physical and emotional challenges. You may begin to lose yourself in the process. It is necessary for one to go out and socialize, get a different perspective on things, catch up on the things you used to enjoy doing, this will help you refresh, rebuild your diminished self-esteem, and show you a better way to live your life.
4. Seek Professional Help
An addict avoids seeking professional help for many reasons, a very important reason is that they are not just ready to part with the drug; they also feel like they cannot survive without the drug. This perception keeps them trapped in drug addiction. The codependent person, on the other hand, is not an addict and is not trapped in any habit. The first thing to do is to seek professional advice on how to break away from codependency.
Breaking free from codependency requires some sessions of cognitive-behavioral therapy. The codependent person will be taught to understand why they feel certain emotions and the reasons why these feelings are unhealthy for the recovery of the addict. These sessions are usually led by a trained professional.